No, I Won't Go Broke to Impress the Internet:
How I Realized that There’s More to Life Than Just Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
In North America, we are more obsessed with consumerism than ever before. More importantly, Social Media has made it easier to create the way that our lives look — even if it’s completely fake. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t only happen on Instagram — think about a time where you intentionally purchased a new outfit for an event knowing that you had a perfectly good outfit at home. Just like politics, it’s all about optics, baby. We overcompensate and try to control the opinions that others have about us, equating value from expensive clothes, designer handbags, etc as being more likeable and living a life that everyone wants to live — even if it means trying hard not to sweat in on an outfit because you want to return it to the boutique first thing on Monday morning.
I caught myself working hard to present myself in a way that simply wasn’t authentic. I planned to build a sneaker collection, spent hours browsing luxury brands online sites — salivating at the future clout points that I’d rack up in my Balmain jeans. Imagine the respect that people would give me when I walked into a room wearing a Prada Jacket. To make a long story short — I realized that there was just more to life than keeping up with what the latest flavour of the month on Instagram is, and quite frankly — I didn’t have the energy.
I Simply Stopped Giving A Fuck
I remember the day that my mindset changed; I was having a conversation with someone around my age and he was telling me all about how he only worked so that he could buy gear, a word that I had to search on Urban Dictionary and learned it meant clothes, to impress women. Can you believe that? He was working himself to the bone to give off the appearance of having money to women — it was all an illusion.
As absurd as it was, it was the moment that I witnessed firsthand; the sacrifices that people were willing to make in order to impress others, and I immediately stopped giving a fuck what other people thought about me, the clothes that I wear, whether I drive a Mercedes Benz C43 AMG or I’m walking 34 blocks. The pursuit of trying to impress other people with flashy glimpses into a fabricated reality of the life that we want people to see. I mean, how many times have you seen someone announcing their luxury car got repossessed? Never, because it would work against the luxe lifestyle that they’ve worked hard to create.
You can wear the same thing everyday, it just requires you to not give a shit — Matt D’Avella
It’s an Endless Cycle
If you want something to grow, you’ve got to put in the work to see the results you seek. The same thing can be said about trying to maintain a certain image with others. If you want people to think you are wealthy, we tend to surround ourselves with that new new. Once the ball gets rolling, there would be no way to just “stop” building a certain image. Imagine I spent a full year posting about all the great clothes in my closet and suddenly started posting about my passion for rocks. Imagine the Fred Flinstone jokes.
The moment you take a slight step outside of the image you constructed, the illusion starts to collapse on itself; like the scene on Inception where Cobbs’ subconscious starts noticing Ariadne is changing the dream, eventually getting aggressive and trying to force the intruder out. People find out that you’re the impostor, and they’ll do what it takes to get you out. The performance will never end; you’ll realize sooner that you just might spend your last dollar trying to keep up with others who are trying to keep up with someone else. The cycle never ends.
My Mental Health Deserves Better
Having a closet filled with clothes that I spent a fortune on but never wear to keep it in the best possible condition for the gram is a problem that I don’t care to have. As I was going through Instagram one day, I noticed that I started to get anxious when I saw the closets that celebrities had, much bigger than the size of my studio apartment — and that was just for their Birkin bags and Louboutins. Now don’t get me wrong, people can do what they want and I’m absolutely not stomping my feet at Offset buying Cardi B another Birkin, that’s not what this is about. What the feelings of anxiety forced me to do is reflect on what my relationship with clothes, how I view myself, and most importantly — what others think about me.
So They Have An Opinion, So What?
Imagine this: You post a photo on Instagram in your favourite white shirt, and it’s your favourite photo you’ve taken all year. You find out a few days later that a stranger on the internet left a comment judging you because it’s not the latest Givenchy collection. So what? What power does their opinion truly have in the grand scheme of things? In a world of over 7 billion people, a solar system with endless corners unexplored, and galaxies yet to be on NASA’s radar.
Everyone is going to have an opinion about you at some point in your life, that’ll never change; however, you get to decide the power that outside opinions over your life. Is it worth me running myself into a mountain of debt to have an Instagram feed that makes others think I’m a long lost brother of Kim Kardashian? Is it worth losing sleep at the thought of someone noticing I’m wearing a sweater for the second time? Not at all, and I sleep just fine. The truth is that most people don’t care about us the way that we think they do; everyone has their own shit, and if they do care — that’s their problem.
I asked myself what the worst outcomes could be if someone had a negative opinion of me. Would I suddenly combust into a violent flame that consumes every atom of my body? Would my credit score plummet into the 300s? Would the sun wouldn’t go out, and the rapture begin and the four horsemen ride all because someone wasn’t my biggest fan? Probably not.
So why should I give it my energy?
The truth is, you could build the perfect life, rack up absorbent amounts of debt to afford said lifestyle, and someone will still have a negative opinion about you. Sometimes, people are going to project how they feel about themselves onto you, even if there is no basis. Dedicating your life trying to constantly impress other people is futile; the world is so vast, there’s always going to be one person that’s ready to piss in your cornflakes. They’ll purposely turn on your post notifications and wait for you. People will build their lives around making their irrelevant opinions of others known, but there’s no sweeter revenge than not giving it a second of your time — and I refuse to give what other people think a single second.
You should do the same.