After the semester finishes and I’m home — sleep-deprived, brain fizzled out — I usually binge-watch a show on Netflix. This time around, I binge-watched a girl’s YouTube channel.
She’s 23 years old and pretty. She films her videos in her Manhattan apartment replete with Christmas lights and exposed brick. Her videos cover everything from contouring tutorials and New Year’s Eve lookbooks to stories on how to feel beautiful and anxiety attacks.
It’s a little like escapist television, but it’s also a looking glass in a life I could — and want to — have. When I’m her age, I could be living in New York in a stylish apartment, with a stylish boyfriend and an Instagram account that gets more than 20 likes on a photo. Most of all, I admire that she’s confident enough to make a YouTube account starring herself and her life; I can’t bring myself to post a selfie on social media for fear of being seen as egotistical.
What’s weird is that I know I would hate her if I knew her in real life. I’ve hated random girls for as long as I can remember. While quite a few of them were truly irritating people, many of these girls had something I was jealous of that also, for some reason, made me dislike them — a past with my boyfriend, “stealing” my friend or some other thing that made me panicked.
The ex of a current hook up is the easiest target. Stalking the social media accounts of the “annoying little bitch who isn’t even that pretty” is a guilty pleasure of mine and my friends’. We have an excellent ability to find despicable things about the people we hate.
If my husband’s ex-girlfriend was Mother Teresa, I could reframe her as the devil in my mind. Why was she so giving? Like, we get it, you like all the attention, can you just calm down?
I’ve found that the girls I admire and the girls I hate have a lot in common: they are well dressed, beautiful, smart and confident. It seems like the cooler they are, the more we hate them.
But, surprise surprise, this is not very healthy!
It’s a loss to hate on a girl that could be our friend just because of some weird insecurity. The more I cut other girls down, the easier it is to cut myself down.
We’re scared above all that someone — a friend or a love interest — will see that there’s someone better out there and leave us. We’re scared that the person who used to make us so happy found someone who makes them happier than we did.
But self worth doesn’t work like that. The fact that our friend found a new friend, that our boyfriend touched some other girl sometime during his 20-something years of existence doesn’t mean we suck. So there’s no need to stalk this girl’s Instagram from freshman year and screenshot and send the stupidest captions to three different group texts.
I can’t really picture my weird YouTube girl crush doing that — and I think we would all rather be friends with someone who spends her free time giving life tips to thousands of people online rather than digging through Facebook circa 2012.