Finding Intention on Social Media

Finding Intention on Social Media

Intention (n)- an aim or purpose

This word has been on my mind a lot lately in regards to almost everything in my life right now: my career path, my blog, my extracurricular involvement, and even just my interactions with others.  In each of these, what is my intention? What is my purpose, my end goal?

It is so easy to lose sight of intention in this busy and loud world and nowhere is that easier than social media.  Whether you’re a blogger or just someone who enjoys Instagram, you joined social media and use it for a reason. Maybe, it’s to stay informed about your friends lives and better connect with them, maybe it’s to promote a business or idea, or maybe it’s a learning space to you where you can connect with resources.  Most likely, when you’re scrolling Instagram or putting together your latest caption, you aren’t thinking of this reason. You aren’t thinking about your purpose for being on social media, and that’s not your fault. In fact, social media encourages us not to think about our purpose.

Social media is paradise for a micromanager.  Every detail matters on social media and none can be too well thought out.  Think about presets. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time in the last two months working on my presets, trying to get the tone, tint, and lighting of my photos exactly perfect and make it so that my feed is cohesive.  The crazier part is that presets are an industry: people are selling them constantly and more and more bloggers are making videos/blogs about how they edit their photos with presets.

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This is my Lightroom account right now– it features many photos I’ve never posted and many photos edited in one to two different presets.

Maybe, you haven’t gone into the preset world or engaged with them in any way, but you still probably fall into the social media micromanaging.  At dinner yesterday with a friend, we spent part of our meal analyzing his photos and why they hadn’t been getting as many likes as usual. We went through every detail in these photos.  Were they posted at a topically relevant time? Was the photo aesthetically pleasing or confusing? Were they posted at a high traffic time for Instagram? My friend is not even super into social media and found himself on social media’s micromanaging island.

When you’re constantly thinking about the details, it’s hard to remember there’s a big picture to even think about.  Personally, this is my greatest weakness in all aspects of my life, but social media definitely exacerbates it for me.  Sometimes, you need to take a step back though and think back to that original reason why you’re on social media. For me, I created my  Instagram in the eighth grade, when the app was not even two years old yet. I joined because I wanted to be able to connect and share photos with friends– at the time, I followed about 10 people who I went to school with and the app felt like our collective photo album.  This fall, when I started my blog, my reason for Instagram became to create a positive place of honesty, sharing, and growth.  I was frustrated with how negative and purposeless a place social media, in particular Instagram, had become and I wanted to do something to change it for others, in whatever way I could.  

My intention for all my social media– my blog, my instagram, my twitter, and my pinterest– is to be always be a place of kindness and honesty.  I challenge you to think about your own intentions for social media. If you’re lost on where to even start, here’s some captions to ask yourself:

  1. What reason made you download Instagram or whatever social media app you’re thinking about?
  2. What are you proud of on your social media?  Is it the artistic nature of your photos, your witty captions, or your interactions with friends or followers?
  3. Do you feel like your in-person persona matches your social media presence?  Is your social media presence helping you to be the person you want to be?
  4. How can your social media help you in your goals as a person?  Can it help you be a better friend, a better resource, or a better professional?
  5. Are you happy with your social media presence?  If not, why not and what can you do to change it?

 

 

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Living My Truth: Being Vulnerable on Social Media

Living My Truth: Being Vulnerable on Social Media

“Love Yourself Instead of Loving the Idea of Other People Loving You”

I saw this quote come up on my Instagram feed and I immediately felt seen.  This quote encapsulated my struggle so well, so I shared it on my story. When a friend reached out then saying she related and started telling me her story, I felt I had to share my own story– I had to share why this quote meant so much to me and touched me so much.

So, I sat down on my bedroom floor (the spot with the best lighting in my apartment) and I recorded a video about losing myself sophomore year of college.  I had the perfect life on the surface– a big group of friends, leadership on campus, a great internship, and good grades– but, I was still so unhappy. I felt lost.  I was at a point of doubt with my religion and I was seriously questioning if God was real and if He was, did it even matter? I made a lot of decisions because of groupthink, rather than using my own judgment.  I was always with people and yet, I had never felt so alone in my life. I thought I had to love myself because others loved me, but I wasn’t happy with myself. I finished recording (after a few takes) and hit post.

