We all have dirty Laundry

“Present over perfect.

Quality over quantity.

Relationship over pressure.

Meaning over mania.”

-Shauna Niequist


Growing up I always wanted a Pen Pal. I wanted to reach out to someone in the world and write about life and share stories. A diary or journal wasn’t good enough, I wanted someone to respond, communicate.

Moving away from home and starting a life in Fuquay-Varina has had it’s challenges. And one of them is creating a new community and support system. I am so very blessed with family and friendships, but they all still live in Pennsylvania or have moved on too to other states. I have a tight group from high-school and a small group from college, friends who have become family and I can’t imagine life without. But now, at 28, making friends isn’t the same.

Recently I came across Kaia on Instagram. I instantly related to her feed and personality. She had a post about her weight loss journey and I clicked on her blog. I was reading these words and I couldn’t help but feel I was reading about myself. I have never felt so close to a stranger in my life. We have so much in common. I had an impulse to message her my thoughts right then on Instagram. She responded and we swapped contact info. Kaia has made me feel comfortable creating an online community, meeting like minded people through social media. So when I started drafting up these interviews I knew I wanted to have her participate. And no surprise she was down to join in on the social media convo! Her interview is one of my favs, keep reading and connect with my modern Pen Pal Kaia! 




Q: What Social Media channels do you use related to your interest?

K:”I primarily use Instagram to document my health and wellness thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I touch on things like: my relationship with losing weight, food, exercise — my views on body positivity, self-care, self-love and how each of those relate to binge eating. How family plays into food habits. How food habits play into family. Emotional health is a huge part of my content/messaging as well.

Q: How much time do you spend each week on Social Media Marketing? 

K:”This question is one I wish I knew the answer to, but I am equally as scared at the thought of how much time goes into it. Between viewing others’ content and curating my own, I’d say on average 2-3 hours weekly. It’s not that I’m sitting down for big blocks of time or that every post is planned and perfectly articulated. Sometimes my experiences and thoughts are sporadic, and my time is so little that my activity is in shorter spurts of time. I usually check my feed first thing in the morning, post at lunch if I haven’t, and definitely post following my workday (around 5-6PM) or after I’ve finished up at the gym. I also tend towards scrolling through Instagram later at night before heading to bed. On average, I post about once or twice a day.

Q: How do you engage visitors to participate and share your content?

K:”There are popular hashtags and things that other health and fitness accounts use to engage and share content (#stopdropandchug, #stopdropandselfie, or DietBets). None of these are bad, but none of these are reflective of me and my core purpose which is:

1.Tell my honest story. Sometimes it gets serious, sometimes it silly.

2.Encourage others to share their honest stores — not necessarily with me, just to own them and share them.

3.Be more well, little by little, day by day.

I probably haven’t kept to this perfectly, but when I think about what my aim is, I would say that all content I generate is going to fit in one of those three categories.

That being said, I wouldn’t suggest that my goal is to be shared or have others share more necessarily. For me, this isn’t my business or something I am trying to market — this is just my personal space where I talk about HEALTH. I don’t do it for a “call and response” kind of thing.
For me, the engagement I am looking for isn’t something I can track or pull statistics on. Absolutely no way. Some days I receive personal messages from followers turned friends (or people I’m following) that speak to my words having an impact or my experiences mirroring theirs. Common ground is what we’re all looking for after all, isn’t it?  The flaw of this system (if you can even call it a flaw) is that you’ll never fully know what kind of an impact you’re making. For better or for worse. Ultimately I like to share content/thoughts that I feel might inspire honesty and realness in the people who choose to follow me.

Q: How does social media engagement benefit you?

K:”I used to look at people on social media and envy every little detail about their lives and allowed myself to believe that people’s lives were as perfect in real life as they were online. There may be people who see my feed and think “her life is perfect.” Which breaks my heart to think about. We all have dirty laundry.

I have increasingly found that people are more real that we’re giving them credit for. It’s astounding. This doesn’t mean that there are not people out there using social media to project an image of themselves that is not real, not attainable, not down to earth.

But I think this account and my work and my relationships with people I have met online has helped me to re-learn and re-believe in humanity. It’s teaching me that there are lots of people who are willing to be honest and show the ugly parts of their live and that — to me — is so admirable.

Q: How does social media benefit your audience? 

K:”I don’t feel equipped to answer this on behalf of, well, everyone. But being a part of this movement has allowed me to open up in ways I hadn’t imagined. It also provides me with joy in that I get to learn and watch so many strong and powerful people push themselves and grow. The transformations I see and I hope to share over the course of time are more than skin deep. I can only assume and operate with the idea that there many people that are a part of my audience are given a strong yet imperfect example of what it means to go about life the way that I have. While our experiences are so varied, there are common threads that — again — I think we’re all on the hunt for in the end.

You want to be her Pen Pal too? I know right. Have you found yourself being vulnerable on social media? What was the outcome, share/comment below!

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