These three words are really important to me – to my own journey through life and also as the mum of a teenager. And when it comes to health and wellbeing – physical and mental , the power of this statement is paramount to our overall happiness.
It’s a topic that enters both my personal and professional world nearly every day…. and a great deal of this is down to the modern perils of social media and the internet.
We are constantly bombarded with images of men and women whose faces, bodies and supposed ‘belief systems’, are nothing short of perfect, whatever that word means. Its narcissism personified and it’s seriously damaging to our health and wellbeing.
So now that I am a ‘blogger’, which means ‘putting yourself out there’…. I am attaching a pic that is not only ‘not photoshopped’… but reminds me of what ‘keepin’ it real’ means to me. This is me about 36 hours post surgery…. super special looking!!! I couldn’t have cared less about makeup, hair (clearly!!!😱 please note even though I’d made it to shower as explained in a previous post, I wasn’t allowed to wash my hair for 8 whole days!!!!! seriously gross!!!!) , clothes, whether I was bloated (errrr… clearly my face looks like a balloon that got stuck between 2 heavyweight boxers!) or how relevant I am to the universe …. I was ALIVE!!!!!
But it shouldn’t take such drastic events to help us find perspective.
I have been asked to run a worksop later this year with a group of uni students on ‘failure and resilience’… and was discussing the students health and wellbeing this morning with one of the course creators. She mentioned how concerned the women were with how they were judged in the ‘eyes of the world’…. and how ‘perfect’ they felt they needed to be to succeed . To look perfect… have amazing careers…. eat perfectly…be in perfect relationships…be socially conscious and make a difference in the world….oh yeah… and then make it all known to the outside world, in just the right way, so everyone knows you’re doing it… with style and just the right amount of pretending its all effortless!
One thing I will begin my workshop with, is the fact that pretty much 99% of what they are seeing and reading is utter bulls**t!!! It’s created and curated for either profit or personal validation.
And I have to say this, (even though I cringe a little at the older, wiser crack) but what they are looking at, are ‘moments in time’, of people in their late teens, 20’s and possibly early 30’s – lets see if the hype has longevity and can survive the tough times – that’s the true test.
I have spent my entire life working in the fashion industry – enter photoshop!! Even more on point in 2017… enter the 1000’s of photo app’s on your mobile that can make you look thinner, taller, younger, more tanned, have bigger boobs, bigger butts, bigger pecs, bigger eyes, smoother skin (👍) and whiter teeth!!! Did I mention taller? … this one I whole-heartedly embrace at my dizzying heights😉😂 (for those that don’t know me I’m a little less than 6ft…. about a foot less!!!!!)
I have sat on a fashion shoot… as a client… and helped the art director manipulate the photos of the model we were using as she was too thin … we literally drew her curves on after the shot. Keepin’ it real….. NOT! In real life she looked ill!
Then come the messages of ‘self help’ and evangelical narrative , giving the author this immortal ability to save the world one burpee, acai bowl or motivational talk at a time !!!!! I mean, one popped up on my insta feed the other day… with a smoothie bowl as the visual… and the narrative ranting on about finding your ‘spiritual self’….. sorry what??!!! I felt so let down… I don’t eat smoothie bowls … so I may be soul searching for eternity!!!
Preying off peoples vulnerabilities really bothers me – its cheap and easy.
Lets take certain fitness guru’s as an example…. now if my job is to spend all day, every day looking sh*t hot…. then so I should!!! So please, please…. don’t post pics of your abs or butt every day to inspire me… I got it… you’re young, hot and probably app-enhanced!
Post pics or videos of you training and how you train, tell me how you eat – absolutely… that inspires and educates me… that’s social media at its best. Mish Bridges is someone that inspires – she keeps it real, she’s honest, I like that. Yes, she is running a (very successful) business, so her content has to promote and drive business and she’s gotta look good, but it’s got heart and authenticity. It means I trust her and this is getting harder and harder to find.
I think ‘wellbeing’ – especially mental and emotional, is the most abused space on social media. I used to enjoy a good motivational quote or two… but now my feed seems to be utterly littered with the dam things so nothing has any meaning anymore! I’d rather they were funny now…. and a bit of a piss take. Having a laugh at my own misgivings is more ‘real’ than pretending to blow smoke up my own (or other peoples) backside!!!!
The millennials and Z generation are struggling with this more than anyone. They are living life ‘through a lens’ and its really worrying.
They are not living the life they want to live – whether they are mediating daily, practicing yoga or completing mindfulness courses by the dozen – they are living a life they think they should be and want others to see. I’m not even sure they want to do these things, they just believe doing them will make them more worthy. They want validation from their peers. Or worse, they are living life as ‘preached’ by those they follow on Facebook, instagram or snapchat…. lives that are delivered as surreal snapshots littered with inspirational anecdotes to make you a better human being. From where I stand… to be a ‘lifecoach’ … you have to actually have lived one!
If we are trying to really help people on their journey, then tell me what its like on your bad days as well… this keeps it real. Most people need to know what to do when the bad day hits…. to really cope. When I feel really shit (and those days come at you like a freight train) I need proper tools to deal with it… reading a quote off pinterest really isn’t gonna cut the mustard … and I don’t know about you, but even looking at Instagram when I feel like shit makes me want to sob… what does that say about its content!
Lets take fitness for example. I’m one of those people that has to train early in the mornings . Two reasons for this – I don’t bloody sleep (bane of my life) , so may as well and in the evenings I’m usually asleep in front of Netflix dribbling down my hoody by 7pm!!! Total party animal!!
For that reason you will never see me post a workout pic that has me in a full face of makeup with my hair looking salon worthy (who the bloody hell goes to the gym like that anyway??!!!). I will be wearing no makeup, I will not have showered, my hair will be in a pony tail (as thats like the best facelift at 6am I can find!) and my eyes will resemble that of a pregnant goldfish! And it’s not that I don’t care what I look like …. cos actually I do… but WTF you gonna do… its 6am in the morning … I have no choice!!
Besides…. I’m there to train so within 15 mins I’ll be sweating like a pig and gasping for breath… so hair and makeup would be pointless! I’d rather you knew I was actually putting the work in anyway. Sweat gets results – thats keepin’ it real.
I think thats why food on instagram is so popular to be honest… we don’t really give a sh*t whether its photoshopped or filtered …cos it doesn’t make us feel bad!!! Hmmmm… if I could filter my feed to only include yummy food shots on my ‘feeling shit’ days, I may have found a coping mechanism!! And – it’s calorie free!!!!!! Win – win!!!
Keepin’ it real!!!