on the perception of confidence
I think some of the hardest online comments to respond to aren’t necessarily the negative ones or the unsolicited advances from men (although don’t get me wrong, they still make my skin crawl).
No, it’s usually the phrase, “You’re perfect.”
Whenever I see that comment pop up in my feed or here on the blog, a few things cross my mind almost simultaneously. The first? My knee-jerk reaction to refute said statement. Because I’m far (miles in fact) from perfect. And I’m more than OK with that. The second? The concern that I may be unintentionally portraying myself that way to you guys, which I’d also like to refute and state: it just couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why am I bringing all of this up? Well, I guess it’s something I’ve been grappling with since the start of the new year, when I was thinking about what definitive direction I wanted to take my content. We chatted at great length about the divide between what seem to be “relatable” influencers and “aspirational” influencers and how I really don’t think they need to be mutually exclusive from each other. Of course, this exercise got me really into thinking about what goes into being on either side of this “fence” so to speak, and how “relatable” influencers position their messaging and how “aspirational” influencers position theirs.
What I realized was that both camps made me feel the same “they’re perfect” sentiment, even though I know all too well, that sentiment is unrealistic and usually not their intention. Scrolling through images of my more “relatable” friends, I realized their “unfiltered, unedited, raw images” made me feel inadequate perhaps in the same way a highly edited, polished and posed photo does — in that I was left with a pang of, “Why don’t I look like that when I wake up?”
Similarly, scrolling through images of my more “aspirational” friends, their editorial style outfits and lifestyles left me wondering, “What are they like on a Saturday morning when they’re just walking the dog? Surely, they must have an off day!”
And I fully realize I am possibly guilty of both aforementioned offenses — a fact I’m really trying to work on actively this year, to balance both sides of the story better.
So while I have no grand conclusion or resolution to this I just want to say: I’m 32 and a relatively confident 32 — a fact that has long been in the making, after years of lots of trial and error in my 20s. For every great day, for every editorial photo and outfit I share here on the blog or on Instagram, I have plenty of off days and off moments, too. I have insecurities like everyone else, moments of feeling inadequate and times when I really just don’t want to be seen, if that makes any sense. If I don’t share those moments in pictures, I promise that I’ll do better to share it in words.
Because if I’m making it look like I have everything together, I just want to set the record straight: I don’t. I’m not perfect. Anxiety creeps in for me too. I’m “flawed” — in ways I’m still learning to embrace every day. And this is your friendly Tuesday reminder, regardless of what type of influencer content you scroll through on a regular basis: no one else is perfect and they certainly don’t expect you to be either.
OUTFIT DETAILS: Cinq a Sept coat with faux fur cuffs (borrowed) // Cinq a Sept dress (from a few seasons ago, borrowed, but this skirt would have the same effect with a long coat!) // Michael Kors boots (sold out, but similar style here) // Olympia Le-Tan clutch (this one is on sale!) // Diamond pendant necklace from my mother
Photos by Carter Fish