How to Overcome an Identity Crisis Now

identity crisis

I am no stranger to the identity crisis. In fact, I schedule things around my identity crises much like one would their period. Sure, an expert might be inclined to say that having your period is a type of identity crisis. I mean, for sure, nobody really identifies with the woman they become when they are on their period. Check it: cramps, bloated, flowing like a River Lee (isn’t that what the Adele song is about?). I mean, really, I don’t know anyone who can say that Aunt Flow is their spirit animal.

But, as much as my time of the month is trying, there exists another brand of doomsday. The identity crisis that ensues from aesthetics. Now, I’ve spoken of this affliction before on the blog. Obviously. Duh. You guys know me by now! I’m always ranting on about trying to find my groove in life. For me, life is a synesthetic experience. Which means that you can taste a song, hear a painting, touch a smell. Sometimes a red sweater paired with a certain denim wash can send me into a tailspin. It will make my palms sweat, my mouth water, my heart beat faster. This reaction gets compounded when the surroundings (a bridge, a traffic jam, a sunset) add another visceral dimension to the red sweater and jeans.

Yo, I’m deep, guy.

Be Yourself, Don’t Be Josefine

One thing I struggled with last year – and if you heard me talk at Sparks Sessions you’ll know this already – I became obsessed with blogger, Josefine Haaning Jensen. I mean, she’s amazing. I’ve written about her here. You want to tell me that influencer marketing doesn’t work? I literally buy everything she wears. My Louis Vuitton boots? Got them because of her. My Alexander Wang boots? Ditto. I even tried to emulate her photo editing style, to no avail. All my pictures last year had to be inspired by her in some way. Goddamn, she makes life look so effortlessly beautiful.

This obsession, however, brought me anxiety, unhappiness and a sort of dissatisfaction with my own ability to make things look pretty. It was never as good as Josefine. Oh, Josefine. She became something other than herself; to me, she encapsulated an identity crisis. I now refer to having an identity crisis as: “having a Josefine.”

Well, I was almost at my wits’ end until I stumbled upon another IG page, @julieesolberg, which is an exact carbon copy of Josefine’s feed. Don’t believe me? Here’s a few parallels/facsimiles/blatant rips that I’ve noticed:

Julie vs. Josefine

Not your baby, Robbie @hj.muse

A photo posted by Josefine H. J (@josefinehj) on

She was a smart girl, until she fell in love!

A photo posted by J U L I E S O L B E R G (@julieesolberg) on

Business man

A photo posted by Josefine H. J (@josefinehj) on

?

A photo posted by J U L I E S O L B E R G (@julieesolberg) on

Skip the drugs part

A photo posted by Josefine H. J (@josefinehj) on

• Favourite kitchen??•

A photo posted by J U L I E S O L B E R G (@julieesolberg) on

☕️

A photo posted by J U L I E S O L B E R G (@julieesolberg) on

Last rays of Sun

A photo posted by Josefine H. J (@josefinehj) on

• ?•

A photo posted by J U L I E S O L B E R G (@julieesolberg) on

And so on and so forth… Please, be my guest to peruse both of their accounts and draw your own conclusions.

How to Overcome an Identity Crisis

Anyway, when I saw Julie Solberg’s account it hit me. I don’t want to be a poor man’s version of Josefine; I don’t want to be a Julie Solberg. Julie’s pictures, in being blatant copies of Josefine’s style, just look counterfeit. I mean, when you know the original so well (and believe me, I do) the copy falls short.

In my quest to become Josefine, I realized, I would only ever be as good as Julie Solberg. And that, my friends, is a proverbial throat slice.

Actually, it’s a good thing I stumbled on Julie’s page because right then and there, my sick obsession with Josefine finally found its antidote. And my life has been great ever since. I still follow both girls in case I need a quick reminder or a good chuckle. And I still venerate Josefine, but in a different way than before. I just enjoy her pics for what they are, give her a nice comment so she, too, knows they are awesome, and then go on my merry way.

