You may think the ability to trace back through your college years with Facebook is horrifying enough (hello, toga party that went terribly wrong), but the other night I decided to take a trip down memory lane with my old Xanga and MySpace accounts.
Before I knew it, I was sucked into the black hole of my teenage angst.
The worst part? I had multiple accounts, like three different Xangas. So, naturally I had to go through them all and watch my personality and looks drastically change from year to year. And it wasn't just the embarrassingly emo selfless or ridiculous rants I went on about how I want to marry my middle school boyfriend, but also the old messages and self-indulgent surveys that reminded me how much I sucked at 15.
So before you decide to indulge in a blast to your social media past, here are some important things to remember (other than avoiding logging in altogether):
1) Don't Judge Yourself Too Harshly
You were much more innocent/naive/closed-minded during those awful teen years. So you probably said some pretty stupid shit. It's okay though; you had no idea that the bullshit you were ranting about in your very public online diary would make you want to vomit years down the road.
My overly simplistic view on abortion. Yes, it is fucking stupid, but I guess I'll forgive myself for my ignorance.
2) Keep Yo' Shit Private
You clearly had no shame spilling very personal details about the drama in your life when you were in middle or high school. And now you have to be reminded of the time you let the world know about the crush you stared at like a creep for three straight years or how you absolutely despised your best friend for about five seconds for going to the mall and not inviting you.
Take this lesson away: Social media should be reserved for chatting with friends and updating the world on where to get the best falafel sandwich, not sharing secrets you wouldn't want your mom to know.
Um, sorry to my former friend. I can't even remember who you are, but is it weird I still kind of want to be mad at you?
3) Stop Bashing Your Looks
I know, I know. Seeing yourself with that awful Simple Plan T-shirt and crooked bangs you cut yourself when you thought you were a hairdresser makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry out of shame. But at the time, you thought you were pretty damn cute, and you probably were, so embrace your awkward teenage looks. Or at least learn to make fun of them.
I was going for that whole teenage angst thing. I think the Rock n' Roller Coaster t-shirt threw it off.
Fake pearls? Check. Hair in face? Check. Miserable facial expression? Check Plus
4) Check Out Your Friends' Page
It will ease your pain knowing that your friends were just as big of dorks as you. Plus, you'll be prepared with a comeback the next time they try to bring up the time you walked into a glass door. (Or is it just me who does that regularly?)
My best friend, the beaut that she is, gave me great material to work with. Under her interests section on Xanga, she lists the following: "PARTYING LIKE A CRAZY PSYCHO FREAKING KILLER MAN," "hot emo boys," "bitch ass shoes," and "Wildwood." And I barely needed to dig into her past to be reminded of why we've been friends for over a decade.
5) Embrace Some Nostalgia
It's not all bad! Yeah, maybe you would rather forget most of your teenage days (seriously, who the hell are those people who think high school is the best four years?), but there were also some really, really cool times, and digging through your online past can help you remember them.
I stumbled upon the pictures from my high school trip to Europe. And for once, not every picture of friends had alcohol in it.
I couldn't believe I lost this picture of me and my best friend (and yes, it's the lovely gal mentioned above)
6) But, Really Don't Go Into That Inbox
Once you start sorting through old messages, it's hard to stop. The next thing you know, you've been staring at your screen for five hours with a newfound anger for your friend who said something insulting seven years ago. And then suddenly you're calling your high school boyfriend to remind him that he's a douche for ever breaking your little 16-year-old heart.
Or you may just realize that some things never change, like creepy guys messaging you on the reg.
7) Delete Your Account
OK, you got it out of your system and hopefully are satisfied with just one night of stalking yourself social media style because now it's time to delete those accounts. Save the pictures you want and call it quits. It's probably better you use your own memories when recalling the past rather than relying on your social media history to do the reminiscing for you. Because, really, you were way cooler than your online persona may lead you to believe.