i'm not sure if you know this, but we're celebrities
i, like you very well may be, am on social media, and have been for years. during my time binging people's pages i realized that, like reality tv, things are rarely as they appear. everyone, whether they know it or not, is a really good actor, and social media is our everyday hollywood. a place where everyone is acting, but not everyone knows it because we all do it. every like on a post or video is a ticket sold to our movie premier, and the comment section is the hub for our rotten tomato reviews and people publications. we're all local celebrities and have no idea, but we worship the one next door.
i was young when i got on social media, about 14. it was a horrible time for me to get it too, i was very depressed for years, and facebook became my public journal. my struggle with depression was born out of extreme loneliness, and buying season tickets to everyone's shows of friendship and fun only worsened the feeling. seeing the parts of people's lives that i used to only be able to observe if i was with them was painful. "sorry, don't have time to hang" was lost in translation when i saw all the people my friends did have time for, or more importantly, make time for. it stung really badly. longer and darker the public diary entries grew to become. through confrontation and personal growth, i learned that facebook was not a healthy outlet for my emotions. i wanted and needed to be heard, and seen, and known, but that wasn't the way to go about it.
i've been a writer since i learned to write basically, but around this time is when i really dove into poetry. it was perfect for me. i'm artistic and love using obscure words and wording that doesn't always work in casual conversation, especially with teenagers. the first installment in what would become a shelf of poetry books would catch more hurt words and tears than anyone's ears and heart could catch for me, and besides, at the time i didn't have anyone to listen anyway. those bound books would hold more of my heart and mind than anyone and anything else. poetic journaling helped me emotionally process what i was dealing with in a way that made it ok that there wasn't always someone there, and that most people may never read those pieces. writing helped a lot, but it couldn't fix loneliness.
i first got instragram after a mission trip so i could stay connected with my friends, and it was awesome. we got to keep in touch and get to know each other in ways more fun and colorful than the occasional texts back and forth. my personal application of the app, however, morphed from connection to comparison. the number of friends people appeared to have and amount of time they spent with them quickly caused me to doubt my overall importance in my circles. unfortunately, circumstances seemed to confirm again and again that i was completely unimportant to the people that would tell me to my face that they loved me and spending time with me, but never proved it.
i'm gonna make this story short. my friends fail. they fail to love and listen and be present, and i do the same for them sometimes too, because we're all human. after months of longing for connection and finding none, i was emotionally drained, hurt, and beyond ready to disregard the idea of "friends" altogether. i've been a believer my whole life, and i'd heard over and over again that Jesus was the greatest friend i could ever have, but i brushed it off as cliché many times, believing that "He can't be as good a friend as people can because He isn't physically here." but after feeling failed by person after person, i knew that i was only hurting myself further by not drawing closer to the one person that wouldn't and couldn't fail me. Jesus is not physically with me, but there is no greater quality time i've had than that which was spent with Him. He's a better listener than your mom, gives better advice than your dad, and is better at catching your tears than your best friend. He's not that friend that you always worry will drop you the second they find someone cooler. you're His one and only, His best friend, and He wants to be yours too. you don't have to work for His attention, or buy His affection, He wants to give it to you, freely too. He doesn't need you to perform and put on a mask so you don't make Him look bad. He loves you as you were designed, the most raw, authentic, and real version of you. you just gotta meet Him. if you need a mutual friend to make the connection for you, please please reach out to me, i'd love to introduce you to Him!
so social media. what sparked me wanting write this is my own social media, actually. i've recently hung out with friends, and my instagram reflects some of these outtings. as i looked at my page, i did so through the eyes of someone else, or how i would've looked at it if i was that 14 year old girl again. if i were young teenage miracle, i would've thought, "wow, she looks like she has so many friends and so much fun. i wish i got to hang out with my friends that much." what someone on the outside looking in would not know, is that i've gone through weeks of not seeing anyone outside of my family, of not receiving or making any phone calls to friends because i didn't know who would even pick up. yeah, i hang out with people sometimes, but my followers wouldn't know that that was my first time talking to someone in 2 months. all they see is smiles, smiles of people who were starved for relationship and are grinning because that was their only connection for weeks.
i did not write this for pity, but to apologize. i'm sorry if seeing me, what i do or who i'm with has ever made you question or doubt your own importance or value, much like i myself doubted. i'm so sorry if being present on social media has made it more painful to not be present in person, or even to be present in person. you are so incredibly loved, and that truth does not change based on whether or not you believe it. you are not only loved, but you are worth loving. you're worth making time for. you're worth answering a 3am phone call. you're worth a drive across town just to see your beautiful smile. you're worth everything, and Jesus gave it for you! i mean, who else would literally move from heaven to earth just to be a little closer to you? just for a chance to be your friend? for the opportunity to live with and love you forever?? i don't know a better friend than that.