(Image: Jalouse N°25 | 1998 - Enoshima by Louis Decamps)
“The trouble with comparing yourself to others is that there are too many others. Using all others as your control group, all your worst fears and all your fondest hopes are at once true. You are good; you are bad; you are abnormal; you are just like everyone else.”
― Sarah Manguso, 300 Arguments
Some girls have nothing and no one but each other. Their sisterhoods buoy them like sharks in the water. They are each other's weapons and shields, and they’ve brought their knives-shaped selves to a psychic battle that more formidable people are fighting through their work. This is partly why they appear so invulnerable, even though they most certainly are not: They've created nothing of value that could possibly be threatened.
They don't have the sustaining, IRL connections to lift them out of the despair of their lowest, unrealized selves, so they keep shrinking their worlds. In doing so, they bring themselves further away from ever adding value to other people's lives, or building the life they want for themselves. These girls are dependent on the intermittent sympathy and fear they inspire in their online ecosystem because the'y’ve confused it for respect. The sympathy might yield short-term gains for them, but ultimately, it’s unsustainable. And the fear? Well, it keeps others in their place publicly, but privately, people show their less afraid faces, barring them from access.
If you are the girl I’m describing, please read on.
Stop externalizing your problems.
Integrate your shadow self with the rest of your being.
Get comfortable with the idea that some girls will always appear shinier than you.
Instead of going down the rabbit hole of the narcosphere, may I suggest The Selfishness of Others by Kristin Dombek?
You don’t have to be id of the whole Internet.
Instead of a group chat this year, consider a journal. Getting further away from yourself via other people will not help you. Instropection will.
You’re afraid of the pain it’ll take for you to outgrow the situations and conditions you’re used to, but you can only self-actualize if you experience that pain. That pain will come in the form of ending old patterns, friendships, and anything that doesn’t serve the purpose of you showing up in the world as your best self.
Being a similacrum of various interests is not a substitute for a personality.
Stop vying for impossible moral purity that you won’t yield to the expectations of yourself.
Undermining someone else’s self-esteem or offloading your shame onto them will not make you appear more successful, charming, or pretty.
Just because you’re a shy egomaniac doesn’t mean everyone else is a narcissist.
You’re suffering for attention.
You’re simultaneously boundryless and closed off, which are two of the most unattractive ways to be.
You’re chronically bored and empty.
You can't run a race with someone else's legs. You’ll bring them down, too.
You’re an unreliable narrator.