“We need to know about other’s lives to know that we’re okay… you need to live bravely to encourage people to live bravely in their own lives.”
Laura Jane Williams on Fiona Barrows’ There Are Other Ways podcast
I love sharing my life online. I don’t know what it is about it, but I do find something truly cathartic about getting my thoughts and feelings out into the world. This is especially true when people really respond to it, saying that they too feel that way, or they also struggle with this certain thing.
I got accused recently of sharing too much of myself online, particularly the bad parts. Someone close to me said that my social media presence was taking too much of a ‘negative’ turn, particularly on Instagram. That sharing certain parts of my life – such as struggles with mental health and loneliness – was not something people wanted to see. “Instagram is where we go to escape,” they said, “we don’t want to be reminded of the sad things in life.”
Okay, I must confess: I may have slightly misled you with a the title. Clickbaited, you could say, in order to entice you into what I have to say. However, it’s a half-truth, and I want to explain why. A fair warning though: it’s about to get super ranty up in here.
It’s not so much that I hate women’s fiction, or ‘chick lit’ as it’s colloquially nicknamed. I have no problem with female-led, romance-driven stories — just that they’ve been given this name that is so looked down upon. ‘Chick lit’ is seen as fluffy and frivolous, not worthy of praise or merit just because its stories predominantly focus on women and their ‘womanly’ problems.
I’m back to regale you with more tales of Tinder from my single life, after telling you about the time I regretfully ghosted someone.
As summer of 2015 approached, almost a year to the date of the ghosting incident, I redownloaded Tinder. I don’t know what it is about summertime and me getting onto that ghastly app. Tinder was just a game to me at this point; I was beyond taking anything seriously. I had put in my bio something like “Attitude like Kanye, feelings like Drake”, hand-picked some of my best selfies and threw in a picture from a few Halloweens ago to show that I had a sense of humour.
On Sunday, Tom Fletcher announced a very exciting project that is the Children’s Book Club he is doing with WHSmith. In true Tom Fletcher style, his announcement video took form of a little musical number, with him creeping around a WHSmith after hours and drawing glasses on Zoella and Richard & Judy.
Scrolling down to the comments, the general consensus was positive. Everyone loved Tom’s creative way of revealing this news, and found the song funny and catchy.
However, a very small minority of commenters had another thing on their minds.
In a sea of brilliant, talented, witty, funny women, I was drowning.
In my eyes, everyone had something that made them unique, and I had nothing.
I tried to emulate the styles of my social media crushes, to no avail. That style was reserved, already being done, hence why mine felt like a watered down version. Better to be a first-rate version on yourself than a second-rate version of someone else, and all that.
I have been so fixated on others and their uniqueness, that mine wasn’t shining through. Or it was, but I didn’t deem it good enough.