This One Is For You; How to Weed Out Unnecessary Stress Caused by Social Media and Enjoy Life a Little Bit More

Nicole Post, IJ Writer #22

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Greetings, my name is Nicole. I am an over-sized-sweater wearing, sport-playing, makeup-loving, Netflix-bingeing, snap-sending, teenage girl. Most people would consider me basic, typical, ordinary, and I would have to agree. I spend my days mindlessly scrolling through social media, and find myself avoiding face-to-face human interaction at all costs.

Like many other high school students, I have been feeling as if my life needs adventure, a miniscule spark to spice things up, because-to be completely, brutally, uncomfortably honest-I hate social media, and how it is forcing society to conform to unmanageable standards. It occupies every ounce of free-time that is weaved into our uncontrollable schedules, and is the origin of unhealthy obsessions to imaginary lifestyles that we compare ourselves to in every aspect. It is ruining our lives, our minds, our self-esteem, and it is completely, utterly, unconditionally, our fault.

When I arise, morning after morning, and check the numerous social media platforms that I am apart of, I can subconsciously feel myself comparing every aspect of my life, to the fake profiles I view in bulk. And every time this occurs, I feel the need to make a change. My ordinary, standard, customary life, needs to shift in order to be more like the photoshopped, facetuned individuals that claim to be thriving in their penthouse-living, vegan-dieting, green tea-consuming lives. I make myself feel less because I do not practice yoga every morning, I do not eat organic, protein-packed meals for lunch everyday, and I most definitely do not live the most desirable lifestyle, nor do I appear to have things figured out. In fact, I eat an unhealthy amount of Taco Bell, workout infrequently , and struggle to organize any aspect of my insane existence.

But that’s the thing. Living a distraught, wild, unorganized, undesirable life is exciting, and terrifying, and lovely and hideous and precious all at once. Comparing ourselves to our unreachable counterparts is completely normal, but we should stop. Why not compare yourself to the better you? Why not be content with your life for what you have and who you are, instead of what you lack and who you will never become? Take a risk, pride yourself on being different, and never stop reaching for those big, bright stars, and dreaming those wild, majestic dreams.

I feel as if entering a classroom, place of work, or even a public bathroom, is a competition. Is my hair flawlessly straightened? Is my waist as thin as a blade of extravagantly green grass? How about my outfit, is it acceptable? Do you like me? Am I enough to deserve your respect, or even a friendly smile?

When comparing myself to all of the perfectly structured, beautifully shaped humans on my Instagram explore page, and in the midst of my Twitter feed, I fall short. My legs are too long and my hair is too dry and my face is too pimply and my life is too boring.

But despite all this, way deep down (below all of the dull thoughts and rusty organs) there is a heart of gold… Or silver, or ruby or emerald or sapphire, whichever you prefer. And you have one too. A heart of beautiful, ultra-shiny metal. It is not the same as your mother’s, or your neighbors, or your dogs, uncles, boss named Steven. It is just for you, made for you, like a gift that no one else can have. It makes you the quirky, badot, elegant and stunning human that you are blessed to be. And who has the right to make you feel less than you are? What social media platform is allowed to belittle you, make you feel like garbage for not owning designer clothes, or being able to craft intricately symmetrical winged-eyeliner? For not claiming thousands of followers, or even having a significant other?  None, nada, I don’t think so internet! And neither should you.

Days ago, while in-between facetime calls with my few acquaintances, Benjamin Post, an engineer, ordinary human, and my older, usually irritating brother, briefly knocked and then proceeded to barge into my eternally-messy bedroom. He said to me, “all of you ungrateful kids spend your time scrolling through Instagram and Twit, Twatter, whatever, for no reason. When I have a free instance, I read books, or I build things. Smart people read books and build things, Nicole.”

After ignoring his hilarious ignorance, I realized that there was some substance to his poorly formed sentences. Our brains are rotting, our cells are dying, because we feel inclined to scroll through useless photos and snippets of unintelligent text every chance we get; while waiting for the school bus on cool, dreary mornings, sitting on the can, or even in the midst of a real, human conversation. Why not read a book about something that interests you, and spend your time advancing your vocabulary past, “lol tgif” and “omg frrr?” Why not climb a tree and get splinters, or take a bath to smell fruity and nice and enjoy the clouds of brightly colored bubbles? What about learning new recipes and failing to concoct them correctly or tinkering around on that antique piano just rotting away in your living room because you thought it had no use? Taking in the world, jotting down observations, doodling silly characters on wrinkled paper, photographing nature?

How have we become so oblivious to the fact that our lives are flashing by right over the edge of our screens? Society is becoming emotionally numb, conversationally handicapped, and we are doing nothing to halt it. It’s about time we step up, and stop letting the internet dictate our lives. Only then will we be able to craft organic thoughts, be self-confident without exception, and truly make and enjoy memories that will last longer than a Snapchat story!