Ah, Instagram. A world of terrible sketch comedy, people from high school studying abroad, influencers now trying to sell us CBD oil, and videos of girls (who just happen to have amazing asses) at the gym. I’ve already discussed the effect Instagram has had on relationships, and we all probably know the platform is rotting our brains but it’s still fun to talk about because let’s face it, it’s the world we live in now.
A few weeks ago, after my first ever SoulCycle class (which I eagerly Insta-storied) I snuggled up with a big bowl of pasta and watched Hulu’s Fyre Fest documentary. The festival that models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid promoted, and Instagram influencers attended, turned out to be a huge f*cking disaster (and at the time was lowkey satisfying to watch unfold from the comfort of my couch). Anyway, the documentary interviewed influencers who attended the sh*tshow, one being Alyssa Lynch, who has about half a million followers on Instagram. When asked to describe her “brand” she replied, “Health, wellness…and honestly just like positivity.” I will emphasize that it took her a minute to string that sentence together.
Essentially, influencers sell us the idea that we too can achieve eternal happiness if we can replicate the lives they seem to be living. Vacationing in Mykonos, nonchalantly sipping iced coffee in an $800 Gucci fanny pack, and being born beautiful, which is all fine and well. If you want to post pictures of your life and subtly flex, it’s not your fault that people want to follow it.
It’s when we get into this positivity aspect that there’s a problem. Some influencers tell us that if we just #grind hard enough and have a positive mindset, all our dreams will manifest in front of us. When in reality, those influencers more than likely had to have access to designer brands and the means to go on expensive vacations to post about and gain a following in the first place (not to mention the being pretty part). Then once they have enough of a following, they can charge anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 for a single post, and continue this very high-end lifestyle.
There’s always a “Let go of those negative vibes” or “Make sure you’re living your best life” caption underneath photos of someone next to a waterfall or in a pool that overlooks the ocean. The bottom line is, I don’t have the luxury of posting pictures of myself on Instagram all day that generate thousands of dollars. Or forgo all my responsibilities to go “find myself” in Bali (even though I’m sure it would do wonders to my mental health). Majority of people don’t have the privilege either. We have school, work, and bills to pay which cause a lot of negativity we can’t always escape. Not to mention this stress takes a huge toll on our mental health that sometimes prevents us from completing our goals and “living our best life.”
Ultimately I don’t think these influencers mean any harm. At best, they want to inspire people to get out of their comfort zones and “experience life,” but in turn that doesn’t mean we should feel bad about our own day to day lives. There is an insane pressure that we not only have to be constantly living our best lives, but especially for a younger generation, we have to experience immediate success. We have no time to grow. If you’re not working your dream job, you’re a failure. If you’re not traveling, you’re missing out on life. What are you doing? Why are you wasting your life?? Why aren’t you grinding harder!?!?!?!!
And this is not a persuasive essay telling you to settle. You should work towards your goals and towards having a job you love- or at least like, you should be culturally enriched whether that’s through traveling or watching travel documentaries on Netflix. But so much of this stuff takes time. It takes failing and figuring sh*t out and money and probably a lot of crying. And ya know, to be around people you care about even if it’s just at your local sh*tty bar, isn’t a bad way to spend your days while you figure it all out either.
So maybe instead of living our best lives, we should try to live our lives to the best of our abilities.
Or at least until we all become Instagram famous.