Instagram and what lies beneath | The Bearded Candle Maker

Instagram and what lies beneath

I have been wanting to write this piece for a long time now, it always floats around my mind taking up far too much space and I am hoping this helps free it from my brain. I have had a few good chats recently with friends I haven’t seen in ages who follow me through my business social channels, as I very rarely post to my personal accounts. I want to bring a bit of context to them, as after chatting with some of the guys, things are really not as they seem as well as some insight into mental health.

Instagram is a tiny snap shot of life. I love using it and sharing the things in my life that make me smile (mainly Teddy + Joe to be fair), but the fact I have grown a business making and selling candles by mostly talking about my dog and sharing the parts of Ireland I love is amazing. I have found my rhythm with Instagram, it has taken ages but it works for me. As a platform it is something I fall in and out of love with, but ultimately I have a lot to be thankful for, I met my incredible fiancé through it and have grown a business with its help. How epic is that!?

What I am struggling with, is the perception of the life I lead. One of coffee shops, eating awesome grub in amazing food spots, taking Teddy out for mountain danders, camp fires on the beach, constant trips to Donegal and the odd time I pour a few candles… I wish! I actually aspire to that life. These are all absolute true elements of my life and that is the stuff I choose to share (and will continue to) because it brings me joy and you guys really connect with it. It really does only represent a small part of my day to day life.

In truth, I live alone with Teddy in the middle of nowhere (in what has to be said, a very closed community). I live near the most incredible beach and a short drive from the Mournes, but I mostly only get to enjoy these alone. Living so far from all my family and friends, has its own troubles. I am working on moving as soon as!

The challenges of running a business alone too is insanely hard. I have made some mega mistakes over the years, some of which I am still paying off, years later! I have had retailers who took me on this year as a stockist, but ended up ripping off my candles and making and selling their own copies. I have had constant issue with others stealing my ideas, which if you have been following me will know is a real sticking point. There has been 10 failures for every win and it’s all on my watch. Although taking ownership for those mistakes is an empowering act!

The truth is, life for me is pretty tough at the moment and has been for a few years. The personal trauma of loosing my dad has changed me in ways I am still working out and on. We lost Dad to Alzheimer’s over a long period of time, as he was diagnosed at a young age. I’m writing a book about this in fact, focusing on the gradual lose and every day mourning of Alzheimer’s and then the ultimate emptiness after they pass away. Those who are left in the wake of Alzheimer’s are a changed group and when we meet one another there is a shared sense of secret heart break. One you wish you didn’t have to share, but ultimately find some solace in.

I’m also insanely happy and content. Madly.

I’ve so so much in life to make my heart sing (and it does regularly). I have Teddy who got me through my worst and celebrates with me on the best of best days (and the normal grey days in-between). My incredible fiancé and the best of family and friends. I have a child like wonder for the natural world and I’m regularly bowled over by the beauty of a simple sun rise. And food, I LOVE my grub!

What am I trying to say here? Life is absolutely shit at times and that’s cool! Life also has loads of flat days and life has some wonder to throw at us too. That’s cool! We need to go easy on ourselves and give ourselves a break when things go to the shit and we feel we can’t cope. If you can’t cope, then don’t. You don’t have too. Go to a friend’s house and tell them you can’t cope, call your sister, book an appointment with a therapist, go to your GP, call the Samaritans… tell someone…

The one thing I have learned (and that the data screams out with a clear voice about) is that loneliness is a killer. We need our people around us. Be that family, friends, our neighbours, the guys at the coffee shop… We are social beings and being social is key.

I think it is A OK to be so defeated that getting out of bed is mammoth task….. we have all been there.

I think it is 100% to break down and cry when we feel it’s all too much… we have all been there.

I think we all feel like shit, sad, depressed, anxious…. It is part of life, as is feeling wonderful, happy, easy and care free. This too is part of life. I know without the dark times, I could never enjoy life the way I do now.

Lets go easy on ourselves and each other and see what happens. x

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