You know how people say, “social media isn’t for everyone”? I’m really one of those people. If it wasn’t for the overwhelming feeling to want to share what I’ve been making, or share the random thoughts I sometimes have, nobody would ever know I existed. Yet despite this “overwhelming feeling” (I am too scared to say love) there is something about that app that doesn’t sit right in my spirit.
Not if, but when
Maybe this was just me, but did you ever come across people on your timeline, who seem like they have it all together, or are extremely skilled at what they do, and just say “damn… I really don’t know if I could make it”? I really use to struggle with the feeling of inadequacy & self doubt, but the more I got offline and really studied successful peoples stories, I realized it is not fair to reduce their journey to a row of pictures. The more I looked more deeply into each person I admired I realized it is only through tough times and failure are you able to achieve things at a larger scale. So anytime you see success, you are actually looking at the product of years and years of failing.
Because of this, I really trained myself to say, “not if, but when.” Meaning instead of wondering if that person ever had a difficult time in their life, if they had problems with their personal life, or if they ever sucked at a craft like I currently do, it’s better to wonder when. This is everyone’s first time on this earth, nobody knows what to do right away. Everyone has experienced tough times, everyone had moments where they felt like they went the wrong way, or made too many mistakes.
This perspective also helped me be more productive in improving the places where I’m currently lacking. By understanding that every successful person was once a ‘failure,’ I now have thousands upon thousands of material to study to see what they changed, what they had to tweak, give up on, and habits they picked up, to be also be successful like them.
Though Instagram did spark this reflection and gaining that mental strength, I quickly realized it was unhealthy to constantly have to use that muscle every time I’m online. How much pictures does the average person see per 5 minutes of scrolling? I ain’t no kinesiologist, but I can imagine the strain on that muscle will have longterm damage.
So if you relate to this, trust me, it is not your fault if you find yourself feeling bad a lot, I really think the issue is what we have been showing each other online, especially on Instagram. People are being been completely dishonest about the reality of their lives.
Loss of Individuality
Did you notice with the rise of social media how hard it is to be different? I know this sounds cliche but I look around with my peers and everyone seems to be dressing the same, moving the same, it’s very rare to find people being their authentic selves, outside of how their pocket of people typically behave. Group thinking is a very real thing, I don’t care how strong you claim you are mentally, the things you are around will effect you in some way.
Also, the type of content that is in style right now is just not my cup of tea. I don’t care how much people do it, this concept of being an influencer is not normal at all. I want to see people who have developed actual skills, who are good at what they do. It hurts to see other people being valued instead of them.
Anyways before I have an aneurysm thinking about this, my point is this loss of individuality/group are really the antonyms of creativity and art. So what was the point of having the tool if I know I’d probably be affected and lose the quality I desire in the process?
My advice to younger kids
I think the hatred I have for this app really sprouted from kids younger than me. Nothing big, but just noticing whenever they talk about insecurities, or self-doubt, fear of the future, and their mental health, this wack app always seems to come up.
As someone in my mid-20s, I really want to tell kids younger than me that whatever you see on online isn’t real. I am really blessed that growing up I had a lot of good role models who made sure to sit and share with me their experiences, and they really “pulled back the veil” to show me the reality of life.
And you peers that seem to be so carefree, constantly at parties, drugs and God know what under the sun? It’s not what it’s cracked up to be. These parties are never really that fun and many times these people who are constantly in those scenes are running away from the reality of their lives, that is why they are drowning themselves. Not out of fun. Trust me.
Life is great, but only if you put in the work and invest in yourself. You are not missing out on anything by doing that!!! Wish someone told me that when I was younger ahaha I felt like a loser.
Also, I really want to specifically tell younger girls, that the male attention is not something you want. I know on social media you see that seems to be ‘rewarded’ with the likes but that is not something admirable. Respect and attention are two different things. Find women older than you that bring substance, whether it is their speech, or their craft, their work ethic, and aspire to be like that. All that other stuff does not matter. How you look really does not matter. At all. And having men diminish you by seeing you as a piece of flesh is not what you want. If you think about your future companion, you’d want him to love you for who you are, not what you look like. I really had to get off instagram because again, that is not the type of people I enjoy seeing praised. Not hating, just not for me 🤷🏾♀️
I really enjoyed my teenage years and early 20s and it was because I found good friends and we just went out and lived our lives. My advice is to find things you love and be private with it. Find dreams, be hungry!! The world is much, much bigger than your city and what the people are up to. And don’t be afraid to be a weirdo lol. I am all the time and I’m still breathing
All in all,
I see a lot of people using Instagram in a beneficial way and I respect them for that. I also know that in this current time we are in, if you want to broaden your outreach, one of the stupidest things to do is to delete your Instagram account. But I personally really don’t enjoy it. And also it’s more to prove something to myself, if I set my mind to something, I can get there my way. I don’t need to conform to anything, even as small as having an app.
I really recommend the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell if you are interested, it examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success.
Also read my poem, Oil and Water if you hate fake creatives.