LIKE PROPER PRINCESSES, SUPPLE AS BALLERINAS
I am an intermittent Instagram user. And when I say user I do mean it in that drug addict kind of way. And when I say intermittent that is because I've learned I can't actually handle having it loaded on my phone all the time; because it is addictive, it steals time from me, distracts me from my real work and many times it does not leave me feeling good. And I know I'm not alone.
But lest we think this is a totally modern problem, please enjoy this little vignette from Sylvia Plath, the writer of perfect sentences, from her short story "Day of Success". Even though now the orange-flower tea has been replaced by green juice and home-made nut mylks, maybe as we read this piece (that was written around 70 years ago) we will recognize ourselves and even more than that, feel a little less alone in our true responses to "social media".
"Thumbing through the smart fashion magazines in the doctor's office that afternoon, waiting for Jill's regular check-up, Ellen mused darkly on the gulf separating her from the self-posessed fur-feather- and jewel-bedecked models who gazed back at her from the pages with astoundingly large, limpid eyes.
Do they ever start the day on the wrong foot? she wondered. With a headache... or a heartache? And she tried to imagine the fairytale world where these women woke dewy-eyed and pink-cheeked, yawning daintily as a cat does, their hair, even at daybreak, a miraculously intact turret of gold, russet, blue-black or perhaps lavender-tinted silver. They would rise, supple as ballerinas, to prepare an exotic breakfast for the man-of-their-heart - mushrooms and creamy scrambled eggs, say, or crabmeat on toast - trailing about a sparkling American kitchen in a foamy negligee, satin ribbons fluttering like triumphal banners.
No, Ellen readjusted her picture. They would, of course, have breakfast brought to them in bed, like proper princesses, on a sumptuous tray: crisp toast, the milky luster of frail china, water just off the boil for orange-flower tea..."
Be good to yourself, don't fall for too many digital smoke and mirrors. All of that aspirational stuff out there might not feel how you think it feels.