Of Course Social Media Isn’t Real – But Social Image Never Has Been

In this day and age (hey grandma), social media and online personalities are constantly coming under scrutiny for presenting a dangerous, unrealistic image to the entire world.

Instagram accounts of skinny girls with perfect hair and perfect eyes encapsulating everything we think we want to be – none of it’s real, and recently, more and more people are piping up looking to be given credit for announcing that oh my effing gee, they used a filter on their Instagram photos. Shock.

The internet is packed with ‘inspirational’ declarations from those coming clean about how their life isn’t as perfect as it seems on social media, how much they were paid to post something to their multitude of followers, and the plethora of deep seated problems behind each and every inch of that golden glowing skin that’s splashed across their Facebook page.

What I want to know is, why did we ever think any of the bullshit that we present to those who judge us ever was real?

Think about it.

Before social media, generation Z and the likes, loves, follows, OMGs and every other public reaction we’re now surrounded by, we were never honest about who we really are.

Take cars. One of the most expensive things most of us will ever buy in our lifetime, yet not a single penny of return on investment. Your white Mercedes plummets thousands of pounds/dollars/yen/monopoly money the second you drive it off the lot, so why do we buy them?

They are an expression of our wealth. And yes, nowadays we display that on social media.

So shoot us.

Before social media, we still would’ve told our friends about it incessantly, snapped pictures on our (albeit dodgy) camera phones or disposables, and showcased our gleaming beacon of glory and success in any way possible.

Because that’s how humans work.

Nobody buys an expensive car purely to get from A to B. We have an inherent need to evoke envy in others.

Hey, for all anyone knows you could’ve landed a killer job with a six figure salary and bought the car with your hard earned cash. You could also have scraped together a down payment and be paying the car off monthly and barely making rent.

If you’re in the latter boat, you’re hardly going to surrender the truth to the world and drive around in a clapped out blue Nova with three wheels just so you’re being honest with the world, are you?

Let’s look at birthday presents, just in case I’m losing you.

Sure, birthday hauls are hella annoying on social media. But we’ve always been doing it. Just because it’s not scrollable, doesn’t mean it never happened.

At school when your mates asked you what you got for your birthday, of course you’d lead with the sassy Miss Sixty jeans and Hooch hoodie, and not with the Blue Tac you needed for your room or the boring old socks from ya Nan.

We’ve always wanted people to think the best of who we are.

That pretty girl you see on the street. That guy who’s just purchased the cool TV. Those friends who go on three holidays a year. Social media or no social media, these things are the very best of who we are. We don’t stand in the street with a sandwich board on shamelessly declaring the bad things about ourselves.

“I ate three doughnuts not one”.

“I got dumped last night”.

“I’m a size 14, not a 12.”

“I’m broke. I’m barely making rent because I earn minimum wage.”

“I have anxiety.”

“I didn’t make many friends at Uni.”

“I miss my ex.”

We’ve always wanted the outside world to think the best of us. It’s how we’re programmed. There’s actually nothing wrong with wacking a bit of Rise or Amaro on our Instagram pics, upping the saturation on our selfies and waiting for the weather to be perfect before uploading that on-point holiday snap.

Really, how is that any different to getting our eyebrows done before a party, wearing makeup and omitting that rainy day from your account of your beach vacay?

Sure, some people on social media take things too far. Some people in real life take things too far, too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, we need to stop blaming social media for demonstrating an unrealistic expectation of who we are.

It’s not social media’s fault. It’s our own. We were naïve to think the world was ever an honest, upfront place. All social media has done is magnify the audience for our rose tinted reflection of our actions.

The only thing unrealistic is expecting ourselves to be completely honest about who we are 100% of the time.

So let’s wake up. Stop dreaming of the ‘honest’ world before social media, because frankly, there never was one.

Safe Journey Home

“Next waiting”.

I scuttled up to the border control desk, patted my passport and boarding pass down on the desk and looked up. “How was your time in Australia, darl?” uttered the Aussie-as-they-come teller. “Great, thanks” I replied, choking slightly on my words; the goodbye behind the departure doors still freshly forming that wrenching lump in my throat that I knew all too well. Bleary eyed and puffy as a Pokemon, I looked up and caught Aussie-as-they-come teller’s eye. “Safe journey home, miss”, he muttered, donning a slightly crooked grin on his face that sort of said ‘enjoy the 24 hour flight to freezing winter’.

Home. Safe journey home. As I picked up my maroon passport with those lions so dear to my heart plastered across the cover, I retreated. Home? What a fool that man was. I live here now. And then I realised. No I don’t. There it was staring me in the face. I’m leaving my ‘home’, to go ‘home’ (the somewhat obnoxious inverted commas being the operative and soul defining punctuation in that sentence). Here I was patting myself on the back for making a life for myself on the other side of the world, feeling excitement – albeit sewn with sorrow – to be heading back to the UK for Christmas. I’ve got two homes now – the words I’d been foolishly serenading my days with. It wasn’t until Aussie-as-they-come teller wished me a safe journey home, that I felt like I’d stripped myself of a home. Suddenly neither place felt like the ‘h’ word, and it made me wonder – what makes a place a home?

With the woman to whom I owe my entire existence, my Mum, on one side of the world, and the person I love on the other, I found myself literally torn between two places. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hardly the first time I’ve felt torn. This was inevitable, and a somewhat familiar feeling – but never before like this. My solid allegiance to my home country of England had always reigned strong in these situations. Sure, Melbourne was fine, but it’s not home. But when you’ve been in a place with a person you love for so many months, you create a routine, a day-to-day existence, and a soft spot for the things that make it what it is. Every step closer to comfort in that place, takes away from the comfort of the old place. And so I’m asking, can you call two places home, or does every extra ounce of love for one unstitch a part of your love for the other? You feel like you’re cheating on one of the places by missing the other, yet we can’t go about our lives longing for another place, either. How do we juggle a love of two homes? Is it two homes, or are we actually a wanderer, seeking validation and confirmation of one decision?

A sombre thought to ponder, fellow nomads. I apologise. Upbeat and humorous sequel to this post to follow. Promise. Spoiler alert – I’m going to review an American reality show that I found called Dating Naked. (Don’t panic. It’s clean.)

Love always,

Coco xx

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