My older brother has always been the one to tell me what to expect as I got older. What sort of things I’d experience in relationships, friendships and in life in general were typically his main points of focus. My parents did too but the generational and cultural differences made it difficult to relate to some of their teachings. Now that I am older, their knowledge combined with what I have learned on my own has made a pretty-perfect combo and turned me into the “know it all” that I am today. While my major flaws lie in sometimes stating my opinions condescendingly, I never claim to know everything. However, there is one thing that I do know for sure or have noticed at the very least.
I’ve noticed the strikingly-odd changes that people have made and are continuing to make that drastically alter who they are and their characteristics. More specifically, the changes that have made these people unrecognizable to those who know them personally. I know that changes within people occur but at what point does growing and evolving turn into faking and impersonating. Yea, yea, yea. I know. We all change and sometimes the people that we use to hang out with or the life we once had gets left behind. How much of that change is genuine though and how much of it is fake? How much of that change is caused by the problematic yet equally viable trends of social media and its unwritten rules?
The changes we make due to social media pose another question. A question on the matter of confusion and if we are unable to separate the cleaned up, always ready (so we ain’t never got to get ready) version of ourselves from our everyday regular selves. The person who is flawed and doesn’t only mention it for some sort of notoriety. Are we way too influenced by the millions of people on social media and do we subconsciously start to pretend like the person that we think people want to see? Maybe we’ve began to feed off of this intangible love that we receive over the phone and continue to do anything to keep it coming. Even if it is not, again, who we really are? Putting your best foot forward is one thing but I don’t think we can deny the amount of people who are walking on eggshells trying to keep up with whatever image Instagram and Twitter has given them. I know a few of them. Myself included.
I had a friend, a now self-proclaimed vibe provider and music guru, who reeks of insecurity and self-doubt but often finds the time to stumble onto social media to pretend like she is reaching levels that none of us plebeians will ever be able to attain. A group of strangers cling on to whatever opinion she has. Afraid that her new life and new friends will find out where she really comes from, she’s ditched anyone who could possibly expose it.
I knew a guy who one day made a post about how much he had grown from threatening and harassing his ex-girlfriend. He received hundreds of likes and liked every single comment under that post that read “Congratulations”, “I’m so proud of you”, “keep pushing forward” while he simultaneously called and harassed his ex-girlfriend.
I had an acquaintance. She was the most down-to-earth person ever and was always a pleasure to be around. She gained some social media popularity over time and now everything she says sounds like an inspirational Instagram caption and every conversation with her sounds like an ABC “Good Morning America” interview.
I even know a few people who tweet and post old pictures of themselves on vacation from their bedroom in New Jersey about how great their new life in California is.
Even me! I can’t count how many times that I’ve shied away from my quirky characteristics because my attempts at seeming more like a sex kitten got me more likes. Even though I was terribly uncomfortable posing with an extended-arched back, I did it because that’s what I thought people wanted to see. It’s unrealistic to expect every version of someone to be displayed on their SnapChat but it’s sad to think that that small percentage of themselves is all that they have to offer both in and out of real life.
Social media is a part of our lives and I, for one, am happy to have it be but in its existence, I’ve noticed how much it has amplified an already lingering fear of being oneself and/or portraying it. I talk to myself. I dance awkwardly when I’m by myself. I like outfits that aren’t always fashion-forward. Sometimes I look like a snack, solid 10, and sometimes I look like crud. I’m a mixture of things and trying to contain all of it into this nutshell of a box is too much, not to mention boring AF! I cant imagine it being fun for any one of us but some of us may be too far gone to even notice it. Think about it. A wise man once told me that whatever you get popular by is what people are going to hold you to and I don’t know if that’s true but if it is… remember that. Save yourself the trouble and be yourself. We can tell when you’re not anyway lol.
Written by: SIS