We all know the pressure that comes with keeping up appearances on Instagram. With filters, captions, likes and comments depicting our ‘popularity’ on Instagram, it’s easy to get sucked into the superficial world. So when TV producer and personality, Jo Lurie started the hashtag #TheGramSham it sparked a lot of interest. She started the hashtag to challenge those around her who use Instagram to keep up appearances, to try let people into the realities of their lives and not just the glamorous facade they show on an everyday basis.
This is not a meaningless challenge. This is not an attention seeking exercise to go viral. This is a very real cry for help from a concerned human and someone who works in your industry and knows how hard you’ve all worked to get where you are. Please let it be heard. The 16th of June is Youth Day and our youth are in serious danger. They look to this very platform as a model of what their lives can be. They look to you, as their role models, to see what their dreams look like. But they forget that you are showing them a single frame, a snapshot, a pose, a scene, an edit of what your life looks like. They believe what they see on the ‘Gram is your life, but that’s not your whole truth. No one lives their Instagram life all day, every day, but they think you do. They’ve bought into a dream. They have lost touch with how hard you have worked, how much you have struggled, how unglamorous your hustle has been. They don’t know that your life isn’t always pretty. The result of that? They feel like they’re failing because their lives are messy, real, raw, ugly, sometimes downright disappointing, and often don’t fit into the neat lines of a photo frame. They feel hopeless and helpless. They feel like they aren’t enough. Depression and suicide are on the rise. Please can I ask you a solid? On the 16th of June, please give the youth of South Africa a gift. Post something really real on Instagram. Whether it’s a selfie, a story, a picture of you coming up in your industry, anything you choose to share. You’ll know your truth. Show us what’s real to you. Use the hashtag #TheGramSham and just for one day, just one time, let’s not sell dreams, let’s expose the Instagram sham, and show kids that they’re enough. Actually, they’re more than enough. Show them that your life isn’t perfect, but you have many beautiful moments. Show them that their dreams aren’t so unattainable. Let’s do this, South Africa. Please spread the word.
Many celebs accepted the challenge and shared their everyday struggles using the hashtag to let their followers know that we all have struggles and that there is more to them than meets the eye.
See some of the inspiring posts below:
Before I saw this #thegramsham timeline I was asked why I think I have to go through everything alone. From my mother’s death to the trauma of the past nine months. Now, two accidents (none caused by me) and a recent armed robbery have left me grabbing each moment like it could be my last with these precious people. My job is to entertain, make light of things. Lately it takes a real effort to do that. I am back in therapy because I am a weird combination of exhausted and on edge and I am looking for answers. For the first time this week I have taken on a more active role with the kids and I have felt like I must have been an absent parent all along. I kept messing up their schedules this week. Shortly after I took this picture I had to get them all to bed because we had work to do. Afia begged me to sleep with her, Lesedi started crying for a cupcake and Bonsu was upset I got his book request wrong. Without dad there I would have been in real trouble. To make things worse I felt bad to be working at home when they expect more time with me and I am busy chasing deadlines. We are all trying. We are all human. Instagram is just a collection of the sparks we collect along the way. 🤗❤
#TheGramSham The truth is … what you don’t see in this pic is … The insecurity. It’s sounds small, but it’s something that affects most areas of our lives. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to deal with insecurity (especially since I’ve been in my industry). Wondering…am I enough? … I’m slowly learning that I DON’T need to fit in…in fact, learning that the plan was never for me to fit in at all. The older I’ve gotten, the more secure I’ve become…& the closer I get to God, the more secure I’ve become in who I am in Him. To every young person reading this, I want to remind you that social media is NOT real life. We are all just here putting our best foot forward. There is A LOT we don’t post. I want to encourage you to find identity in knowing that you are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose greater than being “accepted” on social media. God’s plan for your life is perfect. I wish, on this #YouthDay, and everyday, you know that you are enough…JUST AS YOU ARE. #FailingForward #ImperfectlyPerfect #HappyYouthDay #TheGramSham @thejolurie
Imagine starting your weekend with over 30K in your bank account then waking up Monday morning with this bank balance? Here’s a little story I hope will inspire someone: About 5 or 6yrs ago I was one of the main anchors of the country’s biggest live teen variety show. At this time I was also main cast in a prime time weekly drama series that aired on the national broadcaster, the “makings of a teen idol” as my PR bio would read if I were Selena Gomez or Miley 😜. My personal life seemed to flourish as well, I’d just purchased my 1st car, acquired a bond towards a loft apartment in one of JHB’s northern suburbs, well on my trajectory towards success. I made a few friends in showbizz whom I loved because they made me feel famous, like I’m some kind of big deal. I was deeply insecure and a people pleaser – yeah, strange right? Me? INSECURE?! One random afternoon a payment of over 30K came into my bank account from a random job, common practice in this here business, and the first thing I did was