Sometimes I think I need to retire from the modern world, because it makes me incredibly sad. Maybe I should go live on a mountain, or deep in the forest, away from the news, computers, and the hustle and bustle of daily life. Searching for some occupation, I could take up whittling. I bet after a week or so, I could whittle some pretty sweet spoons. I could spend hours and hours whittling all kinds of different spoons – big spoons, little spoons, simple spoons, intricate spoons. Maybe one day I would get fancy and make a slotted spoon. Thousands of spoons all whittled to perfection in my little shed.
Then one day, a lone wanderer would come by and see me whittling away. Maybe they would ask me a question, and I would tell them all about my spoon collection, and show them a few samples. They would wander off again happily. Then maybe the next day having heard from the first traveller about Spoony McSpoonerson out in the woods, more people would arrive. Spoon connoisseurs. And they would marvel at my spoons. And then one would comment “Oh, this spoon is just dreadful! It ruins the whole collection! Come on, darling, let’s go to the other forest where Fizzy Spoonsdottir is doing much more salient work!”. And off the crowds would go, leaving me in desperate self-doubt about how good my own whittling techniques ever were in the first place.
Fuck. I’m back to where I began: Forced to measure my own self-worth against someone else, except this time it’s an icelandic wooden-cutlery merchant one forest over.
As it is with spoons, it is with content.
Due to the gamification of literally everything, any content posted onto the internet is immediately measured up against anything else posted at that moment, and this, frankly, is awful. I am someone with such low self-esteem that it’s plumbing the depths of the underworld (Hades himself once commented on it, saying “Well this is a bit too much, isn’t it, Persephone?”). Putting any pictures up on Reddit, or Instagram, or Facebook is a stressful situation, because the inevitable will happen: I will refresh constantly over the next few hours to see if anyone thinks I look good. And a few will, but it’s never anywhere near some of the prettier girls out there.
Thus, I am measured. And I hate it.
So I’ll start to wonder why. And then I’ll start to be sad. And then I’ll start to be angry about it. And then I’ll be sad some more. And then I’ll disable all alerts from reddit/instagram/facebook so that I’m not caught up in the hours-long parade of trickling upvotes/hearts/likes. But I’ll still look. and refresh. And become sad again.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. Large swathes of the population have tied their self-worth, as I certainly have, to the magnitude of imaginary internet points awarded to them by a fickle audience. I don’t know if it’s killing you, but it’s certainly killing me. It’s desperately unhealthy.
The thing is, I really like my pictures. I think I have a high bar for posting quality content. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do with my look, and my photography attempts, and so why I’m assigning so much weight to what strangers think of me, I don’t know.
Actually, I do. I want to be validated. I’m insecure and I want people to tell me that I’m pretty and that I’m worth it, and that’s a horrible way to live. Without this implicit stack-ranking of every picture out there, I might be a much happier person.
Instagram recognises this, and is in the process of experimenting with the removal of likes in order to foster “creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”. I would like to be included in this experiment, please.
What I haven’t figured out yet is how to not yearn for people to tell me I’m pretty or worth it. I haven’t figured out how to be entirely happy without input from someone else. If you have figured it out, let me know :D
I really have no advice here, other than
- Get off social media, it’s awful
- Don’t let your own value be determined by what other people think.
- Please, please tell me I’m pretty.