Thursday -So I was scrolling through Instagram last night doing some research on what makes a successful blogger, or more specifically a mother/woman blogger. Most of the successful ones with a tremendous amount of followers, were young and beautiful. Their posts were bright, colorful and displayed in the most peaceful and luxurious light. Their hair flowed effortlessly, their makeup or lack of makeup was spot on, clothing pressed and up to date. They were posed in loving ways with their children in beautiful places, notably warm climates. I was drawn to them as well, clicking photo after photo, checking out their writing blogs, websites, Facebook pages, and/ or merchandise on Etsy. The formula was always the same, young plus beautiful attracted attention.
But what if your not young and your not beautiful (in the mainstream sense), what happens then?
I am 45. Just turned 45 in April actually. My birthday was a harsh reality to grasp because I do not feel 45. Many of my friends, acquaintances, and woman around me are much younger. Primarily because I have a daughter whose 9 and in the 3rd grade, and many of them began their families at a much younger age. At 27 when they were well into their careers, I was just beginning mine as a teacher. I had changed gears mid-twenties and headed back to school for certification. At the school I taught at, wedding showers and baby showers were a weekly event, the teachers were young. Although marriage and having children was the furthest from my mind. My motto had always been career first, family second. I wanted to be an older mom.
When I was 32 I got married. By 35 had my daughter. By 37 had to make the difficult decision to retire from my teaching position and stay home with her, as she needed me more. (it was also never part of my long term career plan)
I am now a middle aged stay at home mom, struggling to find my place in the working world. I live off coffee, find myself buying hair color weekly to cover up my ever growing grey roots. I work very hard to stay in shape. Instead of scheduling nail appointments or drinks with the girls, I am doing fun things like scheduling mammograms or chiropractic appointments. The fine lines around my eyes are no longer fine, and my recent google searches have consisted of things as cool-body sculpting, vitamin D deficiencies, and mom jeans (kidding about the mom jeans, I was just thinking back to the old SNL skit on mom jeans).
I’m not complaining by any means, I do not have a horrible life, but like all of us, I have my demons. Mine revolve around insecurities.
So as I try to successfully promote myself on Facebook, on Instagram, on WordPress, these insecurities tend to grow larger. I want to be true to myself, but does that have to involve posting photos of a life I do not have in order to get people interested in me? Should I take numerous selfies to get that one picture that doesn’t reflect my true age and filters out the child clutter in each room, or can I just be myself?
Even the Instagram mothers I enjoy to follow, use their filters and crop out the obvious. I use to enjoy following “That’s inappropriate blogger” Meredith Masony, but she has become so large that’s its tough to really know whats for real and whats for show anymore?
So being the perfectionist I am. I tend to not publish my blog right away. I was on a venting session with this one yesterday and decided to sleep on it. I needed to give myself sometime to sit with what I wrote.
Friday- This morning when I woke I was in deep reflection. Whether the cause be from a good nights sleep or a moody rainy day, I couldn’t tell you, but I had a slight change of heart in regards to my words the day prior.
So my question? What if social media does serve an altruistic type of purpose? I mean, what if cropping out the craziness and other clutter in your life to better emphasize or showcase your best, is what keeps us sane. Keeps us balanced. Keeps us happy. How does that saying go “ignorance is bliss?”
If we were not allowed to record and prominently display the positive and beautiful moments in our lives, would we become consumed within a world of crazed despair. If so, what if the only way of avoiding that despair involved filtering out what we don’t want to remember.
Then I started to think of my own work, and about the pauses I intentionally create on paper. The areas within my pieces that are uncluttered, open, and free from stimulation, free for personal interpretation. They allow the viewer time to breathe clear and cleanse their focus before moving on to the rest of the piece. This break, pause, release, interruption in time, allows for self-reflection, even if only for a moment.
So could I possibly view Instagram as a way to cleanse the clutter, or does it just add more disorder to our day?
I don’t really have an answer? I started writing this post with the intention of highlighting social media’s focus on the young and the beautiful and instead finished with the open ended question of whether or not any of it even mattered?….
I would love to hear your thoughts?