Self-Confidence and Social Media

My friend Katie and I went for a hike over the weekend. We brought skis and dogs to a small mountain where the snow came down through the pines on the hillside, muffling the groans of branches when it gusted and the creaks our feet made in the packed powder of the trail. At the peak we slid into ski boots and clicked into bindings, skiing down through falling snow while the dogs padded alongside—quiet and cold, the type of day that changes your life.

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BARF.

Holy moly writing that was terrible. I plagiarized half that diarrhea from a Hemingway book and still it’s making my insides burn with shatred. That’s a combo of shame and hatred and sharts, and it barely describes the amount of discomfort that paragraph makes me feel. “The type of day that changes your life.” Again:

BARF.

But after you’re done throwing up, you can admit it sounded a little bit dope, right? Not the trying-too-hard paragraph, but the hiking experience itself. Katie and I really did hike up a mountain and ski down it with our dogs in tow. Doesn’t it make us sound like a couple of cool Maine ladies who spend their days backcountrying around the backcountry, chilling with four-legged creatures, and adventuring?

Imagine if I posted about our hike on Instagram. That picture of me with the skis and the dogs, with a Walden filter, and some caption about winter and Maine and snow. Maybe I tag L.L.Bean in it. Maybe I quote Robert Frost.

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.” –Robert Frost, Snow
#winter #maine #llbean #mansbestfriend #rescuepups #alwaysadopt

If I posted that on Instagram, you might think I was pretentious, but you also might think I was a lil bit cool. Quoting poets, rescuing dogs, hiking snowy mountains. You’d have no idea that I had to Google “Robert Frost quotes” to find that Robert Frost quote. Or that my dog didn’t come from a shelter—he came from a breeder, and I had to barter away months of my life in order to afford that tiny, expensive bed-whizzer. Or that my snowy hike last weekend was not at all life-changing, that in fact it sucked 100% balls.

It was less than two miles to the top but Katie and I each almost had true mental breakdowns on that hike. Our backs hurt, our feet froze, and snowmobilers kept trying to murder us. It took half an hour to get into our ski boots, I was convinced I shattered my Achilles tendon, and when we finally succeeded in putting our skis on, we learned the way back down was not down at all. That shady ass mountain was actually a field in disguise—we had to trek it cross-country style the whole way back. That hike was made of snot rockets and swear words, and it effin blew. But you wouldn’t know it from that picture.

I try to remember that every time I go on Instagram. I’m following lots of people who do cool things, and sometimes I get a little down on myself. My feed’s full of people’s pictures of their houses and vacations and brand new cars. Meanwhile, I’m living with my parents and starting collection jars for candy bars.* Every time I see a cool picture and I feel myself getting jealous, I think of all the ways it could actually suck.

  • Photo of someone’s new house: They have rats living in their walls.
  • Photo of a nice gift from a boyfriend: Their boyfriend is their cousin and also a thief.
  • Photo out of an airplane window: The person in the seat next to them has measles. And is also their boyfriend, the cousin/thief.
  • Photo at the gym, post-workout: They have rats at home, remember, so they like to get out the crib and Planet Fitness is open 24 hours.
  • Photo of their feet near water, someplace warm: The rest of their body is covered in rats. And hickeys from their cousin.

Really, all you have to do is add in rats and incest. Nobody’s life sounds good when you add in rats and incest.

*I’m up to 45 cents, if anyone would like to contribute.

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