Hi friends! I have so many things I want to share with you and I keep trying to plan them out but then something else comes up that feels more “in the moment” or more pressing to share and my schedule keeps getting thrown off. Eventually I’ll get into a groove of sharing a wide spread of content, maybe, but for now I’m going to keep letting myself share whatever feels most honest or helpful that day.
I came across a quote recently that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. “Authenticity is not a destination it’s an orientation. What matters more is that you’re showing up, not where you’re going.” ALOK
It is really hard to be new at something. Everything feels scary. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed. And it’s damn near impossible to not get locked in my head. I’ve been sharing my blog for 2 months now. That’s long enough to make me feel like I should have it figured out but not actually long enough to have it figured out. Writing is the easy piece for me. So I do feel like the authenticity is present here in this space like I want it to be. I may question myself about which topic to share on but once I decide it’s always true and honest. I’m really proud of myself for getting rid of some of the filters I used to process through in order to share more fully and completely.
I’m struggling with the social media piece though. I never anticipated having to “build a platform.” But it is really hard to be a “successful” writer without one. Sure there are plenty of people I could pay to teach me how to do it or who would even do it for me, but that’s not what I want. I keep telling myself “if I can create my own website I can run my own Instagram.” We’ll see whether that is true or not.
When I first started my Instagram page I wanted it to be a place to share the day to day most relatable moments. Like how there’s only one right way/order to eat M&Ms and how I learned you are supposed to soak potatoes. I pictured sharing funny stories and embarrassing moments. I wanted to share my books, my projects, my parenting wins, and my flops too. I imagined talking more honestly about my anxiety and navigating the day to day. I didn’t expect that to be hard. I kind of thought I would just open the app and start blabbing and it would be fine.
But it feels really hard and far from simple. And that seems ridiculous! I have navigated two years of my child battling cancer but I can’t create an Instagram that I’m proud of? If only that’s how it worked.
I have fallen hard in a comparison trap, and once I slide into the trap it’s so hard to get out. It feels dumb to share about my loyalty to International Delight Coldstone Sweet Cream coffee creamer when everyone else I scroll past is sharing about things that are helpful, bring in income, or push for change in the world. I talk myself out of sharing the silly things in favor of more “influencer” type things. But I’m not an influencer and that’s not my goal. My Instagram has turned into sharing my blog posts, my make up, my clothes, and memes. And while I imagine continuing to share all those things that’s not all I want it to be. It just doesn’t feel like me. And if I’m being really honest it makes me a little cringey. But to share more I have to show my face which most days isn’t made up and many days I’m still in pajamas or sweats. It feels really vulnerable to show up unscripted and imperfect.
By showing up that way I’m asking people to click over and support me. Not a brand. Not an article of clothing. Not a funny meme. But me. (My kids would make an inappropriate joke right now, “Butt me.” And it would make me want to tell the story about “Butt Pies”. That’s what I picture doing on my Instagram, but again, sharing about “Butt pies” feels pretty insignificant.) And as someone who relies on words of affirmation and validation, social media feels like quick sand. It is tricky to keep my identity separate from the “likes” when the entire goal is to be sharing myself.
I guess I’m realizing I was showing up on the blog like I wanted but not in the Instagram space. I am lacking the confidence to own that space in the same way. For the blog I at least have some confidence in my ability to write or storytell. But social media feels more like branding then selling myself and my personality. It’s hard to believe people will show up and respond to that space because it feels weirdly more vulnerable in some ways even if the content isn’t as deep. I lost sight of my desire to simply connect with people. I let the idea of productivity and income potential convince me that connection wasn’t a valid enough goal. At some point my orientation got off course. Once I realized that was happening I struggled to show up at all.
I realize many of you aren’t building a platform so maybe all of these thoughts are just ramblings to you. But I’m thinking of all the times I’ve convinced myself one of my goals or ambitions wasn’t justified because it didn’t align with someone else’s goals or ambitions. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced that. I also know one of the best ways for me to combat it is to share my goal out loud so that I have the accountability to see it through. This is me pulling out my compass (that I likely couldn’t read because directions are hard) and reorienting myself in the name of authenticity.
I’m setting a very simple goal to show my face at least once a day on my Instagram. You will hear everything from how my kids figured out the Easter Bunny isn’t real to how I’m coping with my anxiety in real time. I hope you’ll join me there. I can’t promise it’ll be productive. I don’t know if it’ll ever earn me a dime. But I am willing to bet it will be a place of curiosity and connection and for sure authenticity.
Be brave. Be you. Be human.
With so much love and gratitude,
*Originally published April 2022 and republished August 2023