Every once in a while, someone hits me up online and says something to the effect of “you have your whole life together, I want to be just like you”! Now I promise this isn’t a humble brag, because my response almost always is this: “thank you sis, but I’m actually a hot mess”! Though I endeavor to be honest and transparent at all times, there is sometimes a perception that I’ve “got it together” or that everything is perfect.
As bloggers or influencers grow their audiences, it can become easy to just stay on the surface and post only the good: the most recent campaign you booked, the vacation you just took, the new boyfriend, wedding, baby life event posts that perform so well. Even when bloggers do share their struggles, they’re often revealed after the fact: I was in a bad relationship but I got out, I had a miscarriage but now I have twins, a year ago I was fired from my job but look, now I have 100,000 followers!
It’s obvious that social media is more of a highlight reel than an accurate representation of the ups and downs of everyday life. The truth is that nobody’s life is perfect. People struggle with different things at different times. And rather than tell you about all the ways I’ve struggled in the past, I wanted to share what I’m struggling with currently. The last thing I want is for someone to look at me and feel poorly about themselves, so here are five things I’m really bad at.
Sidebar, this whole post was inspired by this sheer, transparent dress. Shout out to Liana for styling this look and putting me onto the sheer trend, it JUST got warm enough to rock it outdoors! The post continues after this brief slay interlude.
I’m Really Bad At Keeping the House Clean
I’ve never been the tidiest person, and I think being raised in a patriarchal culture where women are expected to take on the majority of household tasks set me up for domestic failure. Even though my dad was way more involved in cooking and cleaning than the fathers of other kids I knew, I still felt like my parents were harsher on me when my room wasn’t clean than on my brothers. I also had to do the dishes for what seemed like the entirety of my childhood, despite having two brothers whose hands were just as adept.
Whether I’m naturally messy or just rebelled against my upbringing, I can’t keep a space clean for anything. I don’t mind dishes left in the sink overnight… or for a week. As long as it doesn’t smell, I’m good! I rarely made my bed before getting married, and now on days when Jonathan leaves the house before me, the bed often stays unmade. Even though I aspire for our home to be Pinterest-obsession worthy (like these ones on my Home pinterest board, ps follow me!), I can’t bring myself to keep it clean. Maybe when we’re ready to start a family I’ll start to care? Idk. This might be one of those things that I never get good at, but I’ll keep you posted!
I’m Really Bad At Replying Text Messages
You would think for the amount of time I spend on my phone, I would be great at texting right? WRONG. I currently have 16 unread text messages and 7 missed calls/voicemails on my phone. I’ve replied texts four months later (yes, months. I told you I’m the worst), and I do it so often, my friends are surprised when I respond to their texts on the same day. I have a friend who now DMs me to get my attention, instead of shooting me a text. At this rate, I’m surprised I have any friends left. I think they stick around for the free beauty products lol!
Honestly, there’s no reason for this kind of behavior and I’m embarrassed to share it. It shows that I value the words of random people I’ve never met (social media strangers) over people I know in real life (real life friends). People who have literally let me cry on their shoulders, and who gassed me up to do the blogging thing in the first place. I definitely want to start prioritizing texts over social media, because again, these are conversations with people I actually know and love, versus people who I’m trying to convince to know and love (and follow) me online. So homies, if you have my number, try me. Imma hit you back… same day!
I’m Really Bad At Meeting Deadlines
I must have shared this at some point in a post about grad school, but I once submitted a term paper a full year late. Like three hundred and sixty five days late. I took an incomplete for the semester and didn’t actually get to working on the paper until my options were to submit or get an F. Just last week I was supposed to get a brand back some content and missed my deadline by a whole week. I sent it this morning. Mind you, I’d already created the content. But to actually send it was the issue. Same thing with the paper – the research was done. But the writing just never happened. Let’s just say procrastination is my (third) middle name.
First of all, I need to stop setting unrealistic goals of what I can accomplish in a day. My productivity strategies are helpful, but if I pretend I can do 15 things in one day, I’ve set myself up for failure. I am actively looking to outsource tasks both in my personal and professional life – which is why I’m looking for interns! Secondly, I need to just stop taking on things that I don’t want to do! When I overcommit – to meeting up with people, to brand work that I’m not excited about in the first place (not that this was the case for this example), to a whole darn degree that I’m probably not gonna use (argh!) – I’m less likely to meet deadlines and do the things I’m supposed to do with excellence.
I’m Really Bad At Sticking to One Thing
This may or may not be a bad thing, but I’m pretty flighty. I pick and drop interests and passion projects faster than rappers can get cancelled (buh bye Nas). First it was viola (taking it back to middle school). I dropped that because I met people who were better at it. Then it was soccer. Then it was volunteering with teenagers (I “got too busy”). And then I dropped pre-med. Then it was DIY interior decor. I stopped learning web design. Then I gave up on my blog coaching course. I can’t even stick to one hair color!
One of the reasons I’m so committed to finishing my PhD program, despite losing almost all interest years ago, is that I want to be able to say I finished something. I don’t want to give up on another dream I’ve had, even if the dream was ill-advised and undertaken out of naivety. Call me foolish, but I need to be able to see something to completion other than all the episodes ever made of Law and Order: SVU.
I’m Really Bad At Sticking Up for Myself
Last but certainly not least, I have so much bark when it comes to injustices that happen to other people, but when something happens to me, I am quiet. My school sent out a well-being survey recently, and some of the questions asked how you would respond if you witnessed either sexual assault or harassment. I quickly and unequivocally checked the box for “I would definitely intervene”. And I would for sure. At least I think I would.
That same week as the survey, an older man on the PATH train continually called me baby, offered me the seat beside him, and suggestively eyed me as I stood above him. I didn’t tell him to stop calling me baby, and I didn’t tell him to stop harassing me. I didn’t even move to stand in another spot, I just tried to keep my eyes averted and said “no thanks” three different times. If it had happened to a friend, I would have given the man a tongue lashing and moved her away. But for myself, I just endured the harassment.
I’m not sure if in this situation I was gripped by fear, uncertainty, or just fatigue in not wanting to move or cause a scene, but I regretted not doing or saying anything. I regretted not sticking up for myself. I wish I could say it won’t happen again, but how can I know for sure? I’ve been followed by security in a clothing store and I tried to explain it away. I’ve been severely lowballed by companies – knowing full well they pay other (read, white and white passing) influencers double and triple the amount – and I have not pushed back to negotiate rates that I deserve.
Hopefully by naming this problem – which was the toughest one to confront, and is in some ways to most difficult to overcome – I can be more aware of situations where I’m being treated unfairly or taken advantage of, and have the confidence to speak up for myself the way I would do if it was happening to a friend.