If you have been following my journey on this blog and Instagram you will have noticed that I took a leave of absence on all social media platforms for the past few months. We often see our favourite influencers announcing they are taking a mental health break from social media or putting down the phones on their weekend getaway but its rare that anyone really tells you why. I’m here to open up and do just that.
I have personally had a love/hate relationship with this blog and with social media over the past few years. I knew I loved fashion and using these platforms as a means of using my creative skills combined with photography to share them with the world. At first I would tell people I did it for me, as an outlet to nurture my creativity and have a place to publish it. To be honest I was kidding myself. The truth is my negative relationship with Instagram started long before now and I can pinpoint the exact moment when I recognised this and blatantly ignored my gut. (always trust your gut!)
I was in a long term relationship for 5 years and it wasn’t a perfect relationship, although that’s what I liked to portray across my social media channels. We were in love, living a life full of adventure and happiness however it wasn’t a true depiction of our day to day. The truth was we were struggling, unable to find common ground and ruining any chance each other had at a better life. I clearly remember as the relationship started to decline I would turn to social media, it was a quick fix of validation. A place where I could post a bikini photo and the likes would pour in. I would instantly receive the attention and gratification I was seeking and not receiving from within my relationship. That’s where it all started.
The reality was I wasn’t dealing with my sh*t. My relationship had come to an end and I was heartbroken, I stopped taking care of myself both physically and mentally and felt like I was back at square one with my life. I was back living at home, working a job in hospitality, single with very few friends and no direction or way forward. Social media was my only connection to the world at this point, to other people and in my mind they could only perceive me for what I posted.
For the next two years the cycle continued this way over and over. Instagram’s platform started to change its algorithms and that’s when it spiralled, it was a mad scramble to find a new way to beat the system to get the likes I craved and relied on for self worth. I would change my editing style, my fashion sense just to fit the feed, I started recreating other people’s content purely because they got thousands of likes in hopes my image would perform the same. To be honest when I put this on paper I sound like an addict and I suppose in a way it had become a form of an addiction.
Fast forward to 2 years later and we are here, it’s the same story just a different version. I have watched my followers slowly bounce up and down and the likes decrease. Compared myself to everyone under the sun trying to analyse what they did to get such a big following and how I could copy it. I fell victim to some bullying which really got me down and felt like my voice didn’t matter. I started to believe that creating content was a waste of my time and that no one cared so I just stopped posting.
It has been during this time I have really done some soul searching and come to terms with my unhealthy relationship with social media and really admitted it to myself (and now you). I realised that the truth is I lost my identity in a relationship years ago and although I thought I had done the work and know who I am two years on, the truth is I’m still figuring that part out. Social media is a platform of sharing- sharing your interests, your passions, your dreams and your voice. The fact of the matter is by not knowing my identity deep within myself its impossible to share that authentically with anyone else. I can’t utilise my creativity if I don’t have my own point of view and don’t believe in the power of my own voice.
I have come to understand that the loss of connection hasn’t been with other people, it was a loss of connection to myself, my creativity and my why. Why I started this blog in the first place, why I enjoy creating content, why I share my thoughts with other and why I stopped loving myself unconditionally.
So in the midst of it all I guess my question to you is, what is your why?