The Thing About Selfies

The Thing About Selfies

And a little note to the people that criticize others for taking them

I have never taken a selfie. OK, that’s a lie. I’ve sent pictures of myself to friends on Snapchat, and texted photos of me making weird faces to my sister when I’m bored, but I have never publicly shared a picture taken of me, by me. If you had asked me why a year ago, I probably would have said something like, “They disgust me.” I thought I was simply above it. I walked around, head held high, because I had not fallen into the technology-infatuated, self-obsessed millennial stereotype. The truth is, however, I was afraid, and I still am.

People take selfies because they are in full control of how they look. You don’t have to wait for Uncle Bob to count to three, try to figure out how to take the picture, count to three again, and then take it after another grueling ten seconds; by then, your smile is cramping, your hair is frizzing, your body is twitching, and you know that there is no chance this photo is a keeper. With selfies, you can always capture your best side (because for some reason, half of a face always looks better than the whole), show off everything you want to, and wait for the perfect moment to capture. Selfies are the pictures in which everyone looks their best, but in reality, when you share a selfie, you are at a pretty vulnerable point. You have given the world an opportunity to judge a picture in which you are the sole focus (and it’s not even zoomed out!). Sure, all your girlfriends will comment things like, “Gorgeous” “Beautiful,” and “Can I be you?” but somewhere out there, there is someone picking apart every detail of the picture you worked so hard to create. And if you look bad when you’re trying your hardest to look good, what hope is there for you?

Across the country, there are probably dozens of corporate meetings that have taken place to discuss the next step in teen-manipulation. “What else can we throw out there that we know teens will buy?” Companies make billions off of products specifically tailored to become the next teen addiction, and now, because of it, my generation has been labeled as “self-absorbed” by the people who are responsible for starting it all! Why are we blamed for falling into the traps specifically set for us? Why are we called “narcissistic” when all we’re trying to do is fit in? These “revolutionary” devices and applications have opened up platforms for people to blatantly call each other ugly. Without the “cyber,” there is no “cyber-bullying,” and I am certain that a 13-year-old kid did not invent the internet. And don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate for shutting down all social media forums, nor do I support cyber-bullying in any way. In my opinion, this is a problem that can only be solved with a change in perspective. When someone is bullied, they are often told or called something (even if it is untrue) so many times that they start to believe it is true. Once people stop labeling millennials as unappreciative, egotistic teenagers, maybe they will see that we aren’t. Each generation has faced the challenge of making it through middle and high school, some of the hardest years of our lives. Millennials happened to be born at the dawn of the “Era of Technology,” so instead of wearing Jordache jeans and shoulder pads, we have the difficult challenge of presenting the perfect image of ourselves on every social media platform we can. People see teens taking selfies as an act of self-centeredness, when in reality, it is an act of self-consciousness. We live in a time in which the best way to fit in is to stand out, and we are manipulated into thinking that social media is the best way to do so.

That’s my problem with selfies. The people that “hate” selfie-taking, Instagram-loving millennials are the ones responsible for the existence of the stereotype in the first place. I do think that the world would be a better place if we all looked up every once in a while, but I don't think it's our fault for barely being able to. Everyone has been so quick to criticize us, that they have been blind to the fact that we are just trying to make it in the dog-eat-dog world that high school is, and just because our methods are different than those from the past, doesn’t mean our generation as a whole can be discredited.

Cover Image Credit: Google+ selfie lovers

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44 Lyrics For When You Need An Instagram Caption

Your caption is just as important as the filter.

Choosing the caption for your Instagram can be almost as challenging as deciding on a filter. So, if you’re ready to post that Insta, but don’t know what to say, here are 44 lyrics for when you need an Instagram caption.

1. “Be young, be dope, be proud.” - Lana Del Rey, "American"

2. “I can’t really see another squad tryna cross us.” - Drake, "No Tellin’"

3. “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” - Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

4. “I’m throwin' shade like it’s sunny.” - Nicki Minaj, "Want Some More"

5. “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist.” - Sia, "Chandelier"

6. “Find me where the wild things are.” - Alessia Cara, "Wild Things"

7. “If I was you, I'd wanna be me too.” - Meghan Trainor, "Me Too"

8. “Sweet like candy to my soul, sweet you rock and sweet you roll.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Crash Into Me"

9. “I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I’ve ever known.” - Drake, "Over"

10. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” - Lee Ann Womack, "I Hope You Dance"

11. “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all? - Bastille, "Pompeii"

12. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” - John Lennon, "Imagine"

13. “You can’t choose what stays and what fades away.” - Florence + The Machine, "No Light, No Light"

