If you were scrolling through my Instagram account on July 15th, 2016 you would’ve seen a feed filled with ‘ab selfies’ with comments littered underneath saying how I’m #LIFEGOALS and have the #PERFECTBODY.
You would’ve seen images of me that suggested I was pretty strong, fit and had my life together. You probably also thought that I was super happy and super healthy too. At least that’s what my account would have lead you to believe.
But if you were my boyfriend on that very same day, you would have seen a very different story. You would have seen a very different version of me.
You would have been the one by my side as I stood crying in the baggage claim area in the airport. You would have been the one climbing into a rental car and embarking on a 38-hour drive home just because I couldn’t get on our connecting flight home.
And guess what? My so-called enviable thigh gap and six-pack weren’t the reason I wasn’t able to get on the flight.
It was because I had a horrible panic attack on our previous flight and was a total and complete fucking mess.
Who’s #LIFEGOALS now? Me? If you’d been there with me, that’s the very last thing you’d have on your mind. I guess I can see puffy eyes, a mascara-stained face and a nose full of snot is attractive…..
And in the middle of that madness, the runny nose, the endless hours on the road, yet another panic attack in Wisconsin (you guys got a whole lot of empty space, and that shit is terrifying) and the help of a bunch of self-help podcasts, I came to this ground-breaking conclusion.
This is why I stopped posting ab selfies on social media.
Did I magically gain weight and lose my abs? No.
Was I living a lie this entire time and photoshopping my images? No.
Did I actually never workout in the first place? No, I did.
I simply did the math. You see, 1 in 5 people live with anxiety. I have 400,000 followers on Instagram alone, which means that at least 80,000 of my followers are living with anxiety right now (including me).
Was my portrayal of a perfect life making them feel any better? Well, it was making me feel fucking terrible, so I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t. In fact, I’m almost certain.
The ab selfies had to stop.
“Well Sophie, if someone is looking at your images and feeling bad about themselves, that’s not about you. It’s about them.”
I used that justification for a very long time. I know it’s not my responsibility.
But, I also know what it’s like to feel fucking awful. I know what it’s like to want to be someone other than yourself so desperately. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and just cry while silently mouthing ‘what the fuck??’ And I also know how it feels to flee in panic from a flight and instead drive cross-country for 38 hours. And I can tell you, it doesn’t feel good.
I don’t want to be the person compounding these people’s pain and anxiety with my portrayal of my so-called perfect life and body. I want to be a force for positive change.
I want to reach out in understanding and compassion to my followers who are living with anxiety and help them through it too. And that way, I will feel that every experience I have with my ‘troubles’ is worth it.
Yes, ab selfies can be motivating, but they have their place. They’re no longer my motivational tool of choice, and I feel fucking awesome about it.
So what does this mean for Way of Gray?
I guess that it really just means I’ll be wearing a shirt from now on!
Hahahahahaha. Okay, was that as funny as I thought?!…
But in all seriousness, this shift doesn’t mean the end of what I’m doing through this channel. It’s the beginning of a new chapter. In the coming months, DiveThru launches, an app that’s about living life connected – to yourself and those around you. It combines the power of guided meditation and journaling, two tools that have (and still does) allowed me to dive thru my insecurities, anxieties and pretty much everything that comes my way.
The launch of DiveThru is a very exciting next step – and I would love to have you continue on this journey with me. What do you say?!