"Wow, you have such a perfect life... I wish I was you!", the words flutter against my ear drums once again, it is then I know that Instagram has once again fooled somebody into thinking that someone else's life is perfect -- masked by filters, pumped-up with emoticons and short catch phrases to pour a great big dollop of 'I'm ok, I really am' over the top of everything.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when the empathy-phobe, modern-day social media members gather a bunch of 'don't worry be happy' meems and post them here, there and everywhere -- as if to signal that they are well and truly gripping onto the positivity waggon; following up people's current state of affairs with "but you just have to try and be positive!". I'm sorry to say, but I completely disagree and I'm going to explain why...
I'm no saint, but I've always been a firm believer in telling the truth and honesty. Why so brutally honest you ask? not even a white lie? Not really, no! And thus my emotions and current mood also fall straight into the pit of being true to oneself. Instead of answering the infamous question that is mostly a pleasantry; "how are you?" with a half hearted answer pushed through the walls of shame and anxiety like; "yeah.. I'm good..." just to people-please the sheeple of the 'positive world', I feel very comfortable, and apparently, rather too often, in saying; "do you know what, no, I'm not okay! Would you like me to tell you why? Or are you going to start tagging me in all of your favourite Instagram meems?". And there we are. Masking my feelings to make other people feel better is not something on my list of things to worry about, which brings me on to the next part, yep, vulnerability.
To break away from the gossip, to stand out and be different, to be honest about who you are and how you feel -- can these days feel suffocating under the blanket of 'positivity'. Now, under that blanket you can feel pretty alone! If I step out, I'm walking into the land of vulnerability. Every time I choose to talk to somebody, I'm vulnerable. I choose to trust them, but how will they treat the information I verbally drip out to them? People don't seem to realise that they are seriously privileged when a friend decides to go into vulnerability mode for them, it means they've earned respect from that person. Here, for example, is not the time to go into your positive parole, waving the giant flag of shame in the face of trust. Now is the time to listen, use those empathy skills, dig deep into your personal experiences and connect on a grounded level. Instead of the robotic, "ohh, well cheer up... could be worse!" why not take it as a compliment that this friend chose you, to trust and be their true-self with.
I have been on a journey for the past decade, looking at relationships, feelings and how beautiful we can be on the inside. It's not factory produced products being whacked on for the wedding day that helps me connect with clients, sure it's my job, but the human connection and seeing beauty on the inside helps me do my job well.
Being an artist sounds like the dream job to some people. You get to create and most of the time you get to work for yourself. However, being an artist is one of the most vulnerable jobs out there, which makes it difficult. Your passion, your ideas and your creations that have come from the heart are all in the firing line. It doesn't matter if you're a makeup artist, an actor, an interior designer, illustrator etc. When we accept a commission or a contract, we choose to be vulnerable, no matter how many years we've been doing it.
After twelve years in the industry, I have learnt that inner beauty is far more important that external beauty. Being a good person who not only listens, but hears, is one of the best measurements of success out there. Money, followers and a career do not bring happiness, they are external scapegoats to say; "look, I'm doing ok".
I want to leave you with this video from the amazing, Brené Brown - to think on, and ask yourself, how is my inner beauty doing?