Disclaimer, This blog contains words and opinions that some may find offensive, it isn’t written about anyone specifically so anything you read and relate to yourself or take umbrage to was not in any way intentionally aimed at you x
Social media has completely disillusioned me, It has become a habit, it has become repetitive, it has become the same shit on a different day. So what to do, I decided to test myself and see how long I could stay away from social media.
It has been three weeks now and I genuinely couldn’t feel better, I have read more, I have engaged more, I have learned and loved and seen life through my eyes and not through a phone screen.
We are the first real generation to have grown up in the world of social media, a world of pictures, comments, tweets and status updates. We know what everyone is doing at all times, we know what everyone is wearing, eating, drinking, smelling and seeing when we look at our phones, we compare ourselves to others and despair at how our life just doesn’t measure up in comparison.
When did we lose the ability to be different? To be unique? To dance to our own beat? When did we lose the ability to go against the grain and just be… ourselves
I myself, have found it all a bit much recently, clicking my instagram app out of sheer habit and not out of the want to see what’s going on in the world, from the moment I wake to the moment I go to bed i’m checking what’s happening. If i’m honest about it the last few weeks I had been online I was typically rolling my eyes and thinking “ same old same old” everyone is always showing the same old stuff, the same views, the same “positivity mantras” the same ethos about self care and mindfulness and being nice to one another… suddenly everyone is advertising the same old same old, coffee, chocolate bars, ice cream, portable steamers and razors. My feed became just one big advertisement and I wondered where has the individualised creativity gone?, where is the instagram I loved so much?.
So I decided enough was enough and I deactivated my account on June 30th and decided I would not reactivate it until after my annual leave from work. Three weeks from that date, surprisingly to me the first few days were hard, I continually was clicking on the app time and time again and doing it completely without thought. When did instagram become such a habit? Am I social media addict? When I think about It, I probably am… we have all sorts of addictions nowadays, smoking, alcohol, drugs, food, exercise… is social media the new addiction of our generation? We are the oversharing generation.
I very much believe this is a “thing” and it is also, I believe, having a completely negative affect on our mental health and wellbeing if you feel the need to post constantly, every day, maybe twice a day, is it through the want of doing it? The expectation of it? Or just habit?
I actually had to catch myself on a few weeks ago, I was on instagram every single day checking if a girl I knew from work years ago but didn’t really speak to anymore had had her baby… like what the actual fuck? Her popping out a little one literally had nothing to do with me, It had no bearing on my life and I had none on theirs but I just needed to know… nosey? Maybe i’m still grieving through my own infertility? … thats it laura just you try and rationalise your crazy online stalking of a woman and her unborn child, I need to stop getting so caught up in what everyone else is doing and think about what i’m doing, what I want from my life and focus on the here and now with me and my family, not living vicariously through others or sitting around at night wishing I was thinner or prettier or had longer hair or could pull off that dress like she does, the reality now, for me is who gives a fuck? Who cares if i’m looking pretty or thinner or taller or have that new handbag, or the peoney in my window? No one, no one accept me.
At the start of my social media detox I downloaded the quality time app, it tells you how many times you’ve checked your phone, the first day I have opened my phone 137 times and I had clicked on the instagram app 90 times! No one needs to be on instagram 90 times a day! It was a habit, routine, my normal. As time went on I was able to lessen my exposure to time online and the last day of my social media ban I only opened my phone 18 times and clicked my instagram app 0 times, the pride that gives me is amazing and I will from now on be so much more mindful of my time online I am going to limit my exposure to it all and get back to enjoying taking pictures and sharing my online scrap book for me.
Living in the moment is very much my new thing, Time spent with my husband, time together with friends, no phones and having the best adventures with not a single picture to remember it by and why ? because I have a memory, just because it isn’t on instagram doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! We don’t need to share every cup of coffee, every show we watch on netflix, every day out, every fresh baguette you buy, that trip to the seaside, your floral arrangements, your new earrings, your daily calorie intake, you don’t need to share it all to be happy, and if you do then that’s all good in your hood, but I have decided for me it is not where my happiness lies. ( am I becoming a bit gangsta?… apologies)
I was out the other week at a show and watched a lady in front of me basically film the whole thing on her phone, she watched it all through her phone screen, she didn’t engage as she was worried she would miss out on capturing the best video of the evening, like what is that even about. I have seen so many people watch life through their phone screen, missing the wanderlust moments because they are to busy documenting their “adventures” for social media. I just worry that I will look back in 20 years and think that was an amazing night my phone and I had, a wonderful time documenting it all for my “memories”… That can’t be what I become, I want to be that crazy auntie who passed on the most amazing stories telling them all what fun things I did, I want people to remember me and not my instagram handle, I want to pass out of this world leaving behind my laughter, my legacy and leave the world covered in big red lipstick kisses.
