In a world where social media is so prominent, it can be a struggle to find peace with one's self. There are images of perfect people with perfect bodies, beautifully done up hair, and flawless, airbrushed makeup. And all of that is fine, but what ever happened to being a real, flawed human-being?
On Instagram, it is easy to edit your picture with filters and airbrush effects to make yourself look perfect. Twitter makes it easy for people to come across as inspirational, bold, or even outgoing in their language when, in fact, they are just as clueless as the rest of us.
All of this is fine. I'm guilty of adding a filter or two myself, and I'd be wrong if I said that my life isn't consumed by trying to appear perfect on all of these platforms. However, just six years ago, I found myself on YouTube. And no, I was not watching videos like "Charlie Bit My Finger" or "Double Rainbow". Well, maybe those were thrown into the bunch, but... that's beside the point.
As a young girl in a world so focused on weight and beauty, it was hard to feel confident and like I fit in with all of the other kids my age. Perfection was key. That was what I thought anyway.
In my last year of middle school, I found myself consumed with YouTube and all it had to offer. This was because the people I was spending my time watching were not perfect; they were the most confident and beautiful people I have ever seen.
I remember sitting in my bedroom on my iPod watching people like Bethany Mota, Meghan Rienks, Shane Dawson, and Connor Franta, and being so amazed at how open someone could be to people that they have never met. At first I didn't realize how difficult it must be to reveal all of the hardships that one has gone through, but I did realize that those are the videos that changed my life.
Let's be real; those cat and baby videos are hilarious and they are perfect when you need a good laugh, but nothing has ever made me feel more better than watching a video about someone going through the same thing as I was. At the time, people mentioned the harms of bullying, depression, eating disorders, and human rights, but I had never been witness to the effects that it could have.
Sometimes I felt as though I was all alone, but when I logged onto YouTube I saw people who were just as insecure and unsure of life as I was. However, the difference was that, despite their insecurities and hesitations, they were always confident. I mean, it must take a lot of confidence to feel comfort in taking videos of yourself wherever you go and then posting them on the internet for thousands, even millions, of people to watch. And I know that YouTube allows for people to edit out and choose what they want the world to see, but you can tell the people that are completely honest with their audience.
This is what made me realized that, despite all of the things that I was going through and all of the things that I found hating about myself, I still loved everything that I was. It is weird how much impact social media has had on society, but I am glad that it has helped me for the better. Seeing other people so genuine on film without makeup and showing the world how they look at their most vulnerable made it easy to understand that it is okay to show your true self, despite what the world may view you as.
If other people can show the whole world their lives on a daily basis, at both their best and worst times, then I can live my life happily and openly even if it means a few stares from people passing on the street. Living my life with confidence is the best advice anyone could have ever given me. That is why YouTube has had such a significant impact on, not only my life but, millions of people around the world (with the additional few laughs from cat videos).