I once read a quote by Zadie Smith that said, “I find it impossible to experience either pride or shame over accidents of genetics in which I had no active part. I’m not necessarily proud to be female. I am not even proud to be human—I only love to be so.” I loved this quote, but then it got me thinking for a second. Yes, I’m happy, but not necessarily proud to be a human, a female or an Egyptian, which are things that I have no active part in. But what about the things that we actually have an active part in? the things that we created for ourselves like our careers, for example, should we be proud of it? And how do we define proud or success? is it just an inner feeling or do we constantly need outer validation?
For instance, Instagram bio became the achievements board for almost everyone I know. Everyone writes their achievements whether it’s their jobs, the number of countries they have traveled to, the number of languages they can speak, their dietary restrictions, or even how fertile they are.
What mostly blows my mind though is the “proud wifey and mommy” bio, maybe because some women who write it are incredibly successful businesswomen. But they choose their personal bio to only display this aspect as their biggest achievement. On the other hand, I rarely see their male counterparts writing how proud they are to be a husband or a father.
I also have to address how almost every colleague I know record that they are doctors either in their bio or in their Instagram handle, @Dr… or @Doctor… as Dr… isn’t significant for everyone already. What’s more, I even know some doctors who wear their lab coats or their surgical scrubs and caps to the malls! They had all the time to wear their “gaps”, but they chose to openly flaunt their fortes. And I can’t help but wonder, why do we choose to be reduced to just our job title?
And what about the bloggers, influencers, Youtubers, travelers, and even actors and actresses who don’t only write these titles in their bio, but have to add their degree “a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer… etc” though they haven’t done anything with this degree in years? maybe they think that they won’t be taken seriously if they wrote these modern generation jobs instead of what the society think what a real job is. It’s the same thing as hanging your diploma on a wall for everyone to see, and maybe respect you more! The more slashes in your bio, the more fan base you will get? how do people measure it these days anyhow?
While I don’t have any problem with anyone writing anything on their bio. I have a problem with the perpetual need for external authentication and the identity crisis that our social media life has created over the years.
And what about people on the other side of the spectrum. Who don’t write anything on their bio or who are like me, choose to write a Shakespearean quote? are they afraid to tell the world who they are, or maybe are not proud of their achievements yet? Or maybe they are trying to create privacy in a not so private environment. After all, I just posted a story of my breakfast leftovers!
So what about you? Do you choose to parade what you have accomplished so far? which is totally your right, or do you prefer to keep an element of surprise, and wait to unveil your triumphs in a less virtual universe?