October 10th was World Mental Health Day, and part of the reason I am really grateful for this blog is because it allows me to show a little more of my heart to you. I have been pretty open here about my mental health struggles, and my hope in doing so is that maybe it will help those of us here feel less alone.
I, like so many of you, was raised on social media in a lot of ways. Though I wasn’t allowed to be on social platforms until I was 13, I still spent a good portion of my formative years learning how to socialize through online forums.
It’s an interesting transition, to go from using social media to talk to a few of your friends, to a few hundred, to a few thousand, and then to a few million. The most interesting part about it to me is the misconception that with a bigger following comes more fulfillment. I’m very grateful for my community online and the way that their support has allowed me to follow so many of my dreams. That said, it’s a really strange thing to watch as your community becomes larger, and notice the amount of connection you feel actually becomes smaller.
I think what’s really weird about being a social media personality is that people expect you to be frozen in whatever state they first found you in. For many, that was when I was 16. I’m not the same person I was two years ago, nor should I be. I am, at the end of the day, a newly minted adult who is figuring out who she wants to be one day at a time. I hope as I see more of the world, and encounter more people from different walks of life, that my mind changes a thousand times. I hope that I am confident in my beliefs but humble enough to hear other people out. I hope I never stop learning or growing.
Social media isn’t human. It’s made up of humans, but social platforms themselves are these incredible technologies that we as people are still figuring out how to use to the best of our abilities. As a plus, social media has helped many of us connect with people outside of our everyday lives, stay in touch with far away loved ones, and learn about the world. But it’s also contributed to a huge breakdown in communication for people as a whole. People will write you off based on something they’ve seen online without getting to know you or the truth. They will draw opinions about you based on their perception of your life in tiny squares. They will decide if you are beautiful before they’ve ever heard your voice or held your hand. That, to me, is an issue. And if you’re here reading this, it’s probably something you feel too.
Over the last year, I’ve intentionally made my personal life more private. I would be lying if I said a part of me didn’t miss getting to share my happy moments with you all online. After all, I have been posting my life on the internet since I was 13, it feels odd to not have the freedom to post whatever is going on in my life without a care for what people say about it.
I’m actively renegotiating the way I participate in social media and trying to find better ways to connect with my community while still protecting my peace. I think as we grow up, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is re-evaluate our relationships—with other people, the world, and even ourselves. But I miss going live with you guys, I miss spending hours in the comments and seeing how funny you guys are and I’m figuring out how to best communicate with you again in a way that feels less disconnected, more genuine, and still protects my peace. Until then, I’m so glad to be able to come to you here weekly and share this journal with you all, and I so love hearing from you in my DMs or email. You’ll never know how much I truly appreciate each and every one of you reading. <3