Don’t believe everything you see/read on the Internet. Common sense nowadays and most of us know this right? But it seems that there is one area where we forget this fact. One phenomenon that my peers, my friends and I fall victim to on a regular basis. It’s a dangerous trend, a slippery slope of self doubt and defeatist behaviour. Why is it, in a world where we look at all things through a suspicious lens, do we put our blinders on for this?
For decades, as a woman, I’ve been told not to compare myself to what I see in magazines, on television or in the movies. I can’t hold myself to those ideals! To woman who dedicate their lives to looking beautiful in front of a camera. We tell our baby girls not to have distorted body images and to love themselves for who they are. Why can we see it with celebrities, but we don’t see it with bloggers.
Yes you read that right, bloggers. The crunchy, all-natural, never used a disposable diaper in my life, tandem nursing, herb taking, felt book making, seemingly perfect bloggers. How many times have I beat myself up because I used disposable diapers for a few days. “Crunchy Blog ABC” doesn’t use disposable diapers! How many days have I felt guilty for not preparing a perfectly nutritious home-cooked meal, or for the dirt on my floor, or the laundry that lies there, unfolded. Don’t even get me started about my herbal career! There is nothing worse for your self esteem as a herbalist than following some of the best herbalists in the world on Facebook.
Let me tell you a story.
This fall my son was really sick for the first time. Actually, at the time the whole family was sick, my husband having it worst of all with a severe ear infection that resulted in a ruptured ear drum. Two days of a high fever, no food intake and barely any fluid intake we started to worry. After calling Telehealth Ontario the nurse recommended we take my son to the ER to check that he wasn’t dehydrated. Now at this point, as a self proclaimed “crunchy mama”, I’m already beating myself up. The extra vitamin D, elderberry syrup, onion slices in his socks, essential oils and probiotics weren’t working. The extra nursing wasn’t helping either.
Quick aside on my son. He’s a small boy; very slender and at 2-1/2 years old is barely 22 pounds soaking wet. So when he stopped eating for two days it was a HUGE concern for us.
The ER doctor told us that my son had a severe ear infection. Suddenly it all made sense! Of course he wasn’t eating or drinking, he was in pain. Even though my husband had an ear infection it didn’t even dawn on us that my son had one, because he showed none of the common telltale signs. It certainly didn’t help matters that we were all sick and extremely fatigued.
But now came the big debate and decision. To use antibiotics or not. My husband, not as crunchy as me, wanted to use them. I didn’t really, but I also knew that what I had in my arsenal wasn’t working. The infection was severe and he had already lost the 2-3 pounds that we spent months trying to get him to put on.
In the end we opted to use the antibiotics.
I swear to you, it was like the social media overlords knew of my decision and opted to rub it in my face. My newsfeed was full of self-proclaimed healthy and natural bloggers and natural health professionals, writing about the dangers of antibiotics and how natural remedies heal all! Pins coming my way about garlic mullein ear oil curing everything. Even one blog entry about how all ear infections naturally resolve themselves and the use of antibiotics were pure negligence. I was surrounded and consumed with guilt. All of these “people” doing things better than I ever could. Making the right decisions while I sat in my home consumed by the guilt of the wrong decision.
Then somewhere in that whirlwind of despair, self-doubt and utter guilt a realization hit me. They HAVE to say and write these things. Blogging and social media is all about branding. It’s about giving yourself the image you wish to be portrayed to your followers. Between carefully chosen words, professional photography and omissions of truth, it’s impossible to know the real person behind the blog. As a blogger myself I am guilty of this as well! Although blogs and social media can be used as an avenue for truth, for most of us it’s advertising. I want all of you to remember that next time you compare yourself to this pin, that blog entry or those Facebook newsfeeds.
I’ll make a confession…
I order takeout pizza. I LOVE bridge mix and could eat it by the bucket full. I watch TV and haven’t read a book in years. I drink too much coffee (with sugar in it!). I don’t always exercise as often as I tell my clients to. And when my menstrual cramps get to the point that I’m convinced my uterus is taking up arms up against me… I take an Advil.
GASP!!… did she just say AN ADVIL? Heaven forbid a herbalist take a pharmaceutical medication!!
So the real truth here folks, I’m human. And so are you. We are all just doing the best we can with the hand we are dealt. Some days are good and I’ll crochet a washcloth or do a preschool science experiment with my son. Other days I order takeout and let him watch TV or eat a goldfish cracker.
Behind the blog is a person. A person with torn underwear that she doesn’t have time to mend. A man who drinks to get through the next board meeting. Or a mama who gave her son antibiotics.
You are not alone. We are all humans. I am right there with you. That crunchy nutritionist lady who blogs weekly about her natural remedies, cloth diapers and felt books… I’m sure she’s a very awesome, fantastic person… but tonight, she’s ordering pizza too.