In the tumultuous time that is revision and exams (1 down, 2 to go!!), I was having a spontaneous late-night chat with my housemate the other night. We chatted about various things, but the last thing she said really struck a chord with me. She told me that, in reading through my blog posts, she felt like such a mess in comparison, because she sees me as a put-together person.
WELL. I have a few things to say about that (which I promptly informed my darling housemate of): I may come across as a put-together person, but I can safely and confidently say that I really am not as put-together as I may seem on social media or these blog posts. I’ve said this a few times in past blog posts, but if I could practice what I preach, I’d be a genuinely put-together, have-it-all kind of person.
A lot of these blog posts have life lessons/morals to them and I love sharing them with everyone, but sometimes I catch myself doing exactly what I tell people not to do. I often find myself in situations where I have to remind myself of the advice I give and actually apply it to my own life. The best example I can give from the top of my head (more like melted brain) is last night, which was the night before my first exam. It had been an extremely stressful day with last-minute revising (I brought it upon myself and I take full responsibility), and at around 10:30pm I was having an *internal* mental breakdown. I say *internal* mental breakdown because I wasn’t about to let anyone see me be an absolute melt in the library. I was so stressed out that I messaged Scarlett, who talked me through it. I’m really bad at asking for help, so the fact that I was going to Scarlett was a big deal for me. I’ll be honest, though – I only messaged her when it got to the point where I was overflowing with stress and I needed to talk to someone about it because I was starting to shut down, mentally and physically.
So, in the end, it wasn’t really my choice to take my own advice, so really, I’m back to square one. But it was a solid first step. I absolutely do not have it together; in fact, I have no idea what I’m doing. Am I revising the right topics? Am I revising enough topics? Do I know everything I need to know? Am I really making the right career change? What if I’m just shying away from the difficulty of pursuing law? But what about my creativity? Is law really a passion? Does my face light up more when I talk about law or business or media and film? Is there a way I could pursue law and have a creative outlet? These are the thoughts that swirl around in my head constantly. So, moral of the story: I do not have it together (whatever ‘it’ is). Basically, I’m just a mess.
In any case, there’s a bigger issue I want to talk about.
I want to address the underlying implication of the fact that I look like I’m very put-together. We curate our lives on social media and we end up being our own, personal brand ambassadors, so we only show what we want to show to the world to ‘promote’ ourselves, for lack of a better word. Social media is just a snippet of our lives, but we’re selective in how we want to represent ourselves to the world. We forget that since we do this, other people do this, too! A friend of mine recently shared on Facebook that he’s been accepted to medical school in Canada (which is a huge achievement! Go, Paul!) and this is typical societal behaviour on Facebook – sharing the good news, and only the good news. But, what Paul did differently was that he also let the world know about all the rejections he received before getting the big acceptance. His Facebook post allowed us to see a vulnerable side to him, and this is a side that people are not willing to put online. We don’t want other people to know about our failures, because it makes us seem like overall failures, and we don’t want that to be imprinted on the Internet.
On the flip side of the coin, especially when it comes to current events/the news, we usually only choose to see or read things that we want to read or see. This is confirmation bias – you only gather information on beliefs or prejudices that you regard as truth. In essence, you’re confirming your own biases because you’re not taking into account any other perspective of a belief or event or issue. We have to remember that there’s more than what goes on in this world than just our own perspective of it. We’re only in this world for the duration of our own lives, so we only experience a small slice of it all; the universe has existed and will continue to exist without us.
Thank you for indulging me in a little existential moment there. Anyway, the take-away here is to take everything you see online with a grain of salt. All the information you’re getting is just from one perspective, so we don’t see the big picture or what goes on behind the scenes of the Internet (which is, ironically, real life). And maybe try to show a more vulnerable, more human side of yourself – you might be pleasantly surprised by the response.