I am driving the kids to the Pocono Mountains, a few hours from where we live, for a last summer hurrah of sorts of zip lining and horseback riding. It’s early September and the leaves are showing a tinge of fall color. Checking the rear view mirror, I catch a glimpse of one of my daughters and for a second I see myself. Her face is morphing by the day into the face of a teenager. My green eyes catch her brown beauties and she calls me out with a “What, Mom?” Suddenly a creepy beat fills the air—a song called Dollhouse by Melanie Martinez plays in our car. The lyrics grab the therapist and wife in me tightly and I enter another world of private thought.
When I was ten I got the most beautiful wooden dollhouse for Christmas. It had a miniature everything down to a refrigerator of mini foods and tiny brushes and toothbrushes on the bathroom counters. No detail was spared. Like most dollhouses, the front looked like a real house and the back was cut wide open so I could move the furniture and the people around, staging elaborate scenes and parties. This song took me back to these moments in my childhood playing with my own dollhouse. As I was transported back in time, I was also moved into the present day. This song talked about adults—in particular couples – and how they relate and live one way in their home yet present quite another way to the external world.
So this song has me thinking… What if we all had the back of our houses chopped off and exposed to the world for others to see inside? What if everyone could see into our private lives? Would we relate differently? Would we be proud of our behaviors? Might we be embarrassed? Might we act more kindly to one another and give our transactions with one another more thought? What if we were on show all the time? What if we lived in dollhouses?
Social media allows people to paint a picture—most often only the happy moments or the ones we are willing to show others. All of us, myself not exempt, are guilty of doing that. For a moment I ask you to join me in acknowledging the part of our relationships that we don’t share with others. I wonder, how much can we learn from one another if we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and share these less “pretty” moments? Being vulnerable and honest with others in our lives is difficult and scary for the most part—which is why we close the shades on our windows and hide the parts of our relationships that make us ashamed.
So, bottom line—we are not perfect and our relationships are not either. I think the more honest we are with ourselves and others about what’s going on behind our private walls, the more free we can be and the more we can gain understanding and possibly help one another. After all—I imagine that living behind the walls of perfection is a very lonely place.