The Link Between All Three
The year is 2013, I’m 17 years old and back in the hallways of my old high school. Here is where I walk around hiding my face, hoping that nobody will see me today because my acne is pretty bad and even the mere glimpse of my tired complexion in the mirror is enough to drain my motivation to get out of bed for the week. High school for me was a time where my self image and sense of self worth were so low that I would always dodge my reflection in public because I didn’t feel good in my own skin. Being only 5 ft 2″I got a lot of flack for my height (or lack thereof am I right? ba dum tsss) and in everything I wore I just felt fat and bloated or like my height was making me look compressed and chubby. What always made me feel particularly bad of course was the fact that I never looked like the popular girls who were tall, thin and blonde and who all resembled Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid in one way or another. At least in my head it was like that anyway.
Despite these bad feelings though what always brought a flash of positivity to my day was how I would scroll through Instagram to see what my favourite bloggers were doing and I would come home from school that same day to watch them on YouTube. Seeing girls who looked not all that much different to me, who broke away from the cult of the celebrity and who seemed to live a life all not too dissimilar to mine made me feel at peace with myself.
Bloggers ignited in me an inner confidence I never knew I had. What made me fall in love with the medium in the very first place was the way in which it celebrated ordinary girls of all shapes and sizes and made fashion accessible to more body types than just the emaciated models you’d always see in the fashion magazines and on the catwalks. Blogging was something relatable and inclusive of everybody. I remember how tabloid magazines would bash celebrities at the beach for having cellulite on their legs or a body type that broke through the mould of what our society deemed as anything other than ‘perfect’. In the advent of blogging, ordinary people like you and me began to be recognised in the media and even celebrated for their beauty.
But even in spite of this movement of body positivity, I still haven’t yet managed to feel 100% comfortable in my own skin. Yes, I’ve come a long way over the years, especially since high school and now that I’m older and wiser being able to express myself and my own personal style through images has really given me the confidence boost the teenage version of myself only ever could have dreamed of.
However lately these feelings have been slowly resurfacing and finding their way back into my life meaning that seeing myself in such a negative light only gets even worse when it comes to creating content because so much of what I do here on my website and on instagram relies on my will to get up, get dressed, go outside and to take pictures of…well myself. I’ve tried taking a break from photography and from posting my outfits but to no avail because by doing that I not only feel negative and ugly in my own skin but also lazy and unproductive too.
Being a small blogger in the 2018 influencer climate is no easy task. The flow of content these days is incredibly fast and we’re all up against the big names in blogging who have paid visits to some of the most beautiful and exotic locations in the world, the girls who get free expensive clothing just to show in one photo and are always seen sporting the latest designer trends and handbags that cost enough to pay the average college student’s rent for the whole semester.
I’ve only been a blogger for a little over a year now and with college as my number one priority I guess one wouldn’t be wrong to call this endeavour my “side hustle.” But even at that the pressure to live up to the expectations of this lifestyle just to make my content seem attractive is already too much. The pressure to be beautiful, to be popular and to be rich, the pressure to live this ‘instagram’ lifestyle weighs heavy on anyone trying to make a living out of this. But the truth is that this lifestyle isn’t even a proper depiction of reality.
While there are many benefits of social media, like how it can be a creative outlet for millions of people for instance, there are also so many downsides. There have been countless studies where Instagram has been linked to so many mental illnesses such as body dysmorphia, falseness of ego, anxiety and depression. The blogging community has created a universe where fake depictions of reality are so often sold as real life. As a viewer it’s so easy to look at somebody’s perfect photograph on Instagram and wonder ‘why isn’t my life like that?” or in my case as a content creator I often find myself asking ‘why isn’t my blog/content/life like that?’ And this double faceted problem has been making me feel rather inadequate lately to say the least.
Don’t get me wrong when I say that I’m very grateful for the life I have and moving from Dublin to Paris has brought so much positivity beyond words into my life. But lately I’ve been feeling disheartened about blogging because while technically anyone can do it, comparing myself to other bloggers has had a really negative impact on the way I see both myself when I look in the mirror and my content when I look at my phone or my computer screen.
So what is the solution? If bloggers talked more about what goes on behind the scenes and behind the camera they definitely would be promoting so much more truth and positivity. Seeing somebody’s life of luxury and nothing of the other side of it is both just unrealistic and unrelatable.
As far as my own self image goes, the only possible solution that I can think of is to try and fight off these feelings. I’m not going to lie when I say that I have been feeling pretty depressed lately but I’ll spare you guys the sob story and do my best to work harder and push through this. However if there is a delay in my content (like how there has been for the past while) then you know why. I’m hoping with all my heart that once I post this and get this feeling off my chest that I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel better but I know that snapping out of such a negative state of mind can take time.
If you guys have any tips/advice on how to get out of a rut like this please feel free to share them with me in the comments or on my tumblr. (My anon is open in case you don’t want to comment here.) I’d love to be able to see myself through a better lens but for the moment I just feel so down about myself.
Anyway I hope you guys all have a lovely week and I’ll see you very soon in our next post.