Let me address the two elephants in the room:
- I realize that you are likely reading this blog after being linked from my Facebook account. Before you grab your pitchforks, understand that as a reporter, I am required to keep my Facebook and Twitter. If it wasn’t vital to my job, they would be gone. However, the way I use both of them has changed significantly.
- I’m not so self-absorbed that I think any of you had any reason to notice my general disappearance from social media. It’s not a big deal at all, but I felt like it was important to give people some insight to how poisonous it can be for someone like me.
“Holding on tightly to the misery will never get me far.” — Knuckle Puck
My favorite thing about social media is what I imagine is everybody else’s: control.
You get to stand in front of a blank canvas armed with the most vibrant, sparkly scrapbook pieces of your life.
We’ve all agonized over taking a million pictures of ourselves until we got one that was just right even though we have 78 almost identical ones in our camera roll. I’m not joking. I once took 79 pictures until I decided that I had one that didn’t resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
So, you put up how well your new job is going, adorable pictures of your new baby and J. Crew style candid photos of you and your boyfriend.
That’s great, but it’s not real. People never talk about how much anxiety they had on their first day of the job because they felt like they’re in too deep or how they haven’t slept more than 3 hours for weeks because their new baby won’t stop crying or how their boyfriend made out with their roommate three weeks ago.
I’m not advocating that people start making public declarations of these events, but there’s no balance when we’re only getting the cookie-cutter, Instagram-filtered version of everyone’s lives.
I deleted my Snapchat app. I rarely get on Instagram. I only tweet from my page — I don’t look at my timeline, and I limit my Facebook to work and blog posts.
That’s not to say I don’t care about people’s lives or how they’re doing. I feel myself more joyous than ever when I hear that good things are happening to the people I know.
It’s just that when I scroll through and see people smiling at parties, taking adorable photos and prancing around pumpkin patches in flannels, all I can think is, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel that joyous about life? Why is everybody else seizing the day and having the time of their life so effortlessly while I feel like a muddy rain puddle?”
To me, it felt like life was a giant party mansion and I was forced to stand outside and look through the window like some sort of loser alien.
It’s hard to remember that it’s not an accurate representation of life. No one is happy all the time and that’s okay.
I will leave you with three photos and some truth.
What I wanted people to think: “Wow! Sarah’s reporter career must be so successful and cool.”
Reality: I waitressed for seven months after graduation. I spent many hours on the phone sobbing about how I was never going to get a reporter job because I wasn’t good enough. On this day, I asked one of the directors to take this while I rehearsed. I had to do five takes because I kept messing up.
What I wanted people to think: “Sarah is pretty.” This one is pretty cut and dry.
Reality: I was just getting over a huge bout of situational depression. My insecurities were at an all-time high. That’s probably why I so desperately wanted to feel pretty. I only put makeup on for this picture and I hurt my eyes by trying to keep my eyes from squinting in the *perfect* lighting.
What I wanted people to think: “Sarah met the governor and is therefore important.”
Reality: I was really self-conscious this day because I couldn’t wear any makeup due to a renegade makeup brush that penetrated my eye. I didn’t interview Gov. Hogan, nor did I make any reporter contribution to his visit in any way. I just wanted a picture. HA.
“Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy.” — Sir Francis Bacon
Also, I apologize to Derek Pryor. I don’t know why my Instagram is blowing up your spot like that.