The Instagram world has exploded this week with the release of Natalie Beach's essay on The Cut about tumultuous and somewhat toxic friendship with controversial Instagram influencer, Caroline Calloway. Calloway has become somewhat of a household name in the world of Instagram influencers after her disastrous book deal, her awful "creative tour" which some called a one-woman Fyre Festival due to its insane prices and lack of delivery on, well, anything, and now her ex-best friend and former ghost writer's essay has surfaced on the Internet, which has thrust her into the spotlight even more.
The essay was Natalie Beach's account of her time spent with Calloway, starting with meeting her in a creative writing class in college. Even when they first met, Natalie knew that Caroline was an outgoing free spirit who was a lot more popular than her. As their friendship continued to develop, Natalie always felt as though she was living in Caroline's shadow, constantly trying to measure up to her life, whether that was going to nicer universities, traveling the world, or going out with incredibly attractive guys. Natalie wrote in her essay, "I should have been having the time of my life in paradise, but Caroline had a way of making me feel small, as if I had folded myself up like a travel toothbrush so she could take me along for the trip." No matter where the two girls went, Caroline always soaked up the attention and seemed to have a more fun time than Natalie while she was manufacturing a perfect life on Instagram.
All throughout Natalie's essay, she talks about the envy she felt whenever she was spending time with Caroline, feeling as though she could never measure up to the girl with the supposedly perfect life and near celebrity status on the Internet. She always felt as though she was one step behind Caroline when it came to living her own life and that she could never measure up to her seemingly perfect life.
I have never been through a friendship like Caroline and Natalie's that I can recall, but I do know the feeling that my life is going nowhere a little too well. I find myself in the comparison trap many, many times, and social media, of course, is a huge fuel to the fire. Seeing people's seemingly perfect lives online definitely doesn't make me feel all that great about myself on a night when I'm alone in my apartment, single, watching One Tree Hill, with a giant bag of popcorn.
If you've ever found yourself in this situation, the most important thing to remember is that every account on social media is manufactured to some degree. Sometimes, it seems as though the Internet is just one big competition to see who can live the best life with the most adventures. That could be real, or it couldn't be.
But that doesn't mean you should see your life as anything less than a wonderful adventure.
If I could tell Natalie Beach one thing, it would be that she still has the potential to make her life her own adventure. She may not be an outgoing, free spirit, but she still has a chance to live her own life the way she wants to. And you can too! No one's life is exactly the same as everyone else's. It may hurt to see what seems like a life that's better than yours, but you can make a life that's perfect for you. Don't ever give up on that dream. Life is just as amazing as you make it.