Emily Gill: NO ONE HANGS HARD TIMES ON THE WALL

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, & oh my goodness Tinder!! Hashtags, Followers, Likes, DMs, Filters, or being Instagram Famous…the list could go on. Urban Dictionary defines social media as your electronic second life. I would be lying if I didn’t say at one point in time I had all these forms of social media throughout the past few years. As I am writing this blog, I am currently checking down on my phone seeing who liked my new uploaded Instagram picture, & sending goofy, no make-up, hair on the top of my head, snap chats to my closest friends... that I trust not to screen shot & put on social media... save them for my future wedding day!!

Social media has been such a blessing & a curse in my life... it still is. In today’s society, majority of young people are addicted to their phones, it’s a harsh reality. We are defined by our social media accounts because who doesn’t feel good when they get a lot likes on a photo, a retweet or comments telling them how pretty they are? No one. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be amazing! I have met some incredible people through it, who I now call some of my closest friends. Also, Amy & I have had an incredible outreach through our YAM account of people being wanting to be involved! We love it! It’s just a simple fact that today we live in a high technology world full of social media but I believe IF we use it to our benefit it can be extremely positive in our lives.

Here’s where it turns negative, when you are lying in bed at night staring at your screen wondering why you can’t look more like her, why do you only have 17 likes, should you use this filter to make your skin look clearer, who is your crush following, why are they liking another girl’s photo… it doesn’t stop. You now spend the rest of your night, with your head spinning around and around until you’re shedding tears behind a screen… and a powerful screen at that. Your insecurities hit you like a freight train as you compare yourself to other girls who have whiter teeth, more name brand clothes, and a “picture perfect life”. I have/had these moments way too many times. I catch myself the next time spending that much longer picking the right filter, making sure the lighting is perfect for my snapchats, trying to write a witty caption or status so people would think I am funny. LET ME TELL YOU… it is stinkin’ exhausting. I spend so much time dreading trying to keep my head above in the social media waters, to make everything look perfect in my “electronic second life”. WHY? WHY? WHY?

Social media can be so superficial. Majority of people only want to see your pretty selfies, your fun moments, and everything that makes your unrealistic filtered life. No one wants to see the real moments... the ones that keep you up at night where your pillow case is covered in tear stains, the moments where you wonder if he does really love you, the moments where you just want someone to hug you and tell you that you’re beautiful not for your looks but your heart, your struggles, your flaws, your heartbreaks. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I decided to try to post more “rawness” on my social media. I was tired of portraying a completely false lifestyle, I was annoyed with guys only messaging me when I had posted a recent photo in a bikini which resulted in many comments about my body, “how are you so skinny with such big boobs?” Blah, blah, blah. Ironically, not only did I dislike these compliments deep down when I received them because I felt so uncomfortable but I still continued to post these photos and then respond with my classic “awe thank you”. So I began to start posting photos about mental health, previous photos of me in the hospital, statuses that were describing how I truly felt in that moment. At first, I lost a lot of followers which then I found myself upset about. I take it so personal as if the person (who I most I have never met) really matters to me and benefits my life, I guess that comes with being a people pleaser. I have to continually remind myself that the number of followers I have doesn’t define me even though in today’s society you’re made to believe that they do. I would rather live an unfiltered life, a life that showed the true Em whether that is on vacation, going out with my friends, studying in the library or simply just having a rough day. It was when I started to receive positive feedback from my raw posts that it began to change my outlook on social media. Social media is POWERFUL. What if everyone started to use it this power in a way that could help, inspire, and encourage others? I guarantee all of our lives would be greatly changed.

You always hear people say you have to love yourself before other people can love you, you have to be confident in who you are- filtered or unfiltered, likes or no likes, comments or no comments. This is something I still have to work on every single day but I am getting a lot better. Oh boy do I ever still have my moments where I creep people, compare myself to others, etc. I think that is just a part of being human but I am trying to not let it impact me. I also remind myself that no one truly knows the battles others are facing in what may seem their perfect life. Take a moment, imagine how amazing would it be if we all felt comfortable enough to share our lowest of lows, and together through social media we could love each other in those moments? There is nothing more beautiful to me than someone being vulnerable. I think that person deserves a million likes & encouraging comments because it’s brave to be different in a world that is making everyone all the same!

I know I will never be able to influence the world, I will never be able to help people that are struggling behind their filters, hiding their flaws IF I don’t continue to unfilter my life. I hope that my vulnerability can connect me to the rest of the world full of people suffering & together we can help one another. I dare you, whoever is reading this to take this stand too. Whether you’re a professional athlete, student, accountant, stay at home parent, pastor, whatever, try and live your life full of rawness, live a life that isn’t picture perfect. Society will always be too fragile to truly accept people for what make us truly beautiful and whole but that doesn’t mean we can’t try! When I was younger, I always wanted to be beautiful, I wanted to have the perfect boyfriend, I wanted to be that girl that others looked up to and said today’s hit word “goals”. I wanted the picture perfect life just as social media portrays. Now that I’m older, not only do I realize that this is completely unrealistic but that there’s no need to be perfect to inspire or be loved by others. You will find someone, some amazing people, who will be inspired or love you for your unfiltered, imperfections. Let people give you likes or follow you for the real you, your intelligence, thoughts, hardships, dreams and passion. Try not to buy the social media lies, disguise yourself through filters, live an unfiltered life because the most beautiful you, that’s the true you!