In 2020, I spent more months off Instagram than I did on it. I wrote about my 3 months off the platform and proceeded to have another chunk of time off again at the end of the year.
I then logged back in on New Years Day, to later sign out on the 4th January. You know what? I don’t think I’ll be logging back in again.
You see, 2020 made me experience the reality of what Instagram can do to you mentally, and in real life. For someone that has been sharing their life on the internet for the last 7 years, it’s not something that has ever concerned me or stopped me from sharing my personal, raw experiences, or for standing up for what I believe in.
I’m by no means a chronic oversharer down to the details of when I last picked a spot (guys, we really don’t need to know this), but my life is definitely something I’ve always readily welcomed people to look into.
I was struggling a lot at the beginning of 2020, hence why I took a much needed break. What lockdown has highlighted more than ever is the portrayal of a certain life on Instagram that couldn’t be further from reality.
I’m not saying this is everyone, but we all play our part in building this image that does not 100% represent our daily life, our feelings and the difficulties we are struggling with.
Because, no one wants to see you crying on Instagram. No one wants to see how you sat in your pjs for one month straight. No one wants to hear about your shitty day and the cup of tea you got from a vending machine. But we also don’t want people to perceive us like that. So, the maintenance of portraying our life a certain way continues. And it’s exhausting.
What we see instead is the full face of makeup that’s taken off straight after the photo. The cosy night in setup with the caption ‘perfect end to the week’ after you’ve spent the whole week struggling. That month long holiday to Dubai that’s racked up credit card debt.
But no, we instantly take things at face value. This leads to feelings of lack in our life vs what other people appear to have. The effects of this long term are devastating and destructive.
It’s taken me a long time to realise that this is the case, whilst I’ve always played a part in doing the same thing. Which is something I have apologised for in the past.
As I’ve touched on before, it got to a point I no longer felt comfortable or ok with numbly posting cute captions when my life was a completely different story.
Aside from the fact that we probably have hundreds of people a day who fall onto our profiles in one of their frenzied, destructive searches which usually go from a friends profile to their boyfriends to their cousins dog. Yeah, we’ve all been there at some point. The part that I didn’t like was that people still have the power to continue creating fake profile names going 100% unnoticed until they choose to interact. Yes, otherwise known as trolls.
Trolls will always operate under a fake handle. Genius, huh? or duh? In the Instagram wilderness, the sly troll operates undetectable, mostly silent but always with intent to wound their predator.
The worst part about trolls is that they are almost always someone who knows you directly, possibly in a close circle. Isn’t this how most murder documentaries go like?
I digress. I’d never had any issue with negativity on my profile or blog in the 7 years I’ve been active. So when one Sunday night I was sitting down to start another episode of selling sunset I almost choked on my glass of tap water when I did a double take at a comment.
My first thought was, who the f*** are you? lolz.
Within 3 minutes I knew exactly who it was.
Needless to say the account was ‘gone’ by 8am the following day. No followers, no following, no posts, a poorly put together username – you fooling no one love. It’s the typical stamp of a troll.
I’d pretty much had enough by this point, I’d ended up quietening down on my blog over the course of 2020 and didn’t want to post anything because I quite simply didn’t want anyone looking in anymore. But it doesn’t work like that with a public account that you’re trying to grow?
It could have looked like I was fading into the distance, but the reality was that I was stronger and feeling better than before with my absence from the platform.
Now it gets to January and I embarrassingly realise that I’m logging in and back out faster than the hokey cokey. In other words, I’ve been doing a Boris.
My fleeting appearance on there in January consolidated the fact that life is better without Instagram.
I’ve always been very private about my relationships and certain areas of my life on there anyway. Just because I’ve always been online and not shared something, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just because you follow someone on social media, it doesn’t mean you know them.
My trial period last year confirmed that my blog can still exist and even grow without having Instagram.
It’s also got to a point that I have to weigh up the areas in my life that warrant my attention. Everything else has a priority that leaves me with no time to use Instagram. The extra time I don’t spend scrolling anymore has allowed me to devote my time to things that will stay with me for years to come. Instagram currently has no purpose for me, and no benefit.
But the most staggering thing that’s happened since leaving the platform? I finally have clarity. Not having that constant noise has allowed me to hear my own mind for the first time in forever.
On a final note, I never say never. I’m sure you’ll see a photo of me posing outside a strangers house on there one day in the future. But, for now, it’s goodbye Instagram.