Yesterday, through @alyonashmelev (whom I adore) I discovered a video on Dazed (below). I felt quite inspired to share my experience as a kid of the IG generation, but my FB post turned into an essay, so I’m doing it here.

My relationship with social media has gone through many phases. From indifferent in the beginning, to fascination when I started blogging, to obsession when my blog was at its top, to fatigue when people, brands and eventually myself started treating me like an object, to indifference again when I met Karlis who indirectly taught me how to care less about SM, to absolute loathing when I was working as a social media manager 9 hours a day + some more at home blogging, and now to more instrumental and pragmatic approach since I re-started blogging and making clothes. ‘Instrumental and pragmatic’ – Oh I wish that was 100% how I view and deal with SM now. It’s not.

It’s been 6 years since I started blogging. It’s long enough for me to have developed a love/hate relationship. Even if I try to deny it to myself, there will always be a small part of me, which cares deeply about what happens on my SM. Is it because my professional life is happening here? Idk. Somehow that would be too simplistic. Is it because my professional and personal life are so intertwined? “To be a good and successful blogger one MUST share their personal stuff – the more personal the better” – haha, right? People and businesses can no longer get away with just selling stuff. Everything must be authentic, storytelling bullshit, yada yada, selling experience instead of product, native advertising, blah blah… These are just new way to sell. After all, SM is a bunch of algorythms, behind which are people after only one thing – your money. Ultimately generating lots of new new mental health problems.

Being lonely as an outcome of spending a lot of time on social media is not really one of my problems. Quite the contrary – it makes me appreciate my alone time (and offline time) even more. Am I old? 😀 My phone is defo an extention of myself, but recently I’ve been feeling very distracted by it (yes, I’m old). I’ve disabled messenger notifications and put my phone on vibrate. I honestly can’t comprehend how anyone’s supposed to function and focus for more than 10 minutes at a time when their phone is always reminding them of everything else that’s happening atm. So I guess I sort of solved this problem by simply not participating as much and enjoying the moment or just being alone and sewing…

Of course, I have two personas… the SM Melisa and the real one… the latter you might get glimpses of in my stories, but I can’t honestly say that I don’t curate the shit out of my content. Colorschemes, #, 40 selfies out of which 1 makes it, planning my posts, etc. Idk. I’ve never been live on IG or nowhere. Authenticity my ass! I wish it was easier to be one’s authentic self on SM. Especially as a woman.

Well, it came to the point where I’m trying to make a living with selling my creations online (omg, shop coming so so soon – this pic is from my recent product shoot w/ @v_rotica) – I have to maintain a certain image to be credible. Don’t I? I don’t even know anymore 😀 Sometimes it feels safe, sometimes dangerous. There’s a fine balance between selling your brand and just selling yourself to get some likes, sell some stuff and make $. It’s easy to get lost on your ego trip. I’d be lying if I said I’m somehow immune to the sense of accomplishment when my IG pic reaches many likes & comments. It affects me for sure. I do seek validation, especially when my life is not going so well. It feels dangerous when I realize that how I present myself on SM directly influences my chances to make a living. It’s kinda scary to feel like I have to conform, or that I have to be a unique snowflake, or that I haaaave to be pretty in order for my content to reach as many people as it can and for them to then pay me for what I’m selling. I feel like I’m floating in the middle – not radical enough, not mainstream enough. #confused

What’s my real ongoing battle with (YES STILL!) is self-confidence and the constant comparing to others on social media. The only thing I can note for sure is that as I get older (tomorrow is my 27th b-day, haha) the more I’m able to control to what extent what I see on social media gets to me. Most of the time I’m confident and happy enough with myself and what I do rn to let it roll off me like “water off a duck’s back.” 🙂 I just wish it had been easier to get here.

However, again it doesn’t roll off 100% of the time and I still have really shit experiences. To illustrate: The other day I woke up and started browsing my IG feed. Idk, why but I ended up spending about 30 minutes doing this. Right after I woke up, still in bed. I wondered off to my explore page and tapped frantically through many profiles of either extremely beautiful, or interesting, or creative – actually all of the above – ladies. I  had to stop, it was overwhelming. I might have been PMSing, but whatever. I got up, looked in the mirror and from then on my whole day was SHIT! I was thinking about it constantly, about what I saw, about how I’m never gonna be that, how I shouldn’t even bother doing my own thing, cause my own thing is not good enough. Is it just me?

I adore anybody and everybody who makes use of social media for subverting social and cultural constructs or chipping away the credibility of this oppressive patriarchal system. I adore anybody and everybody who makes use of social media to make a change, criticise the status quo in an open and meaningful way. We should celebrate all the people who took to social media to share their lived experiences, for example in the #metoo campaign. We should look up to women like Arvida ByströmRupi Kaur and Molly Soda, who are brave enough to express themselves uncensored on SM (yep, I think it’s brave to be yourself on SM – damn, how did we get here?). Thank f*ck for these inspiring women! <3 And @alexwortex69 4ever!