Social Media Isn’t The Problem

Surprise bitch, remember in my “November Reads” post when I said I had a lot to say about social media? Well, here it is so buckle up buckaroos because it’s going to be a particularly rambly one (and a long read, just a heads up.)

Social media isn’t the problem; money and greed are.

Social media was once upon a time a simple place. It was an escape, a creative space for the world to connect through our similarities (or differences if you will.) Where we could post little windows into our normal, weird – albeit mundane – everyday lives. There was a blissful period of time when the world was still mourning the death of Myspace, nobody was sure what Facebook even was, Instagram was still wearing nappies and Tumblr was peak social media for the outcasts and the misfits; we could post whatever the hell we wanted without the pressure of being perfect or polished and it was beautiful!

Fast-forward to present day – you now need a business strategy, five photo editing apps and an iron will to have a “successful” Instagram page. Facebook is a minefield of adverts (you had a passing thought about buying a new toaster yesterday so here’s fifty online sales for you to throw your money at,) fake news stories and those weird “Click here to see what you would look like bald” apps.

The scariest aspect to me is the fakeness that comes hand in hand with most online profiles. It’s becoming more common for people to only post their massively edited highlights to showcase an extravagant lifestyle that is simply untrue and in most cases completely unattainable. And you see, I can understand that because why would you want your ugliest photos or biggest flaws paraded around for the world to see? You wouldn’t. But when you’re posting photos – say from a recent trip or a fancy meal – to a schedule, to create the allusion that these types of experiences are an everyday norm for you then THAT is dangerous.

A new dawn is coming; a generation of brainwashed kids who believe the highest achievement in life is to be a YouTuber or an “Influencer” and it’s being proven time and time again that you don’t need any real talent or knowledge to get there, you just simply need to look good… better than good. You need to look flawless at all given times, arrogance is usually a given and you need to be able to generate sales – because this is what it is all about; this is the part that angers me, it’s all about making money.

We’re all being programmed to believe we are incomplete unless we are perfectly sculpted with the help of lip fillers, protein shakes, hair and nail vitamins or surgery. We are incomplete unless we’re perfectly golden with the help of an expensive fake tan or constantly abroad somewhere exotic topping up our glow. We are incomplete unless we have overflowing wardrobes and make-up cases – all of which must be unboxed on camera to show the world either how rich we are to be able to constantly afford new lavish items, or how important and popular we are to have items sent (or “gifted” as the kids these days call it) by companies.

The consumerism cogs are forever turning. The rich get richer because of our insecurities and inability to accept ourselves as we are, our mental health deteriorates as we continue to compare and compete with one another. Not to mention it’s boring as fuck.

I’m old enough and wise enough to see through the facade now; I’ve been seduced into that way of thinking and I have tried to live that lifestyle myself. All it did was damage me. Not only did it damage my mental health but it also put a strain on my relationships with the people I love; when you’re trying to live a lie or become something you’re not then not surprisingly it makes you act out of character. You become completely obsessed and self involved. It’s transparent. You’re not the person that the people around you came to love you for, and you start to drift apart – the perfect lifestyle becomes even harder to attain and the whole thing gets more and more stressful.

You have to choose your words carefully when touching on this topic

It’s not the first time I’ve pushed this subject as it is something I feel rather strongly towards, and I have accidentally insulted friends who believe in this lifestyle or who have chosen to enhance themselves with lip fillers. Now, hear me when I say this – it is not about what people do to make themselves feel better and I am in no way mocking this. Whether that be lip fillers, hair extensions, fake tan, whatever. It’s irrelevant and you’re missing my point – hell even I wear false eyelashes and hair extensions! It is human to have insecurities and there is nothing wrong in indulging in a bit of self pampering.

You have to choose your words very carefully when discussing this topic to not offend and i’m not so sure if I’ve been successful with that so I do apologise if anyone is hurt by what I have to say, that isn’t my intention. What I’m trying to say is, there seems to be a certain pressure and expectation these days and to be perfect and busy, successful and wealthy to get ahead in life all the while having perfect children and the perfect flashy cars (and still maintain a flawlessly clean house/outfit??? you must be dreaming!) and I worry that things like creativity, kindness and intelligence are slowly being forgotten.

Now I’m not naive, I am well aware there has always been a divide of class and wealth since time began and sadly there always will be. But because the issue is constantly there for us to obsess over, to scroll through at any time or place disguised by a squeaky clean filter and an enticingly inspirational quote the effects seem to be amplified and will continue to accelerate. And that worries me for many reasons.

