A whole year has passed since I first started Clarity Pending and started sharing online some of the thoughts that were previously confined to the pages of my journal. So what’ve I learnt? What’s surprised me ? These are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself and hopefully questions which strike your curiosity. So, I thought I’d put together this little blog post…
The more I engaged with social media, the more I realised social media is so full of facades and photoshop. The more I also realised that it’s tempting to follow this trend. When people write uplifting statuses, posts or show photos of the highs, this isn’t inherently bad, but there’s a huge blank space where people fail to also mention to lows, the worn down moments and the thoughts we all can relate to from time to time. It’s so easy to hide behind your words. My draft folder is full of blog posts that weren’t quite transparent enough to be worth putting out there. In my writing and in feedback I’ve found there’s real value in just speaking the messy truth. Some of my most positively responded to posts have been the ones written in one draft, when I’ve been feeling less than 100%. Now the truth is both uplifting and sometimes hard, but to forget to mention to dark when you’re celebrating the light, means that whatever you are producing – whether it’s a song, a poem, a blog, a photo collection – lacks authenticity. When ever you interact with social media, through Facebook, instagram, twitter, blogs, tumblr – whatever – show people the real world, the one they can relate to. Show people the reality they find themselves in and don’t just paint a picture of a life not even you experience. There’s enough photoshop out there – we need to be a force for authenticity.
Following on from this, when you do express something of that messy truth, more people relate to you than you expect. The first time you try to do something a little messier than a perfectly filtered instagram photo, it can be tricky. You can feel a bit overexposed and vulnerable. But more people read it than you expect, and more people are uplifted ironically by your less than perfect moments. It’s refreshing to read something that finds hope even whilst acknowledging the rubbish. One of my most read blog posts was written when I’d just spent the afternoon feeling down about myself and my University studies. I had a cold and was surrounded by tissues. I felt sorry for myself and felt ridiculous for feeling that way. But I thought I’d experiment and write something in the moment, and do the absolute minimum in editing it (I’m talking just spelling and grammar). It surprised me how much people appreciated my vulnerability. The flip side of this is that social media is not your place to overexpose yourself – being vulnerable only works online if you decide to live that way away from the internet. Social media is not something to be your sole place of processing or receiving encouragement. But with a network of people encouragers offline , you can build up others online by being your authentic, messy and honest self. Often to write something worth writing, you have to dig deeper.
On what could be considered a more trivial note – like instagram likes, view counters can be a tad addictive unless you clock it before it gets the better of you. I guess this is why I said previously that blogging is not your destination to overshare, you never know what reaction it will have and you have to watch that the feedback or views never means too much to you. I have to make sure I write because I want to and share what I want to – not because I need a rush of affirmation from that little hit counter, or I want to maintain a presence in people’s newsfeeds.
Something I’ve only recently realised with the help of having a year’s worth of blog to look back on is that looking back on posts and lessons you’ve worked through is really helpful! Especially if like me, you spot yourself constantly relearning past life lessons. I’ve also recently been reading through my past journals (I only started journalling 3 years ago just before I started university). Looking back can be really encouraging as you can see how far you’ve come, but it can also be convicting as you spot cyclical patterns of learning and relearning lessons, like overcoming insecurities, repetitive struggles with faith or spotting things you haven’t come very far in. It teaches you more about yourself, and helps you dream about where you might be in 1, 3, 5, 10 years time. But relearning things isn’t a sign of failure. You may spot how your tone has changed, maybe you’re more positive about it this time around, or you’ve managed to grasp part of the bigger picture at play in a certain situation. Writing is a real blessing and gives us such insight into how we change overtime – whether written online or privately in those tightly locked notebooks made for no one elses eyes.
Finally, I’ve found that my blog hasn’t replaced my journal. Just as I said being vulnerable online must be accompanied by an honest offline life with the people by your side. So too, processing and articulating online has not meant for me that I stop writing just for myself. I still find such value in journalling in the moment, writing poems and prayers only for my eyes. Things are not only af value when they get views and likes and comments. Writing can still be a gift that I keep just to myself or those closest to me.
So here’s to the next year of writing and figuring out graduate life, and being able to share my journey and thoughts with you all along the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little blog even half as much as I have – and thank you for your continued encouragement and support!