"Everyone is so beautiful on Instagram. Their lives look so perfect. What is wrong with me?" my 17 year old female client said.
We as a culture are assaulted everyday with pictures of perfection. Photos that are edited with filters and lighting posted with quotes of the great spiritual giants, of past and present, raising the bar of everyday life so high, that no one can achieve it. Our teen girls are comparing themselves, their value and purpose to the Instagram feeds that display perfect bodies, perfect relationships, and perfect lives.
We need to teach our girls not to believe everything you see on social media. No life is perfect. Everyone will experience pain and loss in their lives. Every body is flawed and it is the flaws that make us unique. Eating gluten free bagels and drinking green juice, posing for photos, in some of the most beautiful places on earth does not mean a person has life figured out, or is on higher spiritual plane. Trust me, gluten free bagels taste like cardboard and green juice will give you diarrhea, if you drink too much.
What Instagram doesn’t show:
High school can suck.It can be painful and girls can be mean.
You will have days that you miss your lunch because you are hiding in the locker-room with your beautiful face buried in your hands, because your best friend snap chatted a party you were not invited to.
You will be left out at times.
You may have your heart broken by the boy you have had a crush on since 7th grade.
You may fail a test, or a class, or mess up on that stupid useless dance routine you have to learn for PE.
Your tampon may drop from your bag in front of the football team, turning your face bright red and your legs and arms will feel numb with searing embarrassment.
You might not be invited to prom, and the dress you bought in hopes that the cute boy from math class just might ask you, will hang in your closet. Unworn. Or maybe that cute boy from math class, will ask your friend to the dance. And she might say yes. It will hurt but it will pass and you will survive.
You might have sex for the first time, drunk at a party, with the totally hot senior, that all the girls like, only to be ignored the next day.
And you will fight with your parents, screaming that they don’t understand you, slamming your door and dive into your bed, safe under the covers, watching Netflix and hiding from the world.
Most of the time you will walk around feeling lost, confused and awkward, doubting yourself, trying to hold it all together, smiling widely, so no one actually knows how lost, confused and awkward you feel.
And at the end of all this, on your bed at night, you will look at Instagram and Snapchat, and all the stunning pictures of perfect bodies and lives, only to end up feeling less than everyone else. Do not go to battle with IG, by comparing your insides to the outsides of your followers, you will lose. Every time.
The pictures you see on social media platforms are only pictures. It is not real life but an image captured, in perfect time, to show a perfect story in a seemingly perfect life.
The most unforgettable moments will be captured in your mind and on your heart, not on a camera. The feeling of a first kiss, when your knees go weak and your head spins with exhilaration, the feeling of passing your Chemistry final after weeks of anxiety and hours of studying, and the feeling of your mom or dad, sitting at your bedside, touching your back gently and reminding you how much they love you, cannot be captured in a video or a photo.
Do not believe what you see. Behind every perfect photo is a great camera. I promise, in only a few years from right now, no one will remember how drunk you got at the senior prom, kissed a boy that was not yours, and threw up in the back seat of your best friend’s car.
Life is not an Instagram feed.
Sober and shameless, Kw