You’re only owing to yourself

We live, as mom once said, interesting times. In today’s fast and furious world, one can do with less sleep, but not with less social-media. We talk with our loved ones, read, share photos, music, thoughts with others, and, when we put things this way, social media seems to be an inoffensive, happy place. But this is also the problem.

As going through my own recovery journey, I’ve became fully aware of something that I used to know only as a theory: social media is doing more harm than good in the process.

This happens because no one on social media is really honest. We share the bits that we love from our lives, the highlights, and this is how the fraud begins. We are creating a perfect image for the others, but, in exchange, we tend to forget that they’re doing the same thing. We tend to forget that, for some people, social media is a career, what they do for a living.

And that’s how the harm is done. By comparing our raw, unfiltered real life, with the fake, perfect lives of the social media people. We look up to them, take them as standards, and then we’ll look back at ours and see the huge differences between them.

This is how any progress gets lost in the long run, just because we tend to forget the essential: there are no two recovery journeys alike. Every single one is unique, intimate and special. Share yours if you feel like it, but don’t take other people’s perfect social media lives as goal or comparison terms.

Because, if there’s something worth saying about it, then would be the fact that social media is a very, very powerful tool. It connects different people, different stories, different images form all over the world, in no time. This can make or break any kind of mental progress a person’s trying to achieve, being the main reason why social media should be used wisely.

I don’t say that being active on social media is bad. Actually, I spend a lot of time online. But, as I’ve started this rather uncalled for mental health journey, as old scars have opened again in front of me, hurting, I became more aware of the social media influence on me.

Social media, with all the perfect photographs, fueled my body insecurities. I know, it sounds childish, but being overexposed to so many images of perfect bodies constantly has only made me feel worse about mine. Even if, in the back of my mind, I was totally understanding that some of those perfect bodies are the byproducts of a whole team, usually consisting in fitness trainer, dietician, make-up artist, hairstylist, photographer, and the almighty Photoshop.

Even so, I couldn’t help, but ask myself Why am I not looking like that, or even close, at least? and fantasizing about how my life would be better if I’d be prettier- the social media kind of prettier. That was my revelation moment, when I’ve started to unfollow the accounts that were making me feel bad with the way I look.

And that was also the point where I’ve decided that it’d be a good move to unfollow all the accounts that I recognize having harmful potential. It might not be the easiest decision, but it was one of the best taken on this: to unfollow, unfriend and block every single one that made me feel less than enough.

Because, one of the social media’s wonders is that, even though you’re surrounded by content all the time, you choose what kind of content will surround you. And understanding this was a total game-changer. My feed started to look different: more young artists, more mental-health-supportive, more visual (and in a very, very good way, as I’ve discovered a whole world of photographers and illustrators hidden by all those IG models), and, generally, much more uplifting.

Of course, social media connected me with people that helped me become the individual I am today, awesome people I couldn’t see myself without, but I’ve also met people that, by  having contact with them or simply seeing their posts, were awakening my, so-thought, long time burried unworthiness feelings. But, at the end of the day, when I’ve acknowledged for real what it means that my mental health an well-being are at stake, I’ve managed to understand things at a deeper level. To take them more serious.

By continuously looking for answers, as my mental state was worse, I found some, not only about body image, on my relationship with social media. I’ve discovered that social media has a serious impact. More than I’ve thought before it could have. It brought up strange, yet common mix between addiction, exhaustion and not feeling good enough.

It is easy, when you’re a perfectionist nature, to mix all these things up. You want to get that perfection that seems so achievable  in the online.

Because, if you’d ask me, I’d say that is the biggest problem with social media: that it makes perfection look ordinary. It makes you believe that having the perfect job, perfect body, perfect relationship, perfect outfit, perfect house or vacation is not only something that everyone could reach, but that it is so common, that you must do something wrong somewhere if your life ain’t perfect.

And this could be seriously draining for one’s emotions and psychic, even if that individual faces a mental condition or not. It could, if used carelessly, make the individual develop some sort of condition, in time. This is why we have to change the approach. To post relevant content for who we are, regardless if it is matching the trend or not, and be careful about what messages we receive from the accounts that we decide to follow. Also, there is this little thing that, kept in mind, will certainly do the difference.

The truth is, again, that nothing will ever be perfect. Not in the real, daily life. Here everything has ups, downs and stopping points. We have normal bodies, each of them special and beautiful in its very own way, and lives that can be just as pretty as we allow them to be.

Because, if you get out of the social media thing for a second, you’ll see that the world is still a pretty place, and life is still beautiful. That there are people who genuinely love you and care about you, even if they don’t tag you everywhere, spend every free minute of their lives with you or shower you with gifts. That your followers are not a way to measure your worth as a human. And, generally, that there is life outside the social media, too, and we have to live that.

We have to live it unapologetically, without any kind of filters. To stop trying to please everybody, to speak more of our minds, to share our feelings and thoughts more. Because a life doesn’t  have to be picture-perfect to be worth enjoying it.

Actually, what we see on social media is not a life. Is a collage made of cut-outs. A big painting made of the tiny detalis that used to be the highlights of every day, week, month, year, but arranged in such a way that they’d eventually fit.  Everyone out there is building a social narrative of their lives, based on the moments that made them feel and look good.

Even if they don’t put it on display, people still have bad days, periods when everything seems to be wrong. And it’s ok to be like this, as long as the bad times are part of what it means to be human.

Of course, talking on social media about the struggles of existence is a wonderful trend, that I really hope it would last a lifetime. But, in the meantime, things tend to remain the same as they were when, talking to a friend about what made me write this articles series I’ve told her that I do it because I have nothing to lose anymore. If I’d have the smallest thought that I could lose something, that I would be judged, or that my loved ones or the people whose opinions matter to me would look at me differently, I wouldn’t write a line.