Obviously our social media generation will never go away, instagram has become a place for business, advertising and is so much more than the online scrapbook I wanted it to be, and you know thats ok, Its not my place to be that one grump who moans about it and dampens it for everyone, nor do I want people reading this and thinking who does this bitch think she is, does she thinks shes better than everyone else, smarter, more mindful and zen? Actually no, I just think I am doing what’s right and best for me, my family, my mental health and the legacy I hope to leave in my life, and that legacy does include my online persona in many ways. I have just had a reality check about how I myself perceive others, how I look at their little squares and judge myself based on their images. The realisation I have come to see is that it’s all one big lie. It’s staged, its planned and its not real life… no one runs through fields with perfect hair and makeup drinking from a teacup with a saucer… no one sits around looking sexy eating a galaxy caramel, no one rides about on their bike with a perfect baguette, sunflowers and a new bag of fresh ground espresso beans. It is all put together to look pretty, to sell thing things, to get followers, likes, comments and engagement, And if that’s what makes you happy then I salute you, and you should do what makes you happy, I just think its vital that we all understand its not real life, its an image put together with thought and consideration for how it will look, I am guilty of it to, staging pictures, buying cute napkin because they will look “so cute” on instagram, buying £30 worth of flowers for a snap, and in the moment it did make me happy, but I don’t want to be that girl… in writing this I had spoken to some people who have had social media issues. One girl who has run up debts to keep up with the instagrammers, to get followers and to get instafamous. Another girl who would buy £1000 of clothes, shoes, bags and accessories to wear and take pictures of for “content” she would spend a whole weekend taking pictures, styling outfits and getting her pictures ready for the coming weeks of her squares, only to return the items as she really couldn’t afford them, she felt a need to be accepted. Is it normal that we put ourselves into these positions to feel accepted? That we feel some of the “ big instagrammers” are so unattainable that we can bring ourselves to speak to them for fear of not being worthy, that we judge ourselves to this standard? Are we so in need of acceptance that we would put ourselves in debt and lie about the perfection of our life to be that new instagram “it” girl? It baffles me, social media will go on with or without us, do we really, in the depths of our souls, care that much about other people’s opinions?
I have decided I no longer care what others think, If you don’t like it, don’t double tap it, unfollow it, fuck your beauty standards, to hell with your ideas of fashion, who cares who has the best nails or eyelashes? Who gives fuck how tidy your kitchen is? Is that the newest boden dress? Literally couldn’t care less, omg you went to Peggy Porschen’s cake shop? How instagram of you! I don’t care who has the best “staring off into the distance” photo, “this isn’t a posed photo” photo, oh “they caught me unawares” photo, “its natural i swear” photo… Half the time i’m looking online and I just think omg shut up, I flick past stories of people preaching their ethos of being mindful, showing love, care, compassion and how perfect their life is and these little #instareality stories… PEOPLE ONLY SHOW YOU WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO SEE… instagram reality is just people trying to show you how “normal” and “relatable” they are, and i’m sitting thinking omg get off instagram and do your ironing, i don’t need to see your instareality pile of wrinkled clothes!
Im sure some of you have read this and thinking i’m talking rubbish, or it’s her with the issue and she’s making a big thing out of nothing. Maybe that is true, maybe It was just me? But that’s fine because writing this has really gotten my thought out, helped me think with clarity and it’s been a positive step for my own online mental health.
From now on I will only follow people and pages that give me positive feelings, that don’t make me judge myself, that give off a feeling of happiness and love to me, I feel I get comfort from some of the connections I have made on instagram and the community spirit that exists. It’s not about us all being the same but about how our differences bind us, we can’t choose who we feel drawn to, but we shouldn’t follow people who make us feel bad about ourselves because it’s socially unaccepted to click unfollow
Wither you wear Primark, Ted Baker, Boden or Parda… I don’t care
If your kitchen is filled with Ikea, Dunnes, Biba or Emma Bridgewater… I don’t care
If you walk around in Converse, flip flops, crocs, or Christian Louboutin … i don’t care
If it’s TK Maxx, Marks and Spencers, Gucci or Mulberry … I don’t care
No more feeling inadequate, no more comparisons, just accept it, move on and enjoy the fuck out of your life, each day is new, exciting and special in its own way but only when you look at it through your eyes and not a phone screen!
Love Laura x