More Than 150 Characters

More Than 150 Characters

Reminder: your Instagram bios don’t encapsulate everything you are.
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“Your Instagram bio cannot exceed 150 characters.”

As much as we made fun of Kylie Jenner for making 2016 the “year of realizing things”, she wasn’t actually that far off. As a millennial with two younger sisters making up generation Z, I’ve been realizing a lot of things watching them grow up. Any older sibling watches and can immediately spot differences in upbringing, but I’ve also seen how the world has shifted in 4 short years with the introduction of social media.

Facebook doesn’t really mean much to my younger sisters, but Instagram is their everything. Follower counts, likes, and photo themes contribute to some sort of success in their social circles. What I’ve noticed more and more is that your bio, especially if you have a private account, can make or break you. Depending on your “vibe” or “theme”, people style their bios accordingly, however, there seems to be a spike in stating every single thing you’re apart of in something like this:

“Age. Current location. Hometown. School. Year. Relationship status. Extracurricular(s). Quote. Star sign. Snapchat. Race. Significant emojis.”

When did we suddenly turn our lives into a bullet point of our accomplishments? I’m guilty of this too, I mean, I can say it makes it easier for people to find you and follow you later, but I really mean that I want to establish the best parts of my life in 150 characters or less. It’s really easy for people to get caught up in the idea of “if I say that I am this, then people will think of me this way, and then everything will be perfect”. It’s very easy to feel isolated and lonely because of this practice; putting out all of your accomplishments on display like that can grow into an unhealthy, competitive and narcissistic nature.

We use captions and quotes to define whatever we’re aspiring towards, but I’d rather live by something more than 150 characters. Instead of defining yourself by your title roles, take a step back and look at what you want to be defined as. Trade temporary success for future self fulfillment. Don't be afraid to celebrate your #promotions or #bossbabe status, but put yourself in a long term goal oriented headspace. I want to live in a world where my sisters know that they are more than their bios and any social media they have.

I'm coming to terms with adulthood and my generation. I don't know if we're handling our situation the best way we can, but I know that we are wholeheartedly trying our best to make it- whatever that means. I do not want to be defined by a few characters on a social media platform, but if I had to choose one specific gathering of words, I would choose an entire book called Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. If I had to choose just one poem to define who and where I am right now, it'd be this:

An excerpt from poet Rupi Kaur’s book, Milk and Honey. Too bad it exceeds Instagram's bio rules.

So, maybe take this as a reminder or a suggestion: your social media bios don’t encapsulate everything you are. You are not just your highlight reel; you are your character, your actions, and your heart. Regardless of the loneliness social media can produce, you are perfectly and wonderfully made as you are. So, be a blogger, artist, dreamer, but don’t forget that you are also way, way more than 150 characters.

Cover Image Credit: Design Bolts

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Celebrating My Mom: Her Beauty and Strength

Here's to the most inspirational woman in my life.

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In observance of International Women's Day on March 8th, it is of paramount importance that we take a few moments to consciously recognize the women in our lives. We often call the women we adore by casual names like "Mom", "my sister", or "my girlfriend", and, usually, these nouns are intimate enough to replace their names---but not today. Today is for appreciating you, Melanie Daugherty, my mom---not as my mother, but as a human whom I hold with the highest regards.

It is easy for me to recall the innumerable times you've embraced me (even though I considered myself to be a disappointment), forced me to put my qualms into perspective, or insisted I put my aspirations into action (because "can't is too lazy to try") ; but, the magnitude of your accomplishments shouldn't always be measured by its impact on me, however, if it were to be, let it be the times you've inspired me.

Mom, I have always appreciated you, but I truly began to define you as my idol during my sophomore year of high school. During this time, I began experiencing shame in my identity. I was an athletic girl, but suffered from body dysmorphia, as well as a misunderstood and pessimistic perception of my inner thoughts. I became very introspective and was completely fixated on thoughts of worthlessness and lack of purpose. I assumed chronic fatigue was just a characteristic of being a teenager. In me, you recognized a past version of who you once were. I cried to you and you embraced me in your arms. My deteriorating state of mental health was not your burden, and you refused to let me define myself by diagnoses and prescriptions. Recognizing your success and triumph over anorexia and depression motivated me. I was so proud to be your daughter. Knowing that confidence and appreciation for the world was possible to achieve accelerated me into a period of self-reflection and determination. I wanted to trace your template of self-improvement with my footsteps and create a new image of myself---one that would reignite my childhood "spark".

You're not just my hero for saving me, but for giving me someone to admire. You live your life without limitations. Competing in the 140.6 mile Ironman triathlon is an accomplishment in itself, competing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii is even more incredible, and completing eight of these triathlons is enough for most people to call you "crazy" rather than by your name. Your greatest demonstration of strength however, was not through athletic prowess, but through mental and emotional perseverance.

Losing your best friend to breast cancer was almost inconceivable because no one ever wants to acknowledge it as a possibility. What people also try to forget, is that it is just as possible for their lives to be taken from them. After learning to cope with your best friend's death, you were diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Watching you grow progressively weaker was enervating in itself. This wasn't a reality I was able to accept as truth, partially because you were my mom, but also because your strength was an aspect of you that I didn't think could ever be taken from you---and I was right.

Although your complexion grew pallid and your body could no longer sustain itself, your mindset remained the same. You would not accept a last breath, and you ensured that every breath you took reiterated that. You demonstrated to me that positivity is the panacea that combats a discouraged mind.

Mom, for you, I am proud. I am grateful to have lost sometimes, because without loss, I wouldn't have been able to realize my strength, and I wouldn't have realized that if you hadn't been my anchor.

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