Hook, line, and sinker
I have 12 thousand followers on Instagram. Compared to Kylie Jenner, I’m small time. Compared to my mom, I’m balling. I just wanted to open this up with a little bit of perspective because I think sometimes we can let perspective hide under assumptions.
Having a social media presence can be tiring & exhausting. When I decided to open up my life up to the wold a year ago when I created wheelchair_rapunzel, I really had no idea what was to come. I’m making this kind of start with a negative tone because that’s what this piece is about. However, my social media presence has also given me so much wisdom, gratitude, and joy. But that’s a story for another time.
When I decided to share about my life with having a physical disability, I wanted it to come from me without any pressure to please anyone. I wanted to do it for me. As my account started to grow I realized the implications that what I post can impact people in different ways, whether it’s good or bad. Anyone who follows me or knows me in person knows that I always like to toss in a raunchy flare to my posts because that is who I am, a disabled baddie. I’ve never been the cookie-cutter type in anything that I do. I speak my mind, I’m real, and I’m not embarrassed to act weird. I think that’s why people can relate to my content as much as they do and I’m beyond grateful for that.
Posting things that can be perceived differently than what I had planned has opened me up to be scrutinized. When I first started posting, my vibe was different. I wanted to remain positive while still being authentic with my followers. Recently, I said FUCK THAT. If I’m going to live my life on social media I want to do it while sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the uglier. Doing this is hard because people will judge you based on one post or one thing you said. I’ve been feeling like I’m under a microscope lately with people watching everything I post like they’re waiting for me to “mess up.” I’ve had things I’ve posted or created twisted and turned into something that had nothing to do with the content I created in my mind. I’ve had people I know hanging on one sentence or group of words I posted and use them against me. I’ve had people judge my character based on one thing. That’s how deadly an assumption can be. One little assumption can change an entire perspective you have on a person as a whole and it’s complete garbage. Under all those assumptions or words you toss at someone in judgment lives a real living person that is much more then one post, photo, or thing they’ve said.
I know I’m shitting on social media in a sense but I wanted to share a perspective of having a growing social media following and some of the struggles it entails. I constantly feel pressure to live up to my own standards while creating things I think my followers will like.. all while trying to stay authentic as possible. What I’ve learned through this experience is that anyone will find any reason to judge you or tear you down. They’ll fish until they have your mouth around their crooked hook. The secret is not to bite. I’ve made this mistake before. I always bite and I then try to explain my perspective with my heart in gold glittery ass paint on my sleeve. Guess what? They don’t care if you explain because they’re just going to keep fishing, until you bite.
As I continue to advocate on a larger scale by sharing my story, as long as I stay gold and have my people in my corner, I’m the person I want to be and that’s the only thing that matters. Cliche as it is, as long as you stay true to yourself you’re winning.