So often, I hear my friends and colleagues make snide comments about a girl they know who posts lots of selfies. I hear people sigh because they want a text back, but don't want to be "that person" and send more than one text without a response in between. I hear people laugh when someone uses an emoji unironically. I can feel the judgment when someone proclaims "too much" of a love for something, and then cringe when they're told, "Oh, sweetie, you're too much!" Who says? Where did all of this come from?
The truth is, all of us care about our self-image. We do - it's normal, human behavior. But to me, the extent to which we do this can be extremely limiting - even debilitating. Gatekeeping - a problem in the fandom world - is making its way into our every day lives, how we present ourselves, and even how others present themselves in terms of us as audience members.
At the core of the problem, it seems, is ownership. So often, if we do something that is received poorly by others, we naturally want to reject ownership of it - like taking down a post that has "too few" likes. So, when we see someone else doing it, our instinct has become to chastise them for it - further removing ourselves from the unwanted image. We go through every day being so overly careful to not post too often or to not love something too much or to not text that guy one too many times. We put so many artificial limits on ourselves, for what? What is it that we're expecting from this? Another day of being accepted? Maybe, but is it really worth not being your true self? Putting yourself out there and taking risks?
The thing is, nobody is going to remember - or care - if you "double-insta." Nobody is going to lose their mind if you post another selfie. Too few likes? Well, the only thing that matters is that sharing the photo makes you happy because you're sharing a piece of you with your friends and with the world. If they think it's silly, who really cares? What are you losing by someone else being petty and trying to keep you, without reason, from enjoying things?
You text that new guy twice in a row, and he stops responding, saying you're "too eager." Well, it's one thing if you're being demanding, but if you're expressing your excitement about that new episode of Riverdale? Telling him how much you love Bruno Mars? Sending him one more picture of your dog? And he's not down with that...is he really right, then?
The bottom line is that you should not be subjecting yourself to the artificial, made-up rules of someone else is a waste of time and energy. If posting it makes you happy, post it, girl! If sending one more text makes you feel like the flow is better? Tired of waiting around? Send that thing! Who cares? If you see someone posting a bunch of pics, don't laugh. If it bothers you, scroll past it. If you see it makes them happy, what do you have to lose by throwing them a like - really?
And remember, when push comes to shove...