There are a hundred reasons why I haven’t posted anything new here in 6 months. Work has been really busy. I didn’t want to spend my downtime “working”. We did a lot of travelling this summer. Covid… The list goes on. But you know? If I’m really honest with myself, what this all boils down to when you get past the initial list of excuses is that I got scared.
Scared of what people — mostly my colleagues — would think of this blog, the words I write and the photos I post; how I present myself online when I’m barely keeping it together in the real world.
So I’ve been entirely absent here since June and have largely stayed away from Instagram, as well. Has it helped my mental health? I think initially I thought, yeah sure, this is better for me. I’m spending less time thinking about what I want to say, crafting a post, curating a feed… But I’m still scrolling. I’m still consuming other people’s content. I’m still here. There’s just less evidence of it.
Working in social media has complicated my personal relationship with it, no doubt. Most challenging, I find, is allowing myself to put something out there on my own channels that is purely for fun — not backed up with a strategy, not expertly framed and professionally shot, not re-worked with a few rounds of feedback. Fun? This is my area of expertise. It’s what I’m building a career around. Forget fun. If it’s not perfect I hardly want my named associated with it!
The writing itself is an issue too. I don’t think of myself as a particularly talented writer but, relative to my other abilities, it’s one of the areas I’m most confident in. For a client, I would not rest until I was thoroughly satisfied with a piece of work and only then would I have the courage to share it for feedback. This space is nothing if not an outstanding opportunity to develop my craft and push myself creatively. To apply anything less than the same level of effort and critical analysis here would be a waste.
And now you can see how I have managed to make my blog and Instagram feel like a professional portfolio; a body of work that, depending on who you ask, is evidence of how well or poorly I can do my job. In this version of reality, the stakes are high, everyone is out to judge, and only my very best is acceptable. The perfectionist in me thinks, “Damn straight!” The rest of me knows if I accept that world for myself, I’ll never write anything. Nothing will ever be good enough.
When I can take a step back, pause from taking myself too seriously and be honest, this is my truth: sharing photos with diary-like captions is fun. I do enjoy it. I don’t do it to demonstrate my social media prowess. I’m not practicing to become an author. I do it because it helps me slow down and savour my life. My good things. It brings me pleasure to look back at where I was on a given day and read what was going through my head, what I wanted in life at the time, what I was concerned with, where I was finding hope. I look forward to being transported back to that moment with just a simple photo and caption. But it’s more than that too. It’s the process itself of documenting. Of recording. Of editing and tweaking. Of choosing the words and having that courage to share them. It’s my own historical record. Something tangible I can point to and say, look at this life. How lucky am I?
To some, it might look like a portfolio, others a missed opportunity. Some might see it as self-serving and superficial. Of course, I want those who stumble across this page to have a high opinion of me and my work, but everyone will come to their own conclusion irrespective of what I want. That’s their prerogative. Their right.
Mine is that I get to decide to what I’m proud of. I get to do what makes me happy. I get to stand behind that shame-free because I’m not only allowed to take up space, but I’m entitled to do something for no other reason than that it brings me joy. That’s enough.
Here is better than absent. Real is more relatable than perfect. And doing anything with courage is preferable to holding back out of fear.
So yeah. I’m back baby. x