If you are a person who has had lip fillers before and my opinion offends you please let me ask you one thing – what made you decide to have lip fillers? Is it because you were unhappy with the size of your natural lips? Yes? And why is that do you think? Because the stereotypical ideal of sexy is a woman with lusciously plump lips (amongst other things) and it is constantly being shovelled down our throats everywhere you look. There is always something telling us we need improvement and that is my fury.

My rage is at the modern culture of corporate greed, the people who prey on the self conscious for their own financial gain and will constantly dangle this false, unattainable image of perfection like a carrot on a string, regardless of the damage it inflicts – not only to our mental health but the environment.

I am fighting for the low maintenance girls who are still hella sexy without make-up or filters, for the exhausted hard workers who don’t have the time to be “perfect,” for the low income earners who can’t afford the latest beauty product or new clothes every month but still have so much talent and heart to offer. For all of us.

My point is, social media is no longer fun, it’s draining and hard flippin’ work and it’s become so commercialised to actually be enjoyable anymore. But the thing is, it feels to me like a toxic relationship that has ended and I don’t feel ready to let go yet – I still remember the good times and I see potential for something that could still be so great but sadly I think there may already be too much damage. There is too much poison and money involved for it ever to go back to what it once was but that will never stop me from trying.

The crazy thing is I know most girls (and boys) are exhausted from it all too, yet the boulder continues to roll because we don’t stop feeding in to it. It’s a hard spell to break free from; nobody wants to be ugly and shit! Well, I for one refuse to be anything other than myself. I love raw honestly, real opinions and embarrassing situations that I can relate to that make me feel normal! I absolutely refuse to ever push a product I don’t genuinely love and want to share with the world. I swear to be authentic, honest and real at all times through the good, the bad, the ugly and I urge you all to please do the same.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

‘Tis the season to eat too much and pass out on the sofa! Honestly I don’t know why people moan so much about Christmas; endless pigs in blankets, fairy lights, cold dark nights that offer the perfect excuse to stay at home and be antisocial… What’s not to love?!

We’re kicking off the festivities early this year because it’s my daughter’s last year as a single child so we want to make it extra special, and I know It’s not about skinting yourself to prove your love to friends and family, but since we all feel compelled to go overboard with the spending each year I want to get my money’s worth!

November Reading

This November I’m taking a stand and swapping social media for reading (well, in a fashion.)

As someone who spends a lot of time on social media, I find it hard to let go completely; I still think it has a lot of potential to be a great place for sharing and connecting but most platforms have become so incredibly commercialised these past couple of years my relationship with social media has turned into that of a love hate kind of one… I’ll get into this later because I have a lot to say on the matter.

Anyway, i’ve become increasingly aware that I have wasted many a hour on the likes of Facebook or Instagram scrolling aimlessly through the dribble and quite franlkly i’m bored as fuck. I love reading, always have but I forget to make time for it. I tell myself I don’t have a lot of spare time to commit to a good book but actually there is no such thing as spare time – we make time for the things that are important to us and the time wasted on social media could have been much better spent soooo here are my November reads, the goal is to complete all four books by December where I will choose four more and so on so on.

Using the age old method of “eeny meeny miney mo” I chose The Bitch Goddess Notebook by Martha O’Connor as my first pick; I am a mere six or so chapters in but the story so far is enjoyable and flowing very nicely indeed. I shall report back with some reviews at the end of November and I would love to hear what you are reading at the moment to give me some inspiration for my December reads.

Finding blogs to follow

Good morning my fellow bloggers and writers. I am new to the world of WordPress and I am a little lost when it comes to finding some interesting blogs to follow and would love some assistance if you would be so kind to recommend a couple of your own favourites for me to check out.

I have an open mind so I’m not looking for any particular theme… I do enjoy a bit of humour, sarcasm and quick wit, feminism, relatable content, parenting, long reads, thought provoking pieces, real life/honesty and story telling. But if you have a favourite who is renowned for writing compelling pieces about anything and anything then I am interested!

Thank you in advice.

Pregnancy Diaries #1

Week 15, Day 6 (I’m late to the blogging game I know. )

Isn’t pregnancy just a magical time? Some days I feel like a radient, glowing, life bearing goddess and other days I start my morning by accidentally puking on myself in the car on my way to work.

