Ugh, I really dislike jumping on a bandwagon. When Essena’s breakdown hit our screens I rolled my eyes at the irony that she was making a song and dance about quitting social media ON social media. Still hey ho, each to their own. Since deleting her Instagram account, she has continued to stir mixed emotions in the blogosphere and I guess I have an opinion on it that I can no longer keep bottled up so I’ll share it with you all via an open letter to her.
I hope you’re well and feeling better after what seems like a very real and public breakdown. I must admit, I didn’t watch your seemingly emotional and perhaps heartbreaking video, but I got the gist of it through numerous articles and ironically social media coverage. It seems that you’ve made quite an impression on those on my twitter timeline.
You’re so young and you have yet to learn that everything in this world will ruin you emotionally and there is always going to be more to things than meet the eye. You will come across things that you don’t agree with and I guess staying composed and walking away quietly is an art that we learn through time. I don’t want to point fingers but I hope that you’re able to see that your feelings from your very own social media channels can’t be blamed on other people or a generalisation that social media is fake. Your social media platforms are what you make it. They get filled with content that you create. We set our own standards of perfection. There is so much positivity and empowerment that has come from social media, I mean, just look up #WeAreThey on twitter and instagram.
Maybe Instagram should come with a ‘rose tinted’ filters warning label but you know what there is nothing wrong with striving for perfection and wanting to present our best selves to the world. There’s something fascinatingly addictive about curating the perfect photo and watching the number of likes stack up but it shouldn’t define you as a person. Well done for identifying what makes you unhappy and cutting yourself loose from it. It’s a huge step to walk away from something that gives you the validation you need to feel accepted.
One thing that I do find strange though is, even if you were getting paid to wear pretty clothes and post a picture of them, surely you should have been disclosing that in your captions anyway? And if you didn’t love a product or you lied in your captions then, morally that was wrong, no? You see, once again, the problem doesn’t lie within social media, the problem lies within you.
If something makes you feel unhappy, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. If your conscience felt like you were doing something that wasn’t right, it doesn’t mean other people out there are doing the same and you shouldn’t be discrediting other people who work hard for the job that they do.
I can’t tell you what to do, but I do hope that you take this “break” from certain platforms (and yes, I said break because I know you’ll be back soon enough) and use it to build on your self worth. I was pleased for you, because you were able to identify what was triggering your negative feelings and you walked away from it, but to then continue on the internet and ask for donations makes no sense. Learning about who you are, your values and your own boundaries and limitations only come from life experience. I mean no disrespect when I say it, but maybe you should take time away from ALL social media channels and do this wacky thing that all us normal people do when we can’t pay our rent.- get a job (away from Social Media) Maybe then you’ll value things other than how pretty you look in a picture.
Don’t get me wrong, my letter to you has no negative feeling towards you but I do wish that instead of deleting your accounts and asking for money, you would have used your huge following to generate some sort of positivity. Painting everyone with the same brush because you felt unhappy and maybe even guilty about deceiving your followers is on you babe, nobody made you do it.
Still, we live and learn.
Hope you feel better soon.