18.3.15

Reality check



Yesterday I spent the day with my older sister and her family as we happened to have an appointment close to their home anyway. What was going to be a quick cuppa and chat turned into a full day playdate for the children and a really therapeutic catch up with my sister and her husband.
One of the things we were discussing was 'blog culture' if you like, and more precisely my own insecurities with my content and imagery.
I've said from the start that I feel a certain moral obligation to be realistic with my readers and to always remind them that the pretty picture on a blog post is not representative of our whole day, much less our whole life.

If any of you are familiar with Instagram you will know it is a powerful resource to quickly access a world of imagery and often to find inspiration through the photos other people upload. It has become for many people a visual diary of interests, hobbies and ideas; a sneak peek into somebody else's world where you can choose to 'follow' their Instagram logging if you so desire.

As much as I love photography and learning more of the technicalities behind taking a photo,(courtesy of my husband who's wealth of knowledge is the only reason I know anything about cameras!) I have recently become disenchanted with what I have come to nick name as the 'quest for perfection'. For example, I find it disheartening that the amount of 'followers' you have seems to represent your online value. As with my blog, it would be pretentious for me to imply my life is perfect through my photos and time and time again I feel confronted by the competitive nature of online imagery.

In the end you either make the mistake of comparing yourself to other people, (where 99.9% of the time you judge yourself unfavourably) or you enter into this pseudo-competition to look the best, be the best and and cover any potential flaws. I have fallen fool to this so many times. Even though I am not teen anymore, I am a married mother of two; you might think I'm secure in myself but I still struggle with many of the same old issues that were prevalent in my teens. Ultimately the biggest question is 'am I good enough' or simply, 'am I enough?' Unfortunately, the images we are bombarded with constantly encourage us to think negatively of ourselves. After all, no walking human being is airbrushed in real life are they? I'm pretty sure those beautiful models wearing all the latest trends occasionally have bad hair days too, right?!

There have been days (like yesterday) where I have felt a bit like throwing in the towel. The temptation to beat myself up because it's just not good enough tends to always come from an unfair comparison i've made. I think women are particularly susceptible to comparing ourselves to others and it is a really hard cycle to break when the media and social media are so relentless.
 But taking a step back I have to remind myself that perfection doesn't exist. Not even in a photograph. I have achieved far more in my real life than I ever will in my 'virtual' life of blogging and that is when I have to remember why I began in the first place- to make memories and share my thoughts with my readers.

I have my sister to thank for her amazing sense of perspective and I'm glad I got to chat a few things through with her because I feel much less anxious now. In the last month, Ive probably uploaded about 14 blog posts and several Instagram images. To some that might not seem like much but I also gave birth, I recovered from quite a traumatic delivery and as a family we have been adjusting to the  addition of a newborn. Jonah was diagnosed with a tongue-tie which was divided yesterday (not a very nice procedure for any parent to watch) and to top it all off we are moving house. I'm pretty content that my real life is far more interesting and full in all its imperfections and surprises than my photo logging will ever be. And I think that is the true beauty of life, imperfections and all!

I'd like to say that because I've written this post I will never fall into the trap of comparing myself with the next person or that i'll be secure in myself and my own achievements. The truth is that it is so deep rooted that it is a daily battle to decide to not fall victim and to make the conscious decision to rest assured that I'm valuable enough. I would like to urge you, if you feel you relate in any way to some of these issues, to know that you are enough and you certainly don't need a social media following to confirm that. 

The quest for perfection is fruitless because none of us are perfect and trying to appear that way will only end in a lack of fulfilment for yourself. Trust me, I know this first hand! Sometimes we all need a bit of a reality check- away from the non-reality of social media which is so heavily fuelled by our inherent need to be confirmed by others through a 'like' click or a positive comment from a stranger. Have a reality check away from social media: a coffee with a good friend can be enough to push you in the right direction. 

Thank goodness for sisters!

xXx
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