I like books. I don’t think this is a secret. I have a book of the month membership, I look at Goodreads more than I do Instagram, and I have more butterflies when I walk into a bookstore than I did on my first date with my husband.
I put a lot of time and energy into my love for books. My TBR pile is never ending, and each read is time consuming. But I do it all because I love books. I love the many lives I have lived, the many people I get to be, the ways my eyes have been opened to cultures and beliefs that I never thought twice about before.
But sometimes I find that my efforts stop being about my love of books, and instead, I am driven by the idea of being a girl who loves books. Sometimes my passion sits in the passenger seat, and identity crisis takes the wheel.
I think this is when my “love for books” gets dangerous.
I think this is when anyone’s love for anything gets a little dangerous.
Social media gives us this incredible opportunity to express ourselves. It allows us to share a part of who we are with others. We share passions, interests, moments, and all-in-all, I think this is a really great thing.
There are highly-admired people on these platforms, appropriately deemed “influencers” because they do just that- they influence us in whatever field they represent. They share what they are wearing or reading, and people listen, and maybe even buy these items, because these people, these influencers, have established our trust in their field. We like them, we like their lives, we like their styles and what they have to say, and therefore, we listen.
This is a good thing. Everyone has been influenced by someone for all of history. Gertrude Stein pretty much influenced all of the 1920’s and that brought us Hemingway, Picasso, The Fitzgeralds, and so many others. We are formed by the influence of those we admire, and this is both beautiful and natural.
However, I think that sometimes this line gets blurred, and these people we admire stop influencing what we want to read, what we want to wear, what workouts we want to try, and instead, they begin to influence who we want to be. We stop modeling a few choices off of their recommendations, and instead model our lives, our identity, around mirroring this persona.
This adds so much pressure to our heart,s and we sell our own personality, our own unique identity, for a new one, one that just isn’t quite who we were designed to be.
This is so devastating when you take a step back and really view what is happening.
We live in this life where everyone gets the opportunity to be themselves, to develop who they are and what they believe, and really all they have to do in order to make this happen is simply be. Be you. Be lovely. And yet, we see others, and decide we’d prefer to be like that, and we add the pressure, and the costs, and we ultimately over-complicate what should be the easiest thing in the world: being ourselves.
We see the influencer with the picture perfect life, and we want to be like that. We want to know what makes them like that. We study the unique aspects of others, the tattoos, the clothes, the beliefs, and we stop studying our own hearts, our own passions… the things that make us feel the most alive, the most like who we were designed to be.
Mirrored identities are hard- hard to form and harder to live in. They are sad. They are one-piece bathing suits that never quite fit right. You pull it up too high and live with the chronic discomfort of a wedgie. You pull it down too low and nine-tenths of your boob is showing. You’ll never get it to fit right, you’ll never feel comfortable..
That bathing-suit was designed to be worn by a completely different body-type.
That persona was made to be worn by a completely different person.
You were given your own bathing suit, a flattering little bikini that slims your tummy and lifts your booty, and it looks great on you. The best part is, you wont spend the whole day at the beach tugging, and pulling, and manipulating someone else’s suit to fit your body.
You were given your own personality, your own identity, and it looks great on you.
Do what gives you butterflies, and do it well… not because you want to be the girl who does the thing gives her butterflies, but because she is who your soul was designed to be.