Introducing our latest Guest Blogger, Chloe Gibson or better known by her moniker @a.trail.of.sparkles on Instagram. Chloe is an avid Instagrammer who preaches all things positivity, giving an insight into the struggles she has faced in finding her social media sparkle! Delving into the not so positive side of social media, Chloe has indefinitely come out stronger on the other side. This one is a good one, give it a read!

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You know, when I started out on this Instagram journey, I never expected to ever be asked to write a blog for a business I admire so very much. The truth is, I never thought that the squares of my Instagram and social media would progress much more than pictures of our stunning Northern Ireland landscape or images of scrumptious brownies sampled from almost every coffee shop in County Down. I saw myself as a tiny little fish in a big new pond I knew nothing about. A few years on I’m not afraid to admit that I still don’t know it all when it comes to Instagram, but taking each corner as it comes along this rollercoaster journey, I have learnt so much about community, business and most importantly myself. 

I’d say I’ve always been an outgoing person, jumping into things head first and willing to give anything a go. My mum often jokes: ‘Chloe? Sure she’s stuck in the middle of everything.’ Of course, it’s not a bad way to be. So why not give this blogging craic a go I thought, and just like that A Trail of Sparkles was born! 

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Social Media’s Smoke and Mirrors

With the birth of my new blog also came my obsession with perfection. Every picture I posted was flawlessly filtered and oh so ‘Insta worthy’ with each caption throughly thought out. I compared my every move to those of big name bloggers and tailored my content to be more like theirs. I fell into the trap! The beautifully filtered life I’d been living on Instagram became so far removed from my reality of Uni deadlines, neglected health and a pretty rubbish breakup, so I made the decision to remove myself from it all for a while. The short answer to why I did this is because I had some growing to do and I wanted to do it in a space without any expectations of who I should be or how I should feel. For me, the internet was a little too spikey when I was feeling soft. 

Our Perception of Perfection

The truth is that society had polluted my brain into believing that I didn’t belong. Sometimes I would go through my camera roll, try to pin point where it all went wrong, but I never found my answer and now I know I never will. Why? Because society is wrong, not me! We’re exposed to projected images of ‘beauty’ by the media on a regular basis. From leggy models to stick-thin celebrities, these images are repeatedly idolised as standards of beauty which all girls should strive for. These notions that you’ll only be happy when you hit a target weight, or you’ll finally be content in life when you’re earning so much per year, or if you don’t get 100+ likes on a picture then it’s flopped, to put it bluntly, they’re total rubbish! 

For a long time, and until recently, I hated everything there was to hate about my body. Every. Single. Part of it. I would take an alternative route to avoid catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I wouldn’t risk getting caught for all to see without makeup and my clothing choices centred around what would blend in most in public. More often than not, this ended up being jeans and a hoodie. I felt that my body had let me down by failing to match up to the images I’d been bombarded with since childhood.

It was only when I began to challenge these images we’re all subjected to and felt underrepresented, that the hatred for my body became frustration for all of the other bodies out there like mine. The average sized British female wears size 16 clothing and yet the average size of a shop mannequin is between 8-10. We have a responsibility on our shoulders to change societies distorted idea of beauty, and there’s no time like the present!

Who said I can’t love my size 14 body? Who said I can’t take a bomb selfie with no makeup? Who said I can’t rock a midi dress?

This isn’t a new Chloe, this is the original Chloe who finally found her voice, her self acceptance and her peace. Truly accepting this body could only ever come from me and I refuse to give anyone the power to take that away! 

Our society can be dangerous and it can be wrong, but boy can it be supportive! Instagram has introduced me to some of my greatest teachers, supporters, motivators and friends. 

Growing and learning from such a powerhouse line up of men and women is a true tonic for the soul!  

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Reigniting the Sparkle

I now refuse to post any content that isn’t authentic to me. If I feel like I have nothing to say and maybe don’t post for 2 weeks, do you know what? That’s ok! The internet doesn’t suddenly forget about you. I’ve filled my timeline with accounts that motivate and educate me. People who live life without limits, who challenge what we’re taught and who stand up for what they believe in. 

Join me by making a pledge. Wake up in the morning and be thankful for 3 things that wonderful body of yours can do! The majority of the time we forget what our bodies really are: extraordinary vehicles that let us live, love, learn, create, sing, dance, laugh… all of this good stuff. So why not celebrate it!? 

Let’s get the conversation going! If there’s anything I’ve written above you’d like to chat about, please please don’t be afraid to pop me a message over on my Instagram. 

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A big thank you to Chloe for her admirable honesty with this post, we too believe in having social media channels that educate and inspire. You can follow Chloe on Instagram on @a.trail.of.sparkles to follow all her fantastic antics! If you’d like to get involved in our guest blogs don’t be afraid to give us a buzz, you can get us here or via our Instagram!