There have been so many times in the past five to six years that I’ve been saying I want to start a blog. I’ve always loved healthy living blogs, noted the lack of diversity in them, and wanted to offer my own perspective in that niche. Reasons for my for my consistent and continual procrastination included:
- I viewed it as this daunting task with the website set-up, constant picture taking, posting to every social media handle, promoting your posts, etc.
- I was very lazy about things outside of work.
- I am a corny person and thought no one would care about what I have to say (which is true, haha!)
- Fear of compromising my privacy (as if anyone cares about my life like that). For this reason, I’ve also never been a natural at taking up social media.
- People ARE. SO. MEAN!! My goodness, anonymity sure does bring the viciousness out of some people.
Another main reason was because blogging, and by proxy social media, seemed to be an inherently narcissistic endeavor that fuels too much life comparison between people. The concept of writing about one’s life and putting it on the internet, as if it’s any more worthy to be be written and read about than anyone else’s can be seen at best as self-indulgent, and at worst as a way to haughtily display the sanitized version of your life in a way that invites undue admiration. In summation – blogging and social media is a “front”. While I definitely will use a picture filter (ok, maybe two to three), I’m uncomfortable with the concept of too much ‘fronting’. We are all just trying to live these complicated, messy lives full of peaks and some deep trenches. We all do messed up crap to others. We also have stomach bloat that we’d never take a picture of. We all sometimes eat bowls of ice cream at midnight (or is that just me?)
I’m not the first to talk about this, but we know that in some ways blogging and social media have increased the collective anxiety levels of millennials. It’s hard to see a bloggers’ posts about:
- their sixth time going to Crossfit this week,
- how they’ve never had a morsel of carbs in their life
- how they started five companies by the age of 25 and have been on Forbes 30 Under 30, all 30 years of their life
- their perfectly organized and Marie Kondo-ed capsule wardrobe
- their beautiful significant other who draws bubble baths for them every week
- and for some of my women of color out there – those beautiful women who can do an intense workout in the morning and sport a big bouncy wash and go afterwards,while the rest of us are trying to brush, slick, and gel our kinks into submission.
It’s hard to see these things and not feel like somehow you’ve missed the universe’s memo on how to live a fabulous, balanced life where unicorns bring you your morning coffee. I certainly do not have a life like this, yet I’ve still chosen to write about things I love and put it it out there. In all the blogs I love, I saw a dearth of women of color in healthy living blogger-land and few folks talking about how to incorporate meaningful civic engagement into our healthy, balanced lives.
Does it make me slightly narcissistic to think that detailing aspects of my life would help fill the void I see? Perhaps. There’s no denying that there’s a little megalomania that drives all of us. We live in a time where everyone is trying to master the art of the humble-brag. We all want to be seen and patted on the back a little, and the internet provides ample opportunities to do this.
Does that then mean that the collective narcissism of my generation can only be remedied by never talking about our lives in public? I have no clue. But I do know, that getting insights into other people’s lives, while at times increasing my own anxiety about my life, has also given me so many learning opportunities and insights on how to be more productive, eat better, exercise smarter, and the importance of wearing athleisure (VERY IMPORTANT). When viewed in a healthy way, it’s like having a million acquaintances giving information that can we all benefit from.
Sharing aspects of your life with others is a pretty effective way to keep yourself accountable to all of your goals, partially because you don’t want to say something in public and not do it, and also because it’s just cool to have a supportive community around you. That’s why so many of these life improvement apps have an option to share one’s progress on social media. I just try to remember that all of the blogs and social media accounts I follow are people’s highlight reels of their lives, not the total and complete report.
Does that mean that it’s only appropriate that those of us with picture perfect lives to participate in this great internet experiment? That doesn’t quite sit well with me. There definitely has to be a space for those of us who are a work in progress and those of us who are totally happy with where we are. Collectively, we just have to try to manage our humble-bragging so it doesn’t get excessive. Sometimes a good social media humblebrag is good for the soul! Why not show off that awesome dish you made or your incredible triceps once in awhile? No matter what you do, there will never ever be a 100% humble and graceful way to post a bikini pic. But that doesn’t mean you can never post one.
Do I think that my life will be this amazing inspiration to people? Absolutely not even close! However, I am hoping is that even if I move just one person to get a little bit more involved in their community and/or think about their health and wellness in a more balanced way – particularly in the current zeitgeist – then sharing bits and pieces of my life is worth it. All I’m driven by is this need to simply talk about the things that I care about in a way that I hope helps others and also keeps me accountable to living the life that I say I want to live.
Do you think blogging and social media use is inherently narcissistic? How do you circumvent the pull to humble-brag?