A while back I started this blog with the intention of sharing my story about my struggle with anxiety and mental illness. And although I have, and there have been so many incredible moments from amazing connections with new people to the weight off my shoulders of knowing I’m not alone, it has also brought with it an overwhelming urge to criticize myself. I wanted to share my words, but learned nobody would see them without pictures, and pictures are supposed to be of yourself, and you need to have a theme and a flow and a million other things that will make people notice your content, and all of these “criteria” I read about on how to be successful kept on piling up until I just stopped writing.
The truth is, I couldn’t even take my own advice. The thing that I had been telling everyone else in my blog posts, on my instagram, in my one-on-one conversations with the incredibly brave people that had opened up to me. Every time I would go to post something II would obsess over it, wonder if it was good enough, if people would judge it. Embarrassingly enough I would spend countless hours looking at other writer’s instagram accounts wondering how I could get mine to look like theirs – perfect. Perfect shots, perfect smiles, perfect color schemes, perfect words.
It seemed like it was taking over my life and that it was completely preventing me from accomplishing the one goal I had set out to do – sharing my own blunders and failures to show other people that life is FAR from perfect. That most of what we see on the internet is a mere glimpse into the lives of the people that live them. Because for me, I know the following is certain:
My life is not perfect.
It is messy, and chaotic, and comes with ups and downs and tears – just as much as it comes with laughter and smiles.
My cheeks are always going to be round. And I love that. And big-cheezing in pictures is about the only photogenic face I’ve got and I accept that. I can’t “smize” or whatever that is, and I still feel uncomfortable in front of a camera.
I am not always motivated. Just because I share information with the intention of uplifting other people does not mean I eat rainbows for breakfast. If I’m lucky I eat something healthy, but most of the time I just skip it and drink coffee for breakfast like I know I’m not supposed to because it makes me jittery, but I was so busy yesterday because I overbooked my time and now I’m just stressed and rambing.
My hips curve out. No matter how healthy I eat, no matter how much I work out. They are there. And they’re not going anywhere. So I need to stop trying to bend and shift myself in pictures to make them look like they’re not. I love my body in real life, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t love it in a picture.
99% of the time, even when I am doing everything right, I still feel like a hot mess, but I have learned to understand that’s what makes my life beautiful. It is filled with exciting adventures that leave me running around and exhausted, but also give me new experiences and connections and stories to tell.
And in spite [scratch that] because all of these things – I love myself. Wholly and deeply. Yet, a few minutes of scrolling on the internet later and I start wondering what I’m doing with myself and how I ever thought that people would care what I have to say because I’m not a perfectly put together instagram model. The truth is, I don’t have time for all that, and neither should you.
When I stop comparing myself to other people, I learn to realize my own value. I start to feel joy in other people’s accomplishments. I remember that the internet is only a snippet of people’s lives, and that most likely, everyone else’s lives are messy too. Sometimes chaotically and sometimes beautifully. So if you have the chance today, talk about the real stuff and the messy stuff – you’d be surprised at how much more you’ll connect with other people and how much less you’ll judge yourself for not being like them.
So from now on, I’m going to post the blog, the picture, the whatever, messy or not, perfect or not. Because it’s real, and we’ve got enough fake things in the world already to add to the pile. Not everyone needs to love you, or even like you, but if you can reach a few people, and have a positive impact on their life, then it was worth it.