Nearly 5 years ago I created an Instagram account. I was 24, engaged and planning a wedding. I had already been on Facebook since 2005 and felt like I was a Social Media Queen. I was a new-ish family and wedding photographer in Jacksonville Florida and I had just graduated college with a bachelors in communications. I was ready to take on the world. I was vivacious then, spunky and full of energy. I was known for being loud, happy and infectious, bubbly and confident. I had my life ahead of me and everything seemed like a thrill ride and certainly one to post or brag about. Social media beckoned me and I obliged to its' every whim. Some of you have been a follower since those days and have watched the rise and fall of my life publicly on social media. Can I just stop and say I'm sorry now? I can only imagine the amount of eye rolls on my page on the daily. I get it. I am reminded when I download the Timehopp app just how much "over sharing" I used to do and If I'm being honest, it's embarrassing. As days went on and social media became a large part of my life I slipped into a black hole of depression. It wasn't caused by social media persay but it certainly was manifested by it. I was lost, miserable, and clinging onto anything that looked like it "should" be making me happy. I would slap a fancy filter on an image combined with a witty caption and share and instantly life could go on for the moment. I had an audience.
As the years went on I glorified every single bit of my personal crappy reality and situations online to simply feel like I mattered. I posted for attention. I posted to feel like I belonged. I posted to feel apart of this cool and hip young world and in our moving culture that values social media so much. In the end it only drained me as I became so far removed from my real identity and so far removed from reality because I was too busy trying to put a bow on it. I was more concerned with how my life looked online then how it was in real life. If I had paid more attention I could have escaped some poorly executed choices. Be it my engagement, my wedding planning, decorating all the places I've lived in, my weight loss competitions and journeys, the single mother adventures, motherhood, the loosing and finding and loosing and finding myself, selfie after selfie and post after post, I wore myself flat out. Me me me. My my my and mine mine mine. I became a selfish bitch. It's easy to when you get attention so easily but It's hard keeping up with a lie. I'm not an idiot, I knew what I was doing, the monster I was creating and realized soon after how fake it all was becoming but I was trapped. Social media was a drug I didn't want to give up. I knew it wasn't good for me but I fiend for the attention from strangers- it certainly *felt* better than real life. Likes likes likes. Followers and more followers. My art was a platform to gain online friendships and like-ability. I was enveloped in this utopian online world of bullshit because I felt accepted. Posting all the fabricated bullshit and making bullshit look real pretty. But alas, bullshit is still bullshit. Silently suffering inside, dealing with an abusive relationship, dealing with the highs and lows of running a business and sometimes not so happy clients, a shitty family life, wavering friendships, addictions, depression and a poor self image I hated my life and simply put, social media made it so much worse.
That's the point where I am at now. My arms are thrown up. I give up. I'm tired of living this online life. I'm sick of whining about everything that's good or bad or indifferent.
The selfies are narcissistic, let's get real. My food is better consumed then photographed. My butt belongs on a treadmill, not in a gym mirror. My home isn't a showcase, it's 900 square feet of lived in mess. My quotes aren't original, though cited, they are taken straight from google. My relationships are fucking hard- but they're real and they deserve the respect of privacy and intimacy and effort. They aren't something to boast about, bitch about, fake about or share about, they are all- all wonderful messy ones I have- authentically mine. The people who actually care about me don't need to see my life in their faces every day. Don't you see it? Our lives are worth more and are far more valuable than than the hours we spend filtering our square images to share to the world. Now let me stop here before the pitch forks come down on me. I actually don't hate Instagram. I don't hate how *some* people use it. I hated how I used it. I think it can be a really neat spot for inspiration and connections, a beautiful platform to showcase your creativity and to connect with people around the world (that part is way cool!) but I can admit that I am weak, I am too sensitive and I have addictive tendencies. I simply don't know how to use it properly. "Just use it for your business", I would if I could but I don't know how to live my life without being obsessed with this app (and I can't be the only one), scrolling and scrolling and feigning to post every.single.damn.day, all those minutes adding up to hours on end. I care too much what other people think online. Boy this all sounds pretty lame when I write it out so boldy but it's real and that's the whole point here.
