The Internet is a bizarre little place, isn’t it?
Let’s take Facebook, for one—an online catalogue of everyone you know. If they’re not on Facebook, it’s like they don’t even exist. You tailor your online self to highlight your best qualities—your athletic prowess or your activism or your cute butt. I recently changed my profile picture to a cool, mysterious photo involving sunglasses in hopes of making myself seem more rad than I actually am.
The Internet gives us a special opportunity to share the best of ourselves, our funniest thoughts, our prettiest pictures. Everyone wants to be perceived positively, and social networking gives us a unique chance to control others’ perceptions.
But what happens when nobody knows who you are?
I’m sure most of you are aware of Boston College Confessions, the latest Facebook sensation. Hundreds of confessions are flooding the news feeds of the page’s almost-2000 fans on a daily basis. Some are romantic, some gross, and some are highly relatable. More often than not, the confessors express serious feelings of discomfort or depression. And that’s where it gets worrisome.
It’s disheartening to know that so many people are feeling out of place at BC, a school that ordinarily prides itself on a happy and welcoming community. Even worse, for whatever reason, those who are upset aren’t comfortable sharing their feelings outside of an anonymous online confession.
For those who are feeling alone, I want you to know that I know what it’s like to feel like nobody is listening. I’ve been depressed and too afraid to talk to people about it. I’ve gone to sleep night after night feeling lonely and sad. A lot of the time, I feel like I have no real friends and nobody would care if I just went away.
People who know me know me for my sense of humor, my love of writing and my ability to mix a good cocktail, but they don’t know how overwhelmed and out of control I usually feel. There are times—a lot of times, actually—when I feel like I don’t belong here. Once you admit that something is wrong, the next step towards fixing yourself is to admit it to others. Own who you are, own your emotions, and own them fearlessly.
When you’re not hiding behind the mask of anonymity, you’re vulnerable, and that’s really scary. Nobody wants the world to see their ugly truth. But sometimes, the truth can set you free.
I encourage everyone who has posted on BC Confessions to be strong, be brave and be proactive. Speak up and express your discontent to someone who will listen. Look for beauty on this campus, even in the little things. And if you can’t find it, make a change. Join something you’ve always wanted to try. Take a risk. Reach out to that person you think is wonderful. And if this place isn’t a fit, it’s a big world and it’s yours to explore. Don’t waste your time feeling like you aren’t in control of your life.
For people who feel they have nobody to talk to, my inbox is always open. That is a promise.