When I scroll through the variety of social media platforms I am a part of I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of perfection I see thrust forward by friends and strangers alike. I find a sort of conflict deep within myself as I look at the edited and perfected images that fill my feeds. I find myself comparing myself to these posts that are somewhere being scrutinized over behind a screen. Is this the right look? Is this what I want to portray to my followers? Does this selfie look good? Does this look good in my feed? And let’s not even get started on the decision behind that witty caption. I cannot lie, before I fell ill this was me. I wanted my life to look perfect. I wanted the parts of my life I shared with others to not just look good…No, I wanted them to look perfect. I wanted my viewers to think wow, this girl really has her shit together. And at the time I thought in some bizarre way I was being “authentic.”
When I got sick and my life turned upside down and every single other way possible, I obviously had a lot of realizations about what really mattered and what truly living authenticly was. I found myself in a place where each time I posted one of these perfect photos where I felt sort of disgusting. It took me quite a while to understand that the fact that I felt unable to be honest and truthful about what I was experiencing and all the epiphanies I was having on a nearly daily basis. The truth was, I no longer cared about what I was posting as long as I was being honest and true to myself. Because at the end of the day or the end of it all looking like I had my shit together was the farthest thing from what I cared about it. The decision to share my story through photographs, writing, art and social media in a completely raw and authentic way meant becoming extremely vulnerable, but even more so it meant being free…Free to be myself, to share what I was actually feeling, to shed light on a life that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I no longer felt like I had to hide or lie or sugarcoat my experiences because I now believed that they deserved the time of day simply because they were valid; are so very valid.
So if I have any advice for the people reading this, it would be this: no one is telling you to keep up this facade. Our lives are far from perfect, so why put so much time and effort into making sure that the you others see is? There is so much liberation in choosing to be truly authentic. I’m not saying you have to put every single thought or feeling you have out there, but rather that it is okay to admit that you have difficult days from time to time or that you are struggling with something or that you find extreme joy in doing something incredibly odd. Be true to yourself and to others because by doing so you just might find that there are other people who share the same feelings or interests. You may just find that this shift towards authenticity will create a ripple effect that spreads across all aspects of your life, filling you up in such a way that you never could have imagined.
Just some food for thought.