She has sixteen selfies to pick from.
Her chin is angled differently in each picture. Strands of hair frame her face in different ways. The light appears brighter in some.
The background is unique enough. She had found a nice bush in the garden with several purple flowers. It provided context that she wasn’t even aware of. The context which said effort. The context which displayed creativity and imagination. Either of which she didn’t recognise. Both of which she relied on others to recognised.
She was playing the process of elimination. Which picture made her nose look bigger, which picture made her teeth look less white? What picture helped her depict the character she was portraying?
Thousands of apps on her phone to help distort her picture. She picks a few pictures and begins to edit.
She edits out the pimples the makeup didn’t quite cover.
Flicking through the filters she spends a few minutes considering the colours which might make her eyes seem less dull.
Then she deletes it all to start again from scratch doubting her decisions.
Eventually, she has an image that she’s happy with. Pimples on her face that makeup couldn’t quite cover are invisible. The laugh lines around her eyes have disappeared. She even managed to buff out the neck she thought chubby.
Closing down her editing application she switches over to Instagram. Briefly, she runs her eyes over the images that pop up, the faces of people who have posted stories. She is given an insight into their perfect life. A friend from high school has almost 80 likes on the picture of her lunch.
She hits the plus button at the bottom off the screen. She selects the image she meticulously editing. Still, she isn’t completely convinced. So she adds an Instagram filter too. It’s called ‘rise’. Too bad she couldn’t raise the pressure off her tense shoulders.
Time for a caption. As she thinks she bites a fingernail. A habit nerves had given her long ago. What on earth could she write? Inspirational quotes? Does she include an emoji? If she wrote something would someone misread it and bring her controversy.
After a few attempts, she finally finds a line she believes will help draw attention. She was unsure as to why she needed it. For some odd reason, she thought it would create a person of more worth. Add a layer of intelligence.
She adds hashtags and an emoji before hitting ‘post‘.
Then the true torture starts. At first, she only refreshes the page a few times. Then she is fighting the need to check every few minutes. One like. Only it was her friend. A second like. Only it was one of those fake, dumb Instagram accounts that ask you to pay them for followers. A third like someone she knew from a class in the first year at university.
As she waits she scrolls through her feed noticing the high numbers on her friend’s pictures as well as strangers. They have hundreds, some thousands. As I scroll my mind creates stories for each beautiful girl.
She has everything. That girl has a boyfriend that loves her. She has a body that she could only dream of.
The stories were works of fiction within her mind.
It was toxic. It attacked her self-esteem. Her enemies weren’t the people within the world of Instagram. They were all internal.
We define ‘perfection’ based on what is put before us. We gather until our brain creates the example to go alongside the definition.
The girl with 1000 likes on her insta pic is no bigger of a person than the girl with 5. She’s not close to the definition of perfect because nobody in this world is. Remember that anthem Hannah Montana blasted to all of us. Then there as Pink who said despite the whole world thinking she isn’t perfect it doesn’t matter because the people who love her see her worth.
Instagram is the platform she’ll continue using. It’s about what she makes it mean. She has the power to change the story. Better yet she doesn’t even realise people are looking at her photos creating stories. She’s the girl that loves life so much Instagram is material.
We’re in charge of our stories. Whether we choose to add characters based on an instagram picture is up to us.
Comparisons can become hurtful.
She didn’t need to make them.
Four likes on a photo didn’t change the fact that she is precious.
Each one captures her uniqueness.