I am not always happy. I often spend time alone in my room; avoiding other people has become a skill. I look terrible when I wake up. When I sit down my belly bulges over the top of my jeans, in perfect unison with my thighs spreading splendidly across the seat. I do not always enjoy parties; smiles can disguise anything. I spend many Friday evenings watching TV.
Of course, none of this comes across on my Instagram, or Facebook. My filtered life exhibits itself neatly via pretty photos and witty comments. 100 likes from 94 people I barely talk to. Why does Mark from Spanish speaking like my profile picture when he ignores me in real life? More baffelingly, why did I like Mark’s profile picture when I ignore him in real life?
And so my social media self conquers in its quest for popularity and prettiness, while I lie curled up in bed with a book at 9pm, already wearing my retainer.
However, as much as I know that my own online prescense is a lie – big and fat and wonderfully believable – I continue to be seduced and degraded by that of everyone else. How the hell does Jemima look so skinny? How can Stephen be at a social event again? Why is everyone else’s life so golden and gleaming and glorious?
We’ve created virtual versions of ourselves; constructed from moments when our hair was perfect and our worries were few. The highlights are stitched together; a quilt to blanket all the sad days, the stress, the cellulite. Imperfection is a beauty social media has failed to display.