“Make it about your followers not yourself,” advised the Instagram savvy social media expert.
“Yes and no,” I answered.
“I’m not sure you’re coachable,” she responded, her forehead in furrows,” this is a well established marketing advice.”
“Gotta make it about my self to answer.”
When I posted my first pictures two years ago I didn’t have a concept of what I was doing, I was pulled into Instagram because I love photography and IG felt more contained and personal than Facebook. It was an emotional decision; I was excited to show who I am through images telling stories of how I see the world.
“But Instagram is so narcissist",” said my son.
I agreed. IG is a play ground for our egos. But hey, I wasn’t posting pictures of myself. I wasn’t vain and I took thousands of dollars of marketing advice to heart; make it about others, talk the language of your followers, or clients; in my case women over 50 who want to be fit, fab and ageless. I checked what women my age were talking about from menopause to cheating husbands. I went to longevity conferences, posted about health and fitness, not aging and how to find your soul, a process I had gone through and which I figured everybody was looking for.
I created two empowerment planners, Ageless Rebel and Soul Sister with the bright grin of the “C’mon lets go for it” of a cheer leader. I marketed them on FB and IG. The response was okay but far from what I expected. I was answering to “their” problems, why did I not receive worldwide recognition?
I tend to go through extremes to find my balance, my truth. When I made it about “them” I became preachy in my desire to share my knowing and advise everybody. My inner author cringed and hissed into my ear, “Your writing is freaking gruesome.”
I couldn’t have that. I’m a writer first of all. I did not want to be an empowerment coach anymore. What now?
I still had my street art and eccentric art shows; one of my favorite playgrounds, my love for creative expression.
I wasn’t posting pictures of myself not to be perceived as vain but crazy enough, when I did it became my creative arty path to self awareness; my outfits, my second skin became my teacher.
We are art, I proclaimed thinking of Michelangelo who said the the art object is inherent in the block of granite, he was just chiseling it free.
Vanity can cause personal revolutions; I found self confidence in playful dress ups losing my fear and judgment like in child’s play. I found my unique path to empower my self. That’s what I shared. I told my story through pictures of me; the story of my search for my passion and purpose.
I stopped asking what is it that “they” want to see and how the heck I can make myself relatable and get the most likes. With every post I became more truthful to what I loved about fashion, how I related to my own skin and how I desired to see myself. I created the avatar of the fearless ageless fashionista and every day I am embodying more of her in real life. My IG became a journey of my truth.
I wrote a poem.
I wanted to be fierce and “naked”; truthful of all of me, the doubts and dreams, the downfalls and wins.
It was about me. I was real. Not an answer to statistically relevant questions but an answer to my self. With becoming real I am becoming relatable to others; by being truthful to my self not my marketing coach.
I realized what a privilege it was not to have to “sell” but to enjoy the freedom to offer myself.
Comments of other women became guides to who I am as an essence; childlike joy and curiosity. My love for life and the courage to be more guides me to own my magic.
Because I shared my process I got answers that told me “what women want.” I wasn’t the one to answer menopause or fitness questions, I inspired to take risks and be “more” on my path to being it myself.
The question “Who am I that is valuable to others?” can be life changing.
Are we repeating what we had to learn or are we adding new thoughts, our own thoughts? What do we know that other don’t? What do we love about ourselves that we find truly worth sharing?
So yes, it is about others but our answers come through the stories of us. We add our uniqueness to the world, sharing new colors, tones, vibes and new insights. It is through our uniqueness that we create the whole.
How weird is it to think that not one in billions of thumb prints is the same?
Be a narcissist in a sense of loving your Self and showing everything you are, but when you say “I love YOU” don’t let the narcissist need for applause hinder your true caring for others.
When I post my funky fashion stories I’m happy when it looks pretty but it is the childlike joy and curiosity when stepping into the “wild, crazy, silly, yuppie, slutty, nerdy” that I love to share.
“You have to speak the language of your clients,” demanded my marketing coach. “You have to fit into a category,” said my book writing adviser.
What if I speak the language with a different accent?
What if there is no matching category?
What if I create a new category and stick to using my voice not what readers are used to?
Should I not be true to my branding? ReBelle my truth, my unique inner and outer beauty?
The risk of allowing ourselves to be different is to land “outside” and the art is to make the outside attractive, to invite people to join our uniqueness while supporting them to own or discover their own.
I never was the most relatable person. I felt like an Alien all my life. For me its time to let go of the need to fit in but to happily and unabashed be the Alien.
So yes it is about me and you; my inner Alien hopes that her stories add color to your life and evoke your “more.”