I feel anxious and uncertain about life right now. I could go into it — write out a long list of reasons, empathize with all the other people out there who are feeling a similar way (I know there are many), etc. But I don’t feel like doing that so here is a quick summary: Life isn’t normal, life hasn’t been normal for a long time, and life probably won’t ever be normal again.

I feel insecure and inadequate, like I’m not doing enough, like I don’t have a real purpose in life, like I’m not motivated enough or cool enough or pretty enough to be the person I really want to be, or should be.

I just listened to a podcast about Simone Biles, who is probably the best gymnast who ever lived, and the story of her career and recent withdrawal from a major event at the Olympics. I cried while I was listening, partly because I’m still a little jet lagged and jet lag makes me super emotional. But I also cried because the podcast reminded me of all the pressure that so many girls and young women (and boys and young men, and older women and men, for that matter) put on themselves to be perfect, and how we carry that pressure around with us for our entire lives and feel bad about ourselves for reasons that aren’t real to anyone except ourselves. I hate that we do that — I hate that I do that.

Rather than say more about my feelings or speculate about the feelings of others, I want to quickly share three social media influencers who cheer me up every time I look at their feeds. These three people, who I don’t know in person or know anything about outside of Instagram, make me feel better about myself almost every day. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

I don’t need to say much about them as their posts speak for themselves. Just watch and be wowed.

@noordinarynoire (Achieng Agutu)

Now here is a woman who understands and embraces her value. She makes me want to do the same for myself.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Achieng Agutu 🇰🇪 (@noordinarynoire)

@hebontheweb (Heather Chelan)

Smart, sensible, fun advice from a damn good singer/songwriter.

@iammoshow (The Cat Rapper)

A beautiful man who loves cats. The Cat Rapper, who is from my home town of Baltimore, Maryland, has an entire episode devoted to him (episode 1) on the new Netflix show, Cat People.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by iAmMoshow🌟(The Cat Rapper ™ 😼) (@iammoshow)

That is all: I hope one or all of these posts made you smile or even laugh out loud with joy. (They all do that for me.) And if you follow any other happy influencers you’d like to recommend, please comment and share. I need more of this in my life.

I’ll leave you with a photo of myself, taken with my phone in the mirror earlier this afternoon, wearing a new pair of jeans I recently bought in America and an old pair of Doc Martens I recently found in the back of my closet.

Fun fact: For my whole life, I have almost never tucked my shirt into jeans, shorts, or skirts because I thought that look wasn’t flattering for my figure. Also I think negative thoughts about my body about 50 times a day — every day, except during the very rare periods when I feel “skinny” — and almost never admit it out loud to anyone.

But I recently realized these thoughts are absurd and actually I look cute with my shirt tucked in, regardless of whether or not I feel skinny that day. Thank you @noordinarenoire for helping me see this.

Have a fabulous weekend, besties.

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