Ramblings | Authenticity

{September 6, 2015}

Here are some thoughts. These particular thoughts have been churning up in me for a while. I think, in our culture, especially Christian subculture, we make ourselves into detectives, trying to spot anyone be inauthentic. Especially with social media, there is attention out there, people are watching, and every person who participates in this game gets a certain degree or percentage of that attention. This week, Kim Kardashian reached 45 million Instagram followers, the most of any account on the app. Also this week, a friend of mine posted a picture of her little tiny firstborn daughter, and those who follow her got to comment and welcome her to the world. Welcome to the world, little one. We “like” you. Now, that sounds kind of haunting as I type it, but that’s a conversation for another time. I can’t say I am one of the 45 million following Kim, but I definitely follow other accounts that have millions of followers. The question I posed to myself today: is one of these women posting pictures on Instagram more authentic than the other? Maybe.

My best friend tweeted this today: [can’t keep up with all these “I’m doing something so I started a blog” blogs] and it really got me thinking. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about my own blog (note: my old blog), sitting out there in the internet world, neglected for a number of months. Facebook keeps reminding me that I have one, because every so often I will get another view or like on the page I created for people to keep up with my posts. I’m sure none of those Facebook likers are wondering where I’ve been, wishing that I had more thoughts for them to read on my blog, wishing I would post about another cooking experiment, wishing I would post more pictures of my fabulous life in Chicago. So I haven’t posted in however many months, because I haven’t had anything to say.

I tweeted my friend back, “the question is, how do you blog differently, more authentically than that?!” This was mostly me thinking about myself, as I have been playing with the idea of going back to blogging for weeks. I miss having a project like that, a piece of the internet to make my own, however trivial what I post ends up being. She responded, “I know I know, I’m wondering… but I feel like your authenticity will be questioned/mocked no matter what platform!”

She is so right. Let me throw out some buzzwords for you. Pay attention to the first things that pop into your mind, and then the articles, blog posts, or Instagram rants you have read about each one.

Yoga pants. Leggings. Modesty.

Church.

#blessed

#community

Doing life together.

#citylife #collegelife

Vibes.

What a gem.

You get what I’m doing. Whether it’s a blog post, Facebook rant, shared article, clickbait ad, or even a real, human, face to face, screen free conversation, we all question each other’s authenticity on a daily basis, simultaneously to make our lives look a little better than they really are. We actually have a lot about our life we really love. How can anyone tell the difference? Look up #blessed on your favorite social media platform. Look up the popular #liveauthentic hashtag on Instagram. You’re going to find a whole bunch of people who are truly blessed. You’re going to find people of every religion. Some are authentic, praising the Lord publicly for something that He has put into their lives. Some are not, wanting everyone to look at their blessings in the form of latte art or the perfect hammock spot. #blessed… Can you spot the difference? No. You literally can’t, at least not fully. Does that mean we should stop using that hashtag? Should we stop noticing when God is putting something in our life to bless us?

There is something about these words being overused, and about noticing when the authenticity behind them is lost, that makes them lose their meaning. Yet we have to reconcile something of the fact that we are blessed, we do live in community, we do strive for authenticity, people are gems in our life. How do we do that when the best words to describe something have lost their meaning? People’s perceptions of another’s words, especially behind a screen, can be totally skewed based on so many things- the overused words they choose, the quality of the photo, the filter, the hashtags, previous experience of that person in real life, even the person’s gender… don’t get me started on that one.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to do with this yet. I’m wrestling. I haven’t deleted any of my social media accounts. I don’t think that’s the right way for me (me, personally, just me, no judgment here) to handle it in my own life, or to combat anything. These thoughts are not consuming me, or eating away at me with comparison. My judgmental thoughts about other’s authenticity can be kept at bay most days. Obviously, you can see I had more to say about this than 140 characters on Twitter will allow. Offline, this friend and I texted about authenticity, and what I should blog about, and @socalitybarbie (you should look up this Instagram when you’re done reading this) She said, “where are we every truly authentic? Even when we try to be or claim to be, it seems so fake…”

There’s only a few things I do know how to do: 1) pray, and 2) write something if God gives me something to say. For this post, He did give me something. Next time, it might be a recipe, or pictures from my senior year of college I would enjoy looking back on and my grandparents want to see. I just know that I want my words to mean something, something more than likes and views and comments and perceptions.

Don’t know how to land this plane. The End.


Housekeeping Note: I noticed a lot of you missed my second blog post about 2016. You can find it in the sidebar or right below this post. Thanks for all the support so far!

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