I remember when I first signed up for Instagram, I had the urge to post cringe-worthy selfies with god awful filters and expose every last detail of my life. From the food I was eating to the names of my crushes, everything was insta-worthy. My obsession with social media only got worse in my later years of high school. At the time, I didn’t realize it. Looking back on those traumatic years, I know that my attempts to make my life seem “amazing” on social media was just a facade, and a true sign of how unhappy I was in my life.
If you are truly happy and content, would you feel the need to “show off” your relationship to people who don’t know you? Would you feel the need to display all your exclusive and expensive holiday trips? If you were living in the moment, would you really need validation from strangers on the internet?
We all experience a compulsion to “prove” to others that we are happy, but if we are truly content, would we truly feel the need to prove our state of mind to a bunch of Instagram bots? During the height of my social media obsession in high school, I was deeply depressed, empty and unfulfilled. My peers were not my biggest fans, and somehow I needed to prove to them that I wasn’t as pathetic as they made me feel. So, I took to social media.
My goal? Get more followers than them all. Get more likes than them all. Have the most aesthetically pleasing social life. Was any of it real? God, no! And this is how I know that I have grown and healed. This is how I know that I feel content with my life as it is today.
Of course, there are still things that I am not 100% happy with, I still have my bad days- being a chronic depression patient almost guarantees plenty of those. But I no longer feel the desire to post intimate details about my life. I no longer crave being admired superficially or to have the most likes or followers. And truthfully, I couldn’t care less what my high school bullies think of me to this day.
Because I am no longer deeply unhappy with who I am. I no longer feel the need to fabricate this aesthetically pleasing and envious life. At the end of the day, I switch my phone off.
I switch my phone off in my favorite coffee shop, as I wait for my best friend to arrive. I switch off my phone as my boyfriend climbs next to me on the couch, inevitably his dog deciding that the perfect seat is in between us. I switch my phone off as I hop on my yoga mat or go for a walk in the sunshine. And I tend to not share these sweet and mundane moments on social media because they belong to me, and I am the only one who needs to treasure them.
Written by: Dakota Geduld