It’s so hard to maintain individuality, a sense of uniqueness in a world that's created for individuals to follow trends.
Sometimes I feel as though I'm not enough. But, why should I? With all the body-positive campaigns and fat women on runways and the first hijab supermodel gracing Fenty beauty, I should be more than happy. Right? I should be basking in the advancements being made by women who kinda-sorta look like me. Something I didn't have growing up. Yes, we've made strides. Things and people's perceptions are changing. But, somehow, the internet still makes me feel...inadequate.
Like I'm not doing enough. Not posting enough. Not the size I should be or at the level of success I should be. Not as perfect as that blogger who was asked to NYFW or cool enough for a company to sponsor her trip to CurvyCon. I sometimes ask myself: what am I doing wrong? Should I just say fuck it and conform? Should I snatch my hijab off, buy a pair of short-shorts and just live?
I feel ridiculous for even writing things like this, but right now, the internet is my enemy.
I'm in one of those erratic moments where I want to delete my accounts and go back to the times where the internet wasn't important. Where we didn't have to vie for attention or calculate engagement levels on posts or swipe through 17 similar selfies to find that one perfect photo. Or make videos in hopes that it'll go viral, in hopes that some important person will take notice and pull us out of our shitty lives of bill collectors and snotty nosed kids or soul-sucking jobs and spouses that ignore us.
Everyone wants to go viral. Everyone. They want that momentary glory of being known.
If only for a moment.
What many of us fail to understand is that the internet is ever-changing with a quick turnover rate. One moment you're in and the next, you’re not. The internet is unforgiving. Relentless. Will take a photo of a child with a disability and exploit it. Take a fat man dancing and tell him to kill himself. Take a murder of a black girl and make it 'funny'.
Is it possible to bring the human element back to the internet? Or am I just chasing my own tail? Is this monster too big for me to slay?
As a social media influencer, as a writer, and as a model, I feel inadequate.
I'm a covered Muslim girl in a sea of fat ass shots and lace fronts and nipples. I'm a covered Muslim girl in a sea of heavy filters and blurred backgrounds. I'm a covered Muslim girl in a sea of Carbi B lyrics, provocative poses, and injected lips. Big, fake tits at suggested angles outperform my degrees. Waist trainers outperform my words. Flat Tummy Tea outperforms my hijab.
We live in an era where fake wins. Where white skin wins. Where thin bodies win. Where the most money wins. The most views. The most likes.
How many people do you know who live totally different lives on the internet vs. reality? A staggering amount. People are really creating different versions of themselves and what do we do? We believe it and celebrate it. Boost it to the highest pedestal which makes it hard for the real ones. Makes it hard for the true artists to emerge when we have to constantly fight just to be our true selves.
The internet and I have a love-hate relationship. I love the fact that we can use it how we want. There's really no rules or structure. For the most part, it's a free for all. It also gives unconventional voices the opportunity to grow their brands and personal lives when they wouldn't otherwise have had a chance against mainstream media. On the flip side, it's become this machine: one where you feed it falseness and it spits out likes and re-shares. Where "IG" cliques are formed and if you're not in the in-crowd then just go fuck yourself because you’re not cool enough. Commercial enough to be tagged, acknowledged. Companies don't want to work with so and so because she doesn't have enough followers or only wants to work with so and so because she's gone viral. What about the story? The quality? The message?
I'm not feeling that well. In my self-destruction and boredom, I began scrolling through social media. Everyone is so happy. Everyone's lives are going great. Everyone has a man. Has a career. Vacationing in foreign lands. Beat faces and good lighting. Able to buy Riri’s new products before they sold out.
And, I'm sitting at home in front of the fan. No bra on. Trying to figure out my next step. With the reoccurring question: to social media or not?