As I stood against the mirror, looking at how much I had grown, I wondered how it had become so painful to define myself as pretty. Honestly, why did I need to look pretty? Was it for the 1200 followers that I never talk to or the hundreds of people that gawk at me as soon as I step out? I was never able to answer that question.
This conversation had become an everyday task now. I spent hours looking at myself, hoping that I could change everything. Some days were better than the others. For example, I had just watched an empowering movie or Lucifer (mostly Lucifer), and it barely left me with time to think about things like this.
That day, I had intended to finish everything from school so I could unwind over the weekend. I had been deferring for weeks, and even the scantiest of motivation would help me get up and overpower it. Yet, I refused to find that motivation.
My phone had been buzzing for the past hour. Zoe texted, Max put up a story, and Stevie tweeted something political (the names have changed in this text). I finally sat down and went through my notifications. Analytically, Instagram was full of influencers wearing lesser clothes and touring the Bahamas. Twitter had every quarrel you could think of, and Snapchat had good morning selfies where everyone woke up like that.
I glanced at the clock. I was late for my schedule. It was time to grind and succeed (as Richard Branson puts it). After another pitiful glance in the mirror, I sat down at my table and started scribbling. I had 12 assignments, three tests, and loads of pending research due in a week. I put on my playlist and got to work.
About 2 hours later, I concluded my assignments while Adele sang the closing verse of Rolling in the Deep. My brain had stopped working, so I got up and went to the pantry. Mom had already put out some grapes and an apple. I brought them back to my room and started scrolling through social media.
As I went through another set of influencers, arguments, and selfies, I started thinking about where it all went wrong. When did we start posting about everything that was happening in our lives (obviously, protecting most of the truth)? While my brain pondered this issue, another notification popped up. It was Max.
"Hey! I am planning to film a documentary highlighting the physical differences between humans. Would you be interested?"
My first instinct was to say no. It was a dumb idea, and I hate doing stuff that involved social interaction. My gut, then, told me to do it. It is different and could end up being fun. What is the worst that could happen? I quickly texted him, and he added me to a group full of strangers. Lucky for me, I do not have a harder time talking to strangers than I do with people whom I have known since forever.
The next few weeks turned out to be the best weeks of my life. I quit checking social media. I made new friends who were dorks, but Max succeeded in bringing these dorks together. All of us had our problems, but with each other, it was our utopia. We would spend hours giggling, filming, and being the best versions of ourselves. None of us cared about how we dressed, how much makeup we put on, or even if we looked like a panda. The comfort I found through the most unearthly humans I had ever met overshadowed everything.
The day I broke up with social media and started focusing on the intricacies of life, I became comely. Not like the influencer with millions of followers or the girls who send me a good morning selfie, but I started looking pretty in the mirror.
That journey was not easy. Often, I ended up wanting affirmation through stories, posts, and rants. But over time, I learned that you cannot let others establish who you are. To look cool on social media is one thing, but doing it to please a group of strangers is not worth it. I still fall prey to seeking validation which is not something that I can change in a day, but we will get there.
Hey Siri, play Feeling Good by Michael Bublé:
It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me.
And I'm feeling good.
Cue the saxophones.
Teshi Sharma is a debater, blogger and absolutely loves traveling. She prides herself on her cooking skills, having received a great response from her smoke alarms. Her hobbies also include reading, spoiling movies/series and being sarcastic. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on her Blog.