Like most people, when the app first made its debut I was instantly enticed; it had a lot of draw. I was able to add videos to my story during all of my vacations, excursions, and wild nights out. I was able to capture the best moments in my life and paint myself as this crazy, spontaneous individual that I most definitely was not.
It made me more confident too. When I moved to New York City, I took pictures of myself eating overpriced salads in scenic areas like Bryant Park to make myself look simple but well off at the same time. I took pictures after I worked out and sent them to some attractive guys I had recently added.
Eventually, for some, post workout pictures turned into post shower pictures and so on and so forth. Then all of a sudden I was that girl that everyone hates on social media. You know, the one who Instagrams everything from her breakfast in the morning to her bed with the typical “keep calm and carry on” poster and the Christmas lights strung around her room.
I was being the opposite of attractive — I wasn’t being the girl that guys love to chase or the unobtainable one or the mysterious one. I was being the one that everyone thought they had figured out because they saw my life through their phone screens. And even though I knew this was a filtered part of my life, that not everything I did was spontaneous and sexy and exciting, no one else really did.
As stupid as it sounds, we’re trained to make our lives look interesting. That’s why we spend so much time choosing just the right filter on Instagram or why we always post every picture we took during a weekend of partying to Facebook the next morning while we’re hungover in bed. We want to be interesting, we want to show off.
Except that means to some that there’s nothing left to know. No guy wants to talk to the girl he’s already figured out-what more is there to know? Figuring each other out is the most important and fun part of a relationship but if he already knows your Starbucks order and that you eat blueberry muffins every Sunday with your grandma just from your Snapchat story, then chances are he’s not going to be interested in finding out more about your shallow life over a nice dinner he’s paying for.
So I deleted Snapchat. I stopped cold turkey. At first this was extremely difficult. You have to understand, social media is a major form of communication nowadays so not having Snapchat kept me partially out of the loop. My friends would text each other in a group message talking about so and so’s crazy story from their night out and I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the conversation. They would snapchat each other during class and I wouldn’t be able to send back an equally witty response about what a boring professor we have. I wasn’t able to shamelessly flirt with men.
But then the strangest thing happened. Even though I felt as if I was missing out (classic case of FOMO) I actually started to have more fun. I did things for myself, not because they would make me look cool to my Snapchat friends. I saved money by getting coffee from McDonald’s, not from Starbucks just because they make a cool design on their lattes. I found that more people were interested in getting to know me, not just my body or my Starbucks order.
I was finally the girl that reads under a tree when she’s bored, and the girl that’s in charge of 5 different clubs on her campus, and the girl who wakes up early every morning during the weekend to practice yoga while the sun rises. I wasn’t the girl who ate at a trendy donut shop, or the girl who finally made her own “Insta-worthy” dinner, or the girl who couldn’t stop finding relatable quotes on Netflix shows.
I was myself, unfiltered, and let me tell you it felt much better seeing the world without a phone screen getting in the way.