I don’t remember the publication or the exact quote, but a few years ago, I was reading an interview with one of my favorite recording artists, Bjork, who answered a question, clarifying why some of her albums have an aggressive, flamboyant sound and feel while others are decidedly more demure and soft. She explained that each album is reflective of an artistic life phase; in some phases she feels assertive and loud, and at other times, she said that she felt quiet and shy.
I wish that I had saved this interview. As a socialized introvert, her statement on changeability still resonates with me. Depending on my surroundings, or circumstances, I can have several different personalities ranging from painfully shy to charming social butterfly fluttering around the room telling jokes. I’m convinced that I’m not the only person who does this. Different settings require certain things of a person. Our mood isn’t always the same. We can be over (or under) caffeinated. The energy of the room affects us. There are countless variables.
In relation to behavior I see on Instagram, with others, and myself is the extravagant sharing of accomplishments, good hair days, the parts of our lives that make us feel cool. And even the negative experiences that are shared are sugarcoated with an inspirational quote on how we learned a lesson from it or tongue-in-cheek sarcasm that says, “this can’t dull my shine. My badassery can’t be touched.” The sharing is addictive. The encouragement and feedback is addictive. Humans want to share. On the other side of the coin, part of the collective human experience is ugly things – embarrassing moments, addiction, zits, loss, strained relationships, failure. These are the things that make us want to hide. It’s not exactly popular Instagram material. And in waking life, these are the same things that make me want to hide as well. I don’t want you to see my bad hair day.
I’ve always felt like there are people that criticize you for changing or act like it’s a surprise. But the truth is, we change everyday – sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. Life is colored by good days and bad days, but the bad days aren’t usually talked about, honestly – whether in real life or on social media. Each one of us will have times when we’re on top of the world, like nothing can go wrong. And we all have times where it’s tempting to just give up. Sometimes you want to be loud. Sometimes you want to be shy. Sometimes you want to be in between. This is so normal, but nobody really hears about the “not-so-cool” times in your life, and hardly anyone shares his or hers with you. Only the shiny parts are shown, just like on Instagram.
This is only a commentary on me noticing this rare similarity between real life and social media interactions. I’m glad I was thinking about it, though. If I took an aerial look at my life, it’s not the “brag-able” moments that made me who I am. It’s a conglomerate of every single vulnerable experience. Will I share every cringe-worthy moment on my own Instagram? Probably not. But, it can’t hurt to be reminded to ride life’s ups and downs with grace; it’s all a part of your story. Allow yourself and others to develop.
And don’t be afraid to share something genuine with us.
Instagram: @siaragray | @modified_modern