I Swear I’m Still Hip!

graphic by Kazma Chaudhry

I’m superior to you.

I live in the real world and don’t have social media. 

I speak with my friends in person and only use my phone for music. I read actual books and make conversations with strangers. I am, indeed, a manic pixie dream girl who is above the reality that you live in.



And completely bullshitting. 

I know that you’ve read this article before. In a myriad of ways and places. I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself that you should take a step away from social media. Maybe you’ve even deleted it for a little while. 

Or maybe, you have the self-control that I crave to have. 

You’ve never even thought this was an issue. 

This is not a smear piece on social media. By no means is this a, “me-think-internet-bad-young-generation-stupid” article. 

I understand that the nature of writing an opinion piece is inherently pretentious, but call me if you think I’ve developed a superiority complex or just sound like a boomer.

I have not been on Instagram since June of 2019. That’s almost a year! I don’t have Snapchat or Twitter — I’ve, unfortunately, only kept my Facebook which I barely use anyway.

You and I both know there are tremendous benefits of unplugging. 

I don’t need to convince you of those. Please just google it. I’ll email you links!

I am the kind of person who took social media far too seriously. I had no conceptual understanding that things you see online are not necessarily reality. 

I bought into it with so much confidence that I didn’t even bother asking for a receipt.

Now that I live like I am middle aged, I’ve realized I’m less aware of people I used to know. 

I have no idea what my middle school and high school classmates are doing. The other day, I ran into someone from high school at a Freshco and held a longer conversation than I thought possible. I had no idea where she went to school or what she was pursuing. 

It was refreshing knowing chance played a bigger role than my scrolling thumb. I removed the opportunity for myself to be nosy, and didn’t think about her any further than the dairy section.

Not to mention, when I meet new people, I am more present in conversations.

 There’s no, “exchanging socials” followed by a peek into their lives for months until we casually unfollow each other. 

I either give them my number, or enjoy the conversation in the moment and then move forward with my life. 

In my head, they only exist to me in the context of that conversation, and that is how I remember them until I forget them. 

But, don’t think that I have completely self-actualized. 

I am often thinking about what the big comeback to Instagram will be like. Will I rejoin? Is this some celebrity-esque hiatus which I will end with a tearful post about how I have grown and provide some notion of tangible proof that I have, in fact, changed as a human being?

Thinking of going back on stresses me out more than being without it. 

I feel like the only way to capitalize on leaving is to prove that it wasn’t because of a crushing defeat to my self esteem and mental well-being.

I have to provide tangible proof of the accomplishment by rejoining with a new haircut, new aesthetic, new body, new life, new location, and new sense of self. 

I have to perform my reformation, otherwise it simply does not count. 

Being a born again Christian is no longer trendy. 

I am a born again Gen Z with a renowned sense of the seven deadly sins; bad lighting, bad hair, blemished skin, repeat outfits, validation from strangers, lack of friends, and lack of a location change. 

You often hear people complain about the digital world and the wrongful assumption that the media has made our generation complacent and unaware. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. We live in a selected reality – not necessarily scripted, but curated with the right angle and lighting. 

Social media — Instagram especially, has a bad habit of inspiring camera curation. A face mask on a Sunday evening becomes “Sunday Vibes” before it even has the chance to dry. 

It might be a humblebrag, but I live a less performative life than when I retained my Instagram account.

I feel less of a need to share with people who know entirely different versions of me.

I don’t worry what Emma from high-school is going to think when she sees I’m going out with my friends. I won’t worry if she thinks I am happy. 

I don’t feel the need to prove that I am happy!

I exist in pockets of moments that I don’t feel an urge to share. 

I can’t feel bad about spending four days at home when I have no idea what anyone else is doing. I don’t worry about when my friends hang out without me because we made plans for Saturday, and that’s all I choose to know. 

Instagram models surely only exist on the platform, until you see a Kendall Jenner reincarnate at the mall and realize how much we inhabit the facades we portray ourselves to be. 

When do you take the lens off? 

*The headline for this article was published as “I swear I’m not a boomer”


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