I’m edgy, exciting, and a little intimidating. I’m always out running a half marathon, or boxing or trotting through the streets of Europe in the perfect LBD. Or at least, that’s how my Instagram makes me seem. In reality, I am the supreme champion of watching an entire season of a TV show in a day, and I can’t remember the last time I wore real pants. I’m an unashamed weirdo and you have to actually work for me to not like you. My Instagram brand is cooler than I actually am. Seriously, I’d love to be half as kickass as the girl on my page, but I’m not—and I’m OK with that. It is a highlights reel from my day-to-day life, but it’s also a place for me to share some of my favourite moments.
However that hasn’t always been the case, and the days of obsessing over likes are a little too close for comfort. While I’m still guilty of ‘gramming a few too many artsy cappuccinos, I’m no longer going broke at hipster coffee shops so that I can complain about how much of a caffeine junkie I am. If I have a great night but don’t get the perfect #girlsnightout shot, that’s fine—I had fun. I’m living my life and sharing pieces that happen to create a vibe, not living to fulfill one. It sounds silly, but sometimes the line between your social media brand and your life can get a little blurry.
The first time I realized the girl portrayed on my social media was way cooler than me was when a good friend told me a story about how one of her guy friends tried (and failed) to muster the courage to ask me out. I knew this guy in passing but not well, so his main impression of me came from my Instagram page. He never struck up a conversation because as she told me, he felt that he “wasn’t edgy enough” to have a shot. That’s crap, but he didn’t know it. In addition to that, several of my now-friends have told me that they held off on getting to know me because I seemed “intimidating” and “unapproachable”. And that bothered me.
Obviously, I want to have a cool social media presence (not that life is a competition—but I must win). But at the same time, I want to be real. There are so many perfect, shiny lives floating around the internet but so little honesty. Even the other week, I posted a perfectly posed “candid” shot from a run with some humorous-yet-badass caption that made it seem as if I were out kicking ass and taking names and loving every minute. In reality, it was horrible. I forgot my inhaler and had to walk home with a really bad wedgie. While my post wasn’t a lie—I did go on a run—it wasn’t the truth either. So now, if someone who also had a bad run sees that, they’re going to be a little harder on themselves for not running as far or as fast as they had planned, or what have you. And that’s not fair, because in all honesty they probably worked just as hard, if not harder, than I did.
I hate the idea that the three hours I spent choosing, editing and captioning a post could make someone feel less proud of any of their own accomplishments; or that my carefully curated social media presence would actually cause someone to feel like they couldn’t just approach me and strike up a conversation. So this is my promise, to anyone bored enough to be reading this, of honesty. I can’t promise less dazzlingly witty captions (sarcasm is in my blood) but from here on out, I’m done glossing over the messy bits for the sake of social media. There’s so much smooth and sparkly and unapproachable out there—it’s boring, and it’s exhausting. Let’s have a little honesty, and a nice big pinch of realness. And I think that a good first step is just putting it out there: my Instagram brand is way cooler than I am. And I’m OK with that.