So I haven’t posted in a couple weeks. Since heading back to university for 2nd year, I set some goals for myself. Those goals were:
1) to be authentic, truthful and relatable on this blog
2) to try to grow and develop this site
3) to always post at least once a week
And since the hell that is second year has been unleashed on me, I haven’t exactly stuck to those goals.
I set up a separate, personal Instagram so that I could distinguish from my blogging self and my personal life. I was crackalackin’ at my blog insta for a solid couple weeks, posting regularly and trying to reach other bloggers in the online community, until the stress of important university deadlines hit me. Then, I missed a few days without posting, and I got out of the habit of being on it. And that has irritated me immensely.
A similar thing happened with this blog. I met with my best pal, Em, and we shot some photos for each other’s blogs, I had a ton of things I wanted to write about and it all seemed to be going fine and dandy until university stress got the better of me. So yet again, the blog had to go on the backburner. And that’s a shame.
One thing that I’m hoping to do with this post is to be totally authentic, truthful and relatable. I want to address something, which I feel in our digital age, we never talk about. The Voldemort of the internet, it cannot be touched upon, we must pretend it doesn’t exist and in no way are we going to ever admit that we’re struggling. Life is sugar-coated online- we have to decorate our show reels with all things wonderful, make out that we’re always having the time of our lives and God forbid anyone thinks that we’re not.
But life isn’t like that. And here’s a shocker: we’re not always happy and having the time of our lives, 24/7.
In the last few weeks at uni, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work there always is to do. I’m a perfectionist; I’m an all or nothing person. I either won’t do the reading for the seminar, or once I’ve started it I need to make sure I’ve read absolutely everything that’s been set, touched on the extra reading and annotated fully everything that I got from the texts. But being an English student, there’s always a whole lot of reading to do. There’s also a lot of essays. And no matter how hard you try at my university to get on top of things, there’s always something else you can be doing. You’re always left running to catch up.
I’m a section editor for the university newspaper. That takes up a lot of time during my week, it comes with its complications, but I’m dedicated to my section and I love my Life&Style team. I have a show at the university radio station with my best pal Nat, and although that takes up a lot of my time, I also love doing it.
Add into the mix the general stresses of being a university student and worrying about and caring for family back at home, and everything gets a little overwhelming. Something had to give, so I took a little rest from all things to do with this blog. And I want to make clear in this post that as much as our online profiles will suggest everything is fine n dandy, not always everything in life is. And that is normal, that is okay and that shows you’re human.
The funny thing about this is if I came back today was a bright n happy post about, say, ‘your transitional wardrobe’, or ‘5 reasons why I love Autumn’, you’d have been none the wiser. I could have briefly said, ‘sorry I haven’t been around- had loads of exciting stuff goin’ on’ and you’d have assumed I was too busy havin’ the time of my life at uni to pop up a post. And this is the thing about the internet: we’re led to believe everyone else is happier than us, and it promotes a fake culture in society that happiness is a stability which everyone else has seemed to reach. And that it’s just us that’s feeling a bit down in the dumps, stressed, or unhappy.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t true- not one bit. Instagram has recently been named the most detrimental social networking app for young people’s mental health; one in five people say that social media makes them feel unhappy; in a study conducted by University of Pittsburgh in America, participants that use social media frequently have 2.7 times the likelihood of depression. This is all because we see other people’s filtered lives splashed on the internet, and we immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re happier, more successful, more attractive and better at doing life than we are. It’s a vicious circle, because none of us are happy 24/7, we each have our major successes and sometimes failures, we all have those mornings when we look in the mirror and look a lil worse for wear and none of us know exactly how to navigate our way smoothly through life. No one has it all goin’ on. But none of us will admit that we don’t.
And I don’t want this blog to add to this stigma.
In these images, you see myself and my sister pumpkin picking. Only thing is, we didn’t actually pick the pumpkins because we stumbled upon this field in our village and were worried we were trespassing. We took the pictures and left, very quickly and very quietly. In these pictures, I’m smiling away- v happily. However, that morning I was feeling incredibly insecure whenever I looked in the mirror, and was having one of those days where every single outfit I put on just didn’t, in my eyes, do me any justice. And in this pic below, I look as if I have flippin’ legs for dayz- but I got my sister to take it from a low angle. All these images were edited with VSCO Cam just to make the images slightly more aesthetically in line, because in a few pics the sun was out and in the rest of the images we started to be threatened by a big ol’ rain cloud. And that didn’t do any wonders for the lighting, at all. As for the words in this post, I’m rushing them out on a Monday evening when I actually have three novels to read and an important essay to write. I’d have redrafted the post so it’s slightly more coherent, but ain’t nobody got time for that, unfortunately. Honestly, the list could go on and on…
Not everything you see online is the whole truth. We are people. We have our good days, and we 110% have our bad days. So go on, next time you’re feeling like utter poop, admit to it. You’ll be surprised how thankful other people will be to hear it. It’s refreshing to know that other people struggle from time to time, too. And remember that life, on the whole, is wonderful. The good always outweighs the bad. Therefore it’s time we started seeing the bad as a learning curve, something to help us really appreciate the good times, rather than a failure on our part. After all, it’s okay not to be okay.