(explanation of this wonky photo if ya keep reading)
It seems like every few days I bump into someone who wants to talk about the way social media is ruining our lives, making us play the comparison game and live habitually dissatisfied. I find it really interesting that these conversations keep happening, with different people at different times and it concerns me a bit, but has also gotten me thinking.
Instagram is the hottest and fastest growing app on the market (and has been since its founding). they say more than 80 million photos are uploaded a day on the app (that alone blows my mind). That's 80 million people posting pictures of their dogs, kids playing football, the sunset, cool rainbows, random aesthetically pleasing arrangements of objects with coffee...
And all the while, we thumb through these countless pictures thinking, "oh, that coffee looks really nice next to those pink rocks."
Or: "What a cute shirt, how does she always look perfect?"
Or: "That couple is so cute I want to throw up. They literally are goals."
And people begin to feel dumb or out of touch because their lives don't look like that and their coffee isn't pretty and they just had a fight over which brand of mac and cheese was better with their roommate. Over time, those moments compound and make dissatisfied people who are too tall, too thin, too fat, too nerdy, too bad at taking pictures, too trendy, too hipster...
Too much or too little, but never enough. Curse you, Goldilocks.
So, we blame the internet, or social media, for making us this way - for ruining our perceptions and making us want to look like someone else or be someone else and maybe be a little more adequate or a little less lame.
But I really don't think the internet is to blame here. We are the ones to blame. WE are the ones who log onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever the cool kids use these days, and scroll for hours (experts are now saying 2 hours every day) , hunting and watching and comparing. All the while, we forget that people don't actually post about their lives. They post about moments or snippets, or happy thoughts, but their lives? Nope. Absolutely not. That's too personal, too messy, and way less attractive than what ought to make its way onto our feed.
Recently, I started doing a video series on Instagram called Sundays with Syd, and the response has been a bit overwhelming. It started on a whim purely for fun, and I didn't think anyone would watch it. But as those little numbers climb, my goal is to share real life with people and remind them that real life, the sometimes boring, errand-filled, not-always-put-together life is fun. So what it's not glamorous and picture-perfect all the time? IT'S YOUR LIFE. That's the most precious, beautiful thing there is!
I took the wonky picture up top a few weeks ago because I was finally exercising again and felt good in my turtle neck (also the wallpaper in that bathroom was cute).
Two days ago, I paper-clipped my dress pants because they broke. There's a pile of Christmas presents in my room I've just moved from corner to corner this week because I've been too busy to wrap them. Oh, and my duvet cover? I washed it two weeks ago and it's still sitting at the foot of my bed folded and useless.
One of the reasons it took me years to actually commit to writing a blog was because I was afraid people would play the comparison game with me, or that people would perceive me as narcissistic. I didn't want the blogger label because a lot of people think of bloggers as "lame" and "self centered" and mostly out of touch (there's a hate site dedicated to bloggers, for goodness sake! It makes me sick.)
But I want to be honest with you people. I want to tell your stories and, somewhere in the middle, tell mine too. I've been guilty of lying on the internet, of saying everything's fine and dandy when it's not. But I want to work on being more truthful, on posting those low-quality pictures because they're my favorite (this is true), but also sharing those fun, "perfect" ones too, because they happen! If I look good, I'm going to tell you, because that's how it is!
Why oh why do we allow ourselves to be pushed around by people through a screen? Do we really want someone's thumb to dictate our self-worth?
My god, I hope not.