As i’m sitting down to write this post it suddenly feels like the hardest thing ever for me to write, ten times harder than writing my 22 things no-one tells you about having bulimia post, and i’m unsure as to why.
As most of you know, I spent two years working at IPC Media across the fashion titles’ websites (LOOK, Marie Claire) before six months at Metro.co.uk as a senior reporter on the lifestyle section, and i’m now down to two days a week as a freelancer at Metro.co.uk whilst I work pretty much full time on my blog.
And it’s great, it’s fantastic. I get to sleep in til 8am, I don’t have to commute, I am my own boss. If I need an hour to flop in front of the TV and watch Friends re-runs under a blanket, then I absolutely can. If I want to swan off to Starbucks to drink cappuccinos and read and plan blog posts, then that too is an option I never had before. But social media is making me feel like it’s not enough, like I still need more.
What social media does, is not make me unhappy or ungrateful for what I have, because i’d be such an idiot to not realise how lucky I am – I have a home with more square foot than any of my London-renting friends, I have an amazing boyfriend, and I have a successful blog that isn’t far off making enough income to be a full-time career, but i’m not content because I don’t have EVERYTHING, literally everything. Everything I could ever want. It makes me greedy.
Why are other people going on more holidays than me? Wait, why wasn’t I invited to that press event? How does everyone have more new clothes than me?
It’s a constant cycle in my brain, mostly spurred on by following my ex-colleagues and other bloggers on Instagram and I honestly find it so devastating to my mental health – it can turn a bright, sunny productive day into a morning spent lolling about in bed doing nothing but moping, despite the fact social media is the exact reason i’ve had the career I have. FFS.
We talk about comparing ourselves to our peers all the time, and this is where it hits me hardest. Which you probably wouldn’t expect, right? Hannah is a successful journalist with a successful blog and always looks like she’s ggallivanting off abroad and for lavish dinners and is always shopping and blah, blah, blah, and you’re right, I am, but I want more. Which is entirely ridiculous, right?
Sure, social media makes me envious that people have better figures than me, have babies, are engaged, nicer furniture, but these things don’t upset me or make me anxious the way that comparing myself to my fashion and lifestyle journalist and blogging peers do, it doesn’t even come close.
When I worked at LOOK.co.uk I got sent a lot of free beauty products, I went with Matalan to Aintree races, to New York with SIMON Shopping Destinations, to Babington House with Lacoste and went to lots of swank dinners and press days and events. At Metro.co.uk i’ve been to the Cotswolds with Ted Baker, am going to Washington D.C. and Baltimore with SIMON Shopping Destinations, have stayed in a cabin in the woods in Norfolk and have also been to some lovely events. I have been gifted with some truly wonderful perks of the job, so why can’t I be content now?
The truth is that most fashion and beauty companies don’t see me as important anymore, the way they did when I was deputy editor at LOOK.co.uk. To them, I am now nothing, a new blogger with a low social media following.
The difference to me is that I am now producing content that benefits people, that people enjoy, that people come back to, rather than creating shopping galleries and newsletters that don’t make people’s days just a little bit better, the way you guys tell me my blog posts do. I get less of the glossy perks of working in fashion and lifestyle, but more work fulfillment and life satisfaction than I ever thought possible from working in journalism.
So why is the incredibly positive feedback I get back from you guys not enough for me? Why do I need like I need the material freebies this industry is littered with to make me feel better? And would I even be happier if I got them?
I am comparing myself to people who have been blogging for 5 years not eight months, people that have built relationships with PRs over a decade, not two and a half years. I am comparing myself against people that will obviously have more than me. I feel like a Sim trying to do a suave kiss with a neighbour they just met (LOL to my reference there). I am rushing my expectations because Instagram makes me feel like I should be doing better, be doing more, have everything that I could ever possibly want.
And you know what? I’m 25. Twenty fucking five. And I’ve achieved a lot. So i’m going to step away from this blog post, and go to my happy place (coffee in a Costa on an Ipswich industrial estate – glam) and think about how happy I am, how lucky I am, and how there are so many people out there struggling to get to the place in life, and in happiness, that I am now.
Forget Instagram, forget the things everyone else has that you don’t, and remember all the wonderful, wonderful thing your life has been blessed with so far and how much more you have yet to come.