THE BEAST THAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA
I had my 39th tour of the Sun this week. I am generally not a huge birthday person, not because I am afraid of getting older but I don't really like all the fuss and anxiety that goes with organizing a party. However, this birthday was different. I had two dinners and a lunch and the anxiety wasn't from these events but from the constant chatter in my head of not being where I should be at this age. Just 18 months ago I thought my life was complete, with a partner, beautiful apartment in the suburbs, 3 wonderful step-children and even a step-dog. Fast forward to now and I am living alone in a one bedroom in Kuwait City, and well I have to be honest over thinking of everything I don't have instead of thinking of what I have. I was given a book by a new friend for my birthday about dealing with hardships in life and straight away it made me think, "shit is that all I talk about this friend. Am I that much of a downer?" Once again thinking straight to the negative instead of actually realizing that this particular friend actually cares and our conversations have been deeper than "hows the weather?" and we talk a lot about the weather here in Kuwait. This particular book that my friend gifted me brings up Social Media and how it plays straight into our heaviness, our insecurities and it got me thinking, the more I look at the socials, and don't get me wrong I do love SM, in times of self-doubt, it is a recipe for disaster. Exactly what I had been doing leading up to this birthday. Overdosing on SM, well there is no wine bar to escape to here in Kuwait. I think deep down we are all very aware that SM is the A-list of everyone's life, but it still is so easy to get caught up in the "Why don't have that?" "Why can't I find love?" "Wish I was where that person is." These constant questions and comparisons that smash your head like a washing machine. I have had a blessed life in so many ways and I still do, but making it to the last year of my 30's and not having what I think I should have and more importantly what I did have before it was gone, has really affected me more then I was admitting to myself. Is this the fault of Social Media? Not entirely. However, I think that SM has a lot to answer for. We are now not only judging ourselves against celebrities on glossy magazines but we are now comparing ourselves to our friends, family members, other people in our professional industries and any Tom, Dick or Harry that has signed up to any of these sites. This is accessible at a click of the button. So at times when are not feeling the best and our phone is an easy distraction we are just one click away from creating more angst. So is it SM's fault or am I to blame for not being strong enough to not indulge in the fantasies that SM creates? You can only see that it is damaging when people are professing, once again on SM, to having a digital detox. Interestingly enough you see people profess they're up and coming digital detox, only to appear the next day on your screen desperately needing to share that they are eating breakfast. The addiction is real. So getting back to my birthday and the anxiety that came with spinning around the Sun 39 times and not collecting a partner, or a solid home base on this 39th spin. I was spinning out of control. The beast had truly worked its magic and I was clicking away comparing myself to every post. Be it friends, family or strangers. All I could see was FAILURE. Failure to have what everyone has but me on SM. Coupled with the fact that I had it and it was now a distant memory, I was spinning so fast I was out of control and not in a fun way. It wasn't until I was reading this book and being reminded about the beast of SM that I stopped and thought through my anxieties. I looked at my socials (Hopefully you're following them) and my Travel page I realized just how lucky I really am to have traveled so extensively and most of the time been paid for it. I looked at my page through strangers eyes and my life would seem like I am a constant Frequent Flyer, and at times I have been. Then I looked at the reality. Sometimes I am rehashing photos from a year ago. Lately, I am not always flying somewhere so to keep my page alive I do repost. So it may appear that I am in Italy one day the Middle East the next but the truth I was in Italy a year ago. Then my Yoga page, well it is a work page so it's all just me standing on my hands and striking a pose. But in reality every photo I usually spend 10 mins getting that particular pose right. I don't post the fails, even though they provide me with many laughs. So I had the realization that it really isn't all as it seems. Even my own Socials. If I was to look at my own pages through the eyes of someone else, I would assume I was living the dream. But I am living that dream and I know the daily struggles I go through and don't photograph them for the world to see. So no I am not taking a break from social media nor will I be photographing myself stressed out or just waking up. But I will next time I am feeling down remember that Social Media is just that... Media and we all know how much we can trust the media for the truth.