Just to catch you up; I had a turbulent first trimester of pregnancy symptoms and I mainly did a big fat nothing for the first 12 weeks thanks to crippling morning sickness and exhaustion. I’m now in the process of trying to salvage my house from the wake of destruction not doing housework in that length of time caused, trying to reassure my friends and family I still love them and want to see them after my long haitus and I need a nap if I walk anywhere for longer than 5 minutes.

What makes an introvert?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, as I always do when I’m feeling worn down by the mundaneness of everyday life and trying to find the source of my quiet frustration, you’d think I would have learnt by now that any time I find myself feeling this way there is only one cause and one cause only; I’m carrying a lot of weight in my mind and I need a creative outlet. So here I am.

It takes a while to get to this point; sometimes days, maybe a week or two… I feel restless without an obvious cause and all I know is I’m not feeling like myself. Don’t get me wrong this is a good thing really because the longer I spend in this state of limbo the longer I spend stewing over my thoughts and the harder the realization and relief hits. So I tuck myself away from the world, put in my earphones, put on whatever playlist matches my mood and I loose myself to the music and the lyrics for the while. What. A. Relief! There it is; I needed some time alone, how did I not realize this sooner?

It’s a funny old thing being an introvert. People hear the word introvert and almost immediately picture a painfully shy character, someone who hates interacting with other people. Private, weird, isolated, maybe a little arrogant, when actually it couldn’t be more opposite – well, maybe some of those traits are true but really most introverts love conversations! We love people and socializing, and we have a lot of meaningful thoughts and ideas to bring to the table. We’re a creative bunch, but for every social event we usually require some alone time to recharge afterwards (possibly beforehand too.) But of course if you’re an introvert yourself you already know this all too well, and you’ll know it’s not always that obvious when it’s time for a break if life is going good.

It usually occurs to me I’m due a time out when I find myself avoiding peak times to visit the kitchen or bathroom at work, so I can prevent accidentally bumping into a chatty co-worker in the corridor and the insufferable small talk that is completely inevitable if I do. Don’t get me wrong I like (most) of my co-workers, they’re pleasant and friendly. I just sometimes reach breaking point; I can’t always fain some fake interest about how it’s nearly the weekend again! The weather is holding up well today isn’t it? Yes the family is all good thanks. You didn’t get up to much at the weekend? Oh well sometimes it’s nice to not have anything planned isn’t it BLAH BLAH BORING!

I’ve been thinking about what makes an introvert. Is it decided from birth, simple astrology or is it something molded by circumstance? I used to be so quick to blame it on circumstance, “I’m cautious and reserved because I had a difficult childhood.” It’s apparent I’ve rehearsed this conversation many times before; I’d say it in a matter of fact way in defense of my awkward personality whenever challenged by someone on why I’m so shy, as if I had something to apologize for. Well, the fact is for many years (and still on occasion) I have been your stereotypical awkward introvert who is too scared to start a conversation, petrified of being misunderstood or judged by others. I think for a long time because I kept telling myself that I was a victim of trauma and it was all completely not my fault, I became the person I was telling myself I was. That is what happened, that’s just how it is and I am who I am because of it– I’m doomed to be this pushover of a girl for eternity so I may as well just accept my life of isolation now.

Wrong!

I have only recently started to change my perception and attitude after having children, trust me nothing whips you into shape quite like having children. I’ve been puked and pooped on more times than I can count of both hands, and when you’re floundering through life fueled by 3 hours of sleep with a jug of coffee in hand you soon let go of all sense of dignity and any childish fears of social interaction. I’m literally too exhausted and occupied to give a shit about what anyone might think of me anymore. But the big secret is my personality hasn’t changed, my mind set has. I am still the quiet, reserved girl I always have been only now I do it with purpose. I know damn sure who I am and I know my worth.

I believe time to be a great teacher too; I’ve observed all types of people doing all types of things. I’ve learnt to recognize the social situations that leave me eyeing up my escape at the soonest opportunity, or the people who flick some sort of internal switch in me the second their mouth opens to speak. I can pinpoint even the most confident of introverts in a crowded room and you better believe I know my extroverts! There’s more to it than just these two personality traits, of course (there are believed to be 16 personality types if we are going to get factual and not to mention the twelve star signs, if you’re into that sort of thing.) but you see, the thing that stands out to me most is that extroverts cannot fathom an introvert, not through ignorance but just purely out of difference. Extroverts tend to have a completely different perception of what normal social behavior is and they tend to see someone who has yet to come out of their shell when faced with an introvert, the natural reaction is to try challenge the introvert on this behaviour and draw them out of said shell, which of course is usually in good spirit but is detrimental.

