Of course, I do. Being the pathetic self that I am, I definitely do need the validation that social media gives me.
Let me attempt breaking it down for you.
I remember joining social media at the age of 12. I started off with FaceBook (I don’t know what I was thinking, honestly.) That was the only ‘happening’ thing during the prehistoric time I lived in. (Is it still a thing? Beats me.) It’s been a couple of years since I’ve last been active on that platform. I change with the times, I’d like to think but the truth is I just don’t understand FaceBook. I must’ve lost all interest when I started seeing more of their ‘recommendations’ and pointless profiles than the ones that I really wanted to see. The whole point of me joining FaceBook was to post quotes that I couldn’t quite understand the full meaning of (I was 12 *shrugs*) AND friending people I secretly hated or was jealous of, just to see how good their life was when compared to mine. There was a reason I hated them. *shrugs again* (Had I been mature then, I’d have taken the hint to not do it.) Then I’d go curl up in my little hole and weep over the ‘fact’ that they were indeed much better off than I was and living their best damn life.
Thinking back, social media significantly contributed to making me a stupid kid. I was a good kid, let me tell you. OKAY, scratch the good. I was a kid. I was what a kid was supposed to be before social media happened. I was in 7th grade and I had to be living like I had nothing to worry about except for how I’d get my hands on the new Nancy Drew books but there I was, just entering into my teens, looking at people a decade older than me, flaunting their lives and bodies all the same (How is it still the trend?), creating unrealistic goals that I seemingly had to live up to. I WAS F*&KING TWELVE! Sure, the minimum age to join FaceBook was 13 and my ‘underdeveloped’ self was too little to take it in and it’s my fault that I joined about 5 months before I was going to turn 13 and hence the immediate impact on my little mind. But honestly, how much more mature can a 13 year old be when compared to a 12 year old? Honestly.
So there began my downward spiral. While I was supposed to be really living my best life, I was looking at everyone else, trying to copy them or out-do them and be the person that I most definitely was not. And why? Because, if you were anything else that didn’t fit the trend of 2010, you wouldn’t be the cool kid in highschool. (Mind you, I still wasn’t the cool kid in highschool. This is the first and the last time I’ll ever say this but the joke was on me for thinking this would throw me in the ‘cool pool’.)
I’d go out of my way to get cool pictures. I don’t think I ever was a pose-for-a-picture kind of a person and I still don’t think I am because I would never really know what to do in addition to the fact that I’d have to work extra hard to make my ‘ugly pre-puberty’ face look appealing to boys four years older to me. (I like the fact that I think the ugly face was just pre-puberty. This is how poisonous my mind has gotten.) But, I’d set that aside, fake smile, put my camera on a 10 second timer and get what I needed. I was that girl. (Boy, am I glad I have a deactivated account.)
Now, if that went up one week, I’d feel pretty damn good about myself when the likes and the comments increased. This elation lasted for maybe two weeks of posting that highly filtered picture and then it’d drop immediately if someone tagged me in a picture where I looked like my real self. Pimple marks and discoloration; in all my glory.
The amount of likes I’d get on MY post could determine how my attitude and mood was going to be. I’d kneel and pray (This is a legit thing.) that in the first hour of posting my picture, I’d get a minimum of 45 likes. In under an hour was my goal. (If I’d gotten more than 100 in total, you best believe I’d be riding my golden chariot to school, you measly peasant with 25 likes.) Those were the kind of goals my 13 year old self was setting. T-O-X-I-C. I wish I could shake my then self and knock her front two teeth in.
But, I can’t.
Let’s fast forward to present day. I am currently running on 20, fast approaching 21 but nothing’s changed since the past 8 years. I still am the 12 year old girl, desperately fitting her thick ass into a mold that she thinks is perfect. It hasn’t been going well. I am not made for that mold; a realization that hit before I knew it had but I just refused to acknowledge it. I’m much bigger than the mold and through the struggle of forcing myself in, I’ve got bruises and marks that’s pulling me father away from the idea of ‘perfect’ and the farther most from the ‘idea’ of BEING ME.
In the present scenario, with Instagram and Snapchat, the only two social media I’ve sold my soul to, it’s increasingly difficult. Instagram makes me want to look healthy and lean and fit and all kinds of aesthetically pleasing to people but Snapchat makes me want to go drinking, partying and eating out-of-the-world looking dishes that are probably not even palatable and DEFINITELY NOT good for the body Instagram wants me to have. Yet again, I find myself with a rope tied around my torso and these two social platforms pulling at the free ends from opposite direction. The image of my center being distorted to balance both is just plain disturbing.
This isn’t even the sad part. What really churns my gut is the fact that I’m still holding on BECAUSE (You’re not ready for this.)
The only way I’ll get my ass off to ‘go live life’ and make memories is if others can see it and I’m the source excuding ‘cool’ to anyone else beneath me who’s doing nothing social media worthy. I’m only going to go live life if I have great clothes, a not so great face which I can tweak with on a beautifying app, and my search history showing a person who’s in Greece, jumping off a boat yelling YOLO. Of course, only if I see someone else living their lives, would I go make an attempt at living mine.
Instagram ‘motivates’ me to look better (like as if there are a hundred things wrong with the way I currently look) but if I don’t, they have a million filters to help me look not like myself. Snapchat makes me think it’s okay to go splurge on stuff I honestly cannot to afford to be throwing money at but still seem to be doing it. As long as people think I’m having fun, secretly crying at how huge of a hole I’ve burnt in my pocket or wishing I was anywhere else but surrounded by people when I quite enjoy solitude is something I can dust under the rug. I’ve just gotta keep doing it for the gram and one day maybe, I’ll get the validation I really need.
(I’m in no way or form pulling down anyone that’s actually jumping off a boat in Greece yelling YOLO or anyone that’s showing off their gym honed bodies because they worked for it. I fully understand that it’s not your fault that I’m comparing myself to you. I’m just saying the problem is me here and my need to fit into being someone that you are and not be myself. I beg for you to not take it personally. If you find this like I’m pulling any of you down, I didn’t intend to, honestly. This post is just me being mad at me.)
Author’s note: As, I’m writing this down, it’s a scary realization that’s hit me. I am neither what I wanted to be nor am I me. And I’m not stuck half way either. I am on a completely different path. I am in a different dimension, all together.
Take this picture, for better understanding. Behind the lens is the beginning of the path and that’s where I started, being unapologetic-ally me; raw, if I may. I was ‘supposed’ to walk all the way down this path to reach my ultimate ‘goal’. (I’ve used more than my share of air bunnies [“”]on this one.) Funny thing is, I’m not even in the damn picture. Neither am I on the path or in the friggin’ mountains or in the meadow beyond the frame of this picture. Courtesy: The person I paid to document my journey to a cool life based off of what people are currently doing on social media. He’s lost me too.
Sure it’ll be a process to get my head out of my a%* and realize no one really cares about what the heck it is that I’m doing but we’ll get there. I’m going to break my free fall into this pit of
‘perfection’ horseshit that I leaped into.
Take this home with you: You don’t need to fit into that mold with poison coated on the walls inside. You don’t need to be anyone else but you. It’s easier said than done and especially if it’s coming from me, a person who’s struggled with being EVERYTHING else but herself, there’s no reason why you should take it. But, sit your bottom down and ask yourself,
‘How much of what you’re putting out for the world to see is only to receive validation from a group of people that you, Samantha and I know, don’t matter now or in the long run?’