We Need to Talk…

Have you ever been obsessed with someone to the point where you want to be just like them? Have you ever had an identity crisis? I feel like social media has facilitated this dynamic, immensely. We are constantly putting out content (that we judge way harsher than anyone else) and compare ourselves to everyone else who is doing the same. It’s natural and human. But, it can also be totally debilitating. What do you think? Leave me a comment and let’s chat!

xoxo

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**Illustration by Karen Koh of theillustrienne.com

21 Comments

  1. January 17, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Justine YAS! Every blogger should read this post!
    I think we all get so caught up in others, that we also forget that perhaps, we are also people who others look to for style and inspiration. Being an individual is hard beacuse you have to make something from nothing. but its more fun :)

    OX

    http://www.fernwehsociety.com

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 10:41 am

      I totally agree! It’s hard to keep that balance absolutely. You’re pretty original so keep up the good work! xoxo J

  2. Kat
    January 17, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    Listen, girl, I happen to think you have carved out your own identity just fine. You must have been going through a weakened time in your confidence. that’s all. You rock and you know you do so never doubt yourself. Kat (KatMagic on Instagram)

  3. Jocellyn
    January 17, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    I believe author Chuck Palahniuk said it best, “Everything is so far away, a copy of a copy of a copy.” Though he was referencing insomnia…lol.

    Anywho, it’s literally why I only follow like 6 blogs because they can meld together so much. So much contouring, white sneaks, Everlane, long jackets, clawhand. In small doses I eat it up but too much makes me sick.

    It’s like going to Farm to Table restaurants post 2013. “mmkay, everyone and their mother owns a restaurant that sources beef for this farm and has a story of the cow. Why should I eat here rather than across the street?” With food it’s customer service & ambiance, hands down. With blogging it’s substance. Know what makes your lovely blog stand out? Actual writing! Not just “This jacket is awesome #obsessed #aboutlast” I’m sure there are people out there attempting to emulate you :) You tell a great story, you’re funny, you’re relateable. To quote more media “you is smart. you is kind. you is important.”

    • Jocellyn
      January 17, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      Gosh. Typo. “#aboutlastnight”. There is a certain Aussi blogger turned Instagrammer who who uses that phrase and nothing else all the time as a caption and legit makes thousands off a single post. If only my legs were like 10 inches longer.

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 10:44 am

      DYING at “contouring, white sneaks, Everlane, long jackets, clawhand” DYINGGGGGG!!!! Oh man, it’s so true. We all do that friggen clawhand. I love all your analogies – you’re so smart and insightful. Gosh, if you had a blog I’d be the one reading it every day for my daily dose of Jocellyn Wisdom. All the quotes, analogies and references I need to get through the day! Thanks for enriching my life!!!! xoxo J

  4. January 17, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    Hmm… Interesting… and yep! I am guilty too! ??. I have tried to be someone else before (maybe not so blatantly), not to avail… Trust me, I fell flat on my face too, but I got back up (with my ego a little bruised I have to say…). Counterfeits always look so cheap huh? Sooo… now, I work on focusing to be “me” and not be influenced too much by the “other” influencers. You are right, it is not easy when your social media feeds are filled with amazing shots of Jules, Josephines, Aimees, and… Justines! (Oh gosh! I am secretly in love with you…) The key is to be “inspired by” I think, and try not to cross that very fine line of trying “to be” the other person. I also try to always keep in mind this great quote from Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
    xx
    Nathalie
    http://www.crayonsinmylouboutins.com

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Yay!!! Love your comment and am so happy you can relate. Fuck, that Julie girl BLEW MY MIND when I came across her feed it was like a slap in the face. Wake up! Yay be in love with meeeeee! hehehe Man, I can totally relate. Friggen Sincerely Jules just always looks good. How does she have SO MANY GOOD OUTFITS. Like I have maybe 10 that I like RN. She has infinity. Ah, oh well, she also lives in LA where the weather allows you to wear a blanket scarf as outerwear in February.

      Love Oscar Wilde – one of the first modern fashionistas.

      xoxo J

  5. January 17, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    I think it’s important to know your own voice as a creator before you hit post on anything. And to know the difference between an homage and plagiarism.

    Counterfeits fall apart because there is substance and they are cheaply made.

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 10:59 am

      Paying homage… yes, that is the answer! It is so true and you don’t realize until you see it for yourself. Hope all is well, thanks for reading! And yes, I will think twice before I hit post!!! xoxo j

  6. January 17, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    so much! I always look at other people and compare myself to them but I think the only way to be successful in this industry is to be yourself because at the end of the day your uniqueness is also your selling point. No body wants two bloggers the same!
    Also you’re amazing so remember that your 10x as good as josephine!

