Tumblr: From Outlet to Obsession7:12 PM
Tumblr used to be something fun for me. I didn't know why I enjoyed re-posting other people's photos so much, why I found it so inspiring, or why I spent so much time on the site. Eventually I started to notice a pattern in the amount of emotional energy I invested on my Tumblr blog.
I reblogged the photos because I desired them, because I wanted them to be my life. Whether it be a picture of a couple, a bowl of food, a house, a kitchen, or an outfit, they were all things that I desperately wished were mine. I began taking interest in different communities on the site: vegan [if you didn't know, I am one!], preppy, yoga, sometimes even 'Fitblr', a community for those who like to lead a life of exercise and healthy eating.
I turned to Tumblr for answers, only to find that it is truly a place where they can never be found. Not only that, but it provides a very unhealthy outlet that feeds into my unrealistic expectations and desires for life.
Sites like these, including various other social media, create an extremely distorted picture of the way life should be, how you should look, what you should wear, and who you should be with. The once friendly, funny, creative online community quickly turned into a comparison machine for me.
In these worlds, girls are often uprooted from the original purpose of their blog; vegan girls are never vegan enough, preppy people aren't wearing all of the right brands, being healthy and exercising a moderate amount isn't adequate anymore because others are doing better and seeing more results, you eat too much or not enough, you don't practice yoga with the right intentions, and so on. People call out popular users on every small thing. What was once positive is torn down by negative assumptions and call-outs.
The truth is that everyone is different. Every life, every body, every personality. No one is going to react the same to situations they're placed in. You need to do what's best for you, not what the screen seems to think is best for everyone.
So how should life really look? I'm not sure. Sometimes I think my ideas and thoughts behind what life is for and what is real have been changed far too much by the presence of the media to understand the concept of a normal life. I can imagine it doesn't resemble the photos all of the time, though every once in a while, I'm sure it does. We have moments of bliss and moments of wreck, times of trial and times of success, but most of them are never caught on camera.
Sometimes you have to trust that your life behind the lens is just as solid, just as good, as those that are photographed in front of the lens.
From all of this, I'm determined to focus on one thing: God. I shouldn't desire the life in the photos on Tumblr or Twitter or Facebook, unless they are lives filled with Christ. In that case, I should not be glorifying the lives that are lifting Him up, but instead joining in on building a firm relationship with Christ and spreading His light.
Life is not a picture or a magazine photo spread of 'Who wore it better?' It's the pursuit of happiness, which in my case is a steady, firm relationship with God. If you're not a believer, I encourage you to question your motivations and aspirations that might be based on internet communities and sites. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube are only a few examples. Look at it in your real life as well, for comparison is human, and humanity existed long before the internet.
I can't bring myself to totally delete my Tumblr. I know that it's bad for me. It's like an addiction that I can't kick. I think that joining a more productive community on the site, perhaps one based in Christ, might help me a bit, but even there will always be aspects of comparison and sin. A good idea would be to delete the app on my phone. The truth is that these actions are so ingrained in me, so comfortable, that I have a hard time letting go. But it's time to move on.
The only person I should be striving to be like, comparing myself to is Jesus Christ.
I know that others have had experiences like this, even girls that I know and have talked to about it. We should not be pressured by comparison to do anything- to act a certain way, dress a certain way, desire people a certain way. If we look at what truly matters in life, we see none of that. If you'd like to chat about it, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I'd love to have a conversation.
Have a lovely weekend, and good luck on finals to all my fellow college students!