How do we motivate ourselves to get out into the world? And once we successfully do that, how then are we able to work our names, brands, and missions—a complete essence of self—into the digital realm? Are they one in the same? Does anything get lost in translation?
Am I batshit crazy or does this make a wee bit of sense?
In any case, I want to talk about the idea of getting ourselves OUT there in the 21st century and as a blogger, what this means for me.
I sat down to write two months ago with nothing more than an idea for a website and a wanderlust I’ve lived with my entire life. My goal was to marry these two non-corporeal elements into a physical manifestation and thus, The Wild Collective movement was born. (Also: thanks to the incomparable Sara from Me and Orla for gently guiding me onto the path–you’re pure sunshine and I adore thee!)
At the end of the day, what I wanted to do was break away from the social media storm, i.e. Facebook, and create something true that others could relate to and identify with.
Don’t misunderstand me though, the birth of TWC was more than mere disdain for Facebook: It was born on the web but with the object in mind that people would get to see the me, versus the facade that mankind has cornered itself into. And don’t tell me you don’t understand what I mean by that; I’ve all but abandoned FB because of how phony and don’t get fired me up about the (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PEOPLE) whiny outbursts that everyone feels they’re entitled to throw around at leisure nowadays.
Facebook fucking sucks. You can clap if you feel a strong desire to, go ahead, I’ll wait.
Anyway, rant aside, TWC ultimately morphed into a way for me to slowly detach from the ridiculous falseness of everyday social networking life. But the website still only exists within the digital realm and so, does what I’m aiming to do and who I am translate well enough? Obviously this is to be answered later—the process is what we’re chatting on about now!
So once again, how am I able to convert my real self, the me that lives in the physical human Planet Earth world, to 0’s and 1’s? More than that—how can this become equivalent to honest-to-God-I’m-here-breathing-as-I-type-this life?
Oh…I snuck in the answer up there. Did you catch it?
It’s simple really, as are all things once you strip them down to the bone. You see, by being honest with my readers, no matter how few there are at the moment (I love you all!), I can allow myself to be seen rather than heard.
I can pour my heart out—the sorrows, the triumphs, the losses, the insecurities, and expose the derp faces—you know, the shit no one outside of your significant other, children, best friends, siblings or parents should get to glimpse. And I do this because being a human being can be nasty and gross and downright creepy but each of us has the capacity and propensity for all of it.
And what do we end up doing with this gritty glory? We hide it. We bury our true selves in favor of Snapchat filters, or we spend an hour doing makeup for a selfie even though we’re wearing Cheetos-stained sweatpants. Is it so hard to believe that I WANT you to see my Cheetos stains because yeah, Cheetos are fucking delicious and sometimes I get lazy, so wipe.
You see, the internet is a monster, possibly the biggest one in existence and to go on explaining why this is absolute fact would be redundant of me. So I won’t.
That’s the internet calling! Be sure to show your red carpet self 24/7, with photos angled just so to convey how truly flawless you are! OH–Don’t forget to write about your new BMW parked beside a thirty year old trash can in your driveway!
I sound bitter but really, I’m tired of the boast game and the false lives portrayed. I want no more of it, can no longer stomach it.
The honesty aesthetics: I don’t wake up looking like a model, I don’t fit into size 3 jeans like I did when I was 22, I don’t smell great after a long day of work, and sometimes I forget to brush my teeth and hair and put deodorant on. I get grumpy, feel frumpy and have times where everything is God awful because that’s what my gut feeling decided to go with that day.
But…don’t we all?
Don’t each of us experience these very-normal, simple things and manage to survive another day? We do. Yet we neglect to acknowledge them in the eyes of our peers, family and friends for fear of looking weak on the internet. Or less than so and so. Or poor or fat or forgotten. Force forbid we show any of those attributes on the digital platform we base 80%* of our self worth on.
So I made a choice and consciously dismissed myself from that Barbie fantasy, left the sham and drudgery behind, and thus began the journey of a lifetime. I am writing the way towards my honest identity and while you could easily classify this as self-therapy, I view it more as a way to connect with like-minded souls.
By moving beyond the plastic web-dolls that many people in my life have become, it’s paved the way for me to make decisions based on what’s best for me versus what would garner the most amount of praise or likes or blah blah blah. I fell into a trap where it mattered—you know, the It: the LIKE button and the constant empty feeling of it not being clicked enough because WHY why wouldn’t someone like my post? Why would they ignore it? Clearly it’s because I’m living my life all wrong!
Again I’ll say it: I wanted to put an end to that hollow sense of gratification and so far, I’m pretty damn happy with how things have been going as a result. I…love who I am now more than I ever have—even just thinking this thought in the past would have caused me to scoff, but these days it’s true.
Coming here, creating this blog, having a real true honest path and passion for what I’m doing, has made me love who I am. And none of this would have occurred had I refused to be honest about who I am here, within these entries.
I’d never have broken through that miserably drab roof if I continued to search for applause and pats on my digital back. The words and stories and desires and longings would still be inside of my head, shelved and impatiently awaiting their time in the sun. I’ve opened myself to the future and I’m ready.
It’s funny, it almost feels as though I’m free now…
Discussion: Does honesty really make THE difference in the conversion from real-world to digital-world? Or is it merely a component for change, a segue into self-identity one could suggest. Is it both? How does being honest with a public audience affect your personal opinions on a matter that, maybe, you were a little hesitant to share? Perhaps it heals you, perhaps not. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
*I’m being generous here, probably more like 92%