Just Shut Up
I've been perusing the lines I've written on my "Blog Ideas" Evernote and noticed a glaring theme:
- "I don’t have time to think about who I am anymore, and when I do, I feel like I am nothing."
- “'Why’s life so hard?' she cried, her tears splashing against her new athleisure outfit."
- "You’d think you’d be somewhere else when you’re nearing 30."
- "How can I be anything more than just a mediocre writer with a thing for list-making?"
- "I’m happy now. I don’t know how to write. I feel like Phoebe without her sexy phlegm. I’m Chris Martin post-GOOP infection."
I love my job, I live in my favorite Austin neighborhood, I have more friends than my social planner can handle and I'm marrying my best friend in 3 months. So why do I give myself such a hard time?
"In our society, there’s fear and shame about being ordinary” - Brené Brown
Oh, right. I am a nobody who spends an ungodly amount of time on Instagram, scrolling through people's heavily edited lives and comparing them to my less-than-perfect, ugly-at-times real one.
I, myself, am the curator of several social accounts for my job. There was a brief time when I worried that I was contributing to other people's anxieties and feelings of inadequacy, but I'm past that. Our team visited FÖDA Studio earlier this week for "brand camp," where Creative Director Jett Butler regaled us with the history, research and design that went into our properties' branding. He explained how each property is an experience - an escape - pulled off by details completely unique to the property. For example, soy sauce isn't served in a Kikkoman bottle at any of our properties because that bottle sucks you back into the real world: you can buy one in a market. You might even have one at home. And him pointing that out as a conscious decision really confirmed why I love our properties so much; each one feels so special, by design.
So yes, I try to perpetuate that specialness through their social accounts, because that's their raison d'être. My beef is with lifestyle bloggers and influencers, with their brightened vignettes of their daily lives that suggest everything is beautiful, 24/7. Your mouth-watering party platters, your GAP baby model-esque children, your tastefully renovated kitchens, your flat stomachs. Just shut up.
I say that out of mainly jealousy, but also concern that it's really harming a lot of people's self-image. I know it's dumb to compare myself to someone I don't know, but I do it ALL THE TIME and when I talk about it with friends THEY SAY THEY DO IT, TOO.
Rather than beat ourselves up for a habit that appears to be human nature, can we discourage people from projecting a picture-perfect life that is so unnatural? Probably not.
What really upsets me are the "motivational quotes" that are often literally shit advice written in the same stupid script font. Quotes that basically say (and I'm paraphrasing, here):
How about these instead?
- Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.
- To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.
- We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary
- Talk about your failures without apologizing
(All Brené Brown quotes, btw)
Perhaps a good resolution this year is to really start addressing the sources of my insecurities. At the end of the day, I really can't blame a stranger for making me feel bad about myself. But at least it gives me something to write about?