In a world where social media dominates our lives, we are more aware than ever of the way we come across to others.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat reflect all the best bits of our day to day activities – the laughs, the adventures, the nights out, the delicious foods, the fun social events.
But that’s not all there is, truthfully. What about the bits that don’t make it to social media? The parts of us we may be embarrassed about, the parts of us that we don’t want others to see because it makes us vulnerable to ridicule or judgement?
Here’s a list of the things that play a role in my life but never make it onto the filtered Instagram feed or exciting Snapchat montage.
1. Low days – We ALL have times when everything just seems useless and all effort appears to be futile. Whether these feelings last for a day, a week or months, they can drag us down into a place that leaves much to be desired. Despite the fact everybody goes through it, most of us wouldn’t dream of sharing it online. There’s this pressure to be having the time of your life all the time, so as a consequence, we mask our pains and lows with grinning selfies and laughing boomerangs. After posting an Instagram the other day, I received some news from home that swooped the rug from beneath my feet and brought my all-time-high to an all-time-low. My social media followers and friends saw none of this. They’d seen the happy Becky in the morning, but not the Becky of the afternoon.
2. Bad body days -I think women especially fixate on the fact that celebrities always seem to be bikini ready. Not true. For me there’s been a couple of mornings I’ve woken up in New York, looking pasty and tired, even sometimes cursing as I spot (pun intended) a breakout of zits on my chin or forehead. There’s also been moments where my stomach has been bloated, whether after a large meal or even just in the morning when I’m holding water retention. Of course, I don’t document that on Snapchat or share a Facebook post of my tummy sticking out, and why? Well it’s almost as if I’m ashamed or embarrassed…of what? Being real? A few months ago, I was watching the snapchat story of an Australian model where she filmed her tummy after a large meal and made sure she alerted her followers to the fact she doesn’t always look like her magazine covers and Instagram shots. The same model also regularly takes pictures of her breakouts, poking fun at herself. It’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of toned, tanned, flawless, airbrushed figures that dominates most of our Instagram feeds.
3. My Irritability– On social media, I might as well be dressed as Will Ferrell in Elf, I’m dancing, smiling and laughing 24,7. But- shocker! I can be a bitch too. No, really. I get irritable and grumpy, like everyone else. It could be somebody chewing their food noisily, biting their nails, talking too loudly or sometimes just being there. We can all snap. Wouldn’t it be weird if I put my mood swings on Snapchat or videoed them for friends to see on Facebook?
4. My Annoying Habits– We ALL have those bizarre routines that seem really weird to everyone else, but which are in fact part of who we are and therefore inescapable. I eat apples whole (pips, core and all), I eat the green bit on strawberries, swallow olive stones … gross, right? As well as that, I’m an absolute nightmare when it comes to ordering food. My friends and family dread the moment that the waiter turns to me because I basically redesign the original meal I intended to order. And that’s because I’m simply not a laid-back person, no matter how chilled I seem on social media. I like things the way I like them, and no other way is good enough.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with showing everyone your best bits on social media! Of course you want to document the highlights of your life, it’s a part of our culture now. However, I think it’s important to remember that social media is in fact not reality. It does not paint an accurate picture of people’s lives and therefore you should never let it make you feel like you are unworthy. Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat offer one piece of the jigsaw puzzle, not the whole picture. How can you compare your life to a series of edited shots on a screen? Life has so much more to it than that – ups, downs and in betweens. It is not edited or glossed over, it is not planned or choreographed.
It is raw, real and unexpected.