The Mask Of Social Media

The Mask Of Social Media

What people are posting on social media is what they want us to see; it is an edited, small moment of their life, not their life story.
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Social media has become such a huge part of our generation. Whether it be Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, VSCO, Pinterest, the list goes on and on. Every day we see people who seem to have the perfect lives. Their Instagram feeds are ideal according to society’s standards nowadays. We see a girl in her twenties flaunting her perfect body in a bikini, happy as can be on a beach. Or we see the most perfect "candid" picture of a beautiful young girl laughing. Maybe we see the cutest couple kissing and exhibiting the so-called "couple goals." Or sometimes we see a group of guys out at a party having the time of their lives. But what we don’t realize is that these are just pictures; they are only small moments of someone’s life.

Maybe that girl in her twenties with the "ideal" and "perfect" body has been battling an eating disorder for years, and is more insecure than ever. Maybe that beautiful, young girl in the candid picture is battling depression and wants everyone to think she’s happy as can be. Maybe that cute couple fights every day and breaks up at least once a week. Or maybe that group of guys abuse alcohol every weekend because they don’t know how to have fun without it. The thing is that you don’t know. You don’t know someone’s life or what they’re going through just by following their social media accounts.

As a society, we choose what we post on social media. Yes, I know that seems like an obvious statement, but really think about it. We choose what we want our peers and other people we may not even know, to see. A majority of us, even myself, want others to think we are happy, stable, and content with our lives. And to do so, we "prove" it through social media.

Just over two years ago, on the evening of January 17, 2014, 19-year old, Madison Holleran, took her own life. Madison was an absolutely stunning, young girl who ran track at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). Madison seemed like she was having the time of her life during her first year at UPenn; her Instagram feed was filled with pictures of her out with friends, running track at school, and beautiful selfies of her smiling so brightly it’d be impossible to think she was unhappy with herself. In an ESPN article about Madison’s life, posted about a year and a half after her death, it stated that she was, “someone who was aware of the image she presented to the world, and someone who often struggled with that image conveyed about her, with how people superficially read who she was, what her life was like.” Madison, like many other people, wanted everyone to think she was perfectly content with her life even though she wasn’t. She had been seeing a therapist for a couple months and was having a hard time; she was battling anxiety and now looking back, is thought to have had depression.

After reading Madison's story, it's important to realize that we need to take the time to actually get to know people and see how they are. Ask your friends how they're doing. It is so important to make sure your loved ones are okay because our time with them is limited. One of your closest friends could be struggling and you may not even know it. Asking someone how their day is going or just simply smiling at a stranger could make their day. The smallest act of kindness could turn someone's whole day around and you might not even know it.

Stories like Madison’s prove that we do not know someone’s life based on their Instagram feed, or social media account. We never know what someone is going through or what their home life is like just because we see their posts on social media. So next time you judge someone based off their Instagram feed or their Snapchat stories, think. What people are posting on social media is what they want us to see; it is an edited, small moment of their life, not their life story.

Cover Image Credit: The Lance

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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