I’m going to start this post with an apology for going MIA over the summer. For not doing what “bloggers” do and, well, blogging.
Here’s the thing- I’ve been working. Honestly, I have. Working on being an intern and learning. Working on soaking up New York City. And mostly working on making sure that I leave with every nugget of growth that I could find.
I stepped into summer with a handful of goals in mind, the largest of which was to rediscover my confidence in what I want to do as a profession.
You see, I went to journalism school 500% sure that I wanted to be a news anchor. Oh, I was so sure. I was good at talking on camera, and I liked talking to people.
For anyone reading this who attends the Missouri School of Journalism, you won’t need any sort of explanation. For those of you who don’t, I will simply say that this profession (and studying it at the place I chose to do so) is not glamorous, easy or as black-and-white as having a good camera presence and liking to listen to people. Worth it? Totally. Super fun and cute all the time? NAH.
Between various video shooting fails and audio mishaps (having your own camera man isn’t a thing- LOL that I ever thought that was a thing), my confidence in this field has been shaken, stirred and beat up. Like, straight up bruised.
However, this summer, I got an internship in the social media department of a major network news outlet. I loved it. I did well. I met wonderful people, listened to top players in the industry explain how they got there and rediscovered the human that so confidently packed her stuff into boxes and left for Missouri without any doubt that she could do it.
She could. She can.
I say all of this to remind you that you can. You really can.
I also say this to shift and say that social media is huge. It’s huge to the point that massive, traditionally older media outlets and companies are all realizing that they need departments (and interns, thankfully for me) to manage how they are portrayed in this world of Twitter timelines and Instagram feeds.
I think we are in a really weird cultural phase right now. Everyone is making this big, pretty online presence for themselves- myself included. Filters and crops. Captions and links. All that.
Words and codes and images that somehow equal us proclaiming to the world, “THIS IS WHO I AM, AND THIS IS WHY I’M WORTH IT. THIS IS WHY I’M BEAUTIFUL. THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD WANT TO BE MY FRIEND. THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD WANT TO DATE ME. LOOK HOW PRETTY MY BREAKFAST IS. LOOK HOW CUTE I DRESS.”
Goodness gracious, I am so guilty of this. I post to Instagram daily. I scroll through various bloggers and celebrities multiple times a day. I am fluent in social media. And while this helped me get the coolest summer experience, it also made me realize how much control it’s taken over us.
I love the sense of community that can be built and the beauty that can be shared. Life is beautiful. It really is. Getting to share it all is rad.
Sometimes, I feel so zen and at peace with my existence that I want to share my cup of coffee and the book I’m reading with the world. I get that.
But I think it’s really important to realize that there is a really big difference between what’s floating around in social media and what’s real. Sure, the line gets real blurry sometimes- your posted photos and Tweets can lose you a job. Hurtful words on screens can diminish someone’s desire to live
What’s also powerful is how easy it is to create an online persona that doesn't quite match who you are when you walk into a room and meet someone. How easy it is to convince yourself that you’re the person you’ve spent so much time trying to convince your “followers” that you are. How easy it is to compare yourself to synthetically idealized social media mavens and beat yourself up when you "fall short".
I think there are a ton of people walking around comparing their make-up free, frizzy hair, morning breath selves to Kylie Jenner’s red carpet pictures. I think there are a lot of us who are out here trying to prove ourselves. Trying to prove that we are smart, artsy and passionate- by posting pictures of museums and books. Trying to prove that we respect ourselves by posting text photos with quotes about who doesn’t deserve us and what we won’t put up with. Yah, I think a lot of people do that. I know I have done that.
I know I had to take the time to realize that my value didn't come from "likes", that comments on photos didn't make me more or less beautiful and that a number of followers was no reflection of how many genuine relationships I have in my life- let's face it, even people who hate you will follow you on Instagram.
You do not need to create any sort of "better" version of yourself for your feeds and timelines and followers. You just don't. You rocked before it was even possible to create any sort of online account to prove it.
I will share my coffee pictures with you for days and days and my selfies (with and without makeup) and my faux fur outfit creations because that’s exactly where you’ll find me on any given day. However, I most likely won’t post any in-depth art museum appreciation pictures because art usually makes no sense to me unless we are talking fashion editorials. (Even those go over my head more times than none.) I like unhealthy food, magazines and my clothes- that's what I tell the world. When I'm feelin' hot- I will show my feed. When I'm not- I may satirically show that too with some sassy witty comment. It took me a while to realize that all of my little nuggets were okay, and that trying to convince anyone that I was anything but that is a waste of time.
It took me the longest time to get that my social media feeds are intended to be a snippet of who I am. Not all encompassing, but also not misleading. Not something for me to dedicate my life to, and surely not something for me to hide behind.
So, in the spirit of encouraging you to stop trying to impress people- I urge you to take more time to look at things that actually matter. Tweeting about your faith can be uplifting, but if you do that and then turn around and are constantly being ugly to people- how real is that? Posting paragraphs about how successful you want to be is fine and dandy, but isn’t nearly as effective as putting in the work and then sharing your accomplishments once you’ve actually acquired them.
Lil Wayne once said that real G’s move in silence like lasagna, and I have to agree.
If I took away anything from getting to sit in the same room with people who run the show (literally) of the industry I hope to get into, it’s this- you can spend your time trying to convince the world of whatever you want. Whether it be about who you are, what you believe or what you like. That’s fine. But in real life, making it has so little to do with what you try to convince people. It’s what you can actually do, what you actually like and who you actually are.
The world “actually” is important.
So, I hope you chase your dreams. I hope you realize that it’s okay to have moments when you aren’t sure. It’s okay.
I hope you let the world see you as you are. I hope you let yourself aim for things in life just as you are. Develop, learn, grow. All that.
Don’t lose your magic. Don’t hide from it. Don’t try to disguise it as something else.
Post what you like, how you feel and what makes you smile. You don’t need to impress anyone. You are a stunner all on your own.
With Love & Glitter,