Friday, 5 October 2018

Instagram: #TheGoodTheBadTheVainAndTheUgly

I've recently started using Instagram, since the purchase of a new phone with sufficient memory to enable me to download the app. For whatever reason, I'm currently finding it quite a liberating experience. It's the only place online where I merge all of my personas into one, and don't feel the need to filter my life. Consequently, my page is a bit of a mismatch of professional shameless self-promotion, everyday silliness, cute furries, dark days of grief, and everything in between. A combination of the vain, the mundane, the happy, and the heartbreaking. All part of the journey of self-acceptance since losing Holly Rose. Occasionally, I use it for a mini vent, and I find the sense of community there to be supportive and understanding. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse when you have experienced loss, and so I think it's important to share both the good days and the bad, rather than create a misleadingly perfect narrative.

On one of my down days, I recently wrote this "mini blog post" (complete with #hashtags), accompanied by the following picture for Instagram, and I'm sharing it here too. Feel free to follow me, and be prepared for an influx of random uploads, through good times and bad, and everything in between.

You may be wondering about the influx of selfies on my Instagram feed. (Those who know me will tell you I was never really a selfie-taker, and never quite got the hang of it). My newfound vanity is an attempt to accept "the new me." I long ago accepted that I will never again be the same as I was before - mentally, or physically. An attempt to see myself as others see me. People tell me "I look great," (I must admit, every "like" helps) but I look in the mirror and fail to see it.

Yesterday was a good day... Today... Not so much. I just watched a video of myself in the show I've been performing in for the last four months. (I'm proud to be in that show, it's helped me to regain a little of "the old me" in ways that nobody will ever really know). But all I see are the physical changes which represent the difference between "me now" and "me then". It's a painful visual reminder of the difference between who I am now, and who I was before.

#Grief doesn't disappear, we just learn to live with it. Maybe we simply become better at disguising how we feel. In the wake of loss, every emotion has a duality about it - happiness and sadness occur simultaneously. So I can post "flattering" selfies on the same day that I can post this slightly more realistic, honest #selfie of how I'm actually feeling right now.

#Loss has taught me that I am never alone. There is always someone who relates; but in order achieve understanding, we need to be #honest and open, in a way that people don't necessarily want to hear about, especially on social media.

I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, so I don't want to hide the bad days. Sometimes those bad days are also the good days. Everything is a grey area, there is no such thing as black and white.
I still get through very few days without crying (more now than I used to... and even that admission is tinged with guilt). I am also learning to live with myself, and attempting to love myself, as I am now. Sometimes that might mean using #allthefilters to paint myself in a #positive light - the way I'd like to be seen - the person I catch fleeting glimpses of.

Some days, I also look like this. And that's the #truth.

#babyloss #nofilter #HollyRose

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