Today while facetiming with some friends who live far away, one of them commented on how amazing my life looks on social media and that she wished that she had my life. I was really taken aback by this, surprised, and sad that she would ever think I am having a better life than she is.
I’d heard things like that before, when I was living is Oslo. Friends would comment on my photos saying things like “Can I have your life?” or “Your life looks perfect”. I’m sure they did not truly mean that they would prefer my life, but it made me feel very weird.
I wondered if they knew what it was actually like to be me, would they feel the same?
In fleeting moments, I do feel like I have a fantastic life. I have been so privileged and blessed. I love the people in my life and experiences I have been so lucky to have.
But never in my life have things felt perfect.
Social media is where the misconception begins. Judging someone’s life based off of their social media is not fair to them or yourself.
This past fall, my roommates and I had to deal with some really awful crap that got us onto the campus housing priority list – which means if we had a problem, ours came before any other request. Truly, this was such a blessing to us and I am forever grateful for the kind and selfless people who helped us out.
A student in one of my roommates’ classes who worked for housing said that a professional in the office looked at our social media accounts and said, “These girls look perfectly fine. There’s no way that they’re suffering mentally from this.”
I was so disturbed that although we had an hour-long meeting with several members of the housing board, where we candidly expressed how we were struggling with the situation, she thought she could gauge our mental health based off of our social media.
So here’s the big news: my social media is where I share things that make me happy.
I typically like to share images on Instagram of the beautiful things I see, exciting experiences or posts that makes me laugh. Usually the photos I share are just a brief moment of an entire day.
Selfies are no stranger to me either. Although they have become more sparse than they were in past years, it feels good to share photos where I think I look nice.
I do get anxious if I take too many and feel like I’m being narcissistic – so I try to limit them. Not to mention that I usually end up feeling bad about myself if I don’t get a good one. Seems so stupid to actually say that, but it’s true.
When a selfie makes you feel good, that’s wonderful. Self-love is healthy and should be encouraged.
But let me tell you, nine times out of a ten, a selfie is not just a one try, unedited photo. True humiliation is going to show someone a photo on my phone and finding that I did not delete a recent selfie-photoshoot.
“Oh yes, excuse the 15 photos of myself that look nearly identical. Anyway here’s the Pooh-Bear meme I wanted to show you”
I don’t typically share photos of things that make me unhappy. Not because I’m afraid of someone knowing that I am indeed a human (tbh still not so sure myself), but because it’s nice to have a compilation of the things that I’ve seen that made dark days a little brighter.
After disclosing to someone about a time where I had been suffering, they responded, “Really? I had no idea. It seemed like you were having a great time from Instagram.”
*Insert involuntary eye twitch that I had while writing this*
Kind of felt like a slap in the face. Like, oh I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I needed to post about my struggles on social media to have them be valid or to have friends realize that I was not doing okay.
Lesson: be present in someone’s life if you care about them or want to know what’s actually going on in their life.
While a “Slayy queen! *Insert fire emoji*” comment is always appreciated, I am not likely going to ring you up to vent about the shit cake God volleyed into my court (credit to Chris Fleming for that metaphor) just for your frequent likes.
If you want to know what is going on in my life, you will not find it on social media.
I think social media is a fantastic tool. It’s so great to see snippets of the lives of people I love, have known or want to know. And more importantly, MEME CULTURE. Luh it.
Not to mention laughing at people who share poorly sourced “news” articles from Buzzfeed and the likes with opinionated captions they wrote without reading the article itself. God I love social media. Whatta place.
I also enjoy looking through my own Instagram once in a while. Maybe this makes me sound egotistical, but I don’t see it in a way of “wow my insta is on point”. I just like to go back through the past and see the little day-today things that made me want to take a picture.
These things have included good cups of coffee, the view of the Grand Traverse bay, snuggling my best friend after months of being apart, stupid pretty Norwegian landscape & architecture, and just looking at something in a different way than I usually do and finding beauty.
It is vital to not view other people’s social media as their whole life.
There is so much I don’t post about, because I don’t want to.
There are things that can remain private. There are situations that don’t need to be shared with the world. I am not trying to hide normal struggles, because I am not ashamed of feeling.
I experience anxiety, as any normal adult does – the more you learn about, the scarier life is. I worry about how my friends and family view me. The idea of making mistakes or letting others down makes me sick. Living in a new city gets extremely lonely. I am still recovering from a broken heart, so long after I thought I’d be. I am a serious hypochondriac.
I AM HUMAN & FEEL HUMAN THINGS.
We all are. Just because we don’t all post about it, does not mean that our lives are perfect. So let’s use social media as a place to support each other & share the good things we see, whether it’s a good day or a bad day.
Wishing to have anyone else’s life is ridiculous. And I am totally guilty of it! Who isn’t?
We’ve all had the thought, “Wow they’re life looks so much better than mine,” but like my wise roommate said, there will always be someone who’s traveling more, eating more food, getting more likes, having a better decorated home, wearing better clothes. The people who we want to be have people who they want to be. It is never-ending.
But at the end of the day, would it really be better? If all humans have problems, how could you think someone else’s are lesser than your own? You really would have no idea what you’re signing up for.
So go on posting your posts. Like the things you like. Have ambitions and goals. Get inspired by other people. & recognize that everyone is just another big ole’ dumb human dealing with some problem or another.
& if social media is not serving you, delete that shit.