Total Eclipse of the Heart
By Chelsea Chinedo
Anna experienced a total eclipse of the heart. She had fallen for Joshua and almost lost herself in the process. This new obsession led her to compare herself to other girls on social media.
Anna, a beautiful girl from the Bronx. Smart. Driven. Kind. Talented. Lovable. Sweet. She was many things, maybe even everything anyone could ever ask for.
One day, Anna and her family went to a party in Philadelphia, hosted by family friends of Anna’s parents. Anna and her siblings were playing card games with all the children. One of them was named Joshua. He had changed a lot since she last saw him. As he got up to go fetch a drink he quickly smiled at Anna. His teeth glistened; it was so bright it almost blinded Anna. Joshua and Anna ended up being partners in this game.
When Anna looked at Joshua, butterflies swarmed her stomach. She was so mesmerized by his bright teeth, nice smile and curly hair. When they were supposed to talk and generate ideas, Anna let him do all the talking and simply shook her head. “Anna, you put down a blue six on a yellow two, are you even paying attention?!” said one of the children. “Oh my god, so sorry. Haha!” Anna said as she removed the card anxiously. “There’s no way we’re gonna win now, I need a new partner,” Joshua said under his breath. Because Anna was so nervous and this game required teamwork, they ended up losing. Joshua had a small grin on his face, like he had secondhand embarrassment for Anna. As kind as he was, Joshua had a competitive nature, and wasn’t too happy about playing with Anna if it meant he would lose.
The game was over and it was time for Anna and her family to return home. As Anna walked out the door, she looked back to see if Joshua was going to say goodbye. But as she turned, she saw him running up the stairs, farther and farther into the distance.
On the car ride home, Anna wondered why she was so shy and wasn’t able to show Joshua who she really was. She thought he would never look her way. Not because she was ugly or boring, but because she was shy and quiet and Joshua was the opposite. Anna said to herself, “You know what, I like him a lot but I don’t think he’s into me, so I’m going to drop it. Besides, he lives in Philly.”
A week passed, and Anna received a follow request on Instagram from Joshua. Feelings came rushing back to her. “He had to be searching for me, we have no mutual friends, he intentionally looked for me,” she thought to herself. Anna felt that perhaps she had it all wrong, and he did take an interest in her.
Anna and Joshua spoke a lot throughout the year. They became good friends, exchanged numbers, added each other on all social media platforms and talked about all sorts of things. They even confessed that they could see themselves with each other. Anna was so worried about what Joshua thought about her that she even made a private story on Snapchat just for him. Anna would intentionally post things in hope that Joshua would reply. When he didn’t, she would get really sad.
Anna began to look through Joshua’s following list and searched for girls that had his school name and graduating class in their bios, “CPA’22.” “Maybe he likes white girls, maybe he likes girls who consistently post on Instagram, maybe he likes girls who play sports, maybe he prefers short girls.” She began to think about everything they had that she didn’t. As Anna scrolled through their Instagram pictures she saw many people praising them in the comment sections for their good looks. Gorgeous girly imy. You are literally the cutest person alive. She saw pictures of them at parties and homecoming.
Anna wished she could go to parties and that her school had homecoming. She went to a small school and had strict parents, so she didn’t get to hang out with friends and go to parties like other teens did. Not to mention Anna never posted on Instagram and didn’t have many followers.
Joshua had told Anna that he thought she was pretty but it was clear that he knew many other pretty girls. Later that week, Joshua and Anna were texting about Anna’s love life and Joshua left Anna unread. Joshua was probably just busy but knowing that didn’t make it hurt any less. She realized that she was being crazy. All of it, the whole thing was just crazy. She wasn’t mad at Joshua. She was the one who got obsessed and caught up and fed her mind with things.
“How can I compare myself to girls I don’t even know? Their lives on social media may seem great but social media is meant to highlight the coolest things you do, it may not be how it seems,” she thought to herself. She wished she hadn’t been so invasive. She kept being friends with Joshua to see where things would go, but she wished she could erase the images of his friends out of her memory.
A lot of teens in our generation can relate to comparing themselves to others so I decided to make a fictional story about it and added a romance aspect to it. The comparison I made in the story was strictly off of social media. Whether it’s how many more likes they get or how many more followers they have. It’s easy to get caught up in these things. But those things are surface level and don’t define your worth. Comparison is a thief of joy. Olivia and I made a lot of cuts to stay under the word limit but made sure we kept the most important parts. We also worked on showing and not telling. We thought a lot about how I could convey certain ideas and feelings without directly saying them.
Chelsea Chinedo is currently a junior in high school and she loves to explore different writing genres and get out of her comfort zone once in a while. She is a driven student that is always willing to learn and improve in any way she can. She enjoys dressing up, doing makeup looks, having fun with family and friends and watching Netflix!