call up a few friends. Three of us linked up that weekend living the time of our lives with bottles of bubbly, clubs, hotels and strippers. Monday morning I had to report to set and as I swiped at the service station this was the notification text of my bank balance. I spent all day recalling what I’d spent all that money on, how I’m going to cover my bills and why the fuck was I so irresponsible? I later found out why: I wanted to fit into a realm and level I hadn’t reached yet, I let a bunch of hype words get to my head, I wanted to showcase a “lifestyle” on my gram, I wanted those friends to think I lived that way daily. It’s years later, I’ve kept this SMS as motivation to get up in the morning, as the reason I will work 3 jobs at a time, as a reminder to stay in my lane and walk at my pace because I will never have R22 left in my bank account trying to impress and be liked. This app is but a granule of our realities, shall I remind you that what glitters isn’t always gold. PS: I’m a lot older and wiser now, I still like nice things, I have a little more than R22 in my account for this weekend- don’t worry😂🤷🏽♂️ #HappyYouthDay #Thegramsham
Sometimes I don’t want to be strong when I know I’m soft inside Sometimes I don’t want to survive when I know I should be living Sometimes I don’t want to fight, to prove to myself and to the world that I AM Sometimes I don’t want to try harder even though I know this might be my hardest Sometimes I want to be heard and to be seen To be seen not in half measures of acceptable self but as God intended me to be To be LOVE and be LOVED To be FEMININE and FREE To be BLACK BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL!! Sometimes I just want to be BLACK IN PEACE!! To be AFRICAN WOMAN #TheGramSham #LIONESSONTHERISE #BLACKGIRLMAGIC 👑❤💃🏿🇿🇦🌍👑 LIVE LOVE LAUGH
Thank you @thejolurie for your incredible Youth Day initiative, #TheGramSham. I realise I’m a day late, but this isn’t something that needs to be time-stamped. I find this platform such a funny thing, because whilst it can be incredibly inclusive and helpful, it can be a painful and confusing place for many. I don’t need to share all of me here, and that’s my decision, but what you don’t see is me expressing at 2AM, pajamas drenched in breast milk, mascara still on because I didn’t have the energy to remove it when I collapsed into bed at 8pm. You won’t see me crying into my coffee, or telling you all how lonely I am because people vanish a few weeks after your baby is born. You won’t see my pigmentation, my stretch marks or my belly-button that now looks like someone’s nose. My surprising postpartum body and fitness comes with a sprinkling of incontinence: fun! Note to self, don’t ever sneeze again. This platform won’t explain to you that motherhood has been the hardest and most confusing thing I’ve ever done. Whilst we have the most amazing baby boy, I’ve never felt this low, this isolated and this terrified in all my life. I am petrified of dying, and I’m criticized for living. I’ve been mom-shamed by people I thought were friends and I’ve been bullied for the decisions I’m making as a mother. I felt like I was going to vomit the weeks before returning to work, and I still feel like I’ve lost my confidence. I feel like I’m failing at being a daughter, a wife, a sister and a friend. As I write this my Apple Watch is telling me my heart-rate is abnormally high for a rest period, because I am petrified of putting this out there. But there you have it. Take this place with a pinch of salt, kids. You’re enough.
This is me 5 months postpartum. I manage to wash my hair maybe twice a week, dry-shampoo is my best friend, I’m getting limited sleep, my belly is still flabby AF, my boobs are riddled with stretch-marks and if I’m completely honest I’m struggling to balance work and Mom life. It’s tough. The reason I’m sharing this? Because it’s an honest reflection of motherhood and my current life. My friend @thejolurie posted some pretty epic words and challenged us to post something authentic on #YouthDay. Why? Because people are literally killing themselves over #TheGramSham – a snapshot of a fabulous life we think we should have. Or how we should look. Don’t forget: Instagram is literally a snapshot. It’s not the full picture. Love yourself! You’re doing a great job.
#TheGramSham *deep breath* This picture was taken about 2 years ago at Live Amp. Bob and I had been invited to host an episode. It was a lot of fun. What you don’t see is the exhaustion and sadness. My marriage was over, my father had died. I was in therapy, on anti-depressants, barely sleeping and crying every single day. I hid it all very well except to those very close to me. Why are we so so scared to let people see the real us? To let people know that we’re struggling, that we’re not okay. Is it because we’ll be seen as weak or over sharing? “Why is she putting all her business out there?” Even now, I share this with trepidation because “what will people say” or will some media outlet use it as a story tomorrow? The pressure to present these perfect lives is insane. Don’t get me wrong: we all love to dress up and slay, and get those likes but that’s not real life. Not for me, not for you, not for anyone. Life is not 100% ups all the time. There are a lot of downs too. We need to allow ourselves those moments because in doing so, we share the full range of what makes us human. We invite someone who is struggling too, to say “I am not alone”. The #GloUp is great but there’s a down that has to come first before you can glow up. 50, 5000 or 500,000 followers and we can’t share what’s in our hearts because we’re scared to be judged or to lose brands, sponsorships, opportunities? I’ll take my chances. On this #YouthDay, I want young people to know it’s okay to not be okay. It takes time, effort, tears, work, self-care but you’ll get there ❤ M. • Click on #TheGramSham for other posts. @thejolurie
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