Be­ing my­self

The Korea Times - - OPINION - By Grace Oh Grace Oh ([email protected]) is a stu­dent at the In­ter­na­tional School, Belle­vue, WA.

I metic­u­lously peeled off the plas­tic wrap of the sleek, white Ap­ple box and lifted the lid to my glim­mer­ing, lus­trous space grey iPhone XR. Care­fully strip­ping the thin outer layer, I popped my matte black case on, hold­ing the iPhone as if it were a new­born baby.

I pranced around the house tak­ing pic­tures with my new phone, un­able to con­tain the ela­tion of get­ting a new iPhone af­ter us­ing an old one for five years.

The next day at school, when I was about to show the phone to my friends, one girl quickly flashed her new iPhone 11 in a gor­geous laven­der color, say­ing, “Look at my new phone. I got it yes­ter­day!”

My emo­tions had dra­mat­i­cally changed, from ex­cited an­tic­i­pa­tion to the de­flated recog­ni­tion, look­ing down at my bland, black iPhone. I im­me­di­ately placed it back in my pocket. And just like that, I wanted some­thing bet­ter, newer, and pret­tier.

That isn’t the first time com­par­i­son has put me down. Ev­ery time I shop, I put my­self in a dilemma be­tween choos­ing some­thing I gen­uinely like or choos­ing the more pop­u­lar one.

Last sum­mer, I spent days try­ing to choose be­tween a pink, plaid phone case and a black case with sil­ver stars stitched on.

Ini­tially, I wanted to buy the plaid case, quickly putting it in my shop­ping cart. But later that night, I scrolled through In­sta­gram and saw two dif­fer­ent girls who had the black star case.

“Maybe the black one is a bet­ter choice. Many pop­u­lar and gor­geous girls have it,” I thought. Af­ter wast­ing my whole evening con­sid­er­ing which case would be trendier and at­trac­tive to peo­ple’s eyes, I ended up buy­ing the black star case only to re­gret it as soon as I opened my pack­age.

This con­stant jump­ing onto the band­wagon is only in­ten­si­fied when I use so­cial me­dia. I’m con­stantly com­par­ing my life to oth­ers whether it be their ap­pear­ance, so­cial life, or lux­u­ries.

Com­par­ing is of­ten in­evitable, es­pe­cially be­cause the in­ter­net has taken over my life. Yet the main prob­lem is that I don’t know my lim­its.

I don’t know when to say no to things that are ob­vi­ously do­ing me more harm than good.

I have spent hours scrolling through In­sta­gram, wish­ing I was skin­nier, pret­tier, richer, and had more friends like all the other girls I con­stantly fawn over. I some­times stay up at night and watch beauty vlog­gers go on va­ca­tions, shop­ping sprees with no bud­get, and go to par­ties ev­ery week­end while I lay in the dark with school the next day.

Ev­ery day, I feel as if I’m be­ing sucked into an end­less dark hole of wish­ing for more. Wish­ing I had some­one else’s life. But I re­al­ized as Os­car Wilde quipped, “Be your­self; every­one else is al­ready taken.”

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