Ok I promise I will resume travel content very soon… in fact my next trip is in just a few days so I am excited to get back into the swing of exploring new places again. But I felt compelled to write today because for weeks, no not weeks, for months I have been struggling with something I never ever thought I would fall victim to.
I don’t care much for fashion. I don’t care much for how I look, or should I say what other people think I look like.
Or maybe that’s what I thought??
Social media has been an absolute passion of mine since the very first day I logged onto twitter. I loved it. I loved the potential it had. I loved the banter. The humour. The up to date live action news. The intensity. The love. Everything about social media has fascinated and impressed me as I slowly became more and more accustomed to it and how it worked.
I owe my livelihood to social media, without it I never would have grown my blog. Never would have secured the jobs that I secured. Met the friends that have become pivotal parts of our lives… it has been the door to so many wonderful opportunities.
For anyone in marketing, you will know that social media has completely changed the industry. It has opened up the doors to a world of creativity. Don’t get me wrong the competition has massively increased, but it means that even small businesses and startups can have a slice of the pie.
Is it all positive though?
I recently watched a number of documentaries about how things have changed, through having these avenues of communication opened to the masses. Watching Jade Goodys story unfold on the Channel 4 documentary was heart breaking. What was the worst, the WORST part of it all? Is that I remembered not liking her after the things I saw and read about her. Watching the documentary back I felt sick. I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t see through the twists – and that everything I had always preached, about looking at things from other peoples perspectives, had not even registered when I judged her actions on certain events. I contemplated on that documentary for some time.
Next came Jesse from Little Mix, who shared her story about the troubles she faced from online bullying. This one really shocked me. The Jade Goody documentary made me feel a sadness for a life that was lost, but Jesses story made me feel sadness towards the many, many girls and women out there who still feel this absolute need to look like someone else’s idea of perfect. After watching the whole documentary, the bit I couldn’t quite get my head around was looking at her at the end, still not quite as confident as she should be and knowing she had changed her whole face, her body, to please others.
Another point I have always passionately argued about. On the radio. Between friends, I have always fought on the side of natural beauty. Fought for women to embrace every part of themselves – is there such thing as a flaw? NO?!? How can there be?!?! We were born like this, what good comes from changing how you look?
Of course this is just my opinion – yes I’m passionate about it – but it’s my opinion. What I didn’t realise is that I had kinda fallen into the trap, I had spent years trying to talk people out of.
It took me a while to realise it though…
Let’s be honest, Over the last few years, I’ve not done a great job of taking care of myself. I’ve been so busy and quite frankly I’ve enjoyed using the little spare time that I have to relax, watch tv, just do – nothing. I’m no spring chicken anymore, and I can’t keep up the pace of my twenty-year-old-past self. In this relaxation mode… I have neglected to exercise and hence piled on the pounds.
Again, I never would have thought things like this would bother me. It’s just a bit of weight right? I’m still healthy and I’m just enjoying my life a little bit right now and don’t want to add any further stress by trying to fit something else into it.
Turns out, that even though I didn’t want it to bother me… I think it subconsciously did in a surprising way. Over the last few months I have slowly slipped away from my social media accounts.
On a Friday night, before my guests leave the studio after the Dead Good Show, we always take a group picture. A picture that I usually share with glee and publicly express my love for my friends and the show. I remember one week waking up the next day looking at the picture and thinking, wow there is no way I can put that picture online. I was embarrassed at the way I looked. Everyone else looked greag, nit just great fantastic… but I was letting the side down.
Now I’m not saying that in the past I’d look at myself and think, ‘yes mate I look GOOD’ – but I’ve always found the funny side to pictures that have gone wrong, laughed at my multiple chins and love handles and wonky teeth. But I didn’t this time. This time I felt sad and embarrassed and I couldn’t bring myself to share it. All the happy memories from the night before, they didn’t cross my mind as I focused on everything wrong with my stance, my face, my clothes, my hair. I hoped it was a one off and tried not to dwell too much on it.
The next week I returned to the studio and again, had the most wonderful evening with my friends, doing the job that I love.
And once again the next day, I had the exact same problem.
This feeling wasn’t going away. Weeks went by and every week I was optimistic, thinking I’ll be fine this time around, I’m being ridiculous. Why was this bothering me so much?
It was only when I saw Jesse’s story and really thought about it that I realised I was worried about people judging me. I mean I’m no celebrity, so seriously why was this bothering me?!?!
Whatever it was, it reminded me of how important it is to realise how influential social media can be. It had somehow managed to infiltrate my life and make me feel really quite inadequate. I felt off my game and my confidence took a serious hit.
Now I wasn’t bullied, I wasn’t trolled… but I still felt pressured?!? I can’t imagine what it must feel like when people are directly attacked.
My hubby Mo today put up a post on LinkedIn, as its World Mental Health Awareness Day, and he quite simply reminded everyone to be kind.
So simple isn’t it? But man it’s so important! No-one was unkind to me, but I was bizarrely being unkind to myself.
There’s only one way to beat this feeling I’ve realised… and that is to share all those pictures that I shared begrudgingly and cringed at because I hated how I looked or the ones that I didn’t post at all. Because now when I look back at, I’ve realised that these aren’t pictures to show off how I look, what I’m wearing – they are pictures that are there to remind me of the special memories I have shared with friends and loved ones.
I don’t know if I’ll have this feeling again, but I do feel much better knowing that I at least recognised I was holding myself back and that I am determined never to do it again. And it’s made me so much more conscious to not have to show all the warm fuzziness all the time. I made a conscious decision some time ago not to edit my blog photos and this will be no exception. No filter. Just real people, real smiles and everyone looks FAB.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”