Anyone who knows me well knows that I struggle with online persona, a lot. I am a very private person, and yet I am constantly leaving tidbits of my life all over the Internet. If I can’t tweet it, I’ll Instagram it, if I can’t Instagram it, I’ll Path it, if I can’t Path it, I’ll Snapchat it, and so on…
I like the Internet for three reasons:
- I like meeting people through the Internet, and being inspired by so many talented people.
- Verbally, I am not a strong communicator, and so the Internet (through writing, tweeting and taking photos) makes me feel like I have a voice.
- I’m an artist, and this is the platform most of us share our work through now.
The thing is, I never know where to draw the line. How much do I say or not say? Do I really pretend like everything is pretty and perfect? How do I be real with people? How do I be vulnerable, open and honest online without exposing all of life’s hardships and sounding totally depressed? I’m not depressed, really I’m quite happy, but I don’t live in denial thinking everything is la-dee-da and rainbows.
The other problem I juggle with as an artist is sharing my work to the world without blasting it in people’s faces saying, “look at me! Look at all the cool photos and adventures I’m going on!” Truthfully, it’s not about me, it will never be about me. I don’t share anything to get a name, and if you ever see an ego rise in me, please tell me immediately so it can be stopped. My work is a part of me, and so I try and balance showing my work (me), without making it about me.
The two years I spent living in San Francisco full time was an incredibly big shifting phase for me and my work. I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to help people. I felt guilty for being a photographer and not being a nurse who was stitching people back together. It took some time, but eventually I realized that I have a right to my own happiness, and photography and writing does make me happy. Becoming a nurse wasn’t truly what I wanted to do, helping people was, and so I finally realized, why not help people through what makes me happy, and that is my work.
I don’t write or take photos or post Instagram photos for an audience. I write and take photos and post Instagram photos because I believe those things help others feel more connected to one another and like they’re not alone. That’s why I feel the need to vulnerably expose my writing, photos and so much of my life. If I can shed light through the things I experience each day, if I can be real, maybe someone else will read my piece or see my photo and relate to it, even slightly. Maybe it’ll help make them feel not so alone. Maybe it’ll make them feel better about their own situation they are going through.
That is why I’m online. I’m online because I think life is beautiful and worth sharing. I’m online because maybe my work will help someone feel not alone. I’m online because maybe something I post will inspire you, which will cause you to create and inspire someone else, and the domino effect of happiness and acceptance can begin. I’m online because that is what technology wants to do, it wants to bring us forward, together.