Privacy & Authenticity
I see those phrases come across my Instagram feed every day. As someone with social media accounts, I understand that you make decisions about what to share with potentially the entire world, permanently, every day. I’ve always been a heart-on-my sleeve over-sharer. I’ve tried so hard not to be, but it’s how I’m wired and I’ve recently decided to stop fighting it while setting healthy boundaries in sharing.
On social media, I’ve been more conscious than ever about what I share. Maybe I’m out of line here, but I don’t feel as if I need to post all about my bad days, inner most struggles, and fears on social media to come across as authentic or real. I don’t need a reminder that Instagram is a highlight reel. I notice it every day. My friends are not always what their feed suggests. My feed doesn’t tell you who I love. My feed doesn’t tell you about everyone who loves me. My feed doesn’t even reveal how I love myself. And guess what? I don’t think it needs to. I certainly don’t try to curate my feed to make it seem like I have a picture perfect life either. My stories often show candid (sometimes downright goofy) moments with the people I hold the most dear. I don’t lie, and if I’m not having a good day, even week, chances are, I won’t be posting. OR I’ll be posting lots of song screenshots, because as Drake sings, I’m “in my feelings.”
The message of the Melody & Grit brand is to live appreciating the beauty of life whilst enduring struggle. There is so much talk that people need to “come clean” or “share their story” in order for healing to begin, and I just don’t buy into that. I agree that sharing your story can help others heal and feel less alone in their pain, encourage other survivors of crimes to come forward, and allow yourself to feel heard and understood, but I don’t think it’s a one size fits all answer. Most importantly though, I don’t think that talking about trauma needs to happen in a public forum like social media. As of right now, I don’t anticipate ever sharing my stories this way. For me, revealing the specifics of my stories to trusted people that truly care about me, is healing. Maybe that’s also because I have art in my life. I create things all the time that bear my soul in performances, portrait projects, writing, and directing projects. My personal relationships and creative outlets serve as healers.
Privacy isn’t even something I always valued, especially as a chronic over-sharer with friends. In high school, literally everyone knew who I had a crush on. I found out that it actually isn’t the best way to peak someone’s interest. Nor is it good for you in the long run. When things don’t work out, they don’t work out publicly. Not fun and totally avoidable. Now, I practice privacy on social media by pausing before certain posts and asking myself some questions. First, is this something that adds value and reflects my brand or am I seeking attention from ex-loves or enemies? Second, is it something I may regret (for any reason at all) sharing later? You have to keep some memories for yourself that are not permanent and explicit on social media. My most beautiful memories of love are no where to be found on my social media, and I feel like I can keep them for my own and channel them into my art in less explicit, more nuanced ways. My most gut-wrenching moments are not on social media either, and I don’t feel like I owe it to people to remind them “I’m real” and “have bad days too.” If you want to share a bad day, I’m hear to listen. It’s good to remember though, the peace you can acquire in privacy, under all the noise.
All photos taken by Cooper Kusbit of WLLFLWR Media