I recently decided to disengage with my old Instagram. A friend of mine persuaded me after speaking highly of how cutting out the platform has eased some of her woes.
Since deleting it and starting anew with better intentions, I found that my time spent on the application itself rarely exceeds 30 minutes and is time spent mostly engaging with the people I care about.
Social media has a way of playing with our minds in ways we do not realize. Everything that is presented to us through the internet is sugar-coated and passed through a filter. Never do you see posts that are dedicated to the trials of daily life. If this does occur, which is rare, the act of exposing that side of yourself is often deemed a cry for attention.
I am no stranger to this sort of mindset. Seeing people share these intimate pieces of their struggle is not met with understanding. The default reaction is judgment. I sat down to think long and hard about why this is how I was programmed to respond. In these moments of self-reflection, I felt that pang of judgment reserved for others’ struggles directed towards myself.
I think I understand why. I also believe this was what drove me to ending my feed. Looking at those images; the ones I was presenting to the world as a biopic of me, I realized I did not recognize who that person was. With all of my triumphs and struggles and joys and heartbreaks, only 15% of these pieces to my story were presented on my timeline.
This made me ill.
I saw these digital renders of my face– often smoothed and sculpted to appear better than the one I wear– accompanied by little blurbs of wit. I read those vain attempts to seem aloof and cool with an image made to reflect a similar vibe and physically cringed. No wonder my identity was lost in an abyss. I was trying to wear a pair of shoes I created that simply didn’t fit.
Never could I showcase my struggles or my shortcomings. I was competing with every other model out there to draw in interested viewers for my personal “fantasyland”. The truth is, anything that defies a good time had no place to exist on that page.
Because we crave happiness and an escape from our own problems, to see those problems in a medium reserved for pleasures is a painful reality check. This prevents us from an authentic experience online and off. The general consensus is that positivity breeds positivity but if the good vibes we share with our audiences are not authentic reflections of ourselves, then what sort of cause and effect is that having?
If we continue to peddle the idea that crises are taboo, that disillusionment is something reserved for cynics, and that admitting sadness is a cry for attention then true authenticity on social media will cease to exist.
Authenticity is a beautiful thing to share with others. It attracts the right audience as well. I was hesitant at first with accepting this but now I know it to be true. My relationship with my online persona is far healthier, post-detox. It even got me writing again.
I know Skarface was dormant for a while. I am reviving her now with this affirmation in authenticity. In August my hope is to post every single day as a sort of challenge to myself. I thank everyone who reads these little trains of consciousness and supports my endeavors to continue. Really, it means a lot.
Anyways, take a moment today to see who it is that is representing you online. Make sure that it’s an image you can relate to, for better or for worse.
Your state of mind will thank you for it.
See you very soon.