By: Kristianna Smith
I turn 28 in 3 weeks.
I’ve graduated high school, college, moved out of my childhood home, and been employed in my chosen career since I was 17. Over the past two years I’ve left employment at a regional theatre and started a company —oh and I got married. Want to see pictures? Of course you do.
We would all love to believe that we “don’t need” reactions to our posts on social media. However, our psychological makeup disagrees. Humans are social creatures, and positive attention that we receive from a like, love, haha, or comment, in virtual or actual reality, makes us feel good.
I like to say what I want, regardless of comment. But like everyone else, I feel good when something I say or post gets a lot of attention.
Which brings us to this very difficult reality of being a working professional attached woman, society still REALLY cares about who you are with, more than who you are.
A little background– in March of 2015 I, along with a partner, launched a company, Via Arts LLC. At the time I was still employed fulltime and Via Arts-ing every night when I arrived home. In June of 2015, I left my workplace of four years and decided to devote myself to Via Arts LLC entirely. Also in June of 2015, my business partner received fulltime employment, in Virginia. I was overwhelmed. I had left stability and entered into this foreign territory believing I would have help, but what she was being offered was better for herself and her family, which meant I would be running the 3 month old company by myself. Throw into the mix that I was also planning my own wedding for September. It was a lot. A lot that until now, I have never shared publicly. The 6 months between my wedding and the one year anniversary of Via Arts LLC were filled with anxiety, panic, odd end jobs, financial challenges, and finally a recommitment to myself and the mission of the company I decided to build. In January, I started furiously networking, cold calling, and putting myself out there- wherever there was.
Then March rolled around. I had secured contracts and partnerships with people all over the state, and I could feel the momentum of the company growing. In celebration, I made Via Arts a 1 Year Birthday graphic.
I shared it through the Via Arts page, and my personal page. It received 6 likes on the Via page, and a whopping 15 on my personal facebook. It was truly disheartening. To have something you’ve sacrificed and worked so hard for display such a small blip on the social media spectrum…it sucked.
Later that week- I posted a picture of my husband and I. It was a silly side by side of me with a Viking Snapchat Filter and him with his real beard. It took approximately 3 minutes to make, it received 42 likes. It’s disheartening to have such strong support for other’s expectations, but not for your own goals.
We can be so backwards in our assignment of accolades. It’s not that ONLY posts that relate to my husband get likes- that’s not true. Other posts I make garner attention, sometimes a lot of attention. The frustration is that EVERY post that has anything to do with my partner or our relationship receives an influx of likeage. Or when I scroll, I’ll routinely like the picture of the wedding dress before the picture of the lab coat.
How we respond, influences what people say and do. We alter our behavior to ensure we show our best selves on social media. We wordsmith posts and angle pictures juuuust right for maximum like potential. Being a life partner is hard work, but so is being a human being. Going to work, creating a piece of art, being present and vocal in the face of conflict, being an entrepreneur, offering the world intelligent dialogue. The work women do in their own right should be celebrated and acknowledged more than their relationship status. I think my wedding pictures are gorgeous- but my Via Arts 1 year cupcake, that is just as much a milestone in my life.
As you scroll forward, remember to like, love, and comment on the work the amazing women in your path are doing, not simply the cute pic of them and their loved ones picking apples.
To the vivacious and driven women out there- you are a powerful force with or without romance in your life. I like you.