It’s 2021 and reality no longer exists. You heard it here first.
No matter how you dice it, we live in a technology driven, information biased world, where “facts” change depending on who is reporting them, “reality” tv is scripted and no one looks as good in person as they do online, both physically or just in general lifestyle terms. (Except Jason Momoa. I’ve met him in person and somehow he looks better.) This world of illusions, or delusions, make for a toxic place to exist if you don’t keep it in check. When there is a phone stuck permanently in hand, it can make it hard to drag oneself away from the escapism of everyone’s “perfect” fantasy on the screen and conquer the realities of our own lives. Let’s face it, who the hell wants to deal with relationship problems, screaming kids or money issues after scrolling endlessly over picture perfect influencers with rose cheeked babies smiling from their boat during a family day in the sun? And when being bombarded with thousands of images a day of cellulite free bodies unboxing thousand dollar shoes in million dollar homes, it can become hard to remember that this is not in fact reality. I’m fighting this uphill battle every second myself.
Nashville has become quite an “Instagrammable” hotspot. There are hundreds of eye-catching murals to pose with and practically every restaurant and boutique now comes with an entire wall that is strategically placed with the sole purpose of being tagged and shared on social media. Plus, with so many rich and famous fleeing the tight Covid restrictions of CA and NY, it’s now even more common to end up dining or shopping next to a celebrity which is another alluring draw. With that being said, this place is home to a LOT of “influencers.” Those super hot girls with the perfect bodies dancing in bottle service or lounging next to a pool in next to nothing? They reside among us, out in the wild and quite frankly it’s horrifying. For one because you always secretly hope these girls look like hell in person, under their contoured makeup and obviously filtered photographs. I regret to inform you that most of the time, they’re still hot in person. And those designer handbags and shoes are usually quite real, at least in my experience. But what you miss online that quickly becomes evident in person is that these people are just as insecure and empty as the rest of us, if not more so. I’ve watched stunningly beautiful women spend their entire night staring into a phone in an attempt to get the perfect edit of their “amazing night out” while the world danced around them, because the gratification they got from “likes” meant more than the experience itself. Just like the rest of us they have bad skin days and even toxic relationships. You also sometimes get a glimpse of where the funding comes from that supports the high end lifestyles of people who seem to never be working. I’m not insinuating all these people have sugar daddies, though some do. I just mean that many times the outfits are borrowed from a boutique or the makeup and hair is done pro bono by an artist who wants the exposure. Social media IS word-of-mouth now, and word-of-mouth will forever be the best form of advertisement.
Regardless of how pretty the person, people can’t seem to stop using these filters to alter their face into something more “perfect,” and it’s getting out of hand. Every single picture I see is someone with angled fox eyes and sparkly twilight vampire skin and lips 3x their regular size. In the real world, I’ve never seen so many people running out to get extreme amounts of cosmetic enhancements and I think this new filtered false reality is to blame. Listen, I get Botox and filler proudly. I support anyone’s right to do things that make them like themselves more. But we’re just making ourselves look all exactly the same, like a strange Kardashian mask. This epidemic isn’t just afflicting people with 100k insta followers either. Ol Trish from high school is out here spending her tax refund on back alley Botox and lip injections and coming out with lumps, bumps and droopy eyebrows because they can’t afford the extensive procedures people like JLo are touting as just “olive oil and good genes.” (No shade to anyone named Trish, and ALL the shade to JLo for spreading lies that she doesn’t get cosmetic procedures to look like that at 50.)
I am trying to dip my toes into the world of food/travel blogging (or “influencing” if you will) and it’s overwhelming. Not only am I comparing myself to actual perfection from people who are already well established, but there is a lot of unseen work behind providing content that is visually appealing and up to the standards being set forth in that industry. I also hate being glued to a phone all day long, but there could be great opportunity career-wise for me in that arena and I’ll never know if I don’t give it a shot. I keep trying to remind myself that you cannot compare your Day 1 to someone who has been doing this for years. And that behind the scenes, even the most perfect people struggle with the great equalizers of grief, stress and doubt. If you find yourself slipping into the trappings of silent social media pressures, do yourself a favor and take a little breather. Actually look around you and take stock of what really exists. A handful of aesthetically pleasing people don’t represent the majority of us with lumpy asses and big noses. Delete anything that doesn’t inspire you or that makes you feel unworthy. Or start your own “influencer” page and be your own damn inspiration. It’s free and no one is stopping you. It might even take off and you’ll get rich! Stranger things have happened; I heard the “cash me ousside” girl from Maury got a record deal.