Remember back in the day, we used to flip through magazines to see what the new trends are? We used to look at pictures of models on those pages and think, "Gosh, she's so perfect. Why can't I be perfect like that?" We blamed the media and fashion magazines for teaching us at a young age what beauty is, what we should compare ourselves to.
I don't think it's a shocking revelation to say that social media plays that role for us now. And it's so much more powerful because it comes under the guise of being real. "This is just someone's IG account. She must have just woken up on a perfectly well made bed in a cute bralette and impeccable make up on." Riiiiight.
The thing is, we know it's not real. Our logical brains remind us that it's edited, it's staged. It's not real. But the more time we spend looking at it, the more we subconsciously begin to believe that it is what we should live up to, and the "Why am I not as [insert adjective here] as her?"
I'm extremely susceptible to this thinking. I grew up with the pressure to be the best - best at piano, best in my class, best at whatever I did. I graduated Valedictorian of my high school because any less wouldn't have been acceptable. Wouldn't have gotten me the praise and love and credibility that I yearned for so much.
I grew up constantly comparing myself to everyone else. And the ironic thing is, while on paper I did look like I measured up - I was invited every year to play in the "cream of the crop" piano recital, I was voted Student of the Month multiple times, I won countless awards for my academic achievements, and I graduated Valedictorian - I always felt like a fraud. I always thought, "If they only knew that I'm actually not that smart; I'm just good at test-taking. I'm not that great at the piano; I don't even know how to play by ear." I felt like I was fooling everyone, and at any point in time, someone would pull the curtain on my charade and expose me for the failure I actually am.
And that translated into my adulthood as well. I work at a large high-tech company. The work I do impacts products that millions of people across the world use every day. I get in front of Vice-Presidents of the company. But that child inside me still says, "If they only knew..."
It's been a learning process over the course of my 38+ years. The fact that I'm cognizant of it now makes me strides ahead of where I was just 10 years ago. And after reading and listening to strong women the likes of Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Oprah Winfrey, I've come to a point in my life where I've had enough. I've had enough of pretending. I've had enough of being scared that I'll be exposed. I’ve had enough of comparing myself to other people and feeling like I’m not measuring up.
And while I am learning that I actually am smart enough, I am talented enough, I am pretty enough, I've decided that it's much less exhausting to just be REAL. And vulnerable. Because that's what the world needs so much these days. Hate, anxiety, addiction, are all symptoms of fear - fear of the unknown, of being unloved, and of not being enough.
You know what? We ALL struggle with those fears. Doesn't it feel so much better knowing there are other people out there who struggle with it too? Wouldn't it be so relieving so you can feel free to be your true self?
So here's my commitment to you with this blog: 1) I will be REAL. As real I as I can be as I discover who I am every day. That's not to say that I will never edit a photo, or I will never stage a shot. But I do promise to never alter a photo so much that it significantly alters my appearance. 2) I will be VULNERABLE. I'm not going to pretend to have it all or to pretend to have it all figured out. Because I definitely don't. And I'm the type of person who wears her heart on her sleeve. I want to walk side-by-side with you. It's my hope to show you that I feel you. You're not alone. I'm trying to figure all this shit out too.
So how about you and I stop comparing ourselves to each other, and start being real with each other? How's that for a new trend?
-- Love always, Julie
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