But I have nothing left to lose anymore, so I keep writing, hoping that these pieces of text help. Live the life your own way, and, when you’ll have your next scroll, keep always in mind that what you see on social media and what you get in real life can be two really, really different things. No one has it all, and for sure not all the time, but getting guilt trips over not being able to reach social media’s ideals of living is not a thing we should let happen any sooner.

Scroll down wisely, and keep in mind that the reality happens always offline, what we get on social media are just some beautifully crafted postcards from it.

Barbatul si trandafirii

man-holding-surprise-gift-of-roses-agjkm4

Ca om, imi plac relatiile, raporturile dintre mine si ceilalti, dintre ceilalti, dintre noi toti si diferite obiecte, idei, momente. Le analizez, le rumeg atent, incerc sa le inteleg. De cele mai multe ori, imi si reuseste, indiferent de cat ar dura. Cu toate astea, exista insa o relatie, mitica aproape, pe care n-am inteles-o niciodata deplin. E vorba despre relatia dintre barbat si…trandafiri. Relatie, altminteri, serioasa, de mare angajament si fidelitate. S-ar putea zice chiar ca barbatii sunt mai fideli trandafirilor decat le sunt unora dintre femeile din viata lor.

Fiind amatoare de culori aprinse, imi plac florile, si analizez fiecare florarie pe langa care trec, din graba drumului. Insa un singur lucru imi sare, mereu, in ochi- proportia dintre trandafiri si, ei bine..restul florilor. E un raport ciudat, fiind mai multi trandafiri decat alte flori, ceea ce ma face sa cred, avand in vedere ca e ceva general valabil, ca e o preferinta impamantenita. Lucrul asta se vede si din postarile de pe Facebook sau Instagram. E o ocazie mai acatari, o calcatura pe bec mai grava, sau pur si simplu vrea sa o impresioneze? Fuga la florarie dupa, ati ghicit, un buchet de trandafiri!

Dupa incantarea fetelor si femeilor implicate, as zice ca da, domnule, chiar nu exista alta floare mai floare! Dar asa sa fie oare? Sa fie un dat cultural, sau o crasa ignoranta botanica la mijloc? Candva, nasa mea mi-a spus ca ”Daca vrei alt fel de flori de la un barbat, trebuie intai sa-l inveti tu care-s alea. Ca ei nu stiu. Uite, hai sa-l intrebam pe A., ce alte flori mai stie ?” Raspunsul lui a fost invariabil ”garoafe, petunii, d’astea, cum le zice, regina noptii… ”.

Si m-am lamurit ca e, cumva, vorba si despre un cerc vicios- femeile nu se sinchisesc sa-si educe fiii privind florile (pentru ca, nu-i asa, astea-s treburi de femeie, ce nevoie are el ?) si fetele ajung sa fie condamnate la a primi iar si iar si iar…trandafiri. Pentru ca, nu-i asa, garoafele, cealalta floare cunoscuta de ei, se duce la mort, iar ele sunt caat se poate de vii.

N-am nimic cu trandafirii, sunt niste flori frumoase. Inteleg si povestea cu simbolistica, ok. Dar, oh, my, sunt niste flori ataat de comune! Nu sunt pentru o intalnire la care vrei sa impresionezi. Ia-mi un cactus, un buchetel mic de margaritar, orice, da’ lasa trandafirii aia acolo, in florarie. Tu arata ca ai personalitate, totusi.

Si daca tot vorbim de buchetele de trandafiri, care mai sunt cum mai sunt, ce nu pricep nicicum sunt buchetele uriase de trandafiri. Adica, serios? Da, stiu, dau bine pe Insta, dau bine pe orice retea sociala, dar…serios? De banii aia poti sa-i iei bijuteria aia pe care si-o dorea de mult timp. Poti sa-i iei ceva care sa ramana, sa dureze. Ceva care sa-i aminteasca de tine, nu de un cliseu obosit.

E dovada suprema de lene, zic eu. Ii trantesti un buchet de trandafiri cat juma’ de pat, mormai suav un ”Pentru tine, iubito!” si gata. E nuuumai a ta. Ce usor a fost, nu? Sau e de statut? Cu cat mai mare contul, influenta, pozitia ierarhica a domnului, cu atat mai mare buchetul de flori primit de doamna?

Uite, asta chiar nu stiu, cum va hotarati voi, barbatii, ca trebuie sa va prezentati la usa ei cu ditamai buchetul. Imi trec prin cap tot felul de idei, care mai de care mai crete, dar n-am, inca, raspuns. Mi-ar placea nespus ca, la un moment dat, sa ma lumineze si pe mine careva mai milostiv cum e cu buchetele astea mamut…promit ca pricep repede, sa stiti! Cu ce e mai breaz un buchet din asta de trandafiri fata de unul mic de margaritar sau de albastrele? Bujorii nu-s trendy, fata? Sau, care-i treaba? Pana atunci, o sa incerc sa explic nestiutorilor ca, daca nu esti un superficial uniformizat social, exista si ale flori pe pamantul asta mare, si ca atata timp cat le duci din obligatie, ca asa se face, sau din cine stie ce motiv ce nu tine de relatia ta cu persoana respectiva, e degeaba. Oricat de multi trandafiri ar contine si oricat de impunator ar arata.

Articol semnat de o novice selectiva care nu stie sa primeasca flori, dar s-a saturat paaana peste cap de vesnicele buchete de trandafiri. Hai, salut, si fuga la atlasul de botanica! Promit ca o sa gasiti chestii interesante acolo…