I stayed up way too late last night, but for good reason [I think, anyway]. I had finally gotten around to getting my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription all set up [as I’d need it for the coming semester anyways] and was having so much fun getting to know my way around the programs. It’s been a while since I’ve had something excite me to the point of not being able to sleep, especially something “work” related.
This resulted in a bit of a later wake-up time, but I needed the sleep. But one of the first things I did this morning was check out a notification I had received about one of the channels I subscribed to on YouTube. One of my favourite vloggers of all time, formerly @IAmJustaMakeupLover, was announcing something related to her account. Fearing she was discontinuing the vlog, I had to watch. What I witnessed, however, was something much different than I’d expected. Olena, the lovely soul behind the vlog, was talking about her dissatisfaction with some aspects of social media, explaining that so often we just see the “highlight reels” of people’s lives and the “behind the scenes” portion that we may not be comfortable sharing with the world are not something that makes it out into the light. It was a really powerful message overall, but some things that stuck with me were this:
1. while social media can be a really freeing thing, it has the potential to make us feel stuck, to put a filter on us and our activities, and a filter on how we view ourselves and others.
2. When we’re caught up in a sea of highlight reels, it’s easy to start the comparison game, and looking at other people’s accomplishments as if they’re taking away from our own, when that isn’t the case.
She talked about how her username, “IamJustaMakeupLover” was the persona her shy, starting out self hid behind, one she used to gain confidence with behind the camera, the name of her alternate personality. She went into talking about how while it had helped her overcome so much of her shyness and whatnot, she wanted to kind of emerge as herself, remove that label of an account name she’d made for herself. I thought about myself and my platforms. Early EARLY on in my blogging journey, what started off as “stephanie says” has evolved into something that is unique to me, my experience, and all of the things I’m learning and am passionate about. I realize that I am plunging more and more on a journey of self-growth and that I can eliminate some of the labels I inadvertantly accept, put on myself, or hear from others. I also realized that the creation of my own “life-canvas” (as Olena refers to it) is my project, and my project alone, and that seeing other people finish their masterpieces or have all these other great opportunities and feeling less accomplished because of that is nonsense. I realized that perhaps I need to rejoice more frequently on my current place, my current progress, my current state of mind, if I ever have the hope to make myself better and proceed in a way that is true to me.
The second thing resonated with me because, while I look to so many for inspiration and ideas, it’s also easy for me to subconsciously compare myself. So to hear her talk about this, and remind us that the accomplishments of others don’t detract from our own, was a really nice thing to take note of. I have control over myself, my goals, and my feelings toward all that is related to those. It was a great reminder to try to stay positive and play the game of racing against myself, not racing against others.
I also realized that I myself have my various highlight reels. I attribute most of this to the fact that I don’t quite want to spew a bunch of negativity or saddening things on the internet. Over the years I’ve definitely become more comfortable with being real with those readers of my blog. And of course, there are some darker, stickier topics I’d rather not mention, some parts that are within myself that have made me me, that push me to keep going, to keep me trying to be better than yesterday. And that’s okay. It’s just so SO important to know that no matter whose highlight reel you’re viewing, it’s important to think of the person behind it as a multi-layered, complicated, beautiful human being who also has their own obstacles, struggles, and scars. I want to try harder to implement this, and take it into account when I’m looking for inspiration or guidance or when I semi-idolize the people I follow, talk with, interact with on the web, etc.
I change, I grow, I learn new things. And I want my media to reflect that, too, especially as I settle into my passions, my goals, and most importantly, myself.