Social media gets a terrible rap. I know it makes me feel miserable on a daily basis, but so does the family-size bag of Doritos I treat myself to after the gym—which, coincidentally, doesn't make me feel great either—and you don't see me ceasing my participation in either of those activities any time soon, so here we are trying to find our way around life's conundrums.
Ok, fine: there is always the very real possibility of me quitting the gym (the Doritos are here to stay), but that's beside the point.
Of all the applications, Instagram most acutely triggers my insecurities. There's the obvious reason for this—that it provides me with a long look of all the things I'm not accomplishing in life—but there is also the stealthier, more insidious one that reminds me of what I'm hiding behind Instagram's bells and whistles. While I can assume viewers will know my image has been doctored to some extent, they’ll likely never be privy to how much, or how little. Tapping on a photo in the editing stage to reveal its true nature often makes me wince. And with that begins the rapid, spiraling trek down a tunnel of self-doubting thoughts, power fueled by the “You ain’t shit” ghosts from a lifetime of subtle, passive-aggressive, let’s-keep-you-in-your-place, shady ass comments past.
I wonder, however, if that's necessary. A deeper analysis of Instagram might prove it to be the foil to Imposter Syndrome. We all know about filters, we all know about angles, we all know about lighting, we all know about Photoshop, we all know about "Insta worthy," we all know that we're all lying to one another, so how could any one of us possibly be an imposter? Could it be that in the distortion of our realities we are being our most authentic selves? That the double negative of Fake + Fake = Real? We are all fake, therefore, none of us are. I'm going to assume that all of you reading this know what a double negative in algebra is, and what happens as a result. If you don't, please don't ask me to explain, because I can't. Really. In middle school I tested for advanced math and when my teachers saw my results they were like, "Lol girl bye, no Texas Instruments for you." But I digress. It's arguable that the way we choose to present ourselves, the way we see ourselves and most desire to be seen, is truer than letting other people decide that for us. It’s like being dealt carte blanche through a loophole in the system.
Of course, the issue of, "Why should we have to fake anything at all?" looms over the horizon, but to that I simply say . . . sometimes you don't like the hand you were dealt, or you find it doesn't suit you. Period. In an ideal world we would be blissfully content all the time with life as it were presented to us, no matter what, but we don't live there. I'm a radical believer of self-acceptance, but I'm also a pretty radical believer of being happy. And so—while not doing so at the expense of others or yourself—if altering your reality allows you to fulfill that, why shouldn't you be allowed to? You have to dream it to achieve it. Maybe putting our dreams so publicly on display gets us one step closer to materializing them. To quote my favorite fake (and Mean) girl Cady Heron, "The limit does not exist!"
And now, here are some pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with what I was talking about.