Instagram vs reality: A friendly reminder

As I’ve been spending more time on social media lately trying to keep up an Instagram for this blog, it has prompted me to reflect on my perception of ‘real life’.

We all know the constructed nature of Instagram and other social media platforms. We know deep down that influencers don’t wake up every day with perfectly styled hair, surrounded by roses as they enjoy breakfast in bed. We know that you can’t live off protein shakes and that a #nomakeuplook isn’t quite the same when someone has a perfect tan, lip fillers and tinted brows, but I’ll be the first person to admit that this is easily forgotten when you’re scrolling.

Although a natural instinct for us, it goes without saying that comparison really is the thief of joy. The addictive nature of social media means that we often find ourselves trapped in a paradox, almost craving the very comparison that makes us unhappy. You don’t like being reminded of how inadequate your real life seems compared to the filtered lives of others, but nevertheless you continue to follow, like and subscribe to them. A subtle form of self-sabotage that we all partake in.

It was my somewhat hilariously tragic trip to the beach last weekend in Montpellier that really got me thinking about Instagram vs reality. My friends and I laughed about how everyone looking at our Instagram stories of the beautiful beach would have no idea about the stress that went on beforehand. If you’ve read my post 24 Hours in Montpellier , then you will already know a bit about how this day went, but if not, I wanted to use this post to talk about the truth behind the photos…and give you a good laugh if nothing else.

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This photo shows me and my friend Estelle sat together on the beach in a gloriously warm October. I’d say it accurately reflects roughly half an hour of that day…

This photo doesn’t show that we all woke up feeling horrendously hungover from the night before, running off less than 4 hours sleep. It doesn’t show that on our way there, my friend got fined €45 euros on the spot for not validating his ticket the second he got on the tram (FYI the most annoying/ ridiculous rule in French public transport). Our Instagram stories of the clear flowing water didn’t show that there were no uber cars available to get us from the tram stop to the beach, so we ended up having to walk for half an hour in the heat, dragging along our suitcases, and genuinely attempting to hitch-hike the journey (with no success).

What most people thought was a beach day was actually a beach half an hour, as almost as soon as our toes touched the water, we needed to get going to make our tram.

Once again, the photos of the sandy shores didn’t show that we had to run back with our suitcases to get to the tram in time, and that in fact we had to take an uber in the end (which finally became available) because our legs just weren’t quite fast enough. All this to ensure we didn’t miss our stiflingly hot 4.5 hour coach journey home.

So you get the idea.

I actually find the story of this day really funny and even at the time I kept laughing about our failed attempt at a ‘beach day’, but it did get me thinking about how little we really know about what goes on behind closed doors. The saying goes that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ but on the contrary, photos often give nothing more than a 2D perspective of our lives, accompanied by a nice little filter of course.

This post isn’t about me trying to sound like some all-knowing advice giver, it’s simply exactly as the title says: a friendly reminder, maybe to myself more than anyone, that you never know the true story behind a photo.

The temptation to compare your very real life, to the edited versions of other peoples lives is hard to resist, so I thought I’d use my funny little experience to show that everything is not always as it seems! Hope you enjoyed my suffering x