I tend to be more of a night owl and find myself struggling to fall asleep anytime before midnight most nights, so I fill my time either doing homework, reading a book, or watching an unhealthy amount of Netflix.
When I finally shut down the computer screen and turn off the lights for the night, I find my hands reaching for my phone for one last browse before I close my eyes — or at least that's what I tell myself.
I enter into another world where the only humans that exist are absolutely perfect with amazingly fun lives filled with exciting vacations, significant others, family, music festivals, and everything I lack.
My Instagram feed is full of gorgeous sculpted bodies, beautiful flowing hair, flawless makeup, laughing couples and only the best of the best.
As my thumb continues to scroll, my mind only swims deeper into pity and comparison. I become fixated on my flaws, both inwardly and outwardly.
I look at the stretch marks on my thighs, my acne scars around my face, my bloated tummy, the dark roots of my hair growing in, the shape of my chin and nose, the weird flaps of skin and fat between my armpits and arms, and the list continues.
I then turn to my life in general, the nakedness of my left ring finger, the absence of excitement in my days, how broke I am, the longing to travel more.
With just another scroll, an hour passes by, and I find myself wishing for another life, instead of embracing the beautiful one I am currently living in.
This has to stop.
I am just as guilty for promoting this veneer; I hide behind my screen.
I want people to only see my best, I want people to "like" the version of myself that isn't completely true. But this becomes exhausting, and I can't keep it up any longer. I don't want to waste my time finding the perfect editing, the perfect pose, the perfect background, the perfect caption or the perfect candid.
I am not perfect.
Neither are you.
Now, I want to emphasize that there should be no shame for wanting to broadcast edited photos online. I think there is meaning behind wanted to share an amazing moment or feeling to others through a photo with amazing quality. This can be empowering and allow us to relive beautiful moments.
My goal is to bring up the conversation more of how easily this habitual routine can turn evil if we are ONLY posting the perfected and hiding the flawed.
We all know the deepest, darkest, lonely, and defective parts of ourselves and have to struggle with that our whole lives, learning how to self-love. Imagine how much harder this process becomes when we are only scrolling through everyone's highest of highs.
So, I'm admitting something that I have hidden behind the screen, something you would never know if you just scrolled through my somewhat fake life on Instagram. I vow to no longer separate my flaws from my life that I represent online, which creates a dangerous space for others. We are not meant to be flawless; we are humans with errors and unique designs.
I have a big, pinkish veiny scar on my collar bone. It's not cute. At all. It doesn't even have a cool story behind it. I have skin that is acne- and scar-prone. I develop cysts and cycloids easily. I often pick and squeeze, which doesn't help my cause much either.
I know it's not a big deal, and I live with it. But I don't accept it fully. I cover it with makeup, I wear turtle necks, I look up prices of laser removal, and never ever broadcast it on my social media.
Every time I don't cover it, someone will ask, "What happened?" or "Is that a hickey?" or "Have you tried getting it removed?" and every time I am reminded of my flaw that isn't normal or considered pretty or Instagram worthy.
This is the first photo that truly shows my scar. No edits, just truth. This is my #behindthescreen moment, with many more to come.