Are We Showing the ‘Shinier’ Versions of Ourselves?

Mental Health

As most of you know, I am a lifestyle blogger and I partner with brands and do paid collaborations with brands that I actually use (for the most part). I also love to write my truth and things I am struggling with or going through whether that’s here or within an Instagram post. I think it’s important to be as real as possible and I really want to show my followers the authentic ME!

But….lately I am just not so sure. I am feeling the pressure to be a shinier me. I read the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle this summer and it ROCKED my world. Throwing my mind in places I didn’t realize I needed to go. I felt my body physically reacting to the realizations of how much I have been “tamed” through religion, my family, where I live etc… Most of that is great. I love who I am and the village that raised me, but I have some work to do.

With these realizations, it’s made me question where I stand within the Instagram world. It’s made me question the Instagram platform in general. I have some thoughts and they may be controversial, but here we go… I am sick and tired of the inauthenticity on Instagram. The fake comments ladies make to each other just to boost engagement without even reading the caption. The money we pay to be a part of giveaways knowing darn well that we are essentially buying followers. The follow loops where we blindly follow a bunch of people that we genuinely aren’t interested in, but pretend to be. The madness of trying to like every single person’s photo throughout the day, so you’re not even reading their caption. The anxiety that comes from not answering DMs. The time it takes to gather all the right hashtags and link the correct items. AHHHH my inner self is like WTF. But, I do it. Apparently I don’t do it well enough, because my following has not increased like other bloggers and if you’re trying to make money on Instagram, followers matter, simple as that.

It’s a circle of anxiety and stress for me to be honest. My main career is owning a dance studio and truthfully I don’t wear makeup very often, so I rarely feel photo ready. Half the time, I have no idea what to post or talk about like “hey guys, today I woke up around 10:30am, had some coffee, answered emails, caught up with a friend, and then finally decided to brush my teeth around noon and also, I paced around the house slowly putting laundry away and taking breaks to pet my dog. Then Kyle came home for lunch and I still was in my PJ’s.” YAY, how exciting and glam is that?!

The other part of this is when you are becoming an “influencer” you usually have a niche whether that’s fashion, travel, food, or fitness. I have NO CLUE what niche I am. I’m a dog mom, who likes barre workouts, but also loves fried food and wine along with cute clothes, but most days are spent in sweats, because I’m always sweaty and dancing. Apologies for the run-on sentences!

Most of you reading this might think? “Well, Taryn you fit into lots of niches and how cool is that?” Yes, it is fun to be the jack of all trades (haha) but it has not been ideal for Instagram as a “business.” I look at so many bloggers and envy their artsy aesthetic or effortless coolness. I wish I was more edgy. I wish the rush of doubt didn’t come every single time I posted something. I wish I loved every single photo of myself, but mostly I wish I could actually be ME on Instagram.

I feel as though I may owe my followers an apology for putting out there that I am transparent and authentic. No I’m not. Not really. I am a shinier version of me on social media. I struggle with content, because I don’t feel as though my life is interesting enough. I struggle with anxiety and past trauma, and talking about it too much on Instagram might push people away. I want to be honest, but a lot of times it’s heavy and dark. I would rather be a light for people. I use humor to cover up all the bad, which a lot of times makes it look like I have my shit together. Having your “shit together” is all relative and very subjective anyway. I have a bucket load of family stuff that has been eating me alive for years, but many of my followers don’t know that. The anxiety of trying to make sure I stay engaged with my following literally makes my stomach hurt. Anxiety causes me to not eat! NOT OKAY and here I sit, still trying to make it seem like this Instagram business is a great thing for me.

Alright, so what’s the point? Am I giving up Instagram? Am I going to continue to stop working with brands? No, but I am strongly thinking about what’s next for me and assessing what I want my page to look like in the next upcoming months/years. What’s the goal here? What do I want my “niche” to be? Do I need one? Why do people come to my page? What do they want to see? What do brands want to see? The shinier version of me or the REAL me?

It’s tough. I don’t have the answers yet. Quite nervous and scared to publish this honestly, but I’d love to create some dialogue on this topic. I’d love to hear other blogger and influencers’ thoughts. Maybe it’s just not THAT deep and I need to chill. Who cares if I have 17 niches? Maybe the followers I do have appreciate that about me? Maybe it’s my own insecurities holding me back? Sometimes I wish I didn’t think so much. I wish I could just make Instagram a business and call it a day. I wish I could just pick a niche, stick to it, and make the damn money. But I have this urge to be and do more. I want to talk about the real s***. Trauma, addiction, this idea of “perfection” that is literally unattainable, depression, anxiety, sexual health, abuse, recovery, all of it! We are all battling something and if you aren’t, I think you’re the minority. Let’s normalize how tough the human experience is. Like Glennon Doyle says, “Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”

It may take me another ten years to figure out what I REALLY want to say to this world. I may never be more than a “micro-influencer” on Instagram, but if I end up positively influencing and impacting hundreds of kids and people throughout this life, then everything I’ve said or shared is all worth it.

I want to end by saying I sincerely don’t mean to offend any other bloggers or influencers. The bloggers I follow have immense passion behind their work and they grind their butts off, probably more than 40 hours a week, to give their audience the best deals, links, content, etc…The authenticity in the community from many bloggers I follow is incredible. Most of y’all are real as hell…discussing motherhood, societal issues, and personal battles. Kudos! I am discussing the “influencing” community as a whole and some of the practices we do that rub me the wrong way. Straight up just isn’t for me sometimes and causes me lots of anxiety, but may work for you and that is okay!

Last thing, if you’ve followed my journey thus far, I hope you stay!! I don’t mean to push anyone away. Don’t think I’ll stop sharing my life, Beautycounter, tips, recipes, clothing from the boutiques, fun content/photography, or links to a variety of things, because I will always do that! Honestly maybe I’ll just continue doing what I do, share what and when I want, and take the pressure off myself to grow into this immaculate influencer. Maybe not having a niche is my niche! Who knows! Just putting out my very transparent opinion to you all, and sharing an internal battle I’ve been having for awhile and if my content does change a little bit, the above reasons are why! 🙂

Much love,

T

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