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Honestly, it is so natural to do that. Comparison is the most natural thing in the world. But it is also true, being unique is what gets a loyal following. And to be honest, sometimes brands don’t like when you’re unique or you flip the switch, do something different. It is too risky and threatens their corporate policy. That’s why the play it safe bloggers always get the gigs. But, they are also slowly becoming a sort of “yellow pages” where there is no substance. I’m moving away from that this year – if I have to take a hit, then I take a hit. I’d rather take a hit than be a walking talking billboard. xoxo J

  7. January 17, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    Justine. For a bit I’ve been following you and you continually amaze me. It’s as if you’re reading my mind. I have had episodes of identity crises. All thanks to social media and mainly thanks to bloggers and their extravagant lifestyles. I too wish to get free stuff to model and shoot! I too wish my photos would be more than perfect. I gave myself a reality check. I have to occasionally log off the social networks and get back to real life. Thank you for expressing this. Thank you.

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 11:06 am

      Ugh girl, you’re speaking my language. I’m so happy that you can relate. That is the best feeling for me when I blog – when my posts resonate with other people. When I started blogging, all I wanted was to be able to get something for free and to shoot outfit pictures. To the point where I would be so disappointed in myself when I didn’t get it. I would take other people’s success and MY FAILURE. Until I realized how detrimental it is to think like that. I started not to care, and when I started not to care, things started to happen. Being myself has always brought me the most success over the years. Hope it brings you the same! xoxo J

  8. January 17, 2017 / 4:30 pm

    Oh my gosh. The Sex, Drugs & Coffee picture really nailed your point down! This is a great message, and I loved how you presented it. I’ve caught myself occasionally overanalyzing what I’m doing to where it takes away the enjoyment of why I even started blogging to begin with. Especially for bloggers just getting going. Some people think they can jump right in to where the seasoned bloggers are. It’s great to stem inspiration from them but the second you lose yourself in trying to emulate their mindset and presentation to the extent you pointed out is the moment you start to lose the purpose of starting a blog which is to present your passions to your followers. Love this post!

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 11:12 am

      Hey! Thanks so much for your comment! I love that you read this and can identify with it! The problem is that IG doesn’t push super creative posts to the explore page. People in general gravitate to the same shit: flowers, coffee, flatlays, pretty white girls with long blonde hair and fake asses. That’s what people automatically like and that stuff goes to the explore page. (believe me, I’ve experimented). But what does that REALLY get you? A loyal following to branch out and do amazing things? Nope. You just get booked brand ambassadorship after ambassadorship, slowly becoming less of a brand yourself, each time. Food for thought. You can’t have your cake and eat it too! xoxo J

  9. Katie
    January 17, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    I’ve been following for a while and noticed a new aesthetic creeping into your feed last year. Now I know it’s origin. My two cents: don’t dwell on it. Imitation is part of the human condition, it’s how we learn. On the other hand, I consider you first and foremost a writer. Your Instagram is just a way for me to know when you’ve written a blog post. Don’t let this natural talent go to waste or be diminished by your pretty pictures. :-)

    • Justine Iaboni
      January 18, 2017 / 11:17 am

      heheh GUILTY AS CHARGED!!!!! Thanks so much for your two cents :) And yes, writing brings me the most joy and it’s what I find so easy to do. I never struggle with my writing style – photographs on the other hand, SUCH a struggle for me. Pretty interesting huh, we should do what we find easy and most natural. I’ve been trying to post a thoughtful opinion blog every week, at the beginning of the week. And hope to continue working with cool illustrators to bring my words to life. Stay tuned! xoxo J

  10. January 18, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    Such a lovely, thought-provoking post. I can see how one can get obsessed with a perfectly crafted representation on IG. My amateurism hasn’t caught the bug of perfection and I’m too lazy to try, but I do spend copious amount of them perusing beautifully branded accounts and yes, I get inspiration from here and there.

    Inez | My Small World

    • January 18, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      *time

  11. January 22, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    Yet another super well written blogpost that I totally relate too.
    Keep on doing you girl xx

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