October 31, 2022

Instagram vs. Reality: Are we all Inventing Anna?

In case you are not familiar with the popular Netflix true crime series, “Inventing Anna,” here’s a rundown:

In 2013, a young Russian girl named Anna Sorokin reinvented herself as Anna Delvey. Posing as a wealthy German heiress, with the help of her Instagram account, she successfully integrated herself into the social elite of New York City.

She wore designer clothes and projected a cool and confident image—befriending wealthy socialites and posting, posting, posting on her Instagram page. Her rich friends would pay out cash for her, while she allegedly used fabricated financial documents to secure loans from prominent banks. She also convinced multiple upper class hotels to provide her residencies, which along with everything else, snowballed together to fund her creation of a lavish lifestyle.

“Inventing Anna” is an exceptional example of how influential social media is in today’s society. It doesn’t just highlight a life; it is a social resume, which holds a huge amount of worth in deciding where someone fits into society.

Anna chose the image she wanted to put out there and became it. Then she instagrammed herself into the spotlight.

But I’m not only here to write about Anna. I’m here to write about us—you, me, and the girl next door.

How many of us have a little piece of Anna inside of us?

Think about the way we present ourselves on social media. We create a profile picture, a cover image, and a bio to show off the parts of us that we choose to—only the best or most relevant get through the filter. In a bid to get followers and secure online recognition, we then promote ourselves with everything we have, hashtagging left, right, and center.

#followme

#lookatme

#inspiration

The other day I found a picture of myself in a bikini where I look pretty good. I compared it to another one where I did not. Although I look happier in the second one, I won’t post it on social media. I’ll post the first one.

Why?

When I look through my Instagram feed, I see so many perfect faces and bodies. I don’t want to be compared to them and come off worse.

This says something about me: I place too much emphasis on outer appearances. But it also says something about our society. Social media defines who we are by projecting our chosen image to the world. We are made to feel that to look good is to be good.

Who hasn’t done a little social media stalking before applying for a job or going out on a date? Prospective bosses, prospective lovers, or prospective friends will often sift through social media profiles out of curiosity—or even necessity. We all know that we are going to be judged on what image we put out there.

And while we look through a person’s network and content, the first thing many of us look at are the pictures.

It’s not all about aesthetics, though. After you read this, I welcome you to look through my Instagram profile, which is linked in my Elephant Journal bio. You will see a lot of selfies. You will see pictures of me with my children, with my boyfriend, and with friends—all the happy moments.

You won’t see the hidden insecurities or the worrying that I’m not good enough. You won’t see me crying through guilt for shouting at my children because they won’t go to sleep. And you certainly won’t see me wake up panicking in the middle of the night.

If you read some of my writing, you will find depth, honesty, and truth. But you only see what I want you to see.

And the same goes for every other social media profile out there—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You only see what we want you to see.

Times have changed a lot since I was younger. But our society still looks at gender, race, background, and image first, and there are people who have had to fight a lot more to be recognized than others.

And no, it is not fair.

It’s still all about the survival of the fittest. Except now it’s more than just physical fitness and our adrenaline is more likely to produce a panic attack than the ability to run away from a tiger.

Many of us are trying to climb the ladder in the ways that are within our reach—cue social media. Anna wanted to move up in society and become someone, and she did.

And Instagram played a huge part in that.

I want to be recognized as a writer. I want to cultivate a good following and get a bigger spotlight on my articles—and good pictures and posts get more attention.

We do not have to be perfect.
We do not have to be perfect, to be amazing.

Yet, we do need to be good, to get somewhere.

I was shy at school, ridiculously shy. I barely spoke, and when I did, no one heard me. I let people walk all over me.

It took me a long time to start believing in myself, and up until recently, I didn’t think that my voice needed to be heard.

But it does.

Because I speak for every woman who has ever doubted herself and every person who has ever let fear get in their way.

I’m reinventing myself too—into the girl who goes walking and paddle boarding and writes from the heart.

I’m reinventing myself into someone who is not afraid and who doesn’t care what other people think.

I’m reinventing myself as Linda Maria, the writer.

Yet, you still only see what I want you to see.

~

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