~ 3 Minute 15 Second Read
Being on the Internet is like having access to everybody’s thoughts and emotions. Sure, it comes in forms of humor (memes) or can be overdramatic text posts (Facebook statuses) or any other type of medium (probably accumulated on Tumblr). This can be good and bad. It builds a bridge to reach the controversial topics and invites the trolls to aggravate it.
One thing I’ve learned lately is there is a lot of mental illness around. I never really knew what anxiety was for a long time. I knew of panic attacks or social anxiety so extreme that you can’t order from a restaurant on your own; but I wasn’t aware of the everyday anxiety people face. Until I realized I live it. My face flushing red when all eyes are on me, the way I cry when I confront someone (even if I’m trying to be angry or strong), the way my hands shake when I’m driving somewhere unfamiliar, and the way my heart pounds and my breathing stops when I know I have an important e-mail or phone call waiting. I thought these were personality quirks. I didn’t believe it was anxiety because it was something I always face. My sister brought it to my attention when she found out she had it. After telling me all her symptoms, I realized I was right there with her.
Now, understanding what it is, I find more and more people who are experiencing it. The most recent epiphany I had of being an adult is truly “fake it ‘til you make it”. You think people say this as advice and someone who exudes confidence usually gives it. When the truth is, they are hiding their insecurities too. A new word I found that is super common (especially in my industry) is Imposter Syndrome. This is the fear of being looked at as a “fraud” even when you have been successful in your pursuit (whatever that may be). For me, I have a background in Graphic Design and anytime I take on a freelance project, I feel this.
Typically my mind sounds like this:
Do people really want my work over someone else’s?
They can do so much better.
Am I doing this right?
You trust that I’m doing this right, but do I?
I don’t deserve that much money.
They expect more from me.
These are horrible thoughts that can only depreciate your value and harm your motivation. Another thing I have issues with is comparing myself to others. Not only in a professional way either. You see I’m a graphic designer and a passionate social media surfer. I understand the purpose of an “aesthetic” and having an Instagram theme but for the life of me, I can’t do it. I get too excited about things that I want to post about that don’t fit in. That makes me feel like a failure. I compare it to the accounts that do have those perfectly consistent themes and it makes me hesitant to post anything at all.
We shouldn’t let other people’s successes stop us from doing things we want to do. I’m not looking to be Instagram famous. Yet, somehow I think myself into believing my posts aren’t worth it. It’s the same with YouTube. I have made videos since middle school. There was never really a point to them. In the beginning my friends and I made skits or compilations or anything really. And I never really got over it. One of my friends got really good at it. She became a super talented videographer and editor and I stayed at the same level. Of course I would compare both of our videos when we started from the same beginnings. The thing is though, that’s not what I decided to pursue. I am not looking to be a videographer or an editor – but I still like making the simple, not really any meaning behind them, videos.
Basically, I’m trying to justify being mediocre at something and still doing it. Not because you want to compete with the real contenders and not because you want to show off. You do it because it’s something fun for you and it keeps you busy. My boyfriend and I were talking the other day and he asked me what do I do when I’m at home and not working. He talked about how with the little free time he has he mostly plays his video game. I told him I like to make things. When I have free time is usually when I start a personal project like making his birthday present or filming a video or writing a blog post. Then for a moment it made me sad that not everybody does those things. And the only explanation (besides lack of time) is people are afraid of being mediocre. So, we joined a dodgeball league. We have never been competitive in it before (or at least I speak for myself) and it’s a new thing to do to simply have fun.
Sure, I compare myself to the girl with the wicked throw but I also open my eyes to the other girls meeting my skill level. I see the smiles in the “good game” high fives and wouldn’t trade that in for another boring Wednesday night inside.
I’m writing this because I want to take my own advice. I want to continue making the things I want to make and not be afraid that it’s not “good enough” or that it’s “pointless”. If for anything else, I make it for me. This post for example, probably won’t get many views (if any) but you know the benefit I get? I get a fresh mind away from these consuming thoughts, content for my website, and something to do when I don’t have anything else on my hands. I’d say that’s worth it.
P.S. I recently graduated and wanted something to consume my time without turning into a lazy bum so I vlogged October. If you’re interested in some more mediocrity: