I may be dating myself by saying this, but the closest I had to social media when I was in high school was AIM. ( I had some killer away messages, let me tell you.) I was messed up enough in those socially formative years. I can’t even imagine if I was worried about how many followers I had or if someone was sending my high school boyfriend Colin DM’s on Instagram. In my younger years, I was impressionable. Hell, 3 years ago I fell for the whole “I have to tell you it works in the brand name to overcompensate for the fact that its just Saran Wrap and water weight you’re losing” bit. So yea, it still lingers. (News Flash- if they have to name it ‘ this shit really makes you lose weight’ or something similiar, it probably doesn’t)
It’s human nature to want to put your best self out there. It’s ingrained in most of us from birth to succeed. Win. Be liked. We are raised idolizing celebrities and sports stars that get paid to run and throw a ball or lay in bed and take a perfect selfie. But this idolization has grown. It isn’t just mainstream celebrities or limited to your 8pm shows or drive to the work on the radio. Hell, Kim Kardashian makes millions for… do we even know yet? Has this mystery been solved? (Seriously though- what the fuck does she do? )We strive to obtain the social norm of perfection.
In a day where everyone is constantly connected and flooded with pretty square pictures or the most craftily stringed together words the 140 character limit will allow, everyone wants to be popular. Get one more like. Gain one more more follower. There is article on top of article telling you what you should believe and what you should wear and how you should eat and when you should blink. Everyone has become a fitness expert. Everyone knows how to tell you what you are doing wrong and what you can improve and why you aren’t good enough. We spend our days comparing. It’s hard not to. But, my friends, comparison is the thief of joy.
So when I talk to younger girls, my heart breaks. I am on the last leg of my 30th year, and I still have to dig deep to find my self love and confidence every morning when I wake up. Then dig even deeper throughout the day. I’m like the archaeologist of digging for that self worth, yall. (Minus the degree and ugly brown get up they wear. Or is that just in the movies?) Not only are they worrying about what to wear, remembering their dance team tryout dance or their speech for student council, but they are constantly connected. I can’t imagine how I’d find ways to love myself, if every morning I wake up to my Instagram feed to perfect bodies. Or stepped away from my computer to, you know, LEARN at school, and came back to 2398 tweets, DMS and Facebook messages. I get overwhelmed when I set my phone down to go fill up my wine glass and have 2 notifications.
This is a recipe for self worth destruction.
So when I get asked,
“Why are you so real? You really put EVERYTHING out there. You’re brave.”
I usually smile or emoji politely and simply say,
“I strive to be an example of a real woman in a real world. That’s all.”
But the long hand version of that answer is this:
This world is scary. Especially for young girls. Especially today. I was one of those young girls. Cutting out the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit pictures and putting them on my fridge to stop me from eating. Buying the same outfit as Tonya, the cool girl, so people would like me more. Thinking I needed better boobs to be pretty. Now today’s it all about butts, who knew? But my point- No one is as perfect as their social media feeds. They all wake up with morning breath. And wear leggings on days they are bloated. And cry. And struggle. They just don’t show it. And it’s a shame. A damn shame. I needed someone to show me my mess wasn’t abnormal. My body was like 90% of other women. I needed someone to show me what it’s like to fail. I needed examples of women who have gone through some shit. Some really hard, down in the gutter, dark and twisty stuff- and survived. Because that’s all any of us are trying to do. Survive. Feel less alone. Accepted. Supported. And I don’t think you have to be a size two, living in suburbia former high school cool girl who married the hot guy to feel that. So here’s to the girls who don’t have their shit together. The ones who have cried in a bathroom. The one’s who have fought battles no one knows about. The one’s who keep working on themselves. The one’s who aren’t afraid to show the real them. The non highlight reel. Because those are the examples we need to see. That’s who fills my feeds. Who runs in my circle. Because real is so hot right now.”
So to you, the girl who just picked herself apart after endlessly scrolling your feeds- Stop. Stop this. Stop right now.
Unfollow anyone who doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Online and in real life. Rid yourself of the obnoxiously unattainable “perfect”. Because, you my friend, kick ass. So go out into the world and keep doing that. Every. Damn. Day.
Originally posted 2016-03-19 19:07:05.