On looking put together

Thursday, 14 September 2017

A friend of mine recently told me they thought I had my life pretty much together.

"Are you kidding?" was my first thought, and the first thing I replied.

It made me realise how good I've gotten at playing the Look How Great My Life Looks Game on Instagram. All the good looking moments of my life cropped and filtered to make even better looking moments. Snaps of my adventures, aesthetically pleasing plates of food, and carefully considered outfits. It also made it look like I do fuck all.

But that's the thing. I was doing fuck all in some sense.

The year and a bit after my graduation has been equal parts good and let's-not-even-get-out-of-bed-today awful. I left university feeling like I knew what I wanted to do and did my best trying to pursue that. I didn't have to get my dream role right away but I had some rough plans on how I could make it into the creative industry. I interned, I freelanced. I applied to things, I didn't hear back. I went to interviews, I got rejected. And again. And again.

The job hunting process and the constant rejection that sometimes comes with it is a frankly soul-crushing experience. It's hard to stay motivated when it feels like you're getting doors slammed in your face every other week. It's even harder when your self-esteem drops to the levels you last experienced as an awkward teenager and thoughts that you aren't good enough for anything play like a broken record in your head. I thought a lot about my friends who have real jobs (and rarely post on Instagram funnily enough) and how together they all seemed to have it. I felt like the only thing I knew how to put together was an outfit.

But we all know social media isn't real life. We just forget sometimes. What you see on my feed is a shot of a pretty cafe. What you don't see is the Whatsapp message to my friends about how I'm trying not to cry in public after being turned down again.

What helps is talking to your friends about how they feel on looking put together. Most of them, even the responsible adults, will also give you the "are you kidding?" reply for some reason or other. We all have our own shit to deal with basically, it just doesn't always end up online.

I do feel a bit bad for making my blog and social media what it is - a very one-sided presentation of myself. It's why I wanted to start sharing more posts like this on my blog. I mean putting your best foot forward isn't something people do with bad intentions, but as social media and blogs have become the new media and a way to curate a more inclusive, representative, diverse media experience, completely shutting out the bad sides of reality feels like a missed opportunity in some sense.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you appreciate a dose of reality online? Also, what makes you feel put together?

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