The subject of social media is one that has been dissected millions of times over the last decade, but I would like the opportunity to add my own recent experiences with it and how it affects my life. There’s no denying that in all of history there is not much comparison to this powerful phenomenon. For the first time, ordinary people have just as much access to extraordinary as anyone else. In the past, celebrities were untouchable unless you were lucky enough to work your way to their inside circle, now you’re merely one comment or one DM from your favorite athlete, model or thespian. Every single human has a platform for their own views and causes and equal opportunity to hustle and profit off of this boon to society. But while there are many advantages to social media platforms, there are just as many pitfalls.
The most obvious disadvantage to me is the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) or feeling less than because of the constant stream of filtered lives on Instagram. One after another, we scroll through the lives of people richer, more attractive, more “together” than ourselves…or so it seems. At this point we all know about filters and FaceTune and the fact that people aren’t posting their low points, but I really don’t think it matters anymore. Personally knowing that fact doesn’t affect how much I compare my life to others online, and it doesn’t make me feel any better about myself. When I’m watching a fitness model lounging on board a yacht in the Mediterranean, there’s never a time where I think to myself “yeah she looks great but I bet the food on that yacht sucks and they’re probably playing crappy music and I bet she edited some cellulite off her thighs.” No, I just seethe with jealousy from the blanket on my couch. I operate in a city teeming with “influencers” and “IG models” so I see these people out in the wild, and you know what? Most of them do look that good in person. They also are never having as much fun as it looks online so you can at least feel a little better about that.
My biggest pet peeve, even beyond comparing my physical looks or lifestyle to others, is that it has no longer become ok to have a bad day. People share every aspect of their day online, from what they’re wearing to what they’re eating, but rarely do they divulge true emotion. We’ve become robots, dancing through life with a starry lens, where the only emotion ever felt is gratitude and forgiveness and happiness and the occasional frustration of not being able to pick out the perfect outfit. And that, my friends, is as real as the ass on a Kardashian sister.
While I don’t find it productive to focus on negativity and wallow in your hard times, I also think it’s perfectly ok to acknowledge them every now and again. The other day, I made an Instagram story venting my frustrations and hurt and you would have thought I did something unforgivable, like use a racial slur or speak ill of Beyonce. I am a single, 30something-year-old woman. My body and hormones are changing. I’m trying to survive on my own in a big and VERY expensive city. I’ve gained weight that won’t come off. I can’t afford to do certain little self-care things like I used to and it makes me feel ugly. I’ve lost friendships while I’m building others and I also have family conflicts sometimes just like everyone else. On this particular day, all that stuff just came to a head and I just wanted to say it out loud, not for sympathy or response. Sometimes it just feels nice to physically remove things from inside your brain and release them. While I got a few messages from people who know me and genuinely care, I got a few nosy or condescending messages from people who do not. That’s fine, I aired out my grievances on a public platform that anyone in the world can see. I even lost followers, again, that’s fine. This is my personal account that I use as a way to chronicle my life. I don’t get paid for followers, nor do I care if one other person sees my stuff. The reactions to my sadness, aggravation and depression are what really blew my mind.
Call me old fashioned but I want to use social media how it was intended. I want to treat it like a yearbook, to be able to look back over the years and see an ACCURATE representation of my story. There is no way someone has just spent every day since 2013 live-laugh-loving their way through life. Again, do I want to film myself snot-crying on the floor or grieving the loss of a loved one? No. Some things are sacred. But if from time-to-time y’all see me venting my frustrations about feeling like I’m trying my best and still falling short, deal with it. Because that’s real life. No filter, no BS. In a world that has become so fake and manufactured, I’ll always be proud of keeping it real, Botox and fillers aside. 😊