This past week, I visited my sister’s in Dallas. I was teaching privates at their studio, Prodigy Dance and Performing Arts Centre for a few days, playing with my niece and nephews, and catching up with my two best friends in the whole wide world… my sister’s, Jill and Stacy. One day Stacy and I were driving and having a deep life discussion like we always do. Side note: Stacy and I are 11 years apart. She has always been like a second (younger) mother to me, especially growing up. She now acts as my therapist, life coach, and business partner…. I love her. Anyways, while we were driving we were discussing my recent decision to take this season off of DWTS and how I was feeling about it. I told her that I’ve been super content and positive with my decision but it’s been hard to see everyone on social media lately posting about getting ready for the new season. She then told me that I needed to go on Facebook and read Andrew Winghart’s most recent post. This is what he had to say:
“I have been reflecting recently on the role of social media in the dance community (this isn’t my first post on the subject). Today I want to share specifically on how we use social media to create an idealized version of ourselves that can often be misleading. I am entirely guilty of it myself – almost exclusively posting about my victories and successes. The reality of the situation is that for every one success I have in my career, there are innumerable failures that preceded that victory.
So in the spirit of transparency I thought I would share some of my greatest failures from the last few years in no particular order:
– Met with the head of a prominent dance agency two years back who told me that I was chasing a pipe dream trying to be a director/choreographer and that I should switch paths while I was still young enough to get out.
– A film professor at USC told me in a one-on-one meeting that he didn’t think I had the ‘the mind’ to make it in entertainment industry as a creative and suggested I reconsider my future plans.
– Submitted five years in a row to a popular dance TV show with no success.
– Brought a group to audition for AGT and had Heidi Klum (lol) eviscerate my work for being uninteresting and unimpressive.
– Showed a piece at a dance event in LA and the next morning woke to a scathing (I honestly think that word is an understatement) review of me and my work from a well respected dance critic.
– Spent an outrageous amount of time and resources on a 20 min dance short film that I ended up scrapping in its entirely once it had be completed.
The list could go on…… I guess my point is that I think we could all do a better job celebrating our failures and not losing ourselves in comparison to the version of our peers they choose to put forth on social media. Some of my failures have felt excruciating at the time but in spite of that I choose to keep pursuing what I love. I by no means consider myself successful and I doubt I ever will – all I can do is keep pushing and trying to get better with every project I step into. I personally am going to make a conscious effort moving forward to be both less apologetic for my failures and more fearless in the endeavors I choose to pursue!”
I couldn’t have said it better. For me, especially within these past few week, I have felt like I have had nothing “good enough” to share. But why is it that I feel like if I’m not posting about meeting this famous person or at an event or doing something awesome I have nothing to share? Why do we rely on social media to fulfill us? Is it to make us feel superior or worth while?? Why do we value ourselves based on how many likes we get and how many followers we have? Don’t get me wrong I think social media can be very powerful and an amazing way to stay connected with one another as well as spreading love… but it can also be INCREDIBLY superficial. We are only showing the world what we want them to see of us and how we want them to perceive us. I am SO guilty of this. I have some pictures on my instagram where I look like I am the happiest person ever and all glammed up. But in reality, I was probably miserable and having a terrible day. But you would never know because I wanted you to think I was killin’ it, so I could feel better about myself while I watched how many likes I got. I’ve really been reflecting on how I can be better about my intentions with social media and ultimately I think it all goes back to finding balance. Using social media in a positive way instead of a competitive nature… showing off our new shoes, posing with celebs, making people feel bad about what we have and they don’t. I’m going to strive to use my social media to inspire and encourage people and not just focus on my successes so I can get a pat on the back in my comments. I hope this makes us all think a little bit harder before we turn to social media for validation. I also hope you all have a beautiful day!