Immediately after uploading, panic hit.  Had I shared too much? Would the people who knew me during that time period judge me and unfollow me?  Did people even want to hear about my struggles with faith?

I’ve shared my stories in the past, but this was scarier to me than usual and for a while, I couldn’t understand why.  Then, it hit me. I was sharing this story simply to share and for no other reason.

When I speak about anxiety, I’m speaking to share, but also because I want to be a resource to anyone who is struggling.  When I talk about social media comparison culture, it’s because I want to be part of changing this culture. In those moments, I am working for a higher purpose.

When I posted about feeling lost, confused, and unhappy, I simply shared because I wanted to be real.  I wanted to take off the mask for a moment and say my honest truth without trying to put a spin on it. And telling the truth, for no reason than wanting to show reality, is really scary.  It leaves you at your most vulnerable, but those are the moments that matter.

I don’t think we tell the truth enough.  I don’t think we’re real enough, with ourselves or others, enough.  We always have an agenda or are trying to put a spin on things. Right now, I’m conquering my fears by just telling my truth.  No spins, no masks, just me.

February Goal Check-In

February Goal Check-In

Can you believe it?  We are two months into the year already and it just feels like 2019 is flying by.  With the year rolling and the semester halfway done already, I feel this is a good time to do a goals check-in and set some goals for the rest of the semester.

Goal Check-In:

Goal #1: Plan Less: This was my biggest goal for the year and the goal I’ve seen the most progress on.  I’ve said goodbye to my Google Calendar, where I would plan out every single minute of my day.  I mean it– I would create time periods for sleep. Productivity was the name of my game, but I just ended out burnt out and unhappy.  With a less structured schedule, I’ve made time in my life for the moments you don’t always predict– the meetings that run over, the random run-ins and catch-ups with friends, and time to relax and breathe.  I’ve still got a LOOOONG way to go on this goal, as I usually can still be found making plans weeks in advance and still have a pretty stuffed calendar, but I’m getting there.

Goal #2: Spend More Time with Friends: Whenever I get busy, I tend to isolate myself and only spend time with the people who directly relate to whatever I’m busy with, whether that’s work, extracurriculars, or class.  Whenever I do that, I create a stress bubble for myself, as I’m only around people who share my stresses and struggles. I’ve been trying to make time for all my friends this semester and I’ve been doing pretty well on this.  I’ve been getting coffees and dinners with friends I wouldn’t otherwise see and Facetiming my long distance friends.

Goal #3: Get to the Gym: This is the goal I have been so sporadic about.  There are some weeks where I get myself to the gym daily with excitement about the next episode of my podcast.  And then, there are weeks when I can’t even fathom where I’d get the forty-five minutes a day to spend at the gym.  I’d day I’d score like a 4/10 on this goal so far.

Where do I go from here?  Well, I consider the progress I’ve made so far and use that to help me form new goals for the rest of the semester.  Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Continue to try to plan less and be more spontaneous.  Try to go into a weekend with nothing on the calendar and just make it up as I go.
  2. Make time for myself.  I often feel like on the weekends, I’m exhausted from everything and just need some time to decompress with myself.  I want to start making time a few times a week for me to do this so it doesn’t pile up.
  3. Actually get to the gym consistently.  I really want to get into the habit of going daily or every other day and so, this is a goal I want to continue working on.
Do What Scares You: Learning to Be Alone

Do What Scares You: Learning to Be Alone

People always say you should do what scares you in order to grow.  That’s an intimidating concept at its core and one I have ran away from for a long time.  What scares me? Being alone.

I’m not scared of being alone in the romantic comedy sense, but rather, for the majority of my life, I was scared to actually do anything alone.  My freshman year, I skipped a lot of meals in the dining hall because I was too scared to eat alone. Why? I was so scared that everyone who was there with their friends would judge me for being by myself.  In my head, I could hear laughter about how I had no friends. In reality, no one even batted an eye, but my inner monologue and fear controlled me.

