I spoke at my high school graduation. Trying to break the mold of “Look how far we’ve come” speeches, full of cliches, my speech was entitled “The Gobstopper of Awesome.” The speech was about how we are like Gobstoppers, and how all of the old, embarrassing “selves” we have occupied are like layers of fruity flavors. Trust me, it was better live.
Anyway, the main point of the speech was that we shouldn’t be embarrassed by who we used to be because that has formed who we are. While I truly believed what I was saying at the time, and I still do, I found myself yesterday confronted the awkward reality that some of our past selves are horrifyingly embarrassing.
The roommates decided to read through my old Facebook statuses from 2009, and I literally cannot believe some of the things I posted. I treated Facebook as my personal journal, where I with little discretion posted my thoughts and feelings for all the world to see. That seemed like a wonderful idea five years ago, but now it’s an uncomfortable reminder of how clueless I was about life and how awkward I was. I posted vague song lyrics directed at specific people, I posted sassy “Dear men of the world…” statuses, I posted lamenting statuses about being single (my roommate in his infinite sass commented “SPOILER ALERT: It all works out” which I found quite funny), and a menagerie of other embarrassing things. Ugh.
While it was a little horrifying, it was also an excellent reminder that we are perpetually changing and developing as people. I think of myself now, and it seems like I sort of have my life together. In five years, I’ll probably read this blog and be like, “Oh my gosh. How embarrassing.” I already read some of my older posts and question my judgment. But it’s all part of life. We are continually changing, and with change comes the realization that the new is probably much better and less embarrassing than the old.
Things are different now that social media has been around for my generation. As yesterday’s incident illustrated, social media doesn’t just allow our past selves to become hazy shapes in the distance; it allows us to see them vividly, down to the last detail, which can be really painful. But that doesn’t change the role that those “selves” have played in our lives.
I had to go through all of those awkward junior high moments, and even those awkward high school moments, to become the person I am now. Were I to have skipped even one of them, my life could be totally different. So thanks, Awkward Taylor, for making me the person I am now. But one request – could you keep a journal instead?
Have you ever posted anything on social media that you later regretted?