You’re Not Supposed to be Anything. (Read Also: Permission to Exhale.)

By Jessica Manuszak

You can usually tell who on your Facebook feed is about one “Lyfe is gr8! #blessed” post away from totally losing their shit. (It’s typically the same person who inexplicably uses the hashtag #jicama, though this is by no means science.)

And while I’m positively for positivity — honestly — we all know the dangers of showing only that happy, curated facade all the time. Of lighting up our dark corners with a vengeance, projecting out a fake facsimile of our real…blah blah blaaaaaaah. You’ve heard all this before. The internet is wack, and grants people the opportunity to quite literally edit the perception of their lives. You do it. I do it. My mailman’s second cousin does it. (I’m speculating, here.)

But there’s just as much posturing and b.s. to be found when it comes to “being real.” To real talk Tuesdays, and broadcasting secrets to the world, and authenticity. (I don’t know about you guys, but that a-word causes a guttural reaction that makes me want to upchuck down my blouse.)

Meet the Jennifer Lawrence Phenomenon.

Real is likeable. Real is often charming. We can connect to real, and real makes us feel better about ourselves and our lives because we are real, too.

It’s when “real” becomes real intentional that things go sour, though. Sure, show those unfiltered edges and post no makeup selfies. (Whatever rings your dinger, after all.)

But trying to prove how real we are is just as much of a load of crap as putting forth that happy face every single day.

So the question then becomes: if we aren’t supposed to be positive, and we aren’t supposed to be real, what the hell are we supposed to be?

The answer’s simple.

We’re not supposed to be anything.

We don’t need to be anything. We have nothing to prove, and nearly everything to gain. And as long as we’re trying to seem a certain way, we’ll never actually be able to step into who the hell we actually are.

This train is heading straight to woo-woo town, a place mostly filled with women running down the beach, gauzey scarves trailing poetically in their wake, so to spare you that trip, I’ll leave you with this:

Please stop worrying about the image you’re trying to project. If positivity is your jam, spread that sucker on some crunchy toast and have at it. (Sorry for the bad pun.) If you’re going through a tough time, don’t keep it secret. And sure, curate to your heart’s content.

Ultimately, some days will be more positive, just as some days will not. But regardless of the filters on your Instagram feed, the tone of your tweets, or what you’ve most recently linked to on Facebook, one truth remains unchanged:

Throughout it all, you’ll always — always — be someone worth loving, knowing, and making note of. And that’s a damn pinky promise.

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