by Lauren Rae
Navigating the digital world has its difficulties. You’re forced to be switched on at all times, or risk losing out on the biggest scandals, best selfies and world updates.
I’m not entirely sure when I lost it exactly, my selfie stream that is. My confidence lessened over time and soon I was all the more fearful of the front camera. The more apps that introduced the ‘stories’ feature, the more I cowered. I’d inadvertently stopped taking photos of myself altogether, even on my good days. One selfie a month perhaps, soon turned into one every two months. In fact I’m not entirely sure I even still meet that quota. Though I’m not best fond of my face, it’s mine right and it’s often advised that I should take pride in that. Instead, I laugh in the faces of those that compliment me because lol, it must be a joke right?
Over the years my makeup routine has gotten progressively better. I started the journey with clumpy, sporty, “waterproof” mascaras, and though I’m only partial to mascara and brow makeup today, my eyebrows have improved on such a level that it need be documented. Surely the front camera should allow me that courtesy, like bro. Come on. Let’s work together on this.
For about a month, I strayed from Instagram entirely, subsequently missing out on all the goings on of the world. I just needed a break from all the pretty faces decked in glossy makeups and perfectly manicured nails. In truth, I looked a mess and needn’t be reminded every morning that I was incapable of looking like an instagrammable babe, worthy of crowning with a 100+ likes. Sure, that makes me sound insecure and if we’re honest I am, horrendously so. But the detox helped boost my confidence masses (kinda). My self esteem was at an all time lull before disappearing from the ‘gram, similarly to that of my scene days, where I spent every evening scrolling through endless photos of perfect humans on Tumblr and crying that I didn’t acquire any reblogs.
Social media is a pressure cooker, and we’re all sat precariously beneath it burning slowly. It’s scary to think that so many of us lose a slither of our confidence by simply scrolling through the feeds of our favourite social media channels. Surely these mediums were built to help us connect and not just feel like total sh*t about ourselves?
In my youth, although I was unattractive to many, I possessed a carefree attitude that others envied. I cared little for peoples opinions on my looks and took – rather cringey – photos of myself on a daily basis. Now millennials, this was before front cameras were a thing. Back in the Stone Age when you had to flip your Sony Ericsson phone and angle it so that you’d get your whole face in the photo. Often you’d use a mirror to assist you and to make sure the camera could capture your entire face. This was an era where taking photos of yourself was the biggest weekly challenge, and the real fun was in adding your tagname and preferred one liner on the image, to let MySpacer’s know who you were and what you were about. Those were the good old days.
Given that my hair, brows and life in general were a bit of a mess at the time, it seems almost worrying that I’m unable to photograph myself in any setting in present day. Like at all. Where in all f*cks did that confidence dissipate to?!
Fast forward, one month later.
Having returned to the colourful camera box neatly located in the middle of my home screen, I’ve realised one of two things. One, I may not be able to craft the perfect selfie and show off the cheekbones my father blessed me with, but I sure as hell appreciate those who can and two, I needn’t seek approval nor judge my looks based on my likes ratio. I’ve even taken to admitting when I feel low, humorously in my captions, in the hopes that others will be more honest about their downfalls. Sure, it’s a long shot and the likelihood of people following that trend is very slim, but a girl can dream. Before I skate off, I’ve one thing to say….
WE’RE ALL BEAUTIFUL SOCIAL MEDIA OK. STOP TRYING US.
13-year-old Lauren, in the golden selfie era
Image credit: Unsplash