Posted by: mariabro | February 13, 2014

Photoshopping our Lives

Through social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we create our own Avatar – our online persona.  It is a reflection of who we want to portray to our social networks.    Social media has allowed us to craft our image, in other words we can brand ourselves.  Facebook has only been around since 2004.  I joined in 2007, in my mid-fourties and living in Tokyo.  So, my “brand” is fairly recent in the grander scheme of my life. (I think I am grateful there was no Facebook when I was younger…)
My avatar doesn’t wear glasses, likes to socialize and is always smiling.  Or, you may surmise, my life seems pretty happy at this point.  Or maybe I only post pics of the good times?  FB seems more of a place to share the good times than the bad ones to me. Like a glossy magazine of your life.
But for many people, the happy life we display on Facebook was/is not always the case.  Everyone has their share of hardship.  For me, about 15 years ago I had a triple whammy.  Death, divorce, and a move.  Over the course of many years I have gone through –
  • death
  • divorce
  • job loss
  • miscarriages
  • financial insecurity

In fact, here is a picture (which my family roars with laughter at now), that reveals the stress I was going through before our move to Tokyo.  The boys were 1 and 2 yrs old, Brittany 10.  Craig had already moved to Japan so I was left behind to pack up and clear out our lives in Canada.  Not the Maria you know.


Life is not always easy.  I worked hard to overcome the challenges I’ve faced and feel I became stronger because of them.  I don’t wish my children hardship but sometimes I look at how easy their lives are and wonder how they would deal with any sort of life stressor.  I honestly believe hardship builds character.
If you are going through any life difficulties, try to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.  Keep working toward your goals whatever they may be.  Embrace the hardship and try to see it as something that will strengthen you and propel you onward, and upward.
And when you get to the positive cycle in your life, which you will, appreciate it and be even more grateful because you know the difference.  Celebrate the good times, share them with your friends on FB and be proud of your accomplishments.  And when your friends are in a happy place, understand that it may not always have been that way.  Don’t envy their happiness, support it, because you never know what it took them to get there.


  1. Maria, what a wonderful and uplifting philosophy you have. Everyone should read this and learn to count their blessings. The only things that really matter in life are the ability to love and feel compassion for others. Nothing else matters very much. Bob Fraser, London (ex HK)

    • Thank-you Bob! So nice to hear from you. I hope life is treating you well back in the UK!

  2. Well say Maria. Thanks for sharing the real you with us.

  3. This is a great piece Maria! So true that people can sometimes envy what they see as someone’s life on facebook when what they’re really seeing is a
    slice of life and usually the prettiest slice. That picture of you is still beautiful even if you were stressed. Nice work.xk

  4. a beautiful read written by a beautiful person, Love, J x x x

Leave a Reply to Bob Fraser Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: