Oh, Instagram. Where do I even begin with you? It’s an on/off love/hate thing. You’ve connected me with some of my bestests of friends, yet you’ve manage to rob me of living the very life that I display. You’re probably the most toxic relationship I’ve ever been in. Which is why you’ve got to go.
I’m going to be as raw and uncut as I can possibly be about this topic and explain how it led me to the decision to delete Instagram from my life. I’m not sure if my intention is to explain myself because I kind of ghosted out of nowhere, to let people know what it’s like behind the scenes, or just to talk about the direction that I see social media has taken (a direction that I want nothing to do with). Maybe you’ll agree and think, “Damn, I feel the same way.” Or maybe you’ll think, “Whoa, this bitch is fucking psycho.” Either way, namaste. Let’s begin, shall we?!
I seriously don’t even know where to start. Is it the desperate seek for external validation? Is it the constant reminder of someone else’s highlight reel? Maybe it’s the countless hours spent aimlessly scrolling through the app and auto-piloting through real life. Or the dangerous way that it controls our very lives. I’d have to say E. All of the above.
Let’s start simple. Why do we post what we post? Think about it. Whether it’s a selfie for others to comment how pretty you are, or a candid-totally-not-candid-well-thought-out-posed picture of you in yet another cool place, again. After you post, do you keep refreshing to see how many likes it got? Who liked it? What comments you got? Same same. But why? It’s as if the number of likes display some sort of success. Or that the inward flow of compliments validates you as ‘beautiful’. If you don’t get the likes or comments you hoped for, does that mean you’re not a drop-dead beautiful goddess? Why do we have this need for external validation, this ego-boost, if you will. You’re a beautiful goddess if YOU believe you’re beautiful. You don’t need 100+ likes (or 10K followers, or a repost on a feature account, etc) to prove it.
Next: the highlight reel. Of course we all know that Instagram reflects only the best parts of someone’s life; the parts that they want you to see. Instagram has become this fantasy world that people display and regard as their identity. These highlights may start as inspiration, then develop into envy, consciously or subconsciously having you compare your life to this fantasy life. For me, I found myself actively participating in this toxic fantasy life game. The typical “candid-not-candid” shot, the “I’m-the-only-one-at-this-waterfall-but-really-I-asked-someone-to-move” shot, the “holy-fuck-my-memory-card-is-full-because-I-took-a-million-pictures-until-I-got-THE-PERFECT-shot” shot, or how about the countless “Did you get it? Did you get it? Did you gettttt itttt??!!!” when you ask someone to take your picture (don’t lie, you know you've done that once or twice hahaa). I truly appreciate everyone’s comments on how beautiful some of my pictures are; but damn, if you only saw what I did to get these shots. It’s kind of disgusting. Well hey, I said I’m being raw and uncut right?! Mind as well share what it’s really like LOL! Anyway, back to Instagram being a fantasy world. Yeah, it’s fake. AKA not real life. AKA don’t compare your life to this fantasy life. Your life is awesome as is.
And then, the time spent on these apps. How much time do you think you spend scrolling through your social media? Do you wake up in the morning, scroll. Go to the bathroom, take your phone with you and scroll. Out having dinner with your family but instead of having real life conversations with people right in front of your face, you’re STILL FUCKING SCROLLING?! Yeah, no. Not OK. I recently checked into a silent meditation retreat while I was in Ubud, Bali (which I’ll later write a whole blog post about my experience there. Ahh, it was amazing!!). I turned my phone off for an entire week and I learned about this thing called MINDFULNESS. Do you know what that is? Long story short, it basically means living life in the present moment and being mindful of your surroundings. Try it. The next time you’re at dinner with your family or your friends or your bf/gf, are you there? Like, really there. Asking about how each others day was? And are you listening? Like, really listening with intention. Not looking at your phone and saying yah yah yah. We’ve been allowing ourselves to auto-pilot through life’s most precious moments. Say some freak accident happens (literally knocked on wood just now, I promise), and your last hangout with that person was not mindfully spent with that person. Would you be ok with that?
To tie all this chaos together, Instagram has robbed me of living a mindful life. I will not let my self-worth be at the discretion of someone else. I will no longer skew my perception or other people’s perception of life with this so-called ‘fantasy world’. I will spend my time with myself and others more mindfully and with true intention to be present. I want to send special thanks to my friend Erica for inspiring me to take this huge shift in my life. I don’t expect others to cut off IG nor do I expect people to understand my point of view. If you feel me, cool. If not, that's OK too. I just hope my story will shed some light on the control that social media has had on my life and the subconscious control that it may or may not have on your life as well. Thank you for reading.
XOXO, Mel formerly known as @throughthebamboo