I follow a lot of people on social media.
Yes, surrounding myself with filtered and curated glimpses of the lives of others is probably not the healthiest use of my time. Scratch that: definitely not. I’ll the FIRST to admit that.
But these platforms and these people are not going away. The digital phenomena of sharing images and video and captions and narrations of our lives as we live them is not disappearing anytime soon. It’s actually growing - at an overwhelming pace nonetheless.
I wholeheartedly believe life is found offline and up above, not in here. I do not want the Internet to be a safe haven for anyone. It can’t fulfill that kind of role. It has no heart in it of itself.
What I can do with what I have available to me, however, is to intersect those scrollings and those ponderings with words that sneak even the smallest peak into the reality of life’s ups and downs. Instagram and the blogging world is filled to the brim with content curated to “inspire” us to “live our best lives” and to “improve” things about ourselves and our routines – all content that I definitely do consume and do find entertaining. These worlds are, at their core, entertainment. They cannot form deep relationships; they can simply introduce us to new experiences that we then must log off and go explore for our own individual selves.
Even though these digital spaces are soaked with good and positive content, every now and again I come across a published video or post sharing a “Life Update” or a “Story Behind _____” or “What’s Really Going On.” While some are simply clickbait, a fair majority are not. This particular type of content owns up to the fact that someone with a following for their perfectly curated life needs to let that following in on the secret reality of their struggles, their transformations, and their decisions.
The content that glimpses into subjects we tend to find uncomfortable or overtly personal is rare. And I am absolutely enchanted by it.
I find videos and Instagram posts by strangers and influencers about what they’re feeling and how they’re doing energizing. Some are exciting, some are more sad, but all of them are REAL. They are opening up - even to just the few people that may actually pay attention - that they have things happening to them as human beings living in an imperfect world, and those experiences are affecting who they are.
When I come across titles and interviews exploring what it means to be transparent online, I feel - as a reader - like I am less alone. And I can’t explain it beyond just a small, teeny, tiny sense of relief. That the pressure and transformative experiences I am working through are not unusual, misunderstood, and incapable of being solved. They are, contrary to our idealized versions of life, worthy of being noticed. And to not accept them is to disregard the beauty that is cultivated life – something I really, really do not want to disregard.
Comparison is the thief of joy and I therefore urge you to leave the digital world behind you for a while if you truly, truly need it. But if you are here, while you are here, I want to build a space to remind you that you and I, in our imperfectness, have stories being crafted in the present. Not a blog filled with advice to help you get where you want to go. Not just reflections on travels and happenings that are already gone. But what’s here. What’s now. What’s really going on.
Sharing my own life’s messy narrative is, to me, an intimate act of worship. It is not meant to make you wish you were someone else. It is not meant to make you feel pity or disillusionment to yet another thing wrong with the world. It is also absolutely not meant to glorify anyone, but the One painting the story. That process is raw but all art is. It has to be, in order to be considered worthy of our attention.
I have decided to share the waves of my really, really rocky ocean as a tangible reminder to my own, sinking self of the One who walked on water – in the dire and desperate hope you might remember Him too.
Should my words ever intersect your time online, please know that
a) I am safe and surrounded by the most wonderful people in the world,
b) I am writing these things as I am growing and not after I am healed,
c) and real life involves real things happening to real people – and those real things are both happy and sad.
The content I create is content I would want to read on my darkest days and my brightest ones. You might agree with it or not, you might find relatable tidbits or not, you might read every word or not. I love you as a digital friend, anyways.
This journey is just as uncomfortable to write out as it might be to read, but that’s only because we’re breaking the surface of a conversation well overdue, and none of us quite know the perfect timing to let it out. Well, hello! Here we are. I really, really think… it’s time.
Hi! I'm Chloe, a twenty-something writer and communications strategist figuring it out as I go along. I love airplanes, oat lattes, and deep chats over cheap wine.
I hope you leave here inspired to explore the world and love its people, or, keep reading all the things. It's good for you!
Follow along: @chloe.belangia