I was inspired to write this post because of a few books I have read recently, and mostly, because of a post on my cousin’s blog that you can read here. I find myself seeing my “friends” and family members posting pictures that make me jealous. Like, I just wish I were that real and cool. I wish I were the type of girl who went to coffee shops and wore hip clothes. I could be, I know I could be. But I’m not. This raises the question: who is? Is anyone who we perceive them to be online? Does that girl who posts pictures of herself with a pile of amazing books, or that boy who seems to always be sitting in the sun with a plastic cup of iced coffee and a good book really feel special? Or are they just like me, posting a picture and feeling this little spark of enjoyment when someone takes a few seconds to hit the heart beneath it?
Everybody knows that those photos are edited. Heck, not only do we crop out any unsightly creepers in the background, but we even change the colors to make them more pleasing to the eye. We can add tags and stickers to glamorize our posts. Emoticons are so prevalent that I find myself smiling or frowning when I see a little yellow face doing the same thing. I find myself wishing I were that girl who has the perfect makeup, and the great outfit. The one who is adventurous and spontaneous. We can edit.edit, edit out all of the crap, heartbreak, pain. Or we can flaunt those things, if we really want to. For the most part though, I find myself posting a photo that I like. Something that makes me happy. But let’s be honest here, I am also bragging just a bit. Delighting in the fact that someone out there is paying attention to me, even if only for a minute or less.
Is that how desperate we have become? How desperate I have become? I was just thinking today about a time when I felt so comforted and taken care of. It probably sticks out in my mind because I was in excruciating pain, and everyone around me could see that, but no one could do anything about it. Once I was finally admitted to our local hospital, I began to shiver violently, and a nurse quickly produced some blankets that felt like they had just been taken out of a dryer. They were so warm and cozy, and I was instantly calmed. This little bit of attention that was being paid towards me, changed the whole scenario. Suddenly, after hours of throwing up until my throat was raw and my ribs were aching, everything was going to be ok. Ever since my eating disorder started, people had been telling me that this was all about attention. That’s what this disease was. An attention seeking tactic. Maybe so, but I surely didn’t intend that from the beginning. I didn’t decide I wasn’t getting enough attention, and then restrict my food intake so that people would notice me. In fact, that is the last thing I wanted. But still, the accusations flew.
Now that I am older, I think I can see where the therapists were coming from. But Instead of seeking attention, I think I was crying out for help. I wanted someone to take the time to look into the finer details of what was happening, what had triggered these problems. I wanted someone to look at the picture of me, and see past the cropping, the filters, the smiley yellow face, and see that I was not ok. I kept taking pictures, and posting them, putting a nice little tint here and there where I didn’t want anyone to see a problem. I didn’t want to be a problem spot, but I also wanted someone to notice that something wasn’t right. I needed someone to notice. Because no matter how I tried to duplicate the things my friends and followers were uploading, I knew deep down that something in my posts were different.
Now that I have started to slowly try to get back onto my feet, the fact that these “fake lives” are so important to us, the weird things we lust after, the jealousy a little picture can manifest in us…it amazes me. I think in this day and age, it is so hard to be content. It is a daily struggle not to look at what those around me post, and still feel all right with the fact that instead of laying in bed with the sun streaming through the windows, I am getting ready for work, and trying to fit that last chapter of a book in before it’s time to leave. It’s hard to not click the button in the computer that will buy those astonishingly cute shorts that all the girls are wearing nowadays, or that shirt that I saw that looked so beautiful on so and so. How far this world has come, and yet how far it has fallen.