The Social Media Smoke Screen

You guys, I want to talk about this photo:

If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I’m not super wordy on my posts. I think for the most part I live by the whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” except that I include that with “if you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say anything at all.” And I am a picture person, not a words person.

I reeeaaallly don’t want to become one of those people who only talk about their kid/pregnancy so I promise that this isn’t another post complaining about waiting on baby. Stay with me, there’s more to it than that. But these past few weeks of not working and waiting on baby have been kind of rough. Not necessarily physically, but they’ve done more of a number on my mind. 

Let me explain a little about my personality. If left to myself with out working on a project, my mind can be dangerous. I probably find too much identity in my job (ok, let’s be h0nest, that is not a probably, that is a for sure) and I am easily envious of other people’s opportunities when I don’t feel like I have a lot going on. We didn’t take on any weddings after October this year just because I didn’t know what the last few months of pregnancy would look like– and I’ll tell you folks, I was JEALOUS of all the other photographers out there who were working their butts off every Saturday for 12 hours and being exhausted and I did my quick little hour shoots (which I DO love too), but I was sad I was missing out on the pretty flowers, dresses & emotional moments that my fellow colleagues were getting to capture. So in my mind: Working like a dog for 10+ hours > nice, smaller less intense shoots. Weirdo, I know. 

And then along came mid December until now…when I have been so very, very lucky that I have been able to take off in preparation for the big life changes that are about to happen. But guess who has been trolling the social media, being jelly of all of the pretty shoots popping up on my feed. Yep, that’s right, me. This time of stillness that I should be enjoying and feeling so fortunate that I am in the position to rest and prepare has me more often bringing up the feelings of inadequacy and envy. Instead of being able to fully rejoice in the fact that these people that I’ve decided are important enough to “follow” are doing great work and amazing things, my bored mind is internalizing that and being a big asshat telling me that I’m not good enough, you can’t do what they do, you’re going to fail after you are too busy with this baby.

Ugh. Annoying. And I know it’s also annoying to listen to someone say things like that. But here is where we come full circle on this post. Back to why I want to talk about that photo. Because it helps me remember to have perspective. And I hope that in telling my thoughts that it may help anyone else who has similar mind battles like me.

That instagram post from above was from one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. 

From day one of starting our business, Ryan and I have wanted and been working towards doing more destination work. We had gotten to do a little bit, mostly due to family and close friends’ weddings. But this wedding was one of our first that was a step away from the realm of people we were super close to, it was the sister of one of my close clients Jen whom I’ve become friends with, and it was in Malibu! We were over the moon in excitement about booking it. It felt one step closer to our goal– we had booked a destination wedding NOT by someone who was obligated to love or use us!

That’s the backstory. Here was my day. I was 7 weeks pregnant. We weren’t telling people yet. I was waiting for the morning sickness that plagues all of the ladies in my family to arrive, but hadn’t really started yet. I actually thought that maybe I was going to be the one shining light in the family who didn’t get it (hahahahaha). I was going out to California the day before Ryan so I could scout, so I ubered to the airport, got checked in and sat down. And I started to feel kind of weird. 

Yep. Y’all, I kid you not, my very first day of morning sickness started in the airport on my way to our coveted destination wedding. All by myself. COMPLETELY unprepared. I managed through the flight. The sweet sister of my bride picked me up from the airport with her family of 6 (whom I absolutely love) after their long flight from Florida. Everyone is excited and we are all chatty, the kids in the back are talking to me so I’m turning around to engage with them.

And then I start getting all sweaty on the curvy California coastal roads. And I know it’s not good.

I break my plan to not tell anyone I’m preggers and tell Jen that I am feeling sick, it’s not a stomach bug, AND DO YOU HAVE A BAG??? We both start frantically searching through our luggage and I finally come across a plastic baggie that I have kept my travel toiletries in for like 7 years. I dump it out. I ralph. Gross, but situation handled, right?

No. So my ziplock was so old that the corner BUSTED OUT, so now it is literally spraying with force on the back of the seat/floor/all over the van. We all panic, and Jen empties out her SUPER NICE travel tote for me to put the baggie in. 

And then I post this photo:

That photo was literally taken about 15 minutes after all the craziness. I felt sick to my stomach, and I had puked all over my clients car in a most dramatic and embarrassing way.

But I still love this photo. I love this photo because it reminds me when I’m playing the comparison game to just stop it, because not everything is always as it seems. And at that very moment that I posted that photo, I’m sure some person out there was playing the comparison game with me and being jealous of my opportunities. We never know what battles people are fighting behind the scenes. It’s easy to see the pretty ocean parts of people’s lives, but fail to know the barf in car moments. And there are definitely even worse things out there that people are dealing with than what I had gone through that day.

This social media life we lead can be deceptive and really easy to tear ourselves down, or even lord ourself over others. To see how many followers we have vs. someone else. Or how many likes your photos get. Or just even comparing your beginnings to someone else’s middle (saw that phrase somewhere, can’t take credit for it)– forgetting that your 1 or 2 years is going to look different from someone else’s 10.  And all these things can give us either joy or disappointment, but ultimately do not have the right to have a say over our self worth.

As easy as it is to say these things, I know it’s hard to live it out. But let’s try hard to use the energy that we spend not harping over what other people have, but focusing on what we ARE good at, and working to improve who we are. Filing our disappointments and comparisons will only take up room in our mind and leave no space to remember our triumphs and happy times. Let’s spend more time building others AND ourselves to a healthy place, and maybe focusing on that will help us to be joyful in other people’s success.

This entry was posted in Life With Ely Fair, photo mumbojumbo Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback.

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