Social Media has been a very special type of torture device over the past two weeks. I feel like I’m being followed by old photos of blissful moments that felt so certain, and photos of many friends and acquaintances proceeding with their lives that didn’t flip-flop two weeks ago. I feel like everyone is okay, and that it’s wrong for me to not feel okay.
I related very much to Autumn’s essay about Facebook from a few weeks back. Even in my happiest of times, I can admit that my profile was a perfectly curated representation of my life. You’d only see flattering photos or ones in which I was making ridiculous faces, but still looked nice. My statuses were funny, and if they were complaints I tried to mask them in my wit. I was always, consciously or unconsciously, trying to represent the best version of myself, but rarely the truest.
Before, it was a something that I admitted to and joked about with friends. It was all in good fun. I mean, isn’t that what everyone is doing when they share photos of their Europe trips on every medium? Isn’t that what all those #tbts are for? Every decision about what does and does not go onto social media proves this. If it were the truest representation, it would either not exist, or every photo you ever took or were in, every word you ever thought, every band you’ve ever liked would be represented.
Now, I couldn’t be more aware of the conspiracy. A few times over the past couple weeks, I have started typing out a Facebook status, and then I think to myself this is bullshit. When I read it over before posting, I realize that I would be presenting the most fleeting moment of almost-happiness. I am currently going through my first break-up, one that I can literally only bear on a day-to-day basis if I consider it a temporary break. I haven’t been as sad as I am as of late in a really, really long time. If my Facebook statuses were anywhere near true to how I’m feeling right now, they’d be Taylor Swift “I Wish You Would” lyrics and the gloom in my Instagram selfies would be painfully apparent. I have never felt so phony.
I don’t want to force my hard times down everyone’s throats every day. I don’t want to turn my Facebook profile into my diary. But it is already exhausting trying to force the smile at work and at home every day, to have to falsify that happiness on the internet as well is a bit too much to bear.
At the end of the day I know that anxiety contributes a lot to this stress, and anxiety can always peak during difficult times in life. But I can’t help but feel it. I take it with a grain of salt. Maybe posting an excited Tweet for him parallels the science that says if you smile you’ll start to feel happy. Either way, I think falling behind on that newsfeed is the healthiest answer for me.