‘It all started when I got on Instagram. I became one of those girls. The Insta famous ones who always look amazing.’

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“Hey you, yeah you. The one sitting there in your sweatpants, with your house a mess, scrolling through Instagram. Wishing you looked like some of those women. Wishing your house looked like some of those women. Even wishing your life looked like some of those women. You don’t need to be doing that. Their lives are just like yours. They struggle just like you. They get all dressed up just for a picture, only to throw sweatpants back on. Just like you. You know how I know that? Because I am one of these women.

I am one of the women you see on your timeline. Who looks put together all the time. Who looks like their life is perfect. With over a quarter of a million people following me, I felt like I needed to look perfect. I needed to keep up an appearance that my life is always awesome. That I never have any struggles. My life had become summed up in one tiny square of a picture. A picture that didn’t even really show who I really was. A picture that most of the time was planned. A picture that had been edited, timed, and rehearsed.

Courtesy Caitlin Fladager

It all started when I got big on Instagram. I became one of those girls. You know, this Insta famous ones who always look amazing. I had messages constantly telling me, how jealous people were of my life. When in fact, I was just like them. Sitting there, reading their messages in my sweatpants. Battling my own demons. I had people telling me they wished their life was like mine. When in fact, we were living pretty much the same life. The only parts you started to see though, were from a five second picture.

Courtesy Caitlin Fladager

As I started gaining more followers, the pressure to keep up that appearance grew bigger and bigger. I started planning photo shoots, just to have ‘Instagram worthy’ pictures on my feed. I started getting dressed, faking a smile, captioning it ‘loving my amazing life!’ All while slipping back into sweatpants and heading to my therapy appointment.

Courtesy Caitlin Fladager

One day, it just all got too much for me. The pressures, people looking up to me, for qualities that I had basically faked. I wanted to look perfect for so long. And the truth is, that’s not reality. That doesn’t help anyone. It’s okay to have flaws, it’s okay to have a messy place sometimes, it’s okay to lay in your sweatpants. And it’s okay to need help.

Courtesy Caitlin Fladager

The next time you find yourself aimlessly scrolling, wishing your life looked like someone else’s, remember. You are looking at a picture. It doesn’t matter how clean someone’s house looks, or how happy they look, or even how in love they look. Everyone is going through something. Yes, even the Instagram girls you admire and look up to so much. I know, because I’m one of them.”

Courtesy Caitlin Fladager

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Caitlin Fladager, 25 of Canada. Follow her on Instagram here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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