It Feels Like A Stranger Is Running My Instagram

To that girl in all my selfies: Given that we share the same Instagram account, I figured I should probably suggest that we hang out sometime. You seem pretty great. And I mean, it only makes sense that we should at least meet for a friendly coffee, right? Photograph our almond milk lattes? It could be fun.

Maybe not this week, though. I'm a little tired this week; I'm not sleeping well lately. So maybe you can tell me, because you seem to have the answers — what's it like to not have anxiety? To not lie awake for four hours before you finally fall asleep. To not be so painfully, physically restless — so full of worry that you feel like your mind won't stop racing. So full of what ifs that you feel like they might choke you. What's it really like to fall asleep happy and content, surrounded by a giant book, cozy blankets, and freshly-cut flowers. (How do you always have freshly-cut flowers? Every night?) It must be great to not feel so out of control. Tell me what that's like.

But eventually I'll sleep more. Maybe next week, or the week after — we should definitely get some brunch. Take photos of our matching avocado toast. Since I brought it up, what's it like to go to brunch so often and never think about what you're eating? To seemingly eat whatever you want, whenever you want, without calculating the calories in a piece of pizza, wondering if you'll walk enough later to burn it off? Because it's not cool to worry about food, right? It's not that I don't love myself unconditionally; it's just that sometimes it's hard to do so. And it's much easier to talk about loving ourselves no matter what than it is to talk about the fact that sometimes it's never that simple. Worrying about that kind of thing doesn't belong in an Instagram photo or caption. It feels heavy. But you always seem so light. So maybe you could tell me what that's like.

You see, we have a lot in common, you and I. We both love pretty things, the power of a carefully chosen outfit, and Thai food. We're both in love with someone who tries their hardest to make us feel our best when we're at our worst. But while you seem to like yourself all the time, I don't. You look in the mirror every day and feel happy and ready to take on the world. A lot of times, I do too. But some days, I just feel tired. Or anxious. Or like I have to find some way to feel OK, but can't. I hate that. But you never feel that way, right? Tell me what that's like.

So if you're free sometime, I'd like to hang out. Because even though sometimes I think I can't compete with you — that I can't stand to be that perfect all the time, in every frame. I think we have a lot to learn from each other. Maybe you're a liar — but maybe faking it is sometimes what it takes to get me halfway there. Maybe that's the beginning. To feeling better, or more confident, or more in control of something when everything seems totally out of your hands. It might be the smallest thing, or the least real portion of your life that exists. But maybe it's a start to realizing what truly makes you happy and makes you tick, and accepting that all the tough, heavy stuff may just be details at the end of the day. Things that take up energy when maybe they really shouldn't.

And from me, maybe you can learn that being a little vulnerable is OK. That it will help. That you won't combust if you admit that you don't have it together at all. That adulthood is scary. That "dream job" is really just code for "real life." For getting older. For paying what feels like a million dollars for an apartment the size of a closet. And it means that you don't live at home anymore. And your parents are getting older. And nothing is as easy as it once was.

Yes, there are worse things. There are harder things. There are things that are heavier than this, and still manage to leave people less broken. But sometimes, it's all just really freaking scary. I get it. Maybe sometimes you can admit that, too, sometimes. You can be scared, too. We can be scared together — because you and me, despite appearances, we're the same. And we're going to be OK.

Images: oliviamuenter/Instagram