I have made a mistake. I knew it would be a mistake and still, I couldn’t resist. For people like me social media is truly a toxic environment. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t use it for comparing myself to others. I shouldn’t look people up, and see what their lives turned out to be, and then feel bad that I am nowhere compared to them.
I think in everyone’s lives there are one or two people, who are pushing the worst buttons for them. And not necessarily because they are unkind or have done something terrible to them, but because in their heads they imagine that they somehow have it together. That their lives are without obstacles and all is fine.
I have made this mistake, a couple of minutes ago. Why? Because yesterday I was having a conversation with someone, who mentioned this girl. The reason why it hits home so hard, is because we used to be friends when we were little. As a young person, she had the positions I was dreaming of, doing the work, I was hoping to do.
Now her name was in my head, and I had to see what she was up to. Just a few days ago I ruined the OS system of my phone, and I had to reinstall everything. I decided to wait with instagram. Even though I follow only a minimal amount of people, that is enough to give me envy. When I see where they travel, what they are up to my heart cringes. I knew it was a good decision to take a break from the app.
But then I looked in a browser, and I had to look her up. Maybe she is on insta? And yes, she was, and I started scrolling through her photos. I found another friend of hers among them, who got married.
Why do I do this? Why do I have to make myself feel bad? I know what comparison, and looking up these people means. I will find that they have a job that they enjoy, that they clearly have the means to travel (hello, smiling picture from popping over to Bogotá for a film festival), they have a wonderful relationship with their siblings (all these smiley pictures), and their mom (lots of throwback pictures of the lovely mum, who I know and remember very well, she is a gem)…
It represents a lot that I miss, things that I yearn to do. Yes, I am married. So you could say that is ticked, but I didn’t have a celebration with friends, because it was not possible. I can make up for it, and hopefully do it in a few years’ time. I so want to travel, and have the experience of going to far places as if it was totally normal, just part of my lifestyle. I remember seeing pictures from a long time ago. My envy-girl was backpacking with a friend to South America. First of all having the money to do that. Second of all, having the guts to do that.
Also her job. My envy is that she went to university, did a Bachelor’s and Master’s she loved, she was supported by her family, as they are also in the same industry, she went to do Erasmus. She is friendly and to my eyes fearless. She has her own community at home, and doesn’t miss being with us. The community we both belonged to a long time ago.
I am envious of this belonging that I don’t have at the moment as nor do I live in a place where I would like to be – as this is a transitional place – neither I have the job I would want. Because the question is: what do I want? And I don’t really know some days. As I am writing all this a huge nod forms in my throat, and I feel it pushing on my body.
The other girl, who got married used to date a guy I really liked, who treated me without respect when we got together for a very short while. It hurt that she was chosen as a proper girlfriend and he clearly regretted that we got into this messy something together. We used to be very good friends, and he used to date another very good friend of mine. I wanted that thing they had, and I was young and lonely. I wanted to be loved. He made a huge fool out of me. So when this other girl “won” him I was heart-broken and jealous. She was cool, because he was cool, and the other envy-girl was their friend, and I was not included in this thing, as in the mean time I was totally screwed over by another guy.
Probably everybody saw that I was played with, and maybe even I was aware of it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I was fooled. I was physically there, but didn’t belong. This happened exactly 10 years ago, and it still hurts. These two girls, now women have their lives together and look good. I am happy for them, as hard as it is, and sad for myself.
The two guys who fooled me both got married, one became a dad in the mean time, and they have their lives too. How do I know all this? Because social media pushes them into my face through common friends. I don’t want to be on social media, but I don’t want to be off it either. This is just very hard.
At the same time I don’t really know if all these things are true. And this is where a bit of mindfulness and meditation clicks in. You know, in the past I wouldn’t have gone this far. I would have just wallowed in my pain and sorrow. First of all, I cannot be true whether their lives are truly so perfect as they look in my head, or sometimes on instagram and facebook. Second of all, even if their lives are amazing, mine can be too.
I am invited to a wonderful wedding this year. Friends, who I deeply care about are getting married, and I am genuinely looking forward to see all of them, and spend not just the wedding, but several days together. I know it is going to be a wonderful experience. And I am so much looking forward to it, that just thinking about it makes me elated.
One day, when I am not scared to fly long-distance anymore I will go into the world, and have a proper look. In the mean time I am going on trips close to where I live, and enjoy the sights and nature that is close to me. Maybe even if I could, like it was offered to me I wouldn’t want to go to Bogotá. That is a possibility. But I can use it to make myself feel bad. Well, I made a mistake, and I should stop this comparison nonsense, even if it is hard.
The girl, who was with the boy, who I fancied got dumped in a very unpleasant way. Later I learnt, that he wanted to break up with her already during the trip we were all in together, but he didn’t. They were driving in the same car back after that summer holiday and it was dreadful. I remember, how crushed she was, because she didn’t hide that on facebook.
I am happy for her. As for other envy-girl, honestly… she might be lonely. I have not really seen her in a relationship, her body has always been very boyish, small boobs, tiny hips, generally skinny frame, which I know is not necessarily bad, but I know how society thinks about these things, and she must have wanted bigger boobs at some point. She also had really bad skin, but according to instagram that cleared up very well. I am happy for her success as well. I am still grieving my family, the life I didn’t have, and couldn’t have, but at the same time it shouldn’t stop me from trying to do better for myself.
Many times I have been unlucky. Things happened I genuinely had no control over, and yes, I was too young. But also many good things happened, experiences and events that I am grateful for. And maybe I should take this moment to be grateful for this piece of writing as well. Instead of getting lost in my head I pushed myself to get back to writing, to get it out, to reflect, to question, to notice and know that things are not in reality as my thoughts suggest. Everybody struggles. At the same time everyone deserves to have a good life, beautiful moments, joyful trips and good friends. I am grateful for the good stuff, and maybe start to be grateful also for the bad. Progress?