People feel so comfortable being unseen. Not not seen. But unseen.
I came to this realization a few months ago. Call this wishy washy, but I was waiting for a certain someone to like one of my Instagram photos that I had just posted minutes before. This, admittedly, was not the first time I had done this, and would probably not be the last. I caught myself staring, pulling down, dragging my thumb south over and over and over again, just for the satisfaction of knowing someone, somewhere, far, far away, had tapped twice on a photo I published.
In this moment, I began to pay attention to how ridiculous my behavior was, and tried to alter it. Posting things more for my enjoyment whenever I felt like it, and being okay with my output, as opposed to waiting for the consideration of others. While tracking my behavior though, I realized something about these people who follow every part of my life which I decide to show them- many of them would only "show up" for it when they weren't the first ones to do so.
The first people to like my photos are usually my closest friends. Whether it is because they've had my post notifications on for novelty for years, or because they're glued to their phones, I couldn't tell you. But I can tell you that this barrier of being the first to acknowledge something that we have broken has established a sense of comfort and acceptance between not only my closest friends and I, but also between the people who I have grown used to seeing like my photos first.
Try to keep up with me here as I try not to lose you. "Liking" something may mean nothing more than simply acknowledging its existence. And when people don't want to do this, they don't "like" it. What I have realized though, is that many people feel much more comfortable being just another face in this crowd of likes, and not one of the first people to like a post, or maybe even not one of the few people to like a post, simply because it doesn't appeal to the majority of the audience.
I look back on this draft now, searching for something to post as well as remind myself that things are (or will be) okay. Things are not good right now. Quite frankly, in my head, things are really, really bad right now. Midterms start at the end of this week. I get my top choice school decision in 3 days. My heart hurts. My self esteem has dropped unbearably the past few weeks. It’s hard for me to focus without becoming overwhelmed and quitting. I’ve been off social media for a few weeks, as I don’t want to distract myself instead of confronting my internal issues. I keep thinking back on how life was this time last year, how different and how happy I was with myself and most of the stuff around me. I don’t want to spend my last month of being seventeen feeling like this. I don’t want to feel like this, period. I don’t want to feel unseen by my self. I don’t know what else to say really… there’s still a million fish in the sea I guess.