“its looks like you had a fantastic summer!” -someone who follows me on social media.
as a designer, I keep my social media filled with colorful images of my jewelry, experiences and objects that inspire me, and fun times with friends and family. when I became an active user of social media I decided that I would keep it positive. occasionally I will tweet about a frustrating subway experience or another first world problem, but I always do it with a sense of humor. so what everyone sees is a happy, colorful life. and for the most part, I am very fortunate to say that is what my life is like.
but when the ladies of Quarterlette reached out to me to be a part of their #MyUncuratedSelf campaign, during which they are encouraging people to take a step back from the edited version of ourselves that we often emphasize on social media, I was intrigued and embraced the opportunity to get a chance to be a bit more real. and the timing was perfect because I had recently been questioning the image of my life I had chosen to portray during a less than colorful and happy period of my life.
this past summer I went through a really difficult time. one of those times where you just feel like you are under a cloud of unhappiness and can’t shake it. but I still kept things shiny and bright on social media. I posted photos of my jewelry, my trip to Nantucket, my time spent in Ithaca, and many other happy things. so looking in from the outside you would have no idea that I was really struggling with the death of my grandmother, that I was dealing with the decline in health of three other family members, that I went through some tough things with my business (and as an entrepreneur I take business very, very personally), and that I was feeling unsettled with my life as I hit a milestone birthday: 30.
looking back, I can honestly say that I would not change what glimpses into my life I chose to share this past summer on social media. I mean what you want to see from my 30th birthday dinner is a photo of my colorful cake, not a photo of me crying because when my mom handed me my birthday cards, for the first time a card from my grandmother was absent (she passed away a week before my birthday). and perhaps I should not be surprised at all that someone told me that it looked like I had a wonderful summer because I did post that photo of my colorful cake and other similar photos. but given that it’s a pretty known fact that social media is a highlight reel and very curated glimpse into one’s life, it still surprises me that people make assumptions about our lives and take the pretty images as the full picture.
so what’s the take away? the curated and highlight reel element of social media will always be prevalent. and at the end of the day, I personally am not comfortable revealing too much on social media and nor should I feel obligated to share. perhaps when I feel like colorful, happy images aren’t authentic to the current reality of my life, the best solution is for me to take a step back from social media.
at the end of the day I will say this: when you look at someone’s photos and the portions of their life they choose to portray, always remember this