As most millennials hate to admit, our social media journey began with mundane updates about what we were doing each second of the day and how it made us feel. Pointless wall posts on Facebook about watching T.V., being bored, or partying. Not to say today’s youth are much more evolved but we could all agree the technology is.
My relationship with social media began with AOL and MSN messenger but took a huge leap in the summer of 2007, right after I had graduated from high school, with the launch of Facebook. The obsession, unlike others, took a few years for me to acquire. I was an outdoors kinda gal and liked to spend the majority of my time with nature or friends and family.
The real social media hook developed years later when Instagram entered my universe. I had just finished my second degree and was looking at launching my first home business, a nutrition company focused on customized meal planning, nutritional advice, and free recipes. This soon developed over time to include meal-prepping classes and e-cookbooks. To say that social media had created a free advertising platform was not nearly enough credit for how far it had taken me and my business @roxysnutrition. I was collaborating with other companies and was even featured as a recipe developer by the age of 26 on a paleo website looking for new recipe content (see my paleo pancakes here). My relationship with social media was one of positivity and endless opportunity but nutrition was just the beginning.
In 2020, the year of covid, I found myself with more free time than ever before. I decided to take on the challenge of adapting unit plans and activities to a new form of teaching. I joined a pilot program in my school division for unit writing about blended learning and soon was asked to host PD’s on my newly acquired teaching style, Thinking Classroom by Peter Liljedahl. My units were becoming highly popular with colleagues in and outside of my school and school division. A friend suggested I capitalize and post them on TpT for profit. Sask Thinking Classroom is now my second home business for which I can thank social media for free advertisement and an entourage via Instagram.
In July of 2020, my husband and I were faced with a horrific life event. Shortly after being sent to work from home, we found out we were pregnant. This was after two long years of trying. Nine weeks later we lost our first child. Social media (Instagram) was an outlet for me to share my story. It was suggested I find an outlet to release my grief and what I found was an overwhelming amount of support and connections with those who had faced the same situation. Two months later we faced it again. Three months after that, again. Three losses in six months and I shared every step. In May of 2021, just 10 months after our first loss, we were faced with loss number four at 11 weeks, 4 days gestation. Unfortunately, I was too broken to even muster the courage to formulate a post about our experience. Not only had we lost another child but the surgery to safely remove everything was a failure and I was hospitalized again a week later after passing the fetus on my own and ending up with sepsis. I couldn’t put into words was I was feeling or what we were experiencing. A close friend had reached out and asked if I felt like sharing, knowing well that it was typically therapeutic for me. I responded that I had wanted to but didn’t know how to word it. She suggested a podcast episode on her Instagram Live channel and she’d take care of the rest.
This was the first time I felt hesitant to share my life on social media. I actually felt that I now owed it to my followers to share my story instead of using the outlet as a form of self-expression and healing. In hindsight, I don’t regret it. Many of my followers, and hers, tuned in and shared their appreciation for making them feel like they weren’t the only ones in the world hurting or having to suffer in silence.
It was after this that I took a full social media and life break. My husband and I had decided to only do things that brought us joy and not worry about having a family. I shut the social media world out and spent my spring, summer and fall of 2021 camping, fishing, and hunting. The break(-up) was needed from social media.
Upon returning to the online world I reformatted how I wanted to approach my online presence. I focused on productivity, positivity, and resilience. I came face-to-face with the fact that children may not be our future (somebody has to be the statistic) and that I would spoil my students instead of having my own babies. I applied for my Master’s degree and adjusted my attention to that. Three weeks into my first course I found out I was pregnant. No, I did NOT post on social media. Two weeks later we lost baby number five. I decided not to fret but only seven weeks later I had been going through weeks of illness and was worried I had another gut infection. When my test results returned we found out we were pregnant, again. Baby number six now goes by the name Kolter Prystupa and my social media content has changed, again.
In the nearly 20 years that I have been engaged on social media, I have gained a vast amount of not only followers but friends; a professional learning community. A teaching learning community. A mom learning community. A healthy food and lifestyle learning community. Though there have been ups and downs I don’t regret a single step in my journey for it brought me to where I am today and to the people I choose to interact with now. Social media didn’t change my life, it supported my life, re-routed my life, clarified life, fogged life’s path, and brought new life stories. my relationship with social media is a good one.