Yesterday a friend said she’s taking a break from social media, which I can get. I completely understand the need for some socials distancing, if you know what I mean. I’ve had to self-impose a Facebook Fast myself. And long before Social Media became a way for people to feel connected, back in the day, when I read mainstream fiction, magazines, and newspapers that stained my fingers black, when rom coms, reality shows, and Hollywood the example of social norms when I cut myself off from all of it when I opted out for good, my outlook on life and feelings of self-worth radically improved.
The reason my friend deleted her account echoes what all of us have acknowledged but done nothing about. She said, “Everyone is so happy and beautiful and perfect, with the perfect marriage and the perfect life. They have the dream job and the ideal body; they take their perfect family on the perfect holidays to five-star hotels on the beach. I can’t keep up; it’s depressing. I'm exhausted.”
“Everyone is so happy and beautiful and perfect, with the perfect marriage and the perfect life . . . I can’t keep up; it’s depressing. I'm exhausted.”
More than once I've stopped my mindless scrolling to pay closer attention to the imposter syndrome, or feeling of "not enough," that started creeping in.
It got me thinking.
At the risk of offending those who buy wholeheartedly into this illusion of perfection, who spend much time and effort both hiding and glossing over any unaccepted aesthetic detail, peeps who amplify their effort to find the perfect angle , and even those who represent the many well-intended, if not slightly self-centred, picture-perfect selfie-posing socialites and infinite optimists, there is an announcement I have to make. Are you ready?
You can block my name or unfriend me if you want. Restrict my access to your page, post mocking references about my stance. I can take it. I stand in solidarity with those who are tired of not measuring up to thousands of jumbled pixels projected onto a screen. Because this blog is a call to action. It is a plea to join me in breathing some real life into social media. I beckon you to share the hardships, humilities, and bad hair days that plague us ALL from time to time. Let’s do the world a favour and halt the onslaught of glamourized selfies, opting instead to share the least flattering, most deplorable, blackmail-worthy selfies unfiltered (gasp!).
Here’s what I propose to those categorically fixated on Facebook.
You hold your smartphone overhead, awkwardly angled to capture your best side. You use the "burst" function to ensure a good shot.
Instead: Put your phone on the floor and take your photo looking down. Gravity will project your face decades into the future and you can relax, cause there's no "best side" from this angle.
You change your expression countless times (smiling with teeth or no teeth, coy half-pout or giddy grin, sassy socialite or "nerdy" [if #trending] nobody) before snapping that “spontaneous” shot. Get Real.
Instead: Take your selfie in the change room after spinning class or Hot Yoga. Don’t adjust or edit; just snap and upload. You're a rockstar.
You love posting pics of marital bliss with your best friend, life partner, soul mate, one and only. Get Real, Hollywood.
Instead: Post the pic your son took of you in the midst of a heated argument with your spouse. The hotter the heat, the better. Video recordings and (or) audio files are ultimate game-changers. Post the pictures today for instant popularity! #MiseryLovesCompany
Your account is littered with images of you and your fabulous friends sipping mojitos and toasting the latest promotions or lottery wins. Get Real.
Instead: Fast forward to the next day when you're green with the spins and limping from the brand new stilettos.
You’re a yogi who fanatically posts selfies doing poses by weeping willow trees, straddling fallen forest logs, hovering over deep canyons, balancing beside waterfalls, and standing on your head in weeds. Get Real!
Instead: Let's see the expression on your face when you step barefoot in goose poop.
Your profile pic exudes impenetrable peace of mind, eternal optimism, and meditative bliss. In every update, you’re enveloped in white light, shooting moonbeams from your heart chakra. Get Real!
Instead: Dig deep and show us your road rage en route to a restorative yoga retreat (your third essential escape from reality this year). Take a selfie on the phone with Whole Foods, fighting the exorbitant fees of the supplements you need to keep your blood pressure down.
These are the pics that I want to see, the still images of a REAL life, the slips and blips, the clumsy messy moments that define who you are, and who we are, collectively, as human beings. Pretending our lives are exempt from these faults and flaws and fallacies, that they don’t exist in our picture-perfect world — it does a disservice to humanity.
Photo-shopping and editing, image cropping, filter laying, mirror angling, thigh slimming, lip enhancing, teeth whitening, cellulite softening, and blemish "up-touching" are tricks of a thriving trade driven to sell us the illusion of perfection and keep us mired in the muck of transparent selfies that don't make it online. You know, the ones where we zoom in, close up, and amplify to better scrutinize and scowl before comparing, coveting, seeking, striving, and ultimately buying until our last breath.
Pretending our lives are exempt from these faults and flaws and fallacies, that they don’t exist in our picture-perfect world — it does a disservice to humanity.
Don’t buy it.
More importantly, don’t sell it.
Whether you stand in the light of the sacred or lay shrouded in the fog of the profane, both beauties and beasts, bright lights and dark shadows, and everything in between that make this world an exceptionally flawed, tragic, miraculous, and lovely place to be.