‘If you’re as much into this as you say you are, I’m going to do this.’. He looks her in the eyes and tells her he’s fully committed to helping her out and to shooting her outfit pictures on a daily basis from this day on. That they’re going to be in this together. That it will perhaps even boost her confidence a bit to do something that isnt’ too performance orientated – she has always been a huge striver, an over-achiever – but also something that would probably really push her boundaries, because she has always been that girl that lived her life in a rather predictable way. That girl that has always performed really well in school, so she’d passed over one class and obviously went to University at the age of 17. That girl that couldn’t wait to move out of the house, not because she couldn’t get along with her parents, but the complete opposite: they raised her to be that independent, to mature early. That girl that despite her academic accomplishments doesn’t like to be in the center of attention. All has been well in her little corner of the world so far, and she didn’t necessarily feel the urge to crawl out there, nor was she trying too hard to stay in. It was about time she started doing something for fun. For her pleasure only, and not because it gave her good grades (over-achiever? Yup!). So that’s why 8 years ago she started Sixfeetfromtheedge.com. Her personal little space in that huge digital world. “It’ll be fun.” he said. At least he seemed convinced.
Flash forward to the present. In the meanwhile, SFFTE isn’t that shy student anymore. I’ve grown. Not that I’m the one screaming for attention now, but I’m no longer hiding either. Also, Lennart indeed turned out to be a great help, I’m fully aware of the fact that my blog could not have existed without him being around. I take pride in the fact that SFFTE has always been a reflection of my personality. I take pride in the fact that all these years staying true to myself led me to where I am now, but I also take pride in the fact that despite all the ups, downs, successes, fails, happy times and broken nights I’ve always been able to reevaluate what I’ve been doing, where I stand and not less important: where I want to be. I always want to remain curious and critical. It’s in my nature I guess.
So here’s the deal: I noticed – and I know I’m not the only one – we’re en masse getting bored of the perfect #lifeporn dripping from our screens these days, and so am I. Too perfectly styled images of too perfect lives that don’t look like they’re being lived. I’m talking about those images of large white spaces with one single Eames chair and a large cactus in it (guilty!). I’m talking about fruit bowls with fruits you can’t find in your average, local super market, next to your marble printed note book (guilty!). I’m also talking about the naked – but perfectly tanned – model-like (not guilty :’)) legs in that huge and insanely white bed, next to today’s newspaper, a cup of coffee, macarons, a single flower (?), the newest perfume bottles (??) and some make-up brushes (??? I mean, who uses these things in bed?). I’m talking about that seemingly effortless way of (Instagram)life, that took loads of effort to portray. I’m talking about the well known coffee-cliché-picture. The one that secretly isn’t about the cup of coffee, but about the $2.000 designer bag that is carefully positioned next to it. I’m talking about that insanely fit girl that is trying to convince you that if you work out just as much as she does, never have a pizza night on Sunday evening anymore and punish yourself with an extra tough training for failing in the exceptional event you do indulge for once, your life will suddenly be more than perfect. I mean, look at her smile, she must be happy, so she must be right! Right..?
We always compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. A habit that doesn’t necessarily has to be good or bad, but one that can make you feel bad about yourself. And in a society that profits from your self doubt, loving yourself almost feels like a rebellious act. I think we’re done with being perfect. We’re done with keeping up appearance. We’re done with wrapping ourselves in rainbows, macarons and unicorns. Doesn’t mean we have been trying to fool our audience all that time, I can assure that I’ve never done anything against my will, never posted a positive post about a product I didn’t like only because I was offered a certain amount of money and I definitely never felt like I had to do so in order to fit in, but on the other hand it started to bug me more and more that I also had my share in keeping the aforementioned alive by rigidly posting monochrome pictures on my Instagram channel filled with social moments, sneakers, and smiles. All with a clinically white background. Perfection?
I’m by no means saying I’m giving up on the type of photography I’m currently using on my Instagram, simply because that’s the style I like best and suits my vision on aesthetics. Also: Eames chairs and cactuses are cool. And so are cupcakes. I just want to become slightly less rigid in showing that perfectly composed Instagram grid, and start sharing snippets of my less undersaturated life. I even thought about bringing my Snapchat (@SFFTE) account back to life – I really, really tried it last year, let me know in the comments if you’d like that – and even considered starting a You Tube channel for the sake of bringing back the realness I’ve be craving for myself. That last option isn’t something I can see myself doing in the near future, but I’ve noticed that now that I started blogging about more personal/lifestyle subjects, but also started writing content with a little bit more depth occasionally, that’s also what you guys like to see (AND I LOVE YOU FOR THAT!). I love the fact that apparently you’ve been growing into this with me since I’m getting the feeling (and e-mails, and messages ;)) you’re starting to like a good read as much as I love to write that story. A story that is relatable. A story that’s sometimes about me, but can also be one of my many reveries. One that can be about something amazing that has happened in my life, or something that is a little less happy-happy-joy-joy. A story that can be about others: other real people or events that inspire me. A story that is all of the above: real.
So Lennart was right all along. All I had to do was what I do best anyway: to be me. An unfiltered, unpretentious, unaffected (goofball!) me. It’ll be fun indeed. I’m convinced.