A woman with curly hair kneeling with a camera lens that is partially covered with lines of color

As I scroll through the highlights,
everybody’s best lives,
I feel out of place, like I don’t belong in this space.

Staring at a screen light wondering if I’m good enough,
second guessing if I’ll ever measure up.
Swipe,
Swipe,
Swipe,
What must I do to be liked?

A notification.
A like. 
A follow. 
Another hit of dopamine.
What does it all even mean?
Wake up to a feed, fall asleep to it again.
The pressure makes me feel like I can’t win.

Anxiety surmounting,
lies spinning in my mind,
my own worth I’m discounting.
When did I sign up for the rat race?
I’d rather not compete to earn my place.

I always thought my life was interesting,
a story worth telling.
I find myself trying to present an image,
the loss of self makes me cringe.

I’m not the cool girl,
who turns a casual stroll into a photo moment
with a wink and a twirl.
Flash.
The picture-perfect latte.
I just want to drink mine.
Would that be OK?

Camera ready 24/7?
When they say “do it for the Gram,” is that what they meant?
What if, in this moment, I was just present?
My feed isn’t color coordinated.
It won’t get applause for being perfectly proportioned.

I share parts of my story,
lessons learned,
places I’ve been,
friends who matter,
accomplishments I’m proud of.
Unedited, unfiltered, just me—real life.
If I’m myself, will that be all right?

Normal,
down-to-earth,
the girl-next-door.
But who am I acting for?
I opt out of selfie mode.
When I flip the lense, there’s so much wonder to behold.

Maybe it’s OK if I’m me.
Not curated,
planned,
perfectly proportioned,
nor perfected.
Maybe, I’ll just be me and that will be enough.
Dare I say, maybe it’ll be beautiful.

Image via Mary Fix, Darling Issue No. 20

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