Recently, I discovered (read was shown by boyfriend) the Reddit page Expectations vs. Reality.
At first I just left. It’s incredibly relatable: the food you picture from a restaurant description verses what you get, the DIY crafts or cookies that never seem to turnout like the examples, the clothes that never fit the way they looked on the model…
…and instagram verse reality.
What someone appears to look like based on the snapshots they share on social media (that each and every one of us compares ourself against) verses what they look like in actual life. And that’s what I stopped finding it funny, and realized we have a serious problem.
By no means am I the first to bring this to light – there are lots of people (and many doing it on instagram) posting about the fact that what we see on instagram is far from reality – but it’s a point that is so easy to forget in the moment.
Apart from the fact that many photographs of models are photoshopped to make them so-called “more beautiful” (example A below), regular people are using various apps and angles to mask what they think is ugly, unsightly, unattractive – or if I were to give it another name – NORMAL!
That’s right. Having rolls, lines, creases in your skin is really, really normal. In fact if you didn’t, how would you ever bend, twist or simply move? Not exercising (or at least not feeling good during your workout) or eating something trendy and so-called healthy everyday is also normal. But we hardly ever see pictures of that on instagram.
The mornings I don’t run, the days I nearly throw up after lunch, the evenings when I can’t stop judging my body and hating how it looks and feels are not the moments I typically choose to photograph and share with the world. They are the moments I cuddle up, maybe cry and call a good friend.
They don’t look pretty.
They make me worried and scared and anxious. Although everyone – even those who just know me online – knows I have anxiety and bulimia, sharing the moments that aren’t of recovery, but of set backs, is not my go to. But, they happen.
Recently, I met someone I’ve been following online for nearly a year in person. It was great! We laughed, shared stories, she gave me a lot of advice and I think (maybe) I have a new friend in the area. BUT…she was not the person I knew on instagram. She had a lot of those qualities – same general ideas, same passions – but she wasn’t a million steps ahead of me career-wise as I had thought. I didn’t know the whole story from just her highlight reel, and that’s okay.
It’s okay to have an instagram of highlights, but it’s not okay to think everybody else on instagram only has highlights. We all have lows, that’s normal. It’s healthy, good, it makes the highs better, especially when we consider not looking like a photoshopped, perfectly angled picture is a lowlight.