Im stood in front of the tree. Short dress, perfect skin and a flawless personality. Though i am not a big person i find myself sucking in my stomach, until you can see my ribs, pursing my lips, creating the illusion of an ideal jaw line and bending my body like a contortionist to get the ‘best angle’. This will not even satisfy my need and desire for perfection. I will proceed to spend hours slimming my thighs, airbrushing my face and whitening my teeth. Next i must brainstorm a caption for this already artificial photo. All of this for some likes, comments and followers most of which i don’t even know. Today i will commit my social suicide.
I have spent six years on social media. Surrounded and submerging myself in it. Having opinions forced down my throat. Becoming obsessed by who is active, ignoring me or will give instantaneous responses. Granted the easy accessibility of the internet has allowed me to; connect with new and old friends, gain invaluable experiences and form opinions about important life affecting situations.
However in retrospect my obsession with social media drove me to the point of insanity. I had become obsessed over the diameter of my waist and thigh. Was constantly on crash diets to reduce the dreaded bloat and lose that christmas weight. But finally after six long years of conforming to societies norms i decided that i was no longer going to participate in the trivial workings of social media. I was tired of checking how many likes i could get within an hour. How many followers would provide constant gratification that i looked “stunning” or “hot” when i went out on Saturday night. I realised that no matter how many likes I got i was never happy. It was diminishing my self-worth, happiness and inner confidence. I had never been so low, so anxious, so fraudulent. I had built up a following who saw me as a bubbly girl who was skinny and didn’t have a care in the world.
This online presence could not be farther from the truth. This persona had become intertwined with my personal life somehow and left me in a place where people didn’t take my concerns or opinions seriously. I was just the ditzy girl who could rock a short body con dress. This online presence made people think that because i could get some likes or comments my intellectual ability or knowledge of valuable topics was less extensive that theirs. This misconception was so broad that even my parents were stunned when i would present my argument about the current political climate or my opinion on a new medical treatment i had read about. They assumed that all my time was spent doing my makeup to take picture of myself in outfits, that never even passed through the front door.
Though i was well aware that my social media accounts were affecting peoples opinion of me i felt the need to fuel the fire. Constantly adding to the portfolio of mistakes and heavy filtered life. There was no doubt i needed to remove this addiction from my life. One day i decided no. Just no. I deleted my social media apps. I came to the conclusion that i needed to make my own happiness. Posting, fishing for appreciation was not filling the void i was experiencing. And i knew i had to change the opinions that my friends and family had of me fast.
The term of friend now is so different to what it was for previous generations. It previously meant “someone who you share a strong bond with,” it now means “anyone who is interested in my photoshopped pictures or superficial status updates.” When i reflect on the amount of people i was showing and letting into my life, it is sickening. These commercial companies are changing humanity into a manufactured and cloned group. Where beauty and appearance overrides opinion and intellectual knowledge.
I stopped using youtube to watch videos for the sake of it and when i did watch i carefully selected the titles that were going to still have an impact on my personal life in years to come. I went from wasting hours mindlessly being memorised by a man blending his eyeshadow and started watching cesarian operations, top ten questions asked at midwifery interviews or my story of various health conditions. I had gone from spending my days tracing the lives of social media influencers to educating myself about the real struggles and interests in my life.
Slowly people began to consider my arguments to be genuine and the extra time i had allowed me to further develop my opinions and viewpoint. I was using my time more valuably as well as building an accurate representation of me and what i stand for. I have proved that removing yourself from the social norm, committing a social suicide is not only positive but it has allowed me to become a better more liberated person. I would find myself with not only spare moments thought the day but hours. It meant my grades improved as well as my heath. I began going to the gym more often and had time to cook instead of calling for some sweet and sour chicken and chips, or a pizza with extra cheese. The fake, fraudulent persona had become my truth. I was happier, stronger and ironically looked more like my photoshopped images than ever. Instead of using the internet to broadcast my thoughts i would use my voice, talking to the people who actually matter.
Before i made the dreaded change i had a massive fear of missing out the falsely flamboyant lives of those i followed. When in actual fact it was refreshing to not having to compete with them for likes, comments, follows or friends. I was addicted to continually eavesdropping into the lives of people I cherished, resented and despised. My days with social media were a collection of salacious, inspiring, engaging, captivating posts, even some so stupid I would fill with pride that I hadn’t been the one to post it. But i am now free. I escaped the demon to which i will never go back.