[Written a week or so ago. I forgot to post it because I was too busy Instagramming.]
It takes me thirty-five minutes to drive home from work. This evening I spent the entire time thinking about my next Instagram post. I have it all planned out. It’s a photo I took this morning. I’m in an oversized grandpa sweater that’s conveniently falling off my shoulder as I gaze with an ever so slight smirk into the camera. It’s perfect. And it is the thing I am most looking forward to tomorrow.
Out of the morning stroll with my labradoodle, the scheduled yoga class I am going to take with a new friend, and the birthday dinner I have planned for my boyfriend, I am most looking forward to posting a picture to the Internet.
How did I become so entranced by Instagram? How did it consume me?
It is the primary thing I do in my past-time. I tell myself that I must have my iPhone with me at all times in case my agent calls with an audition. The real reason is because I can’t go longer than fifteen unoccupied minutes without checking Instagram. What is Kendall doing? Now, Kylie? Caitlyn? Wowzers. Kim’s boobs are huge. I hate my little boobs. Candace Swanepoel has such a narrow waist. Why can’t mine be that narrow? Stop eating today. No more eating ever again. Workout seven times a week. The inner dialogue is never-ending.
What is my point in sharing this embarrassing aspect of my life? It’s to hopefully snap myself out of it.
Never do I come away from an Instagram-perusing feeling good about myself. Truly. None of the inspirational quotes written in cute girly brush strokes set on palm tree wallpaper leave me with an “Aha, I got this!” impression. So why do I keep going back?
“Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health.”
It’s an addiction. Pure and simple. Not quite as harmful as a drug or alcohol addiction. Or is it?
I fear that this addiction over time will completely erode my sense of self and my passion to pursue my own interests rather than attempting to follow the paths of the Instagram rich and famous. With the ability to constantly and instantly compare ourselves to millions of people in the palm of our hands, we lose sight of our own true north. Is it really necessary to see Taylor Swift’s Fourth of July gathering at her sprawling East Coast estate? Do I need to know how Kylie Jenner got her Ferrari customized?
The distractions provided via the Internet and all of its users can be more harmful than helpful. At least in my case, social media in particular is no longer a way to connect and reconnect with friends. More and more, we are using social media to connect with those we have never and probably will never meet. And in using social media, we are comparing ourselves to the small portion of their life they choose to share.
It was easy--maybe not easy, but bearable--to coexist among the pretty and popular of our adolescent lives. At least we could console ourselves by saying, “Sure, he’s good at football. Maybe he’ll even get a scholarship somewhere. But he’s bad at math and has chlamydia.” We had a better glimpse at the full picture. But what’s wrong with Selena Gomez? As far as I can tell, she’s young, rich, gorgeous, and successful. I’m young, so ding-ding one point for me. But the other stuff? Please.
Maybe all I’m looking for is a little asterisk with every Instagram post that tells me a bad-at-math/chlamydia -esque detail about the person. Like, maybe my favorite Victoria’s Secret model has hairy toes, or my favorite YouTuber has chronic constipation. Something that makes me say, “At least I don’t have that.” (I love fiber, hehe!)
Here, I’ll even be the first to start it. Here’s a preview of my Instagram post for tomorrow:
Caption: Sweaters are so slippery! *
*When stressed, she pops her pimples and orders Dominoes.
See, now don’t you feel better about yourself? At least you don’t do that. But if you do, contact me immediately for we are soulmates.