After a cathartic post last week (which you can read here), I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what to follow up with.
Coming off a week that includes Christmas, my birthday and New Years…I’m just completely exhausted. And I’ve been putting all of this pressure on myself to come up with something cool and interesting for all of you to enjoy. But I’ve got nothing. My mind is blank. I feel a thudding emptiness in my head, like a drum. Try, as I might, no ideas are coming.
They say the best way to fix writer’s block is to just start writing. So I thought I would write about how not having any ideas to write about makes me feel. Here we go.
As bloggers and content makers, we feel we always have to be creating something new. I know on my Instagram (which can find here) I beat myself up for posting something vaguely similar to something I posted six months ago. I feel like I always need to be fresh and exciting. There is pressure to keep churning out content at all times. One must post all the time to stay relevant. Almost like a machine. But I’m not a machine. And sometimes I haven’t got some grand, inspirational wisdom to share.
The thing is, we tend to perceive this pressure to create as coming from outside of us. But I have taken two social media breaks in the last few months and all of my followers have been overwhelmingly supportive. This made me stop and think for a second. Maybe the pressure comes from me? Maybe I pin a heap of my identity and value on my daily posts and how much love they get? Maybe my fear of losing followers comes from my own need for external validation? Maybe, just maybe, my perfectionism is getting in the way of my enjoyment of social media?
I’ve always been a perfectionist. For as long as I can remember, I have set impossible standards for myself. As a child, I would constantly make my bed until it was perfect. And I colour-coded everything. There is an infamous story in my family of me crying and screaming ‘CHRISTMAS IS RUINED!!!’ when I ran out of blue tak to put up a ‘Merry Christmas’ sign at age nine. I have always viewed my success and value as a human being on external factors such as my marks, looks or how picture-perfect I could make my life look.
This is where social media is tricky as a mental health advocate. On one hand I want to keep it real and share my vulnerable moments with you all. But at the same time, I want to be perfect at doing it. I want to be perfectly imperfect. As such, I view likes and followers in the same way I have always viewed marks at school. When they are high, I am on top of the world. But at the same time, no matter how high they are, they are never high enough. At school if I got 98 I would be happy but I would obsess over the 2 marks I missed. With social media I am the same; always focusing on what I lack rather than what I am great at. Especially in comparison to other people and their picture-perfect lives.
My perfectionist nature wouldn’t let me not post today. I have posted every Friday for the last year. And on my Instagram, my grid is set up to have a post about my blog tomorrow. If I don’t post sharing my blog my grid pattern will be ruined. I know this sounds pedantic. But this is how I actually feel. I fear breaking the order. The order I have preserved in my life. I want to protect that fiercely because part of me fears that if I let the veil slip I too will fall apart.
Whilst my writing today is serving my perfectionism and self-hatred I like to think it is also a rebellion against it. This post is inherently flawed. It has no real flow, no subheadings and is probably only relatable for a small amount of my followers. Yes, by making a post I am succumbing to that perfectionist monster that has haunted me my whole life. But by writing THIS post I am also telling that perfectionist monster to go fuck itself.
I guess what I am trying to say is that is okay to struggle with perfectionism and other traits that may be described as flaws. This post is proof that I am no where near as far along in my journey to let perfectionism go as I thought I was. But it’s very existence is also a way of standing up against those urges. Just as this post is not perfect, I will never be perfect. And maybe next time I feel myself having writer’s block I will just take a week off to reflect instead of pressuring myself to be this idealised perfectly imperfect version of myself.