Fulgurite: natural hollow glass tubes formed in quartzose sand, silica, or soil by lightning strikes
My Dad has a few phrases that come up often in conversation. My sisters and I always giggle at the “You know, just down the road there are people starving….” speech that used to repeat every night at the dinner table. One that I have fallen in love with is “Life is about short queues and long stories.” – Just love that. And another one I’m a big fan of is the “you’re a student at the University of Life” line, as nothing could be more relevant to me right now.
In the short space of a few weeks, this little actress/award-winning-writer-in-the-making has been schooled. Working in a PR position, I’ve been channelling my inner Samantha Jones like it’s no one’s business, well except mine obviously. My mouth has been swirling with words I only have a basic understanding of while my mind secretly plays catch up – advertorials and loading databases onto Everlytic and WTF is a CONTRA? Street pole ads and street posters, huge difference apparently. At times I find myself nodding, smiling and having a dialogue inside my head that goes something like Thank fuck for Google or I’m a goner. According to Wikipedia - Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization and the public. So in short, I am responsible for churning facts into poetry, making marketing magically transform into engaging conversations, giving my peeps a voice, a stance and a relatable personality. Queue uplifting superhero music, queue fan blowing cape in the air. Annnnd, cut!
Now one thing I know for sure is that everything happens exactly as it should and that there are reasons that I will only understand in retrospect for why I am at this place, taking this little detour, on my path to greatness. One of these reasons is most definitely Akanich, the little sprite that sits diagonally from my cubicle. In a place where I sometimes feel like an illegal alien, a newbie who knows nothing – she is a kindred spirit. This morning, before I had even taken a sip of my compulsory cappuccino (or as I like to call it, personality juice), we had a conversation about public perception and the walking adverts that we inevitably have become.
Carly: I feel really guilty when I have nothing to do at work. I can’t even go on Facebook because I feel like I should be doing something more constructive.
Akanich: Facebook? Don’t you mean Boastbook? There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel a little smaller in my skin after checking my Facebook. I’m a glass half empty kind of person.
Carly: Me too!
Akanich: There’s too much ambition in me for my own good.
Carly: Shut-up me too.
Akanich: It’s a curse.
Carly: It REALLY is.
Akanich: I always feel I should be doing more…
Carly: Being more…
Akanich: Pushing more…
Carly: And when you see a status that goes something like: “My life is perfect, in EVERY way” you kind of want to kill yourself.
Akanich: That’s if the wedding albums and party pictures don’t get you first.
Carly: And the stupid thing is that I’m actually proud of my life
Akanich: I’ve done so much to be proud of, and yet I can’t appreciate it.
Carly: Always looking forward, never in the moment
Even as I type these words, I wonder how many people would say that I had it all going on – if only they knew what a disaster I am most of the time. A beautiful disaster; kinda like when lightning strikes the sand and makes glass… like a weird, awkward, accidentally beautiful, fragile disaster. You can put that in my obituary. And my funeral song will be something awesome and indie like The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition, or just totally out there like Flo Rider ft Sia – Wild One.
As I scroll through my newsfeed, I start to wonder about where the responsibility lies for our own PR. Who puts forward the best of us and pretty’s up the worst? Who decides what we show to the world or to a targeted demographic on our friends list, and what we conceal underneath smiles and retweeted Simon and Garfunkel lyrics? How do we find the balance between our synthetic selves and the realness that lies just underneath that? Balance is a bitch.
I’d like to think that we are all in charge of a metaphorical profile picture, that the world has unlimited access to – but that’s just the problem. The world. The world has a whole shpeel to say about where we should be in our Timeline, what our profile should read and how we should think and feel about EVERYTHING. And sometimes, well it’s just super hard to stand out and be a revolutionary leader who says: Screw the world. This, is me. Faulty, fabulous and sometimes fucked up, me.
Almost 1 month into my new job and I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about the representation we give ourselves on any platform – online, in line, to our friends, to our foes, reporting on our extraordinary achievements and our most dismal failures. Ask yourself; do you want to be sold as a Verimark Advert? A flawless, no fail, one dimensional pitch that finds itself lost at the back of a throw away cupboard or junk mailbox? Or do you want to people to read your press release and think; damn, I wish I could be so bold, so brave, so outstanding to say that I am a human being, not impermeable to hurt or error but withstanding all of life’s challenges, doing my very best.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.