It’s been 2 weeks, 6 days, and 5 hours and 37 minutes since I deleted Instagram off my phone.
Just kidding, I actually have no idea precisely how long “The Gram” has been out of my life, but somewhere around 3 weeks sounds right.
I’ve read the articles from Cosmo about “my three week social media cleanse” and seen the blog posts about how “disconnecting really just brings you more in tune with life.” That’s great and all, and I’m sure it felt good for these social media gurus with their sponsored posts and thousands of followers to “detach from the pressures of the media world,” but I’m not that cool or important. I don’t expect my time off of Instagram to illuminate the societal obsession and dependence on social media and inspire you to throw your phones on the table proclaiming, “NO MORE. I AM FREE NOW.” However, I do want to be honest.
I deleted my Instagram because I’m insecure and felt it was serving no positive purpose in my life.
While working over the summer, a colleague playfully decided that a friend of theirs would be perfect for me. I laughed as she told me she was telling him about me, saying that I wanted to meet him. However, when she asked for my Instagram, I immediately seized up.
“Haha, no.” I responded quickly before turning around and walking away from the conversation. “My page isn’t cute… my pictures aren’t well edited… my captions aren’t that funny… I don’t have enough likes…” I began thinking in a pervasive stream of worry. I came to the definite conclusion that if this boy were to look at my Instagram after showing mild interest in me as a person and then reject me on a couple of pictures of myself, I’d be crushed.
So then I really got to thinking (over analyzing situations and my own reactions to them as I always do) if I’m so uncomfortable with the pictures I have up, why are they there at all? Furthermore, why am I letting myself live with the disheartening idea that someone could look at a couple of snapshot moments and make judgments about me, about who I am and about whether I’m worthy of their time?
For me, it just felt that Instagram was not a flattering picture of who I am. Maybe it’s because I’m figuring that out, and I am unsure how to present a person I can’t yet define. Or maybe there is a nagging insecurity and I’m self-aware enough to recognize that I have the power to make a choice that will make me feel better.
I don’t think that Instagram or social media as a whole is a plague that burdens our generation. It has its pros and cons, and we get to decide how we want to use it. For me right now, I need to take a step back completely to gain the clarity of how I want to use it. I have so much respect for people who inspire and provoke thought through their platforms. I admire people who can be honest and unapologetic, who post the ugly and the edited and who post for themselves because they like a picture and they don’t care how many likes they get.
But I’m not there yet.
This is no project to chronicle the effects of an Instagram-less life. It’s me doing my best to be honest with myself and my flaws and my insecurities and make the choice to change my life so I can be happier. Hopefully in changing my habits, my perspective will alter and shift as well.
I have entered so many football games with the small hope of getting the perfect picture somewhere in the back of my head. Thinking, “well, if I’m going to do touchdown pushups I’ll need at least four people taking pics so that we have different angles to ensure no double chins or unflattering views.” I hope that my time away from Instagram will allow my thoughts to transform into something much closer to “I’m so excited to do this awesome, fun thing and maybe while it’s happening, someone might capture this moment of wonderful excitement and joy.”