Gracen Martin, Staff Writer

I had come to know her well; her husband and my dad coached a softball team together, and she was always present on the bleachers of every game. She didn’t say much, but she did not need to. She was friends with everyone there, always a beautiful, smiling face. She put on the act that her life was perfect, and everyone believed it. No one suspected anything different. No one suspected that she was bitter inside, that she was not happy with her life. No one suspected that she was on anti-depressants that gave her suicidal thoughts, and no one suspected that she would eventually allow those thoughts to take over.

We attended her funeral last summer. Everyone was still in a massive state of shock- no one had a clue why she would take her own life. She had not left any kind of indication behind her sudden death. Her family and friends starved for some sort of reasoning. Nothing made sense, yet the most puzzling part of it all was her Facebook profile. It was brimming with smiling, cheerful pictures, depicting the “happiest” moments of her life. Hourly updates and endless pages of beaming faces created the illusion that her life was flawless.

The contents of someone’s social media profile can sometimes create a false image of someone’s personal life to the public. Whether they realize it or not, most people use social networking as a way to boast about their “perfect” lives. Few people post about the unfortunate happenings in their lives; they have to maintain an ideal image in the eyes of the public to make it seem like they are leading a fitting lifestyle. It is a way to escape their personal issues and create a mask to hide the parts of their lives that they do not particularly like. The mask is there to create envy in the people that take interest in their profiles.

And those people tend to judge a person by their posts, but most of the time, the things that they have seen do not portray an accurate reflection of a person’s everyday life. It is very easy to make assumptions about a person’s morals and behavior based on their profiles, but it is not always the way it appears. Just because someone’s profile is brimming with posts and pictures that are filled with sunshine, rainbows and happiness does not mean that it is so merry and cheerful in their everyday lives. Photoshop and filters are not an option in real life.

The judgmental aspect of social media should be eliminated. Cut people some slack and get to know them for who they really are. Their profiles do not define who they are. Whether it is insecurity or a circumstance, everyone is guilty of wanting something to be different in their lives. People should be appreciated for their personality and thoughts rather than their Facebook or Instagram.  They need to be given a chance to show people who they really are before they are given a stereotypical nametag. Their masks are no longer visible if they are allowed to show their minds.