Today I have the honor of featuring the lovely words and honest truth of my friend, Tessa Benz. She's the mother of two beautiful girls and the voice behind True Motherhood (link below). If you haven't heard of her blog, I highly recommend checking it out. Tessa does a beautiful job talking about her experiences through pregnancy, delivery and just the daily struggles of being a mom.
I asked Tessa to be a part of the I Am series because of her ability to translate honest and open feelings into relatable words. She also brings a different perspective as a mom, a role and experience I cannot speak from (but trust that this homegirl is waiting...and waiting....lol).
So without wasting another minute...
Name: Tessa Benz
Age: 29 years + 10 months
Full-Time Occupation: Full time Mama
Blog Type: Motherhood
How would you describe yourself to other people?
I’m quite shy. I never like the attention to be on me. I like to think I’m a good friend. I have a really hard time hiding my emotions. I like to have fun but I’m a homebody.
How would you describe yourself personally?
I’m a bit of an introvert. I observe. I process. I must fully understand my environment to become more at ease to show my true self. I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I don’t feel the need to impress most people, only a select few. I’m a listener and not a speaker. I say “like” way too much. I’m too serious most of the time. I don’t think I’m that funny. I try to understand those I do not understand. I'm constantly asking "why." I’m compassionate, patient, kind. I’m honest to a fault.
What do you identify yourself as?
I identify as a Mother. Even before having children, I identified as the mother type. I’ve always felt the need to take care of everyone, being the voice of reason, sharing whatever wisdom I think I have.
What is your philosophy with vulnerability on social media?
It’s critical. Social media has given us a stage to stand on and shout to the world all the wonderful things happing in our lives.
Look at me on vacation! Look at all the successes in my life! Look at how much I love my husband! Look at how perfect my children are!
Yes, all these things are wonderful, but the danger lies when we only share half our story. As a producer of social media content, it’s natural to want to project the very best version of ourselves. Why? Because we want people to like us.
However, the problem I see with social media lies on the receiving end as the consumer. When you constantly witness these seemingly perfect lives, it’s way too easy to slip into negative self talk.
I wish I were on vacation like her. I don’t have the money to buy my kids designer clothes. I should be doing something better with my time. I’m not skinny like that mom. I’m not funny like her. I’m not…I’m not…I’m not.
Jealousy. Envy. Self-hatred.
When emotions like these appear, we begin to really disconnect with who we are and as a result disconnect with others. However, when you add vulnerability to the equation, the fantasy world you think you don’t belong in, seems to disappear and you feel the capacity to connect with that person. When someone shares they had a tough day or a stressful month or a bad decade, when they share any kind of struggle, they become real and not just some divine being in an alternate universe.
That’s why I aim to be vulnerable with my social media content on a consistent basis. In my youth I was told a bunch “you’re so beautiful… you’re so perfect” and that never sat well with me. In fact, I hated it. Because I know that I am not. Because I know that I’m just as flawed as the person standing next to me. Maybe the only difference is I don’t choose to focus on the imperfections and instead embrace them.
How do you feel social media impacts your blog?
No one would know about my blog if it weren’t for social media! That is the beautiful thing about it. I’m able to present my “self” on numerous platforms to connect with people from across the world. A reader from Zurich, Switzerland once messaged me about how my words have inspired her. Zurich! To be honest, when I received that message, I cried.
How do you feel social media impacts you?
I like to think I am pretty level-headed when it comes to social media now. I mostly post what I want/need to post, check in on those I really care about, and then close the app.
Although it wasn’t always this way for me.
Social media slowly became a real danger zone.
Especially as a stay-at-home mom, there’s endless amounts of moments throughout your day when it’s easy to grab your phone to see what the rest of the world is doing. Scrolling through photographs of attractive people in beautiful places achieving greatness only reminds me that I’m not. Instead I’m still wearing my bathrobe, I haven’t written in three weeks, and my hair hasn’t been washed since last Thursday.
Cue those bloodsucking emotions of jealousy and self-hatred.
My self-talk became cruel and condemning. And it’s not like I hate being a stay-at-home mom. I absolutely LOVE where I am at in life. So when those voices tried to convince me otherwise, I realized I had to shift my perspective and keep a close tabs on how much time and energy I put into being a consumer of social media.
Tessa, thank you so much for your honesty and thoughtfulness with answering these questions. Everyone, thank you so much for reading and continuing to engage with my blog.
Until next time. Deuces