The Snapchat filters look good. Cute, but in a way that everyone is aware you are covering some other insecurity. The reality is that your 'real' face has more character than the smoothed-out, big-eyed, conventional aesthetic that Snapchat creates for us. We know that people don't look like that – their eyes would fall out and look even more stupid!
Equally, I know how peer pressure and anxiety works, and how you can feel in constant competition with everyone around you. They're prettier, cooler, or more successful. That's what you tell yourself.
That's also the narrative you perpetuate when you filter your selfies
The world is owed your natural beauty! It's all well and good having fun with your friends or relatives with the whacky and frivolous filters, and I'm not saying to stop. I am not a fun sponge, and people should absolutely do what they want to with their image. But it is so toxic if that becomes all that your feed is full of. You do genuinely forget that people don't look like that all the time. Their best angle, lighting, or makeup. Yes, they look great, and the effort that they perceive as worth is completely valid. But hopefully, that reflects a fun and effective skill they have. Not something they feel compelled to hold up to hide their real life.
Real life is just as dramatic and emotional and compelling as TV! Largely because it's happening to you – so let it!
Women are incredible – that's it, that's my point
We know how the story goes. Men are the default to most safety procedures and bar (brace yourself for sweeping statements) divorce alimony courts, custody messes, and car crash insurance claims, we women are not particularly well-positioned in legal discourse. Quite apart from the fact that astronauts, car manufacturers, and many other multigender industries only test their products on large adult men – but apparently, that's neither here nor there. Am I bitter? Probably. As Halsey said, 'I'm mad but somebody should be'. Join me in my rage against the machine which conveniently doubles as a daily validation of all the women around me that thrive despite all of the … around us. I won't even put pen to paper to attempt to summarise that further, lol. But you get me. Of course, you do, it's all part of the unspoken existence of women.
When society looks at women they shape up for a war on imperfections – and how they can supposedly be solved. Hell, half the time we weren't even aware that our eyebrows or thigh gap was an issue. But don't worry, Mr. Large conglomerate multimedia industry has an expensive solution for all of us! All it costs is everything we have! Fun! Any more passive-aggressive exclamation marks?
No, good. Calm down, pal – we have much further to go than capitalistic vitriol
But as anyone who's been in a relationship will tell you, flaws are the best part about a person. Except if they're ideologically problematic, of course. Ditch those losers.
It's just not good for your mental health and it can be the most isolating experience to go through alone.
Sometimes you need to write a letter to toxic people in your life to trick yourself into expressing things that you didn't realise you were feeling. Well, this is no different. I'm hoping that there will be more to this letter than just me complaining. Even if there isn't, it will still be productive because we all need to get talking about mental health more. It isn't enough to work to merely de-stigmatise it. We need to normalise it. In fact, more than that, we need to actively engage with it. It's not enough to just blink and look both ways politely when someone is suffering from an anxiety attack.
But keeping your distance isn't always the way to go, particularly when a person is spiraling and just needs confirmation that they're still on this mortal coil. It can seem like your life is drifting out of control or slipping away down a drainpipe. That's when you need people most, and that's when they can really let you down by being MIA. Maybe they have their own needs, issues, and personal boundaries. That's okay.
But you do need to be aware of your own needs
You aren't a burden, and even if you are asking something of someone, you are within your rights to do so. If you are in a relationship or friendship or if they are close family, as long as you are reciprocating prioritising the relationship, you deserve the proper attention. This isn't something to be meek and mild about, truly. You owe it to yourself to ensure you are surrounded by the right people who are educated and know you well enough to look after you.
It's not just mental, emotional, or psychological, either. It manifests physically in a big way. Twisted stomach, indigestion, vomiting, and all sorts of bladder-related complications. These are things that we learn to live with as part of life – we never stop to think of them as symptoms that manifest as part of anxiety – something that might be treatable. Something that the everyday person doesn't have to think about – it can consume us. As with all forms of mental health, it deteriorates, often without reason or cause, and that can be the most frustrating. When you look around yourself and on paper, life is good. You have a job, a partner, a selection of hobbies that you're pretty sure satisfies you.
'And yet' is the reason we filter our selfies. We know we're good but we fear we aren't enough, just the way we are.
Selfies don't make us great. They're at best a bandaid. We all know what Taylor Swift said about those, don't we?
They don't fix bullet holes. Nor will they solve your anxieties in the long run.
Let the world see the real you! You won't regret it.