The Online versus “Real” Persona

“A food blog displayed on the screen of a MacBook on a desk” by Igor Miske on Unsplash

I was perusing Instagram the other day, and scrolled past a post from a woman that I know personally. She is an instructor at my yoga studio and also has a blog and following. Her post was along the lines of “There are no bad days. We put a category on our days. It’s up to us to keep it within the moment and not turn it into a bad day.”

I immediately thought “What utter nonsense.”

I sent it to a friend of mine who is a fellow loss mama. My daughter, Nelle, was stillborn at 21 weeks of pregnancy and my daughter Iris was lost at 16 weeks of pregnancy. My friend’s son was stillborn on his due date, and she is also a licensed therapist. She was equally infuriated and we assumed that the poster had never gone through anything difficult in her life. The post reeked of ignorance.

I have been through bad days, and I could not “happy think” my way out of that bad day. I have been through depression and anxiety, where the chemistry of my body had changed and there was nothing I could do to control the thoughts in my head. The implication of the post was that if we had bad days we were just not trying hard enough, and it was offensive.

Still seething, I mentioned the post to my husband. He said “Maybe that’s just her online persona.” He mentioned that he had seen an interview with the lead singer of Metallica recently. The singer said that while a lot of the songs were dark and angry, it was just an image. He was actually a really happy person 98% of the time. And Metallica has been around since long before social media made our private lives so glaringly public.

I stopped and took a breath. Her post had been on her business profile, the one associated with her blog. She was targeting a specific audience and all of her posts about yoga are motivational and uplifting.

I do the same. In my own blog, I write about grief and loss. Those are not the only aspects of my life, but that is the target audience of my writing. I had to make room for the possibility, or perhaps probability, that the same was true for this yoga blog.

It is hard to separate what we see on social media versus real life, even for non-business-related content. I see smiling photos plastered all over Facebook and if I went by that, then no one I know ever has problems or struggles. And for those that do air out their dirty laundry, I have found myself erroneous thinking “Why are you telling us this? Keep your problems to yourself.” Far from supportive, when the person is clearly trying to come to the community for help.

I love social media. I love the involvement and interactions that it allows me to have with friends and family that are far away. But I have to keep in mind that it is a carefully curated selection of content, and doesn’t represent all aspects of a life being lived.

To read the writing that I do about pregnancy loss and grief, you can head over to my blog, Grieving Out Loud.

Writer • Mother • Bereaved • Friend • Documentarian • Finance Nerd • IoT Geek • Collector • Creative • https://musingsoutloud.com/

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