"Normal" Doesn't Exist (Even on Social Media)
You’re waking up, or you’re on the bus, or you’re in class, or maybe you’re with friends. Your phone is in your hand and you’re scrolling. You see dozens of photos and faces per minute. You might like some of the photos. Maybe you’ll comment on a few. You won’t remember this in an hour.
Every one of those minutes pass by and you continue to consume the self-deprecating tweets and the vague Instagram captions. Who knows what it’s doing to your brain, but there’s a feeling in the back of your mind. It feels like you need to get up. You need to do something else.
Behind that feeling is another. It’s jealousy. Girls with lots of followers and perfect, normal lives don’t have it as bad. How could they? People comment how beautiful they are. People take fake candids of them. People emulate them. They are loved for simply existing.
Meanwhile, the girls who talk about their struggles are crazy. The girls who talk about their hardships are broken and dirty. The girls who talk about mental illness are attention seekers.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I wonder why my face isn’t shaped like these other girls, the “normal girls,” and why I want to share my problems rather than keep silent.
I wonder how they’ve won the lottery. I wonder how their genetics lined up to skip over irrational anxiety. The feeling of your body not being your own. I wonder where their split personalities are. Where they hide the loneliness.
It would be easy, in theory, to fit in with them. To love Netflix originals and wear trendy clothes. Your social media platform is a spotlight. Show the world your best moments. Don’t engage in political discourse. Share something you enjoy. Your battles are for you, not your feed.
Once you’re normal, you think you’ll be comfortable. The world will think you’re good. The world will finally accept you. Your needs will be exclusively materialistic: new phone, new shoes, new jacket, new makeup, new books, new anything. Not mental stability, not a moment of calm, not a spark of energy, not a glimpse of hope. You’re fine.
Here’s the thing: We’re the same. All of us. Our wants and needs come down to being loved, being accepted, and being cared for. But when we are sold on the idea of beauty and attention, we equate worth with social media followings.
Despite how flawless those filtered, sun-soaked selfies on Instagram might seem, that girl does not exist. There is no person on this earth who hasn’t struggled. No one is living a "normal" life. You can see the distance between you and the normal girl, but that same girl is looking at someone else who seems to be living an even better life.
Maybe this is where you stop scrolling and you realize that all the faces you see on the internet are real people. Or maybe this is where you realize the impact social media has on all of us—especially younger people who are still developing their own identities. Either way, there is no "normal" girl and each one of us deserves love, internet famous or not.
By Nika Mgl, 18