Ambitionz az a Baddie
I’ve been in an incredibly weird relationship with social media for over ten years now.
I remember being younger (and grown) on BlackPlanet and thinking I’d land a guy who looked like the long-lost member of B2K (Raz-B was my favorite… go ahead. Judge), or spending full days perfecting the layout, song selection and profile picture for my Myspace page.
In a lot of ways, I’m incredibly grateful for having grown with social media the way I have. Sure, there was pressure to have your profile poppin’ and I remember spending hours in the bathroom with my mom’s old digital camera making duck lips and throwing up the peace sign. But nothing like today. Today, you need to have at least a few thousand followers, a couple brand deals and a photographer on call to capture your every move to even begin to be “poppin’” on social media.
And of course, there’s the pressure to be a baddie.
If only I could accurately convey how many hours, selfies, angles, outfit changes and poses I’ve gone through over the years trying to appear as the ever-elusive baddie. I’ve gotten close a few times, only to realize that with the baddie title comes an onslaught of gross men with tits as their profile pics or usernames like “bigd4u”. Hard pass.
But I’ll be scrolling, past the millionth IG boutique ad featuring a woman who could only have been grown in some sort of laboratory to be that ‘perfect’ and the nagging desire emerges again. I’ll kick myself for being too lazy to put on eyeliner, rummage through my years-old half-assed makeup collection, and question how high I can angle my hip and leg before I look like something out of a science fiction film. All to get that picture.
You know the one. The one where you look at it and think, damn… is this me?
It becomes your profile picture. Your avatar. Your screensaver. The picture you look at when you’re feeling particularly shitty to remind yourself you can look like that. But for every one of those, there are dozens of unflattering angles, double and triple chins, weird rolls and the realization that you really need to get your eyebrows done. Hours go into highlighting, airbrushing, lifting and pushing until your phone feels like a brick in your hands and your eyes are tired. But then it goes up. The likes flood in. Baddie status is achieved.
I imagine this is what it must be like, seeing as I’ve only ever come close. And for as close as I've come, there’s always this nagging in the back of my mind that this isn’t really me. The girl on the screen looks amazing. The girl editing the picture is wearing an old Wonder Woman t-shirt and Hufflepuff pajama pants with a tub of ice cream in her lap. I know that both can exist simultaneously, but it’s never felt right for me.
The pressure mounts. The likes trickle in. The sinking realization that I’ll never be the baddie I think I have to be both comforts and irritates me. I’ll vent to my boyfriend about how stupid social media is while deleting the apps from my phone, only to find myself in bed hours later scrolling again.
I know. I know. Love yourself. Screw social media. All true. All valid. But I can’t be the only who’s ever had ambitions of being some social media vixen, while simultaneously relishing in the very things that make them the antithesis of that.
Me and social media, ya’ll. It’s complicated.