Last night, well early morning rather, I sat with weary eyes and a grueling, throbbing head scrolling backwards reflecting on the woman I was, the girl I had been over the past 5 years. And bad filter after bad filter (ugh!) the only thing that was real was the love I posted about for my little boy. When I posted about the things we were doing, our adventures together, how things made us smile or laugh, the exposure of the city I was giving Henry, as annoying as it was to see or read about, I meant it. I've changed. And not just in the waist line or that I use better editing apps, or my failing gluten free diet kicks and all the friends I've rolla-dexed thru, but my heart has changed. Henry has been the ONLY thing I've been genuinely proud of and that's the most honest thing I could ever say. My life isn't just about me anymore, it's about raising this tiny human into a man. Surely he'll need it. Sure I'm proud of my business and thankful to have a career that provides for us (I truly mean that) but nothing could have or would have woken me up and changed my ever fabricated online ways like this child has. It might have taken almost 5 years but I get it now. I finally get it. Just a little insomnia and perspective is all it took. I want to honor that euphoric and real feeling by living an authentic offline life, truly being IN that role while not having this part time job of showing you all how cool that is. And trust me, it's the fucking coolest thing ever.
To this day I am still not divorced. We've been separated for almost 3 years and he even has a serious girlfriend now. Life has been messy and painful and great and momentous. It has been fucking hard. I've hit rock bottom bottomless times and there have been days I didn't want to see the next sunrise. I've been given love and it's been taken away. Quite recently. Ive felt abandoned and confused. I've watched people walk in and out of my life/ some to my own despair and some because let's face it, bitches be crazy. I've lost 40 pounds, gained 80, lost 65, gained 20, lost 30. I'm a human slinky. I've been the newly wed, the home owner, the new mom, the sullen over weight single mom, the humble makeup-free momma, the coated with makeup single party girl, the happy, newly impassioned dating girl, the fit chick, the super mom, the I don't give a shit mom and the depressed vague girl that people are worried will simply lose it one day. I've been the party planner, the wedding photographer and the traveler. I've been the mom glued to her phone as my son played alone, the super mom who does stuff after stuff for her offspring, the nasty bitch angry at other nasty bitches, the online creeper and stalker, the self proclaimed HGTV designer (ha!), the weight loss girl and the online encourager and motivator. Quite frankly I've been borderline schizophrenic with the changes of my preferences, tastes and opinions over the years. Point is I'm exhausted not just with who I am but because I care way too much to tell you about it. It's not you, it's me. It's not Instagram, it's me.
So to conclude this post and end with a rant, I am over it. I am sick of posting about my life. I am sick of spending hours filtering my pictures to show you how dumb or great my life is. Do you really care? My kid rocks but you don't need to see it every day. My eyes hurt, my neck hurts and my hands hurt. MY HEAD HURTS. I am sick of the FOMO (fear of missing out), the envy that invades my body when I see someone living a life I think I want. I am sick of seeing the selfies, the duck lips, the borderline pornographic poses from such young women, the bulky body builder guys (hashtag gainz), the #mcm and #wcw, the #relationshipgoals and all the lingo, the potty training posts (sorry that's just me), the over-sharing of personal matters, the beautiful photographers work who my own work will never look like, the perfectly designed bedrooms and potted succulents, the designs in goddamn cappuccinos and expensive coffees, the perfectly placed food, the un-candid candid "moments" (*cough* bullshit), gnarly feet in pictures to give perspective, arms outstretched to show an inanimate object, the depressing quotes, the peppy quotes, the overly filtered, poorly edited iPhone snaps, the political rants, the crop tops and middle parts, Birkenstocks, bad tattoos and IKEA living rooms, the trend of way too fashionable (for kids who are naturally kids and filthy) clothing that will eventually junk up our landfills, the food selfies, the glamorous parties and expensive trips that make normal working people feel like their lives are lame, the makeup and hair tutorials and weight loss coaches. Sick of seeing everyone's new purchases and the #ootd, the obsessions with Ruby Rose and Orange is the New Black and the hashtags on hashtags on hashtags. Screw these hash tags- worst idea in the world of meaningless ideas. I'm sick of the passive aggressive captions and obvious nasty jabs at people you don't like, the easy platform to stalk, creep, worry and "be in the know" at the tip of your finger, how privacy seems to be nothing anymore, how it feels like a full time job to be on it. Over the photography workshops, giveaways, contests and prizes to gain more followers. Sick of the memes, the brainless jokes and the re-postings of the same Pinterest quote over and over. Don't you see? It feels so disingenuous when EVERYONE does it. Am I a hypocrite? You're damn right I was but not anymore. I don't want to see your stripper pictures, your husbands butt, your adorable hedgehogs (ok maybe I didn't mind this very much) or your pancakes. I am done with you Instagram, goodbye.
My life is calling, it needs repairing. And Henry needs me.
"And I want it, I want my life so bad. I'm doing everything I can."