I enjoy watching Sam Jones’ one-on-one conversational talk show “Off Camera with Sam Jones” where he interviews actors, writers, directors, and producers—show biz type folks—getting into the more personal, nitty-gritty-side-of-life things with them.
Recently he sat down to interview writer/producer/director/actor Mike White about his latest film “Brad’s Status”, a sort of dark comedy starring Ben Stiller that deals with what White calls “comparative anxiety”—something that we often experience in modern times due to the constant sharing done on social media and then the comparing we do of ourselves against others because of what we see.
At one point, in regards to what people choose to share publicly, Sam said, “You’re not sharing that [moment] you drop the sandwich face down…that’s not a moment you’re sharing.” And they sort of chuckled at the absurdity of it, that we only like to share the neat and tidy things, the “good reviews”, those moments we’re smiling, we’re on vacation, we’re enjoying gorgeous food, having fun, and just presenting ourselves as if we haven’t a care in the world, like our life just couldn’t get any better.
And Sam’s statement about the sandwich face down really made me stop and think.
We don’t do that, do we… share when the sandwich falls face down on the floor and makes a mess; share the realness, the messy process, the imperfection, the dirty work, the times when something went belly up, the vulnerability; share the time the fly landed on the perfect slice of lasagna as the photo was being snapped?
…I think there is something to be said for also sharing the mishaps, the moments that aren’t so thrilling, and even our defeats; because in showing and sharing those, we are made more human…
Perhaps from time to time we do come across the slightly more unkempt aspects of life made public, but that’s a rarity—only every now and then you’ll find someone with the guts to do it.
But I’ll admit something to you here: I’m hungry, starving, to see when the sandwich gets dropped face down on the floor, sweet-sticky jam and gooey peanut butter everywhere… it’s interesting to me.
Because that’s real. It’s life. And life, indeed, is messy.
And I myself am also becoming equally hungry to share my own messy moments more and more as well. I feel the courage bubbling up in me… I can imagine how liberating it would be.
All of this especially hit home because of the very fact that I work with food, and my husband Michael and I style my recipes and photograph them together, then post them on the blog; and so I understand the desire to put the best representation of a recipe (for example) out there when we’re talking “public platform”, one where others are being encouraged to have a go at preparing a thing themselves.
The thing about showcasing something in its prime, or more “perfect” state is that it can inspire, and be something to aspire to, which is certainly a good thing. And we all need that. Showcasing the beauty, the fun, the joy, is necessary.
But I think there is something to be said for also sharing the mishaps, the moments that aren’t so thrilling, and even our defeats; because in showing and sharing those, we are made more human, more like the works-in-progress we really are.
We’re made more real and vulnerable, and in that, there is hope for all of us.
Hope that there’s a chance to always get better at something; hope that life can turn around; hope that mistakes can be corrected; hope that low times can be spun into gold.
And in that we become more accessible to one another, which causes us to connect more intimately.
And isn’t connecting what we’re all really trying to do anyway, with all this sharing?
There’s something to all of this, this sharing the moments we drop the sandwich face down business.
It’s exhilarating because it’s risky, and flies in the face of every impulse we have as human beings.
It’s exhilarating because it’s different.
It’s exhilarating because we know that when we see it, we’re witnessing life unfolding in the moment.
The thought of publicly sharing when I drop my sandwich face down on the floor makes me nervous, no doubt about it; but I know I’m onto something when I get nervous.
Sure, it means that there’s possibility for ridicule, possibility to be on the “outside” of something; but there’s also possibility for something truly important to begin happening.
And in all honesty, it seems daunting to just start, because what does that even look like anyway?
I suppose it’s baby steps, sharing the little things that are embarrassing, not so picture-perfect, and a bit messy.
It’s talking (or writing) openly about things that make one insecure, or about experiences that aren’t necessarily flattering.
It’s sharing the process of something, the fawn-leg beginning, the momentary failure, the uncertainty.
I guess it just looks like… real life.
So the next time my perfectly styled sandwich lands splat, face-down on the floor… I may just grab the camera, snap a pic, and share it.
Care to join me in that?
Taste what’s good and pass it on.