“I’m going to be taking a break from social media for a bit. Just didn’t want you to worry if you didn’t see me on there.” said a text from one of my dearest friends.
“I get social media anxiety. If I post a picture and no one likes it or comments on it, I feel bad.” said another good friend of mine.
These are just two comments that have been made recently to me, but it’s something that I feel the need to discuss because I myself feel somewhat suffocated by social media at times.
I am from the generation where MySpace was the original social media forum. I remember wasting so much time on the songs and templates and decorating on my “page.” I wanted it to look pristine and reflect ME in every way, shape, or form.
When Facebook surfaced, I jumped on board reluctantly – and posted every now and then. It was nice to connect with people I hadn’t seen in a long time or reconnected with friends that due to distance and other circumstances I had lost touch with.
Over the years, Facebook became a place for people to post whatever went through the minds. Rants and raves and negative comments became the norm. And during the Presidential Election year of 2016 (Trump vs. Clinton) it became the place for everyone to attack everyone else who had the slightest difference of opinion.
It was at this time that I turned my attention to Instagram, which was a refreshing change. It was beautiful photos of peoples’ lives, outfits, children, travels with short and sweet captions. And within the last two years it has transformed into a stream of advertisements for every SINGLE thing. Bloggers turned into “influencers” which is now an actual job that we can have. The job is to influence people to buy things.
I am a blogger. I am an influencer. I post about fashion and things that I love and link them back to get a small commission from companies that I align myself with.
The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed and realized that not a single photo on it was a simple shot of someone’s life. It was all advertising for a product, service, or company. I went back for a second look through at whom I was following and unfollowed almost 100 people. I felt good for a minute.
THEN I saw HER. The stick thin, perfectly coiffed, posed solidly with her designer booties and gorgeous distressed white jeans, clutching the stereotypical Starbucks iced coffee beverage and feigning a chuckle. Instantly – I felt bad about myself because I knew I couldn’t hang with her – not even for a second. Without even realizing it, I had fallen prey to social media’s comparison schemes.
AND I DO THE SAME THING SHE DOES.
This is where it gets complicated. I started this blog because I genuinely love to write. I have written short stories and essays since I was in middle school. You can ask my mom what was hidden under my bed when I was a teenager? It was piles and piles of notebooks. I also love fashion. And one of the things that I have found in the last few years, since becoming a mom and maturing mentally – my style has evolved, as has my body. I want to embrace that and share it with everyone who may be going through something similar.
In order to get paid, I saw an opportunity to advertise for companies as an affiliate, but honestly – I don’t see myself as threatening. The way I talk to myself is this:
“No one compares themselves to you when they see you on social media. I mean, how can they? I’m just a regular mom – usually in jeans and a tee shirt and a messy bun. I love getting dressed up, but doesn’t everyone? I’m a hot mess express that for the last four years of my life was covered in some sort of body fluid from one or both of my children and ran around from work to home in a constant flurry of a guilt-crazed mess.”
And then I realized, that unless you are my friend – you don’t really know me. And you very well could be staring at the professional photo that was carefully edited and crafted and comparing YOURSELF to me. Well, ya’ll…..that’s complete shit.
I am for the last 90 days of the year (#last90days….don’t worry, I’m going to share more on that later this week) going to declare Sundays SOCIAL MEDIA-FREE Day. I need to unplug from the GRAM and the TIMELINE and all the other things that are loaded with things that don’t make me feel good anymore. I want Sundays to be the day that I focus on who I want to be with and making sure that I am one less person out of the feeds of others.
Comparison is the DEATH of joy and the last thing I want for anyone I come in contact with is to add to their lack of joy. In fact, I want to encourage all to join me in declaring SUNDAYS as SOCIAL MEDIA FREE. Let’s make the movement and claim our Sundays back! (Can you hear the background music playing now dramatically rising up?)
Love ya’ll….and I hope to God that you always remember when you do see a cute photo of me that I probably had poop on my hands at some point that very day. (Because – toddlers, ya know?)