From my first day on social media until now, I have been in pursuit of the perfect life. Sorry, let me correct myself: the perfect picture life.
I’m sure you know the feeling: you could be posting pictures and status updates that are genuine and reflective of you as a person: pictures of your pet, your family, your style, etc…. but then you take a look at a Twitter celebrity’s feed, or the popular girl from high school’s Instagram profile, and suddenly, your truth doesn’t look so good.
In fact, it doesn’t look good enough.
It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re on top of your game: good grades, great job, wonderful friends, perfect relationship, the whole nine yards. You look at that social media page and your stomach sinks because, anything you do, they seem to do better.
And you can try your hardest to live up to that pristine, manicured feed: taking new pictures, deleting old statuses, trying to create an aesthetically pleasing brand, something envy worthy. (I know I have.) But at the end of the day, after all that work and time, there’s a chance that you still feel unfulfilled by the whole process, as if you removed a giant piece of yourself.
So what is the truth?
The truth is, for one thing, your reality is probably vastly different from whatever social media icon you look up to. For instance, a celebrity has a whole team behind each post– a stylist, a makeup artist, a professional photographer (or a really talented friend in their entourage!), and even someone whose job is literally to be a social media expert helping them out.
And for the girl who has the perfect Instagram feed? Maybe it’s a reflection of her true self, or maybe she’s just like you, hoping to be seen as good by others too.
But that doesn’t change the feeling in your gut, and your compulsion to change yourself for the approval of an audience beyond people you know personally.
What can you do then?
In this case, there’s two options: stay true to the you that you’ve always been, or try and reconcile who you are with the brand that you want to show. The latter is more of the happy medium of the two options, but I feel that it is also the more nerve-wracking, and you may not enjoy social media as much because of it.
I had planned to experiment with that option while preparing for the article, and (spoiler alert): I couldn’t bring myself to follow through on it. From my perspective, it was too risky. The brand that I wanted to portray drinks coffee, reads books, dresses stylishly, and wittily makes quirky observations about life. The real me, sure, does do that (or at least tries to do that).
But it’s not all I do. And that is the danger of reinventing yourself for likes or mentions: your priorities become skewed, and you may lose sight of what’s important. In my case, if I was to re-brand myself, I’d have to delete about 75% of my social media posts. That includes all the cute moments with my boyfriend, the adorable pictures of my friends and the millions of articles I have written that I wanted to share. (Okay, and an extensive catalog of my dog being his beautiful self.)
If I pursued “the perfect social media feed,” I would have no time for anything else. I’d be too busy critiquing my outfits and editing my captions before posting anything to enjoy the day to day moments. I wouldn’t be myself. Sure, I may envy those who have effortless posts and a perfect life online, but that’s them. It’s not me, or you. And trust me, that is perfectly okay.
You don’t have to believe me. Heck, you can judge my Instagram feed if you want. But I can guarantee, as one authentic girl to another, that you won’t envy it–because I don’t envy it. And I love that.