“I’m doing fine enough to know that everyone’s a little broken. Fine enough to learn that hearts are best when they’re wide open. I still got fear inside of me. I’m not okay but I’m gonna be alright. For the first time in a long time I’m doing fine.”
Lauren Alaina, Doin’ Fine.
What is PostGradMad? To be honest it started out as just my Instagram handle. Like a lot of Instagram users, I was trying to find a clever username that combined my name, Madison, with something relevant about me such as the fact that I graduated college. What’s more important is what my Instagram PostGradMad morphed into… my gateway to comparison and self-pity.
My Instagram PostGradMad was the window that allowed me to peer into everyone else’s perfect lives and see how imperfect mine was. Every radiant selfie, each candidly chic workout post, and the daily “we’re engaged” announcements were reminders that my post-graduate life was not going according to my perfect little plan… that I was not “doin’ fine.” Unlike Lauren Alaina’s song I wasn’t able to recognize that everyone else was also a little broken. That’s the thing about social media. It can do amazing things like raise money for your neighbor’s cancer treatment and in the same day make you feel like you’re a failure.
The truth is, while things after graduation weren’t going according to how I planned, things were actually going pretty well. My dad survived an aneurism and recovered in record time. I secured a job straight out of college and didn’t have to move back in with my parents. In fact, my post-college employer made me feel so valued and I loved my new career so much I’m still employed with them four promotions later. There’s also the fact that I’ve managed to not scare away an incredibly great guy over the past 5 years. No, not every day is great but when I’m not preoccupied comparing my life to my peers’, I’m happy and fulfilled.
It took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that those moments of self-doubt where I felt like everyone was 5 steps ahead of me were fueled by one of my favorite pastimes—scrolling through my social media. Social media was gasoline on an already burning fire called anxiety. It took me even longer to realize that I, PostGradMad, was also a part of the problem. When we only share the good aspects and omit the less glamorous moments, our lives look perfect. We look like we’ve discovered the secret to having it all when in reality “everyone’s a little broken” and we’re all just trying to figure out how to successfully navigate our way through adulthood.
Do I blame people for only posting the good on social media? No. I know firsthand that we only post the good things because we’re insecure and unsure how others will react if we share the bad. Will people judge me if I post about how I was so stressed that when I got home from work I binged Game of Thrones instead of walking the dog? Will I be made fun of if I don’t FaceTune this zit off my chin? Will people call me crazy if I talk about mental health problems? And worst of all, will people look at me differently if they know the real me?
Being real on the internet for the entire world to see is scary. Trust me; I get it. Even as I type this my anxiety is screaming “DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!” but if showing all the facets of my life, not just the parts that make me look good, helps one other young adult realize they’re not alone and that they don’t have to have it all together, then it’s worth putting myself out there and being vulnerable.
So what is the blog PostGradMad? It’s me taking back the internet. It’s the health problems that bog you down. It’s the struggle of balancing a career and a relationship. It’s the horror stories that make traveling seem less attractive. It’s waking up at 3am to the dog puking in bed (yes, that really happened). It’s the bad and the ugly that will always accompany the good no matter what someone’s social media might lead you to believe. PostGradMad is the uncensored version of me figuring out this thing they call adulting and your weekly reminder that it’s okay to just be “doin fine.”
Still trying to figure it out,