I trend toward the serious. I’m probably more concerned with what I think people may be thinking about me than you realize. It’s not that I don’t like being silly, but I prefer it to be in a controlled environment on my own terms (don’t I sound like a party?). “Look how much fun we’re having!” –in this Insta-filtered, curated and perfectly captured moment. I’m so silly, and btw doesn’t my hair/life/outfit look great?!
God knew that the perfect balance to this was Michael Marsden. My husband is silly and self-confident. He’s pretty sure that if you’re thinking about him it’s definitely good things. He looks in the mirror in the morning and thinks, “Man, I’m looking great today!” He does not care who’s watching and certainly doesn’t need to curate an experience for the internet.
However, on a whim one Sunday morning in early 2016 he posted a DubSmash of me getting ready for church. It was pretty funny. I was mildly irritated when he posted it on his Instagram account, but more eye-rollingly shaking-my-head amused. He posted one the next Sunday, and then our friends started to encourage this behavior and it turned into a weekly thing. Basically, it’s him lip-synching to a short song clip while I’m in the background flossing or putting on makeup or generally trying to hide from the camera.
When he first started, I untagged myself from all his posts. Sure, I thought it was funny and so-Mike. Endearing even. But you can’t post me getting ready sans-makeup/hair wearing my pajamas on the internet! What will people think?!
And then I heard myself: You can’t show my REALITY to people I’m trying to impress. I was taking myself too seriously.
In a weird way, these weekly videos have become part of a liturgy of my life. I am being trained to not take myself so seriously. An opportunity to practice humility. It’s also part of my Sabbath practice to keep off social media, so half the time I don’t even know what he’s posting until Monday, anyway.
I think this kind of practice at letting go of our so carefully often over-cultivated images is a good thing. Ann Voskamp writes that, “Perfectionism is slow death by self. It will kill your skill, your spark, your art, your soul.” What a high cost for such little reward, the fleeting ‘likes’ of your online community. The ministry of silly pushes back at this, gives us space to be us, and permission for others to be them. And isn’t that social media at its best?
In case you’re now morbidly curious to see this strange Sunday ritual carried out in our home, here is Mike’s compilation of videos from 2016. I hope you’re inspired to find some silliness of your own to share: