The People We Pretend To Be On Instagram

Courtney Carmody
Courtney Carmody

I know a girl who eats #brunch a lot. She often wears a #littleblackdress and takes pictures with her friends; they all have skinny arms and flawlessly toned skin. Every #coffee that she drinks is in a porcelain white cup with an elaborate foam design on top, and all of her #pizza is the fresh Italian kind, with full moon mozzarellas and perfectly crispy crusts. She is awake for every #sunrise and on a #beach for every #sunset. She #vacations bimonthly. Her feet always have a fresh #pedicure because she photographs them every time that she is #atthebeach, normally on one of her bimonthly vacations. Her #hometown is a quaint New England village but she also lives in #NYC, and flits back and forth between the two effortlessly, a blur of life and vitality and travel.

The girl who exists on Instagram actually lives the same exact life that I do. The only difference is that she omits all of the mediocre peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that her mom makes her, and the Friday nights that she chooses to stay in and squirt whipped cream directly into her mouth. She lets her coffee go unphotographed six days of the week, because it’s normally a generic medium roast with milk and excess sugar. She sees one in every thirty sunrises and normally doesn’t realize that the sun has set until it is already dark out. Sometimes, she picks up a pizza pie and drops the box in the parking lot and then tries to fix the cheese so that her mom doesn’t get mad at her. She goes into New York City twice a month at most, and takes enough pictures when she’s there to make up for the other 28 days.

We live in a generation that allows us to showcase our best selves, which sounds like a positive thing until you’re the girl sitting alone on a Saturday night while everybody is at an America-themed party hashtagging #amurrica and #redwineandblue. I’ve been the whipped-cream-from-the-nozzle girl and the #sobernotsober party girl. I just choose one of those identities to show the world.

I dare you to look through any person’s Instagram pictures. Don’t just skim over them and assume that he or she lives a cooler life than you do. Realize that they’re wearing the same trademark outfit in all of their “going out” pictures, and that they use “#tbt” when they’re not happy with where they are at the present day. Realize that they had cereal for breakfast and has no photographic evidence of it, as it should be. Realize that they’re only showing you what they want you to see.

I’m guilty of misconstruing Instagram feeds and I’m guilty of warping my own life through Valencia filters. I don’t believe Instagram or social media are negative aspects of my life; I just find it healthy to remind myself that for every crepe #brunch somebody posts, there’s really six bowls of Cheerios in their stomach, mingling with the takeout they ate the night before while they were watching Netflix alone. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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