an edited life

The movies. They may say they are based on true stories. But. Being based on true stories does not mean that they tell the whole truth.

Probably they tell the partial truth, or some of the truth, but not the whole truth.

The books. The articles. We may read pages and pages of how a person has lived their lives. But you know what? They are edited. The stories are edited. They may resemble the truth. They may be close to the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

Our Facebook posts. Our Instagram photos. They are only part of the truth. No one posts a photo when they are having a fight with their partners. No one posts a status when they are undergoing depression. Only a part of the truth. Edited.

As a writer and editor, I find myself thinking about this: how nice would it be, if I can edit my life.

If I can erase the parts when I’m experiencing so much pain. If I can edit those sections when I’ve committed stupid mistakes. If I can take away the moments of embarrassments, the moments when I’ve hurt those closest to me, the moments that lead to regrets.

Thing is, I can edit my life when presented to others, but I can’t edit my life to myself. The moments that I desperately want to forget were there; they exist at one point in history. There. No matter how much I want to live the perfect life, I can’t, because I can’t edit them.

Like, we are so used to see perfection – the perfect infographics, the perfect videos, the perfect stories, the perfect movies and the perfect songs – so much that we cringe when we see something that’s not perfect. When the video editing’s not good enough. When the story doesn’t get the happy ending. When the main character in the ‘true story’ movie plot is not as noble as we thought he should be.

The other day I was watching The Vow with my sister and we read the real story afterwards. It wasn’t as lovey-dovey. Yesterday we watched A Beautiful Mind (as a tribute to Professor John Nash), and again we found that the movie plot wasn’t really the real thing.

Sometimes, I feel that humans go to such length to have an edited life. It’s a notion that’s celebrated. Tell some things, don’t tell the others. As an editor, I know why. Because the edited version is much better than the raw version. Because the edited version is the one that can be stomached by the public. Because edited means perfection.

But life never is, and life’s never meant to be edited. At least not to yourself.

And in the end, the raw, the original – how you see your own life, with all the great, the good, the bad and the worst – that what matters most. Because without all those, you are not the person you are today. Perhaps in the end, your life’s worth to yourself, with all those imperfect bits and pieces, is what you’ll cherish. And not the edited ones everyone else talks about.


Photo by Marie Sahlen, Creative Commons