There are those of us that remember the earliest days of social media. The days when you knew html for your MySpace profile and needed a college email to have a Facebook account. The days when status updates were used to announce every little step throughout our days. “I’m off to work!” “I’m so bored lol” “Hungry can’t wait to eat.” “Off to the gym!” It was painful, and we all know it. We look back on our TimeHops and cringe at what we posted. Thankfully, in some way, times have changed. Posting eventually evolved into what they’ve become now. It is not good social media etiquette to mass post. We learned to post the highlights, the right amount of them, to remain in the mix.
We all know this. We know that when we see an influencer on Instagram that their job is to post those pictures. That they get to take the time to take the most beautiful photos in the most beautiful places. We know most people aren’t going to post about the fight they got into with their spouse, that they got laid off from work, that they were harmed by someone they trusted. We all know any image can be photoshopped or layered with a filter. We all know it’s all about the highlights online.
We all know this to be true, and yet the self-doubt, self-hate, and self-harm are at an unprecedented high in our modern society. The devastating increase in the amount of self-harm and suicide stats in young women, most of which barely existed before social media became readily available on all devices. The anguishing divide between family and neighbors over political differences.
I think what we’re all really wanting is the truth and authentic connection with those around us. We want to know that we belong, messy parts and all. That we’re not as different from one another as we’ve been lead to believe. That we’re not the only one.
We need more radical honesty and vulnerability. In my own experience, the more I’ve opened up as a real human the more connected I’ve felt with those I interact with (personally and virtually). I’ve taken risks and been bold, and the feeling is freedom. Now I’m calling on those willing to do the same.
Someone needs to hear your story. Someone’s life depends on listening to your exact personal experience. You’ll never know when or who that will be. It’s often not those closest to us that we try to influence.
We need to normalize vulnerability. We need to normalize what is actually normal in our lives. Pretending none of it exists clearly doesn’t seem to be working.
People have shared stories with me that changed my life forever. I have shared my story with some whose lives have changed forever. We are truly all in this together. We need to speak up, and we need to listen.
I want to do what I can to help create a space where real people can share real stories about their personal experiences, and those looking for it can easily find what they seek. #inmyexperience is what has blossomed in my efforts to do my part in this world. It starts here with real women that were brave enough to open up about their lived experiences in the hopes someone out there will learn from them.
The stories of these women will be linked below as they become available. I hope to expand on this collection in time. But my biggest hope is to see these ideas move outward into the world to create at least one more safe space where humans can be truly human.
If you feel called to share your experiences with others, please consider using the hashtag #inmyexperience to add to the collective experience of us all.