When I went to Disney, I felt it was time to change: I only had five months to take in this place and if I only did things when others were around, I knew I would leave with regrets.  So, I did park days by myself. I booked meals for one. I explored the resorts when I wanted to. I also spent time with my friends and enjoyed their company, but I didn’t let my fear of being judged stop me from doing things alone too.  It was about balance: I could be alone or with people.

So, I want to share with you all my favorite ‘alone’ activities, in case you’re new to spending time with yourself like I was.

 

  • Coffee Shop.  I’m convinced there is some hidden power in coffee shops (and I’m not talking about caffeine) because when I’m in them, I find it completely comfortable to be alone.  I love working in coffee shops and so, I often bring my laptop to write an essay and do some readings, but I’ve also found I love coffee shops for relaxing alone time: I love just bringing a book and sitting and reading in a coffee shop.  It’s a space where so many other people are by themselves that this whole idea of being judged for being alone goes away.

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  • Museums. The first place I ever went by myself was the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.  Going to museums alone is one of my favorite activities, because you get to explore at your own time and pace and be taken away by what strikes you.  I spent a good half hour just staring up at the ceiling at the Renwick and it was amazing– never before would I have been able to spend that type of time like that.

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  • Shopping.  This one intimidated me.  I had always gone shopping with either my mom, my sister, or my friends, but never alone.  However, when I shop alone, I find I’m willing to take more risks in what I try on because I’m not worried about anyone commenting on how awful something looks on me.  So, I try on things that look horrible but sometimes, I find a surprising good find that I would have completely missed out on otherwise.

 

I still hate eating alone at a sit-down restaurant and I sometimes hear that inner voice telling me everyone is judging me, but I’ve also found a solace in being alone and learning to enjoy my own company.

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One of my favorite photos from Disney that I took on what started out as a solo park day (I ran into friends who I then spent time with): Ariel in the Festival of Fantasy Parade

 

Some Changes to the Blog + My First Style Post

Some Changes to the Blog + My First Style Post

Recently, I’ve decided to change some things with the blog.  First, the tagline has changed from “The Self-Care Diaries” to “Self-care, Style, and Sass.”  I decided to make this change to the blog because I felt like I was too boxed in to be real. I promised in my very first post that this blog would be somewhere that I would honestly share my life completely and authentically.  When I just focused on self-care though, I wasn’t able to do that. I wasn’t able to share my passions and my interests and at times, I felt fake. I wasn’t sharing who I was completely and so, I decided to incorporate sass and style into the blog.  I am a sassy person– I’m well known by friends for my sassy little comments and I want you all to get to know that side of me outside of just my “real talks” on Instagram. I have always loved fashion and for a long time, I dreamed of going into the fashion industry somehow, whether that was launching my own fashion line or being a fashion journalist.  I want to bring that love of fashion and style forward into the blog. So I am very excited to give you my first style post of five items I’m in love with this week:

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  • The Marled Tie Back Sweater from Loft  This sweater is currently on sale for $35 and I am so in love with it.  I love everything that involves bowes and I especially love this pretty light pink color.  I think the bow and this shade of pink make this sweater have a really feminine sweet vibe to it that makes it the perfect sweater for your Galentine’s Day or a chill night out.

 

 

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  • Satin Wrap Blouse from Anthropologie My favorite pieces are ones that combine comfort with style and this shirt does exactly that.  I love wrap tops: I find them so flattering and simple, while being very comfortable and easy to wear.  The satin gives this shirt a level of elegance to it that I love and if you can’t tell, pink is my favorite color.

 

 

 

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  • Eyelet Skirt from Vineyard Vines I love this skirt because it is an amazing transition season skirt and can work for multiple occasions.  You can put it with a button down and tights for a winter business casual look, but you can wear it with sandals and a t-shirt and it is a perfect spring/summer casual look.  Items like this are the ones worth it, in my opinion, because you get so much use out of them.

 

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  • Tier-Sleeve Pullover Sweater in Coziest Yarn from Madewell  I am obsessed with the tiered sleeve look right now and am so happy it is in style.  I also think burnt orange is a great color for winter and you can bring it out of your closet again for fall, making it another item that has a lot of potential to actually see use.

