scarlett

A year back a pretty young Instagram “influencer” from London, England, posted the photo above.

Nice, right? Picture Perfect Idealism …

A happy little breakfast scenario that ordinarily (I gather) results in comments like “WOW!” and “You’re so beautiful…“.

Standard Facebook/Instagram/Twitter stuff…

Not so this time.

She was slammed with more than 100,000 angry replies and “dislikes” and prompted a wave of criticism, with the more printable comments ranging from “Fakelife!” and “Bunny-boiler” to “Let’s pop her balloons” and “Who keeps Listerine on their bedside table? Serial killers, that’s who.”

The internet sharks smelled blood and encircled her with abusive rants and taunts. So much for the pleasant and innocent online communities of Instagram.

“Each time I refresh my page, hundreds of new nasty messages pour on to my Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, some of which have contained malicious death threats,” she wrote in a follow-up post. “There are now hundreds of thousands of tweets circling the internet, shaming me.”

There’s a hunger and need for likes and positive comments to allay our fragileness. I admit to swelling when I get “like”ed… affirmation and acceptance and approval are a part of my fuel too.

It is the darkness that quietly lies within/beneath our world of social media that inspired my writing of this week’s music lyrics.

As alluded to in these lyrics mentioning Janis Ian (who wrote a troubled teenage girl’s anthem, At Seventeen, in the 1970’s)… the burning desire for acceptance and love is a huge part of the human “story”.

How Liked I Am Today

The reply said fuck you lady
She shook and took a bite of Big Mac
some sauce dripped on her jeans
wiped it quickly with the napkin
then turned to see if anyone had seen

Sleepless held her hostage once again
no model hair was out of place
even 3:30 near the morning’s dawn
her jacket had the perfect cut
honey face perfection by Revlon

Sweet hearts surround the placid scene
jarred vampires in the web
teacup smile and hairline cracks
forged feeds of reality on a stage
faux bronzer on her back

A baby slurp of bottled water
head down she scanned her Instagram
past ads by KFC and acne cure
this barrenness of checking
flawless photos of her old friend’s wedding

Her Mother’s generation
embraced its FOMO too
the girls in high school bathrooms
where Janis Ian held their torment
wrinkles cursed like webs in wounds

Scales can lie, hold magic high
smiles that sometimes fool you
strawberries often hold no juice
while clots and plaque grow thicker
are photos forever true?

The table finally wiped clean spotless
sun stirs and rubs its eyes
as tears inside are swept away
another day of trademarked life
Look how liked I am today

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