You won’t need me to tell you I’ve experienced this situation, I’ve experienced this situation so many times I could write a short book about it. And it used to make me question myself – you remember the part where I mentioned I would be so quick to blame it on circumstance? “I’m cautious and reserved because I had a difficult childhood.” Yes? Good. We’re back to my point in question – what makes an introvert? I think it’s undeniable that we are born the characters we are destined to be and circumstance will always play a part in the way we perceive the world, ourselves and the people around us but the foundation of our beings will never be changed or compromised.

Let time take you by the hand and lead you down the long bumpy road to self-acceptance – I am a creative, I am a dreamer, I am a lover and a mother and I have a purpose in life. I have excellent morals, I have many many experiences in my back pocket; some world shattering and some blissful beyond words, I own them and appreciate them all for making me the person I am today and I am an introvert (did I mention that I’m an introvert?!) I always have been and I always will be and I will wear that title like a badge of pride, safe in the knowledge that I am a kind, conscientious person regardless of whether I want to speak or not thank you very much.

Is talking about the good deeds we have done for others bragging or inspiring?

If you have been on any form of social media this week then I am sure you are no stranger to the story that is currently circulating about the Instagram couple who set up a Gofundme to finance their travels, yes? Good then no need to elaborate.

The story sparked my curiosity as to whether this was real or fake (remember, don’t believe everything you read online!) I located their account and it turns out to be very much true. I had a scroll through some of the recent comments and let’s be real, it is no surprise that they are receiving a lot of hateful comments from angry instagrammers who are working their butts off every day just to survive, who believe if you want to achieve anything worthwhile in life it comes with years of hard work. Rightly so, anyway I digress, the main thing that stood out to me was the amount of comments from people telling their stories of goodwill and how they have dedicated their lives to help others in a more practical way, touching others’ lives with real, devoting acts of kindness and it got me thinking, so I present to you my thought of the day – Is telling other people about the good deeds we do bragging or inspiring?

First of all, let me clarify what I mean by “bragging”… to me in this case I would describe it as the “I do more than you so I am more deserving of the praise and attention you are receiving but I get nothing!” attitude. I don’t condone seeking out individuals and spewing hate into their comments because their actions anger you, I get it, really I do… but this to me is one of the biggest issues we have at the moment and it is damaging. It doesn’t help anybody and it absolutely will not change their behaviour. Sadly it is becoming the norm to unleash our inner keyboard warrior and if you look not all that closely, I’m sure you will see the correlation to all the mental health issues that are ever-growing, but we will save that conversation for another day. 

I personally think it is great sharing my good deeds with others. Every day we are faced with arrogant mean-spirited passers by, perhaps colleagues or family members, or we read about events on social media that make us question what is becoming of the world but I for one love to seek out the good in any situation. There are millions of good people out there and we shouldn’t have to look high and low for them! Why be modest when you can inspire others with your stories of kindness? Good deeds breed more good deeds – admittedly more through action than words but it all helps, if it makes the world a better place to live even in the most minute way then it is certainly worth talking about. Life is tough sometimes and it is easy to slip into a selfish “every man for himself” state of mind but imagine how much more bearable the world would be if we all made a conscious effort to be kind to each other. We are all human and all carrying our own baggage. Empathise. And proudly tell your good deed stories because you are trying to make the world a better place.

You may argue that telling others is missing the point of the good deed; it is supposed to make others feel good and not be a way to boost our egos but that isn’t what I am talking about. It is all. about. Context.

So, you orchestrate an elaborate public good deed; have a cameraman videoing the entire event, stealthily on the sidelines. You hand a sum of money to a homeless person and share the results with the world through social media with a transparent modest paragraph about how generous you are. Sorry buddy but that is not a good deed. That is you compensating your performing monkey for their unwitting performance in your publicity stunt. – Now this is a prime example of the ego boosting “good deed.” Very different.

Another train of thought on the lines of this subject, I think it is important to take time every day to reflect on life, general human behaviour, the encounters you have experienced today. To ponder why someone may have acted a certain way and try to see a bigger picture. People can often be misunderstood for putting on a tough exterior to protect themselves emotionally while on the flipside wolves in sheeps clothing will often use others’ misfortunes for their own personal gain with deceptive tactics.

Food for thought.