There seems to be immense pressure, in social norm, to be extraordinary. With social media being an ever looming presence, there is no escaping the expectation to be extraordinary.
Almost as if being “good” or “REALLY good” at something is no longer enough. We need to go “viral” we need to create buzz, we need to “prove” something… not to someone… rather everyone. People we don’t even know need to know of our extraordinary-ness.
How are we defining extraordinary? working in the online social space, i see it all. I know the work it takes to get one ‘viral’ shot, one dog and child behaving in harmony picture, one spoof video with your entire family in perfectly matching tees… i get it. It’s hard work and for anyone who thinks some of this stuff just happens… no it doesn’t. There is a ton of work that goes behind a ‘viral’ video or image. seo, slugs, tags, reddit, stumble, instagram, brown nosing… it’s a whole business. But that my readers is how you, me, we, judge extraordinary. Isn’t it? or is it? *there are exceptions who find an organic way to go viral but these are few*
It’s taken me years to get over the fact that my dance career at the ‘extraordinary‘ level is over. I don’t have any desire to get back to it anymore simply because too much time has passed and I’m not motivated to rebuild that sort of career. But just when I accept that, I find myself in this world of blogging where the business of being a mom has to be extraordinary! It’s not enough to post a cute picture of your child… you have to now spend endless time making that go viral. A cute kid + dog + your ultra trendy outfit + on a beach in Bali + with yummy food that you cooked up while balancing 2 kids on your hip + lo-fi filter… i could go on.
I have to admit that I do get lulled into this extraordinary rat race. how could I not! I work in a competitive online space and being extraordinary is how this world measures success. Thankfully this family of mine snaps me out of my madness from time to time.
I would really just love to move to a beachy town and open up an art studio or a theatre, make dances, screen print shirts and letterpress all day. Wouldn’t that be just be the dream. I would make a difference in arts education while also making art!
But in today’s social media obsessed lifestyle, this would not be enough. I would have to have an art studio or theatre which is creating footage that goes viral because some 6 year old wonder kid living in the beach town community would be able to belt our a first soprano aria while still drinking from a sippy cup and cranking out 32 fuetes on point while her cat runs circles around her, or my screen tees would build an obsessive following via instagram because some fashion mom indie blogger who lives on the upper west side would photograph their kid wearing my design or my letterpress stationary would make it to the oval office on some ‘small business’ support” initiative.
and then people would say – that’s extraordinary.
Truth is I am pretty satisfied being where I am, who I am and chugging along doing ordinary things with my extraordinary family. These babies of mine think I am pretty extraordinary when i do things like
- Let Lily stay up an extra hour
- have ice cream for breakfast
- go the beach
- dance in the rain
- have a movie night
- read extra books at night
- fall asleep with them
- let them crawl in our bed in the morning
- have dance parties
- just give them snuggles
- …and these everyday life moments
all extraordinary things… to my most important audience. and that’s all that matters in the end.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel this pressure in your life…not just to be good but to be extraordinary!