In today’s online world, it seems that in order to measure ‘success’ it has to be visible to others. Whether it’s a certain amount of followers, a fitness goal or maybe an overseas move, if it isn’t shared openly, somehow it’s deemed less valid. Every now and then I like to go off the grid whereby I either deactivate my Facebook for a little while, or I stop looking at Instagram every few minutes.Maybe I could stand to use social media differently, but I can’t help but feel bombarded by the hundreds of different messages I receive everyday via my news feed. It often leaves the window to greener pastures wide open, and one can’t help but compare their life choices to the one’s made in the images they see.A few times I’ve seen a beautifully constructed feed, only to hear that the person behind is isn’t living a very beautiful life at all. I don’t relish in news like that, instead I feel frustrated that we have the ability to paint our lives a certain way and have others (often perfect strangers), believe it. More importantly, it makes me sad that we’ve been conditioned to use social media as a ‘best of’ edition of our lives. I don’t blame anyone for doing it, because those inspiring candid posts usually seemed reserved for spiritual, wellness practitioner types, favoured for their honesty.
In the world of social media, there seems to be only room for a divide amongst influencers, whereby everyone knows their role and firmly sticks to it. But I think to myself how radical it would be, if a makeup guru opened up about her struggle with self-esteem to her audience of thousands of young girls and women. These are the types of girls that if told to be buy one highlighter over the other will promptly go to Sephora and do just that. These are also the same girls that believe that instead of getting an after school job at McDonald’s, all they have to do is buy the latest Canon SLR, a ring light and their future is set.
One thing I have to make clear here, is that I don’t want make my mark as the person that shuns social media ALL the time. I’m happy for those that have created a huge following and have made their mark on a personal level with their brand of choice. I’m also extremely happy for the people that champion social justice issues, and for the ability that positive messages are able to be spread more easily because of it. It’s just that right now all of these different types of voices seem to be working against each other, and the one’s that are making more of an impact are vastly outnumbered by those that are purely created out of self-interest.
Often I have to remind myself that not everyone see’s things the way I see things, and that it’s not my job to convince them to. I know that not everyone takes things as seriously and perhaps I ought to as well. But if I were to sit back and be less observant and care less about these seemingly irrelevant issues, then I’m just leaving a gap to be filled with more unnecessary noise.
If I want more people to be honest, then I guess I have to lead by example and I’m happy to. I still suffer from Binge Eating Disorder. Lord, I really wish I didn’t, and I’m sure my 20-year-old self would be cringing at the thought of this still being a ‘thing’ six year later, but here we are. I realise that in the haze of VSCO filters on my feed, I’ve neglected to bring a bit of truth to it all, which has always come so naturally to me. In many ways, I don’t like to define myself from what happened to me in the past, yet it feels entirely necessary to bring it up now so I can show everyone that there is zero shame in not having your shit together.
During those times when I’ve deactivated social media, I wanted to disappear for while until everything miraculously fell back into place. I didn’t know how long it would take of course, but I wanted to fast forward through the hard parts and just come to a perfectly collated collage of a happy person living a happy life.
Nothing ever does fall so easily back into place, and as you are aware with the beauty of self-love comes this thing called self-care, and it’s bloody hard. I’m learning it though, slowly but surely, and as my love recently reminded me I need to stop being so hard on myself.
There are so many gaps in my story right now, and I don’t know where this narrative is going but I want to continue writing it. And not for the reason of being self-indulgent either, but to create a conversation that I believe not enough people are having. Young people deserve the right to grow up and feel good about themselves, instead of idolising public figures that are relatable and yet entirely out of reach.
These figures of mass adoration need to use their following at least once in a while, to make a point of saying ‘I’m not ok all of the time, and that’s OK.’ Because often enough, the reality of a situation is far from filtered and it’s what makes a persons life the most interesting.