14. “She acts like summer and walks like rain.” - Train, "Drops of Jupiter

15. “She’s a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus, and America too.” - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Free Fallin’"

16. “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones.” - Coldplay, "Fix You"

17. “Say you’ll remember me.” - Taylor Swift, "Wildest Dreams"

18. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” - Sia, "Elastic Heart"

19. “Give me the beat boys and free my soul.” - Uncle Kracker, "Drift Away"

20. “One of these days the clocks will stop, and time won’t mean a thing.” - Foo Fighters, "These Days"

21. “Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.” - Brad Paisley, Perfect Storm

22. “You are the piece of me I wish I didn’t need.” Zedd feat. The Foxes, "Clarity"

23. “Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she’s got the Mercedes bends.” - The Eagles, "Hotel California"

24. “Life imitates art.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

25. “Nobody said it was easy, no one said it would be this hard.” - Coldplay, "The Scientist"

26. “You’re gonna keep my soul, it was yours to have long ago.” - State Radio, "Keepsake"

27. “Celebrate we will ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Two Step"

28. “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” - Florence + The Machine, "Shake it Out"

29. “There are many things I’d like to say to you but I don’t know how.” - Oasis, "Wonderwall"

30. “You say you want a revolution, well you know we all wanna change the world.” - The Beatles, "Revolution"

31. “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.” Billy Currington, "People Are Crazy"

32. “Well my heart is gold, and my hands are cold.” - Halsey, "Gasoline"

33. “I don’t want to be heard, I want to be listened to.” - Twenty One Pilots, "Forest"

34. “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” - Mumford and Sons, "Awake My Soul"

35. “I think I need a sunrise, I’m tired of the sunset.” - Augustana, "Boston"

36. “All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am.” - Brandi Carlile, "The Story"

37. ‘Ready or not, here I come. Where you at? The night is young.” - Bridgit Mendler, "Ready or Not"

38. “In the land of Gods and Monsters, I was an angel.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

39. “Turns out not where, but who you’re with that really matters.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Best Of What’s Around"

40. “Know yourself, know your worth.” - Drake, "0 to 100"

41. “I’m little but I’m coming for the crown.” - Lorde, "Still Sane"

42. “Didn’t they tell you I was a savage?” - Rihanna, "Needed Me"

43. “Hands in the air like we don’t care.” - Miley Cyrus, "We Can’t Stop"

44. “I’ma keep running because a winner don’t quit on themselves.” - Beyonce, "Freedom"

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Don't Let Social Media Kill Your Summer Self-Esteem

Behind every social media account is an imperfect, normal life.

Summer is a wonderful time of days spent at beach or the river, getting suntans by the pool, and of course, taking Instagram worthy photos. Unfortunately, this time of year is the perfect example of the fact that all of us are guilty of showing a very small portion of our lives on social media. However, even though we know this to be true, social media can still affect many individual's self-esteem.

How do we avoid the trap set by an Instagram feed full of beautiful photos of summertime?

First, we have to remember what I've already said: social media only shows the best parts of our lives. Only a very few people, if anyone at all, can say that their summer was completely filled with nothing but glamorous days spent traveling, relaxing by the pool, and taking beautiful photos. This isn't realistic, so no matter how perfect a person seems on their Instagram feed, we must remember that this isn't a complete picture of his or her life. It's OK if you have to spend your days working instead of relaxing on a beach — this is what summertime looks like for most normal people. It's also OK if you don’t have plans every night and weekend — this isn't a requirement of how we should be spending our summers, and it's OK if you want to be inside, or if you want to be alone, or if you simply don't want to do anything at all. This does not in any way make you inferior to the faces and lives you see on social media.

Second, it's OK to not be extremely fit and in shape, and it's also OK if you don't get a beautiful glowing tan within the first week of summer break. Despite what social media might tell us, this also isn't realistic. Don't look at photo and ask yourself, "Why don't I look like that?" You don't look like that because you are not that person. You are beautiful in your own unique way. You also don't look like that because that person probably took a million photos to get the perfect pose and perfect lighting that makes them look their best, and that was the one they chose to share with the world.

I can guarantee you, there is not a single person on this Earth that looks perfect every moment of their life. Be comfortable in your own skin. It's OK to have fitness and health goals, but be careful. Set achievable goals based on your own self and what you know is best for you. Don’t set unrealistic goals based on perfectly posed and edited photos of other people.

Don't let social media and its unrealistic expectations and limited view of life define you this summer. Do what you want (and don't do what you don't feel like doing), wear what you want, and be comfortable and confident in your own skin. The degree to which your life resembles your social media feed (and it never completely will) does not determine your worth as a person or the value of your time spent this summer.

Cover Image Credit: Dakotah Smith

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