You know all those silly quizzes on Facebook. The ones that sometimes you or your friends take. The ones you roll your eyes at when you see them pop on your page? Well, the other day I took one. It was the one where it tells you what personality you are from the movie Inside Out. Now, I have never seen that movie but knew about it, and I was curious what this random quiz would decide which emotion fit me the best. I figured it would be anger or something like that, but turns out it was Joy. Joy…go figure.
That quiz got me thinking about whether or not you are the person people think you are. Every time I make a new friend on Facebook, I go back and look at my personal page from their point of view. I did that after I got Joy on that quiz and wondered what on my page made the algorithm think I was joyful. I’m a happy person, sure, but joyful, I’m not so sure that is the word I’d use to describe myself.
My Facebook page is full of food, sunsets, family and blog posts. All those things very much make up who I am, but my Facebook page doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell how often I’m not sure of myself. It doesn’t tell how I worry about my adult children every day of the week. It doesn’t tell how proud I am of my husband on a daily basis. It shows a tiny bit about the real me.
Last week when we were driving to Albany, NY we passed through Stroudsburg, PA. A place that I lived for almost 25 years, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. When we were passing through the downtown, I realized how it seems to have stood still in time. So much so that I could have been back in 1998 driving to the little law office where I worked. Nothing seemed anything different to me, well except, me. I’m such a different person now than I was back then. I think that’s why I was so surprised when I got the word Joy on that silly little Facebook quiz. Joy is not a word I’d use to describe myself back when I lived in Stroudsburg, but after some self-reflection and thought, it is a word I would use to describe myself today.
When I lived in Stroudsburg, I went through a hard divorce with a three and four-year-old, which was followed by a few self-destructive relationships that did nothing for my self-esteem. As a single mom money was extremely tight and I was always worried, I was making a mess of my children both mentally and emotionally. I was never sure of my actions or myself, but then I moved to Nashville. I got the incredible opportunity to start all over, in a town where no one knew the old Gina. As time went by I grew enormously as a human. I developed strong opinions about things. I started my own business and succeeded. I had enough money always to give the cash in my wallet to someone else in need, without wondering what I was going to do without that money. And in time, I realized I did not make a mess of my children neither mentally nor emotionally.
Driving through Stroudsburg Pennsylvania, I was grateful for my time there. It was by all accounts a really hard time, with a few smatterings of good, but all in all a really hard time. I feel lucky to have lived there when I was younger and to have gone through the harder times in my life when I was young. Now that I am older, I can settle into who I really am and just be happy. I also realized if I sat down with anyone who knew me back then, they might not recognize who I was today. I wondered if they would see the joy coming out of me. The joy I felt and apparently Facebook also believes.