The Glamourisation of Being Busy

The Glamourisation of Being Busy

The other day I had three meetings in between interviewing an influential writer, whilst organising XXY’s first writing event, all while running across parts of central London poems have probably been written about. And I did not update my Instagram story once.

I had three hot drinks, naturally paid too much for a sandwich, organised our upcoming projects but still did not update my ‘live feed’. And at the end of the day, the words of our current time, “pics or it didn’t happen” echoed in my mind. Not just because I didn’t snap the best Gucci dupe of a blouse which predated Alessandro Michelle’s collection but rather because though every hour of that day something was happening in my calendar – it almost felt like I didn’t do anything all day.

Wrong. Not only was it a day imperative to make, well, the future happen – to be able to push what I see in my head come to life – it was definitely not a day where I did nothing. I just did not show anything.

This is a disclaimer as I feel as though I have to state, I am definitely one of those editors who has a career somehow thanks to the internet, but not one which likes to disregard social media to be cool. I frankly don’t care so much for being cool as I don’t understand the efforts of effortless and this is simply not 2015 when cynicism was in.

It’s a time where everyone is opening their eyes and realising once again the lack of limitations the internet has. I feel as though I am always a defender of social media, to those who are either the older generation of creatives who regard it as a “cop out” or those in general who class anything artsy as being easy. As I have said many times before – places and platforms like XXY wouldn’t exist without social media. And in the manner of being frank, I do love to post a good accessories shot on the ‘gram.

But I still cannot get rid of this feeling that I don’t appear to be active when I know I definitely am in what I do. This is not really about “validation” – the word most used when it comes to these kind of brain dumps – but this reflection that social media really is not real life.

Most people know this. We know when a post is sponsored or how that booty shot is only a boot-ay shot because of the angle of the photo, but that’s still not what I mean.

Working in such as fast-paced industry, one which tends to pass the trends to other creative jobs and trickles down into other trades, (we all know that famous Devil Wear’s Prada speech) fashion tends to set the benchmark of what it means to be hectic. It has been put on a pedestal for non-existent ‘work hours’ as the whole balance between your work life and personal blurs into one.

How many people in large standing positions will look back on interning and pass it off as the “good old days”? Now, I believe in everyone getting any work experience but those who work in fashion generally love to glamourise the notion of being busy.

We have a habit of showcasing everything instantly, by the hour, for the hour, because the lifestyle around us is so quick, we are already planning resort 2018. The fashion industry almost makes you question how hard you’re working and showing, by a ridiculous standard of what “busy” looks like. I mean, can anyone else say the words “fast fashion”?

But what are the results, the consequences of this? If social media is being seen as more and more of a drug and it’s combined with an environment where being one step ahead of the game is the unwritten rule in your contract – when do we say enough is enough? There is nothing worse than seeing potentially industry-changing individuals burnout to keep up with it all. “All” sometimes meaning to take care of and constantly update your social media channels – a job in itself.

John Yuyi

There are many editors out there who are “lit” when it comes to updating their Instastory, their travels, where they are heading that day, who they are going to meet. Editors who really are shaping stories and realistically showing an audience out there how publications are run through their chosen highlights. I am not against this but I do not believe we should forget about the editors who are making a difference just because they are not as popular.

Whether it’s noticing the works of former Deputy Editor of I-D magazine, Lynette Said, or appreciating the activism Vicky Spratt from the The Debrief  is doing to push towards fair housing in London. I cannot stand this idea that those who are producing, shimming through social waves which are simply hard to wade in, are thought to be irrelevant because they do not have a blue tick or the omnipotent K next to their following.

Though you could argue, how influential can these people in the fashion industry really be if they do not have a following? Frankly, a lot. It is the same ratio of women who are writing, blogging and on the grounds of journalism, especially those in the arts, in comparison to those in leadership numbers. Sometimes, numbers do not equate power.

Yet the internet is how I envision infinity. It goes on and on and there’s an essence of it looking like a black hole – the dark corners underlying the inhumane in humans and tugging at the light. What’s probably the smaller percentage of lightness, the kind which makes a part of us free, can also make us feel as though we are moving towards change. It is optimism.

But even amongst the internet, what I will always perceive as the real land of opportunity, it can also be a space where by promoting your opportunities you are also showing how much of it you have. I am never one to apologise for someone else’s insecurities but what is worrying is what pre-teens and teens see when they look at the vast amount of stuff creatives are doing.

There needs to be no question that London is still nurturing young creatives who are producing relevant work and activism in the form of art but it can also make adolescents who may or may not know what to do feel as though they have to do it all. Remember what it felt like when you were fifteen and twenty-five felt so grown up?

Well, the pressure to be successful and established whilst having your career and personal life together by the time you are twenty-one is more prevalent when you see influencers who may not always be honest about their success – Kylie, you did not build a matte lipgloss empire by yourself. The reality is you could be twenty-five, thirty-five, sixty-five and still not have a clue. Keeping up with the Joneses has gone global, it feels as though a career, your public image is now fragile. As if it could all go wrong if the majority don’t agree with a tweet you published, a company you have been associated with or even if you are just not in “the know”.

When we continue to perpetuate this false idea of business, of always achieving aspirational goals before you are even meant to be in your golden twenties, we miss out the life element. That this is not realistic for all – anything is possible also means anything negative could also prevail. Corrosive mental health, family matters, financial restrictions and just being unhappy. From not being your best at a meeting which could possibly bring in more opportunity or just not working for a few weeks – the more we continue to value our productivity by how successful we are – the higher the fall will be. Because the truth is, we can not always be on top form regardless of our track record and sadly, sometimes you can do it all but not end up where you envision yourself to be.

I am not saying I am far removed from this feeling. As someone in her early twenties – do I look at what other creatives and magazines (with larger budgets, may I add) are doing? Of course. Does it make me feel as though my three year business plan should have happened already? Why do I even have a three year plan – I am twenty-two.

Being inspired by web moguls (*cough cough* Leandra Medine, Emily Weiss, Susie Bubble), can also make a twenty-two-year-old editor feel as though she has to be at the height of her success by her mid twenties when really – where is my time for growth and experiment if I, or we, are too busy trying to be successful first? Especially when, while looking at the fruits harvested in other people’s palms, we forget the seed we are sowing.


Written by Editor-in-Chief,

Tahmina Begum

Visuals not owned by XXY Magazine


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