I don’t know if it’s a British thing, but I find it hard to talk about myself, especially when I feel like I am struggling. I am more than happy to listen to everyone else’s problems and I can always be relied on to say ‘I’m here if you need me’, but when it comes to me, I keep it to myself.
As part of being a blogger, you’re told to offer yourself as a ‘package’ and look at yourself as if you are a product or a brand. I’ve written before about how I have struggled with this because I don’t want to be an insta influencer – I just want to write – but I think the problem goes a little deeper than that. If you’re a brand, you have to be likeable, approachable and glossy. You don’t want to show the bad bits because the good is what draws people in and what makes people like you. If you’re sharing the bad times, will you do well? Will people want to listen to what you have to say?
The pressure we put on ourselves to be this online, all the time allstar is ridiculous. In reality we know that every day is not always a good day, so why doesn’t our online life reflect that? Should we change the way we post? How honest should we be on social media?
When I wrote about my sexual assault, I was terrified. Talking about something after keeping it to myself for so many years was daunting anyway, but sharing it on social media made that fear even worse. I was scared that people would judge me or think differently of me and I was definitely scared that I would be accused of ‘airing my dirty laundry in public’. The reaction was the opposite, which was brilliant, but I know that talking about what happened to me is out there forever now. That big, personal experience that is a huge part of who I am is out there for anyone to read and form an opinion on.
That’s a scary thought.
It’s scary thinking that everything we present online is there forever, there to be dissected and judged. Maybe that’s why we edit ourselves and why we want to seem perfect. Whilst I will happily share that I went out for an amazing brunch the other day, I wouldn’t share photos of the cry I had over feeling like I am straddling a life in England and a life in Australia and don’t really know who I ‘am’ anymore. That’s not the side you want the world to see, even if it’s a side of you that’s there and is as real as the good side.
But I think we all know when we look on someone’s social media that the picture perfect glossiness they present is only part of the story. We have to know that, surely, because we only see the highlight reel.
For me, if I have to be a ‘brand’, I want to be a brand that reflects reality. I don’t want to just show you the good, but the bad, the ugly, the real. I want to talk about my worries, my flaws and the times that I struggle. I want to be honest with who I am.
At the same time, I also want to keep some things to myself. Not everything is for social media. Some moments are so special that you want to keep them all to yourself, some moments so personal that they are for you and the people you experience them with to keep close to your heart.
I’m learning what I’m comfortable with the world knowing. I’m finally doing voice stories and sharing my humour, not just my writing. I’m making sure my content reflects all aspects of who I am. I want it to show that I’m happy in Sydney, but that I miss home too. I want it to be clear that writing fulfils me like no other job has ever done, but there are also days I struggle and feel alone. These are all sides of me, all part of the same person. I want the people that follow me to feel like a friend. I want them to know that they can see me with greasy hair and no makeup or laugh at my mishaps or be there for me on the days I struggle. I want people to share my ups and downs with me as well as respect my privacy on weekends when I choose to step away from the keypad.
I choose to view honesty on social media as I do honesty in real life and just be myself. At the end of the day, being yourself is all that matters.