Candlelit concerts, dark magic and ghost tours: haunting things to do in Dublin this mid-term break
Candlelit concerts, dark magic and ghost tours: haunting things to do in Dublin this mid-term...

Sarah Finnan

World Menopause Day: The definitive guide to menopause signs, symptoms and solutions
World Menopause Day: The definitive guide to menopause signs, symptoms and solutions

IMAGE

‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween
‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween

Jennifer McShane

The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter
The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter

Holly O'Neill

This picturesque Victorian Bray home is on the market for €975,000
This picturesque Victorian Bray home is on the market for €975,000

Megan Burns

Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women
Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women

Sarah Finnan

‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next trip to Cork
‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next...

Shayna Sappington

‘I’m an obstetrician who became pregnant with twins via an egg donor. This month they turn 5’
‘I’m an obstetrician who became pregnant with twins via an egg donor. This month they...

Amanda Cassidy

Period dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch while we wait for ‘The Crown’
Period dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch while we wait for ‘The Crown’

Erin Lindsay

The world’s most sustainable travel spots revealed
The world’s most sustainable travel spots revealed

Amanda Cassidy

Image / Editorial

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality


by Lia Hynes
04th Jun 2019
Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality

When Liadan Hynes’ marriage fell apart she had to work on adjusting to the new reality. In her weekly column, Things Fall Apart she explores the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves


People tell me fairly regularly that I’m brave to write this column. Sometimes they mean it genuinely. Brave to be so honest. At others, when the sentence ends in a question – you’re so braaave? – they actually mean ‘so crazy’, no question about it. To reveal so much.

Either way, I’m not brave. Because to be honest, it doesn’t take much out of me to be this open; because I don’t really think it’s that big a deal; to admit that some things are difficult… That a marriage break-up is difficult. It seems kind of obvious, in fact, that that would be the case.

Bravery

From the point of view of bravery for doing something that is scary; no, I’m not. I don’t find it scary. So I’m not brave, because I’m not scared.

Related: There is nothing more radical than liking your own body

But it’s also because I think it is not brave to simply show yourself truthfully. Or rather, I would like if it was not considered brave.

Since when did it become brave to simply reveal our true selves? As if there was something so scary, so secretly awful, about those selves, that the revealing of them was an act of bravery.

Photo by Angelo Moleele on Unsplash

Posts about stretch marks or size-twelve bodies on Instagram are lauded as acts of great bravery. And I get it. It’s not their fault. They are being brave, I suppose. Because the depressing truth is that to admit to anything other than perfection – to admit to normality (be it a stretch mark or a separation) – is deemed some sort of courageous act.

They have been made to feel that their real selves (selves often not even remotely far from the general norms) are so far from the standards of perfection we have set ourselves, that to show them is brave. Come on.

‘What is brave?’

Last week, the writer Rachel Elizabeth Cargle wrote a piece for Harper’s Bazaar titled Why Posing Nude Isn’t ‘Brave’. The standfirst of the piece (the bit that comes directly after the headline), read, “Please note: I’m not a social martyr of courage for simply existing happily in my body”.

In it, she describes the response she had to a portrait she posted of herself on Instagram, taken for a series by photographer Sarah BahBah, in which she was naked.

There was a lot of excited encouragement. And some trolling. But then Cargle noticed something else. Comments she described as posted with the best of intentions, under the guise of encouragement, telling her how brave she was, for posting a picture of her naked body.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (@rachel.cargle) on

“What is brave about my existing happily in my body,” Cargle asked. “What is brave about being seen? Being visible?”

She questioned whether the same statements would have been made if she was a (US) size 4. “Not often do I see thin bodies being hailed as social martyrs of courage and bravery for posing nude and showing skin.

“Telling me that I’m ‘brave’ for simply existing just as I am was a thinly-veiled projection of how people actually feel about a body that looks like mine. You’re what I understand as a body that is not enough, they think to themselves, but you push through with bravery and post that not-enough body anyway”.

To tell someone they are brave, simply for revealing themselves as they are? They’re not brave. Or at least, they shouldn’t have to be considered so.

Lia Hynes’ podcast series, How to Fall Apart is available to stream from multiple platforms, including Spotify, now.

Top photo: Nicole Honeywill via Unsplash 


Read more: How To Fall Apart: An Irish female podcast to help you pick up the pieces

Read more: We could all learn something from Jacinda Ardern’s ‘wellbeing budget’

Read more: The power of a compliment – and why Facebook ‘likes’ don’t count

Also Read

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Things Fall Apart: Portraying your true self online isn’t brave – it’s reality
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane