Dear Instagram, am I enough?

Dear Instagram,

So I went out last night with my friends and it was so fun. But the best part was that I think I got good pictures! You of all people would know how important that is to me. I wore that dress I ordered from PLT that hugs my frame best, and I wore my 28 inch Malaysian wig, and my face was beat. I had to make sure I looked my best so I could take a worthy picture for you. You know how much your approval means to me. I looked so good in the mirror, I couldn’t stop staring at myself and all I could think of was how somebody’s son would near-faint when they see me. I felt so damn confident. Nobody could chat to me anyhow looking the way I did. And rightly so, nobody did. Actually nobody chatted to me at all.. I don’t understand why. I could swear I looked better than half the girls in that club. What a waste of effort, but whatever.

I asked my friend to take pictures of me before we went out and you already know how that went down. 80 new pictures in my camera roll and I have to choose the best. That’s actually why I am talking to you right now. Take a look at these pictures. Is this instagrammable? No? What about this one? No, again? How about this? You know what, let me just ask my friends to help me choose the best one. I can always count on them to tell me which photo of myself is good enough for you. The mirror seemed to think I looked fine but with you it’s always different. It’s like you demand a version of me that is not real. The Kim Kardashian version of me, even though I am nothing like her, and even she is nothing like her. But it’s okay, because you motivate me to be the best version of myself! You motivate me to present only the best version of myself and that can only ever be a good thing, right?

My friends have replied to me now and there doesn’t exactly seem to be a sole winning picture so I’m just going to go with the one that got the majority’s approval. I mean, personally, I would choose this other one but nobody chose that so let’s discard of it. At the end of the day, my instagram page is not for me, it is for them of course. If I don’t give my followers what they want, they won’t give me the likes that I need to let new followers know I am worth following. If they don’t give me the likes that I need, then I’m going to have to start zooming into all the possible faults in the picture and take it down. Because I don’t post pictures that I alone like, I post pictures that I essentially think other people will like. Because I really really care about what others think of me. I seek validation from them because my insecurities do not allow me to believe that I am enough on my own. But that’s besides the point.

Actually, Instagram, while we’re on this topic, I have a question. What about a picture makes it good enough for you? Because sometimes, I genuinely really like a picture I’ve taken, but I simply can’t post it because I know it’s not good enough for your standards. Sometimes, when I am unsure of whether a picture is good enough for you, I go to my favourite instagram model’s page and glance at what kind of stuff they post, and if I think my own is of that standard, then I will post it. This is really important to me because I want to please you. If I don’t please you, it will affect me terribly. I’ll start doubting my self-worth and value. I will start wondering if I actually am pretty after all. It even impacts my mental health, and more so than I think is healthy. But I don’t mind. I have to please you so that I can stay relevant to my audience. My looks are what make me relevant, so I need to make sure that I keep them on point. Appearance is all that matters these days anyways, isn’t it? I am worthy of being paid attention to because I am pretty.

Sometimes, I have to admit, you make me feel under pressure. Like sometimes, I feel an urge to post a picture when it has been a while since I last posted. Because getting likes makes me feel happier, even if only temporarily (I read somewhere that it causes endorphins to be released in the brain, maybe that’s why. Isn’t that weird though? That you are slyly controlling me?). Also, because I need to remind people, or perhaps, prove to people that I am still pretty. I need them to know. Because I am not confident enough in myself and in my character and in who I really am intrinsically. So I rely on my appearance to make up for it. I have to look perfect to others as much as I can. I also need to so that guys can notice me and think I am worth their time. It’s annoying though, because I keep attracting these really shallow people who are emotionally unavailable and lack conversation, but they think I am very attractive.

To be honest Instagram, I had a conversation with an old friend the other day and it really made me think. She asked me why I suddenly attach my sense of self worth to my appearance. And I couldn’t answer why. She asked me if I loved myself and I said yes but when she asked me what it is I love about myself, everything was superficial. Nothing was about the person I really am beneath the exterior. I said I love my body and my hair, but she seemed not to care about these and asked what about my personality? What about my treatment of other people? What about the stuff that really matters? I was confused at first and thought she was delusional because everyone knows that loving yourself means loving the way you look. Or so I’ve been taught. She made me think that perhaps I do have a lot to work on, and not concerning the physical. She advised me to take a break from you for a while. Not a break-up. Just a break. Not a Rachel and Ross kind break – a real, concrete, clear break. And I think she’s right, because I need time and space to think independently without your overwhelming judgement being involved for once.

But I’m too scared to confront my underlying issues, to be very honest. I’m okay pretending I’m fine in the meanwhile. So let me stop talking and keep scrolling.

Yours faithfully, a Girl of the 21st century

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