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The Vacuous Search for Identity

Ah, I could write thousands upon thousands of words about social media and the narcissism it produces. Maybe I will one day write a book on it. But for now, my dear reader, hear my thoughts on the way in which we search for who we are in all the wrong places.

What a thrill I get when I receive a like on a photo I've posted on Instagram. When I put up a photo on my story, knowing I look particularly good, the surge of confidence and arrogance when someone comments is invigorating. But who is that person? Is that woman the woman who lays in bed all day long wearing her pyjamas and drinking copious amounts of coffee? Is she the nerdy girl who reads endless books about quantum mechanics and drug addicts? Is she the woman who is still desperately searching (as we all are) for some kind of identity that fits the narrative we let the world see on social media?

Of course, she is all those things. But you don’t see that. Social media has brought about this profound narcissism that I’m not sure was as prevalent before birth of social networking sites. On every platform there are ‘stories’ now. Who cares that I am drinking coffee in my bed or that I just ate a McDonalds or that I’m watching The Human Centipede (yet again, sigh)? Probably no-one, yet I chuck it up on my story just so the world knows what I’m up to.

When I broke up with my fiancé around Christmas time, I went silent on social media. And I had so, so many messages asking if everything was okay. It was touching but also such a huge reality check about how much time I spend documenting my life on social media.

We are always searching for who we really are. When I quit drinking, I discovered this weird new me. When I was diagnosed with autism, that opened an affirming and frightening can of worms about who I am. When I left my love

, I found this other person lurking inside me that burst through the skin I'd kept her behind. These are just a few recent examples. When I travelled the world alone, I thought I’d ‘found’ myself. But we never do. It’s a myth that we continue to be sucked violently into.

Stop thinking you’ve arrived. Stop imagining this destination you’re trying to get to

. It doesn’t exist. You will continue to morph and grow and find new things about yourself until the day you take your last breath.

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