Our lives are messy and imperfect. They are not these over-filtered and hyper-curated versions of reality we perfect for the Internet. Scrolling through Instagram often feels like looking at portfolios for a "best-looking-life" competition.
I wonder about this obsession we have with displaying a façade of perfection with such competitive fervor. Is this really a game? What constitutes winning? Is winning even a possibility? At what cost comes such a victory?
I realize that's a lot of questions and no real answers, and to say that I'm not at least somewhat concerned with how my life appears online would be false. But I have to wonder what these constant attempts at one-upping our friends and all those other people on our social media feeds is doing to us.
It is no secret that life is messy and full of mundane moments. Between all those #vscocam meals and #nofilter sunsets, we all lead somewhat imperfect lives. At least I know I do.
My creative process is messy. A clusterfk really. Pens, ink, scribbles, scratch-outs, piles of paper on the desk and floor, and the occasional dash of bourbon. Then finally, some letters on a page or pixels on a screen. That mess of a process is a major part of my life, more so that the product of than work will ever be. There is more of who I am to be seen through those ink spots and doodles, the marginalia of my life, than in the well-lit, artfully-filtered, square-crop photos that fill my social media profiles.
To me, the scrapes and bruises, the little failures and subsequent triumphs, and all the steps and missteps between the start and the glossy finished product are far more interesting. Tell me what worked and what didn't. Show me the rough sketches and the red-marked edits. What did you learn that brought you here to this beautiful finished piece of work?
I will admit I often worry, probably too much, about sharing my process or whether or not I chose the best filter for my last Instagram post. Deep down, I think I know it shouldn't matter. Yet I still get a twinge of anxiety each time I pull out my phone to share a bit of what I'm working on. Who doesn't?
Like many of the issues that have come with our newfound ability to share every waking moment of our lives, I'm not sure what the solution is. Or if there even is one. That said, while I do care about how I appear online, I truly give a damn about making and sharing the best work I can. In order to do that, expect less of those over-saturated competition entries and more posts of my messy and imperfect process and life.
I encourage you to fearlessly do the same.