Sunday nights are made for social media stalking. Right now I bet you’re spending ‘quality time’ with your friends, family, boyfriend/girlfriend (or your favourite TV box set) whilst secretly refreshing your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over and over again.
You may tell yourself you’re catching up with friends and keeping up to date with everyone else’s life, but deep down you’re doing what we all do, comparing your life to everyone else’s.
Social media is a funny old bugger isn’t it. I myself have a pretty precarious relationship with it. I actually need it, I use it every day to better and further my career. In my ‘real’ job as a Communications Coordinator at a youth charity and in my fun job as a Lifestyle Blogger at metro.co.uk. Without social media I doubt anyone would actually read my writing or know anything about the wonderful charity I work for.
If I left social media at my desk, like my work phone, I predict my life would be a lot more boring, but perhaps a lot happier too. I spent approximately 50% of my day on social media, and that’s outside of work hours. That’s 50% of every day being jealous, comparing myself, being angry, frustrated and moreover letting ‘real’ life pass me by.
We are all guilty of using social media to sensationalise our lives. We upload photos, videos, check ins and 140 characters of the highlights of our day. A delicious breakfast, an idyllic spot for lunch, a spontaneous afternoon purchase, a pre-dinner selfie – do I need to go on? By the way, how many of these have you seen on my social media? Guilty, I know. Whilst we’ve all been lapping up the likes and comments on our ‘perfect’ lives we’ve forgotten to realise how shit we are making people feel. I had a scroll through my Instagram today, and I was impressed. Lazy afternoons with my handsome boyfriend, a Happy Birthday message from Dermot O’Leary, smug post run selfies, gallons of chocolate milk, beautiful friends, countless evenings in front of Grey’s Anatomy, summer evenings spent on South bank. Even I would be jealous of my life. But what you don’t see is all the tears, anxiety and sheer boredom that makes up a big chunk of my week.
If my social media accounts were to give a true reflection of my life what you would actually see is; my psoriasis infused scalp that gives me constant dandruff and ensures I spend hundreds of pounds on medicated shampoo, night after night spent alone in my flat whilst my boyfriend works away on the X Factor, endless tears of frustration to Abellio Greater Anglia Trains because it costs me £12 a day to get to and back from work, reading my pay-check every month and wondering how I will pay my bills, my crippling anxiety that keeps me and my boyfriend awake at night whilst I worry that my life is shit compared to all my friends, my longing for the North and the realisation that I’m never going to live there again, my body dismorphia which results in me constantly wearing tent like clothes to cover my figure because I still see that 13 stone girl carrying uni weight when I look in the mirror. My life doesn’t look so great now does it? What I’ve just told you are deep and dark real life situations that I experience every day, a lot of the time whilst I’m uploading a picture of the frozen yoghurt I’m eating to give you all an illusion that my life is brilliant.
Maybe if when I logged on to Instagram and saw stretch lines and bushy eyebrows instead of perfect bodies and brand new Mulberry purchases, then my anxiety and jealously would subside, it’s a vicious circle isn’t it? What I’m learning, from conversations with good friends and reading other blogs (i.e. Hannah Gale), that we shouldn’t take what see online at face value. There are deep underlying layers to everyones life. Yes I have just uploaded a picture of mine and Joe’s romantic film night but that’s not all I have done this evening. I’ve done the washing up, taken out the bins, cleaned out my ears and filled out a doctor’s form – wild.
The message behind this rambling post is simple – don’t believe everything you see online. If you don’t believe me, look at what I’ve actually done tonight. Imagine if I actually posted this on social media…
I’ve hung out my laundry – a wild 30 minutes.
I’ve done the washing up – wahoo.
I’ve soaked my favourite pan (because Joe burnt chilli onto the bottom) – Lucky me.
Wild Sunday night y’all.