When someone asks you to marry them, hundreds of lovely thoughts should instantly clutter your mind. Thoughts like: I can’t believe I actually found someone who’s willing to put up with me for the rest of their life. I honestly never thought I’d end up with someone this hot. I wonder what wedding cake flavour we’ll agree on.
But when my boyfriend asked me to marry him, it wasn’t long before one silly thought crossed my mind: “I wonder how many ‘likes’ we’ll get on Facebook for this!”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the ‘likes’. It’s a quick and easy way to express your support, and when I see that other people are happy for me, I’m as joyful as Chewbacca Mom. But when it came to my engagement, I took the whole social media thing a little too far. I was way too keen for my fifteen minutes of Facebook fame – to feel like Beyoncé with my new feyoncé.
In fact, I became so concerned about creating perfect engagement photos for social media that I ended up damaging a very special time in my relationship.
My boyfriend proposed to me at the same place where we’d had our first kiss – a picturesque waterfall. But I refused to take your typical ‘just engaged’ photo with him because I looked like Mia Thermopolis…before she had her princess makeover. I waited until we were back home and I was able to change into a cute dress, cover my face with foundation and douse my hair in gel, then asked him for a new ‘happy-couple’ pic. And where were we when this happened? The white-walled garage. “Seriously,” my new fiancé replied, “I take you to a waterfall, but you want a photo in the garage?!”
I was so sure that a photo of us in a boring garage would still get more likes than a photo of me with bed hair and blemishes on display. I didn’t want to share the beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime moment with loved ones because I was convinced that my physical appearance wasn’t good enough to be publicised. I was so obsessed with this “social media opportunity” that it affected my self-esteem, and it also ended up offending the man who had put so much consideration into the proposal.
I look back on this day now and am utterly embarrassed by my behaviour.
It made me realise that getting engaged today can become less about enjoying the moment and celebrating with friends and family, and more about gaining the ‘likes’. For so many of us, we refuse to take ring pics until our nails have been painted some fun, bright colour. Then we take hundreds of snaps, trying to find the angle which shows off every sparkly detail, and ordering our fiancés to hold our hand tenderly so that we can get a ‘Sam-and-Snez-style’ shot. We fuss over which photos to post, then draft countless lovey-dovey captions for them. And we spend far too long investigating which Instagram filters make the ring look super shiny.
For me, social media ruined a very special day. But it shouldn’t have. An engagement happens when two people have decided to love and accept each other for who they really are. So why was I so afraid to have my makeup-free face on the internet? After all, that is what I actually look like. The photo is as authentic and real as the love my boyfriend had when he proposed to his frizzy-haired girlfriend, so I shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
I’m not saying that I won’t post anything on social media anymore. But I will try my hardest to share moments that are genuine, not fabricated, planned or thoroughly thought-out. If something exciting happens, I will learn to be brave enough to share it even if I am rocking my all-natural look whilst it happens. I will learn to not care about insignificant details, like whether-or-not my nails are painted. And I will definitely never again put my desire for ‘likes’ above someone else’s feelings.
Watch this video for a similar message with a lot more LOL’s: youtube.com/watch?v=wTIpt65Ns24