I have developed a serious social anxiety as it relates to social media. In the past, I was quite the social butterfly, but deep down, there was an insecurity that no one knew existed. A personality flaw was embedded deep in my psyche, a sort of inferiority complex that led me to compare myself to every woman in the room and conclude that I would never really be enough.
Social media is ideal for family reunions or connecting with old friends, but it isn't exactly a self-esteem booster, in my case at least. People are able to make rash, unsubstantiated judgements with the click of a button, leaving a lot of women feeling left in the shadows by their no-filtered, ultra snatched peers. The media perpetuates that there is only one kind of beautiful, but this theory is false. The idea that beauty can be defined by one standard is so last year, and Aoki Lee Simmons is among the women taking the power back from this outdated ideology.
She recently opened up on Instagram about her own insecurities when it comes to posting pictures on social media. She admitted that for a long time, she had refrained from posting on Instagram due to the overwhelming criticism that she received in comparison to her older sibling, who was labeled by social media commentators as "the pretty sister". She said:
"Ok guys so! I'm [sic] you've noticed I've been posting a lot more this summer! I used to be very picky about pictures and not really show my face, and would often not post pictures of cool events or important moments because I didn't like my smile or I was standing next to my beautiful sister."
The Simmons tribe has spent practically their whole lives in the eye of the media. With a mother who has made her mark in the industry as a world-renowned superstar and a sister who's following closely in her footsteps, it's understandable that Aoki would feel overshadowed by the spotlight that her loved ones have created for themselves.
"It's easy to get insecure when your older sister and mom are models and I've dealt with a lot of negativity on Instagram, comments saying I'm not as pretty as my big sister (who is the best by the way)."
Despite the negative energy she received, she realized that she could not live a life based on other people's thoughts of her, especially ones hiding behind private pages and fake names. Aoki confirmed that she'll be serving slay all damn summer, despite her critics.
"We all want to look nice in our photos but I've tried to let all of that go and just post pictures were [sic] I look happy or was actually having a good time. I try not to worry who I'm standing next to and just share good moments with you guys."
Like Aoki, I get overwhelmed trying to gauge other people's perception of my physical appearance, leading me to "hide" in a sense from social media. There have been sentimental moments I was tempted to share, but didn't because I was obsessed with the idea that someone would notice if I gained weight, or think that I let myself go. Compared to my model-type peers, I feel left in the shadows.
It's up to me to take a lesson from 15-year-old Aoki and remember that everything I think isn't always real. I only feel lost in the shadows, because I refrained from finding my own spotlight. I have been consciously dimming my own light, and disappointed that the world could not see me shine.
After Aoki shared her story, she received an outpour of support from her followers, proving that for every one hater, there are 100 more people that love you just the way you are. She wrote:
"These comments and DMs about to have me crying in Greece. A million thank yous to everyone. You guys are so kind! This is one of the most positive experiences I've ever had on Insta."
Shine on, baby girl.
Featured image via Aoki Simmons/Instagram