It was brought to my attention recently that a friend of a friend unfollowed me on Instagram as I was “too aspirational”. I still don’t know if this is a joke, because my life is more about perspiration than aspiration, but a bit of ‘Valencia’ and a square profile changes all of that and somehow equates to “your life is fucking awesome”. I cannot blame the pal, I too am guilty of such activity. My Instagram feed consists of mainly relaxed, hip mothers who ‘seem’ to find time to work like a #BOSS, get a professional blow dry, craft with their toddlers in large white kitchens, wear red lipstick and still find time to pose in-front of brick walls for blogs that people actually read. So why do we do this to ourselves?
It isn’t just Instagram of course, it’s the entire world wide web and all its various and popular ways of socially sharing your existence and experiences. Just as we get frustrated with magazines and their ‘size zero models’ and ‘photoshop extremes’, we are starting to get frustrated with the ‘real people’ that we choose to follow too in the hope that they share their ‘real life’, not hide it.
Of course, no one wants to share an image of an un-smashed avocado, an ugly selfie or a cracked nipple, but it is ‘real life’ so why hide the bad bits and only share the good bits? Is it a numbers game? Do the ‘likes’ and the ‘follows’ matter? Or is it, quite simply, harder to document the tricky, more ‘real’ bits?
If you watch my vlogs, you will know that I am ‘honest’, I don’t sugar coat the tantrums, the fussy eating and I can often be found sitting on the stairs having a cry and filming it, but I won’t also think ‘Oh, what this situation needs is a selfie” and there lies the problem. About 20 mins later, I will be out of the eye of the toddler storm and baking cookies, having a giggle and sharing the experience, but by sharing that part of the picture – I am not telling YOU the whole story. Does this matter?
In real life, when we have a conversation with someone’s real life face the same happens almost every day. If someone asks “how are you?”, we all say “good, OK” and quickly move the attention away from ourselves by throwing it right back. In my experience, people often seem genuinely shocked when I say I am struggling or need advice. I am always surprised by their surprise and it isn’t because I am ‘aspirational’ or there are 2 versions of me (internet me and real me), it’s simply because they asked and so I answer with no filter, but they are dealing with their own struggles, their own life and they were just using their polite filter. It is so subtle. It gets me every time.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some folk that you have on speed dial when the boat hits an iceberg and they will talk you off burning bridges and cure you of disease, but most people and especially mothers… are busy. Busy bringing up humans in a world of filters and confusion. They are the same mothers who are dealing with it, whilst also trying to craft in white kitchens, wear red lipstick and pose in-front of brick walls. So give them a break and always be polite.