Sometimes it’s hard to even remember what it felt like to live in a world without social media. I tried to put myself in that mental space yesterday, tried to feel that freedom from other and self-consciousness that came from walking out the door with no phone. People used to have to leave you a voicemail on your HOME PHONE. No one tagged their location when they went to the grocery store or the movies. How freeing, right? Just leaving your house. Living your life. Accomplishing your career milestones. No comparisons, other than the natural sort that occur at high school reunions or accidental run-ins with an ex.
Even when cell phones first started becoming common place, and Facebook emerged to make us unnaturally aware of what everyone from our High School was eating for lunch, it wasn’t until the Iphone managed to combine all of our social media, music, texts, emails, phone calls, and news updates into one place, that things got really hairy. Now there is NO BREAK. People expect to hear back from you within minutes. Socials are expected to be updated with posts every single day. Instagram constantly shows you perfect snaps of other people’s curated, manicured lives. People you don’t even know, or may not have even seen for 10 years, are suddenly bombarding your self-esteem on a minute to minute basis with the toxicity of comparison. When Ipods were still a thing, you could at least get a workout in without your phone. Now you don’t even get a break when you listen to your music at the gym.
In this social media obsessed age, pictures are still worth a thousand words, but not in the way you think. That perfect snap of a palm filled Caribbean Beach that you’re currently comparing your total lack of vacation days to could be covering up massive credit card debt, or even anxiety and depression. Some clever editing, filtering, and a fake smile, and BAM, you’re over here at your desk making yourself feel like a piece of crap.
Take the picture of me at the top of the page. Before you read on, what do you think of the girl in this picture? How do you think she’s feeling?
The truth is, I was personally not in such a great place at the time of this photo shoot. I was super anxious and down on myself that day. Even though I was the thinnest I had ever been, I was afraid that I would look fat in the photos. I was touching my hair because I thought it looked dirty. I was smiling and closing my eyes because I was uncomfortable being in front of the camera. I was honestly just trying not to cry. Probably not what you thought when you saw it, right?
That being said, I’m writing this to remind you, and myself, that curated photos on social media, much like the one at the top of this page, are NOT real life. No one is perfect, and anyone who tries to look that way is probably full of shit anyway. So please join in me in attempting to forget about what everybody else is doing and make your pictures worth a thousand words that actual mean something. Until next time!