When I was a junior in high school my mom stopped letting me sleep with my phone in my room because I would stay up until 3 AM every night trying to get Taylor Swift’s attention on Tumblr.
You’re probably thinking, “woah,” and woah is right. I was at an unhealthy level of obsession over a famous person who barely knew I existed. I was for a long time, and as much as I want to admit that time in my life was awesome and fun, it really wasn’t.
I love Taylor Swift, y’all, and I love a lot of other artists, authors, online creators, models, and athletes. The whole schebang. So I’m not placing the blame on these people I admire and look up to. But, my life came to a point that I was seeking validation from these people who are basically unreachable. I spent all of my time on social media, constantly posting with the hopes that a famous person would stumble upon it and “notice” me. It was all I did. I posted at school, at home, when I was out with friends, when I was supposed to be doing something else.
In the few times that I did capture someone’s attention, it was thrilling. It was almost like a high that I needed to feel happy. Then once the feeling wore off, I secluded myself back into my phone and waited for it to happen again. I was in that deep, people. It was bad.
I’m bringing this piece of my past back to attention because I have realized something in the two years since:
There’s more to life.
There is more to life than Taylor Swift liking my selfie on Instagram.
There is more to feel than the anxiety this stage in my life caused me.
There is more to experience than the pixels inside my phone screen.
There is more to love than famous people that can’t physically be a part of my life.
It took me a long time to realize this, everyone. And I know that there are people out in the world that are still living this way. It’s unhealthy, it damages your relationships, and it truly changes your personality. I don’t like the person I was when I was seventeen. She was disconnected, anxious, and lonely, and she needed to take a step back.
Once I finally took that step, I realized that I can love what I already had as much as I thought I loved my online life.
I now find my validation through my own accomplishments. I document my experiences by writing down how they made me feel, sometimes for the world, and sometimes just for myself in a journal. I have fallen in love with watching sunsets. I ask my mom for advice instead of my followers on Tumblr. I’ve mended my relationship with Jesus that I had been neglecting. I have created friendships that make me feel more loved than a “like” from Taylor Swift ever did.
If you feel like I did back then, let me leave you with this:
Seeking validation and happiness from someone or something that cannot physically, mentally, and emotionally be a part of your life is detrimental.
Take it from someone who’s been there: There’s more to life.