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Have you ever noticed how the pictures you want to stand out to someone, hardly ever do? Then something you post, random and effortless, will capture their attention? It’s the unstudied air of it I believe, that is attractive. Just us being us. Not worrying over what filter to use, or which quote to copy and paste as a useless caption which doesn’t even relate to the selfie. (We have all done it, you are in denial if you try and consider yourself an exception). We spend so much time perfecting our image, what we portray. Can you honestly say everything you have put out on social media is accurate?
The lifestyle we want people to think we have. Read that again, this time say it out loud. Can you hear how pathetic and shallow it sounds? I am not writing this to preach and be condescending at all. I am guilty of this myself, and I hate it. So much of my personal social media shows a seemingly normal British Indian girl, who has a pretty average life. Nothing super exaggerated or anything. I don’t lie and emboss anything on there. I couldn’t imagine getting to that point where I found myself so boring I would then begin to invent things in life to make myself seem more interesting. Not that I don’t understand what that must be like. I am sure that probably stems from a multitude of insecurities which might have very tender, deep and very real roots.
Even my very normal, basic social accounts bother me. I try and stay true to who I am as much as I can. I write about very personal issues and love being open about them because in the long run it helps me. It makes me feel very vulnerable, but in a good way. However, apart from my blogs and the fact I share them on social media, I have very preppy pictures of selective moments of my life. Me at my best, I like to think. I tried to look at my pages today as an outsider, I do this quite a lot actually. This time was different though. I usually like to evaluate the content, sometimes edit stuff and delete posts etc., depending on how I want to be perceived. Today, I just looked at how I come across instead of who I want to come across as. I wanted to gain perspective about myself. Not to look at myself at what I want to see, but to see what I must look like to others, really.
I struggle at my life. Every day I have battles with mental health, family issues, and major life decisions. It has never been conventional, any of it. Forced to grow up really quickly, I tackled things I couldn’t because I had no choice. It’s surprising how fast you learn to adapt when you have no options. The feeling of being lost has become overwhelming recently. I have been so busy, doing what I had to do, I never had time to think of how to do what I want to do. Existential crisis ensues. We will save that box for another time.
These things don’t seem to show through my Snapchat selfies. I cannot help but feel that it is very misleading. I hardly ever smile in pictures, but I do look fairly content and like everyone else. Just blissful and unaware. When I see pictures, taken on any ordinary day when I decided to click one purely based on because I thought I looked cute that day, it makes me think of myself as just any other attention seeking, validation deprived idiot.
I might come across in the pictures as confident. Yet the truth is, I posted it because I was feeling anything but and so sought approval online. It is slowly becoming a dependency, a very sad one. When you get introduced, it seems fun and harmless. Soon though, you are sucked up into a world of MUA’s and fit tea representatives. There is no offence intended in that. I get why they do what they do, whether it’s for money, or expression. I respect that. It always just makes me feel more and more insecure like I should be looking a certain way. So I should invest in some make-up or commit to being healthy. When really, I have a lot more that I would rather be focusing on.
If I choose to abandon social media, I will be disconnected and confined. Which is why I stay. With it in my life, I am obligated to create a portfolio, it seems at times, for everyone. Their judgement holds power. It feels like a wall, I hide behind. A mask I wear (as if I didn’t already have too many) in front of society. The likes tell me I am okay. I am accepted, when I feel as if without this carefully constructed front, I wouldn’t be. People have decided what is appealing and what isn’t. Majority rules and without them, you’re almost shunned and laughed at.
It is exhausting, keeping up appearances. I just wish I had realised this before. All that misused energy could have gone into much more important things. Like not giving a damn.