Growing Up Online

Today’s No Angle’s November post features an insight into the struggles of growing up online in the 21st Century. Not only will we be looking into the online challenges, but we will be hearing directly from a gorgeous mother whose children will grow up in a world that now depends on virtual communication.

Say hello to momma of two, Brandi! We sat down with Brandi and learned a lot from her in regard to the online world! She explained “I really want to help educate people about what life is really like being a ‘micro influencer’ or even just being active on social media. You can’t really see into someone’s life just by the images they post or the things they write. Looks can be deceiving and it’s important for people to understand the pressures behind keeping up with the influencing lifestyle.”


Let hear what Brandi has to say on the matter:

“In my experience, growing up around social media has definitely been a roller coaster. Back when I was younger social media wasn’t anything like it is now, but in such a short time frame we have gone from a simple online messenger app (you all remember MSN right?) to numerous platforms across the net that can be used recreationally or as a way to fund your life! Now as amazing as this sounds (and really it is amazing) it’s also scary for many, many reasons.

I’m not going to sit here and encourage people to delete their Instagram accounts, but want I do want to do is raise awareness on the pressures that not only I but other fellow micro—influencers and even larger influencers receive just from having an account with a chunk of followers.

Of course, I know a lot of people probably think ‘well it’s your own fault for creating that platform that you feel these pressures’ or maybe even think I asked for it and knew what I was signing myself up for, and you are absolutely right, however, that doesn’t make it okay. I feel the pressures to look a certain way and portray a desirable lifestyle. And why? Is it because I’m worried what others will think? Is it because I want people to accept me? Is it because I want to feel as though I am ‘perfect’? The answer to all of those questions is yes, 100% yes.

I wake up on a daily basis pressuring myself to complete numerous tasks because I have big goals that I want to achieve, but also because I want to impress my followers. I question on a regular basis, why do people think that being a micro/influencer is easy? Why do they think we are living a life of luxury and being sent all these amazing clothes with barely any work to do for them? Because honestly, I feel as though some people really think this is easy and I just want to explain why it isn’t.

Getting glammed up, doing my hair and make-up, getting pictures in clothes that I haven’t bought for myself, all of this seems amazing and of course easy, especially compared to a 9-5 job. However, that isn’t the case, because yes, physically this may be easy, however mentally, it isn’t.

I own an account with 16,800+ followers, and I worry myself sick that I’m not going to meet the expectations of every single one of these accounts. I’m not saying my followers make me feel a negative way, but I do believe that I put these pressures on myself because of the stereotypes that people look up too. I’ve always wanted to be ‘big’ on social media. Thousands of followers, hundreds of thousands even, working with companies regularly, collaborating and making a career out of this, but sometimes I have genuinely considered coming off of social media altogether because sometimes it effects my mental health so much and worries me sick for my children, because I never want them to not good enough.



I worry about my weight a lot since having 2 babies, and although the positive comments outweigh the negatives, I do still get some horrible people comment on my belly, and how it’s ‘fat’ and sticks out a bit. I used to be extremely skinny, fit and toned. I used to dance every single day and I never had to worry about what I ate. I didn’t have a scar or stretch mark in site, I used to wear size 6-8 clothes and honestly, I thought this was perfect. I am now struggling to fit my bottom half in size 10’s and believe me when I say I have more stretch marks than I ever imagined I would have after having children. And if you think I’m confident about my body, you are hugely mistaken. When getting images for my online profile, I make sure I stand in positions where you can’t see the rolls on my stomach. Maybe it’s because I’m ashamed of them because I worry that people are going to screenshot my images and put them into their group chats and basically tear me to shreds. Being a woman on social media is so difficult when we are surrounded by Instagram’s version of ‘perfect women’.

I see models, influencers and women across my social media every day with bodies and lifestyles that I’ve convinced myself are ‘perfect’ because they get 20,000 likes and everybody wants to be them. I’m not saying all of these women are edited, but most of the time they are, and I still look up to them. I create a mental list of all my imperfection and compare it to theirs, so much so that I would’ve wanted surgery in a heartbeat if it meant looking like them.

I see these tiny size 6 women, with bellies flatter than an ironing board and I would stare at mine in the mirror, imagining what it would be like to be able to just take a pair of scissors and cut it off. I then would stare at my legs, these woman with perfectly airbrushed and toned legs looked amazing, so I would start searching online how I could get rid of bruises quicker and how I could fade scars, how could I make them look more toned and what exercises could I do to make them look more in shape and toned. I question why these women look like they had been carved by angels and how can I look that way? I look at their lifestyle, and the designer handbags they had, the expensive cars and big houses and even the valentine’s photos of them holding a bouquet of 500 red roses and start wondering if I needed that much money for people to accept me too?

That is until I really began to realise that all of this was just an assumption of mine based off what they are portraying. I’m not perfect, but nobody is. Yes, some of these influencers are loaded, some do live in amazing houses with toned to perfection bodies. But really, 98% of the time, this is not real at all. Most of the time these people have filters and airbrushed skin. If not that, then maybe they had surgery or veneers. They look rich… possibly because they are, or maybe it’s because they’ve stood in front of someone else’s car to get a good picture for the gram (yes this happens!) and we foolishly assume it belongs to them. 

Without going on and on, my point is that people assume what they see is reality. Nobody posts the behind the scenes images. It took me a long time to realise that there is another side to the individuals plastered all over Instagram. We don’t see these amazing women crying at night because their comparing themselves to the latest model, we don’t see them without make up in bad lighting unfiltered.

This brings me to my concerns for my children and our future generations. My daughters are beautiful little angels, I love them with every single inch of my body and I never ever want them to look at another woman and believe that they aren’t good enough. I don’t want them to only see what that individual is sharing with the world and take that as reality. I don’t want my daughters to compare their beautiful features to those of woman who have edited their images or have had surgery, I don’t want them to compare themselves to social media’s idea of beauty.

Please don’t put this kind of pressure on yourself. I say this because up until very recently, I couldn’t accept myself; I would cry at my body, my face, my image, my lifestyle, thinking it was never enough, wondering why anyone would like me. Don’t assume that these people are completely living a perfect lifestyle either. Remember, they only post what they want you to see, and not the bad parts. Now I’m not saying everyone should stop posting their favourite pictures and start posting the bad parts too, because nobody wants to do that. But what I am saying is don’t put pressure on yourself because you don’t ‘compare’ to them. And please, don’t judge others for not looking like Instagram’s idea of perfect.”


 

Follow Brandi's journey: @brandileahills_
Blogger: @dea_templeton

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