It was New Year’s Eve.
We were all sitting around and I looked over at my friend’s phone. She was on Tinder. I took over and I really had a blast. I was swiping and flirting with random guys left and right (pun intended). And it was easy - because I was hiding behind my friend’s picture. I had nothing to lose. But the whole time one thought kept running through my head, refusing to relent: what would happen if it were me, my face, instead of my beautiful friend’s? Would I receive the same treatment? The swipe rights, the messages, the texts calling me “cutie”? I needed to know. I let my curiosity get the best of me.
Next thing I knew I was making my own profile. I spent an inordinate amount of time choosing the photos I wanted – contemplating which ones would make the best first impression and earn me a swipe right.
Before we continue, I should probably tell you a little bit more about me. I have OCD and body dysmorphic disorder. I’ve struggled with self love and body positivity for as long as I can remember. And I know it’s wrong, but most of my confidence comes from the approval of others, rather than from myself. By putting myself on Tinder, I was setting up the perfect trap for myself.
So here I was, matching up with guys and having conversations with them. Each match sent a flutter to my heart because the thought that someone liked me, wanted me, was a thought that I had a very hard time believing. Getting compliments made me feel incredible and I was even flattered by the usually disturbing request for nudes. But I still felt empty. My happiness was artificial. I was well aware of all this. I knew it wasn’t good for me to base the entirety of my self worth on what some Tinder fuckboys thought of me.
As much as I knew I should get rid of it, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’d become addicted to the feeling of being wanted. Every time I was about to delete my account, a new notification would pop up and I just couldn’t help myself from checking it and relishing in the rush I got.
Okay, I haven’t been completely honest with you. I’ve been using the past tense, which implies that this was all in the past. But the truth is: I’ve still got Tinder and I’m still trying to fight the pull and delete it. I want to get rid of it because I know that it is most definitely not doing my mental health any favors, but I guess I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll no longer feel good about myself, that I have any worth, or that I’m sexy and desirable if a slew of pervy guys are not constantly telling me that I am.
I know that as much as I like the attention and the idea of being wanted, in order to be truly happy, my worth needs to come from within me. And having a Tinder will never allow that to happen.
As I look at the words “Are you sure you want to delete your account?” I feel extremely conflicted for reasons I don’t completely understand. But if I didn’t really want it gone, I wouldn’t have written this whole thing.
And with that…