Life. Instagrammed.

Madison loves quotes. Sometimes she took a picture of the words, spotted in a magazine, and posted the image on social media. Other times she wrote down the quote — in beautiful script, to be framed — so she could revisit the sentiment anytime she wanted.She loved to draw, write in her journal and read. She enjoyed long runs, singing in the car, sushi, and bananas with peanut butter.She also loved her big New Jersey family. She was especially close with her dad, whom she called “Big Jimbo.” He was her biggest fan. He came to her soccer games and track meets, always wrapping her in a hug afterward. He believed she could do anything.Family and friends used to joke that whenever they opened the Bergen Record, they saw a picture of Madison, another athletic feat captured in print: so many goals scored, so many track meets won.”

Life seemed good; life was good.

And then, Madison killed herself.

I was reading this news and it moved my heart. Thinking… Madison reminds me of myself or most of us.  A girl who has it all and everyone wants to be ‘her’. Deep down in ‘her’, she is constantly fighting for that mixed emotions between happiness, regrets and things which should have been better. In ‘her’ dictionary, whatever medals or printed success are merely fabricated momentary bliss like an origami. Just a piece of art shrink to a sheet of paper.

Everyone presents an edited version of life on social media. People share moments that reflect an ideal life, an ideal self. With Instagram, one thing has changed: the amount we consume of one another’s edited lives. We filter our photos to make them prettier. We are also often encouraged to put filters on our sadness, to brighten the reality so as not to “drag down” those around us. The myth still exists that happiness is a choice, which perpetuates the notion of depression as weakness.

Checking Instagram is like opening a magazine to see a fashion advertisement. Except an ad is branded as what it is: a staged image on glossy paper. Smile, sunshine, taglines and Instagrammed happiness. We share our struggles to our peers, but in the mind of our ‘followers’, the lives we are projecting on social media trumped the reality which we were privately hiding.

Instagram is passed off as real life.

Everyone we envied on Instagram holds a piece of story, possesses a clue, a text message, the like(s) we click, or a vacant look at uninteresting subjects, we delete the post. Sometimes we hope the reflections on social media breathed us into ‘real’ life. Beautiful, successful, talented, adoring, and always, always smiling. We try to convey an image even when we know people superficially read us. It’s a constant fighting for validation that we are, always, and always smiling.

Sometimes, we are all a little broken and it’s okay.

“Even people you think are perfect are going through something difficult.”



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