 

 

 

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  • Trouvé Reese Crackle Ring Crossbody Bag from Nordstrom I honestly believe ring handles are the best thing to happen to fashion.  I got a ring handle bag on sale from Anthropologie that is no longer available and I am so in love with it that I am now looking for other ring handle bags.  I love the shimmery metallic look from this one and rose gold is my signature color.
My take on Content Creators

My take on Content Creators

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media terms, specifically content creator.  I consider myself a content creator, not an influencer. To me, social media is this amazing platform to make and show art.  Some people raise an eyebrow at this: how is posting some photos of yourself (that mainly other people took) considered art?

I think this objection is fair to raise and definitely why people still laugh a bit at the term content creator.  There’s so much behind the scenes though that people don’t realize in terms of Instagram, blogs, and Youtube. For example, every Instagram photo is often meticulously planned out– the subject of the photo may not have taken it themselves, but you can trust that they definitely envisioned.  Everything post-production is that person. Lightroom definitely makes this editing process easier, but I have spent hours so far playing around with my presets trying to get them just right. Then, there’s the captioning– for me, I see my captions as an opportunity to write a mini-blog post and share my message with everyone who might not read the blog.  It’s my way to get my message to them. Then, for youtubers and bloggers, there’s the putting together of the main product: the video and blog post. Both of those take a long time. I currently have multiple blog posts in the works that are going on their third or fourth rewrite: it’s not a fast process. I’m working to get everything just right in how I present my ideas and while it’s awesome to work for myself, it’s also difficult as I have to enforce deadlines on myself.

Despite that defense of Instagram and other Internet platforms as content creation, I still understand the objection and I often feel like I’m not really creating enough.  I often feel like I could be sharing more with the world, which is what this post is really all about. I love photography and many people may think my camera is only in hand for someone to take some blog photos, it’s really in hand so I can take photos of everything around me.  Today, I want to start sharing some of those photos. I’m going to try to share more of my photography on my blog and occasionally, Instagram too. To me, this goes a deeper level of content creation and gives me that satisfaction of having a creative outlet. Here are some of my favorite photos from this weekend:

Making Weekends Work for Me

Making Weekends Work for Me

As a kid, I was woken up every morning by my mom telling me the weather in the happiest young.  I always responded with a groan and “ten more minutes…five more minutes…just one more minute.”  You could say that I am definitely NOT a morning person. I’ve tried to be a morning person and hit up that 7 AM spin class so I could get my workout in and start some work before the day even really began.  But, it never worked. I ended up despising the gym, feeling exhausted by my lack of sleep because I only got about 4-5 hours because of the early wake up, and I didn’t really get anything done.

One formula doesn’t work for everyone.

Mornings don’t work for me– they are not how I become more productive or happier as a person.  So, this semester, I’m trying something new: I’m doing weekends differently. In the past, my weekends included me waking up around 10, struggling to do work all day but feeling really distracted, and meeting up to go out with friends at night.  I would end up drowning in work on Sundays because Friday and Saturday had been pretty unproductive. So, this semester, I’m changing my schedule to work with my own personal productivity.

I like working at night.  6 p.m. is when I start to feel energized and focused so now, that’s when I’m starting my work on weekends.  During the day, I’m enjoying myself. I felt like in the old schedule, I never really spent quality time with people during the weekend.  Maybe, we went out to a party together or to a big dinner, but I never got to have the long conversations and connections I really wanted to have.  So now, I’m having coffee and lunch and sometimes, even breakfast with friends on the weekends. Another thing I found was I had bogged my weekends down so much in work and honestly, not being productive, that I was never getting to spend time in D.C. and enjoying this city.  With my new schedule, I actually have time to go to the museums I love and take advantage of all the opportunities that exist here.

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I am literally overjoyed by having the time to enjoy D.C. again.

So, this quick post is just to tell you: do what works for you.  Don’t have a schedule that leaves you feeling disconnected and unproductive just because that’s the conventional way of doing things.  Change the pattern and you might find life looking a lot easier and happier.