Six years ago I decided I wanted to be a blogger – in every sense of the word. I wanted to go to events, write product and book reviews, have a bomb Instagram page and gain influence in the currency of faceless followers on the Internet. Although I had the writing part down, I couldn’t grasp everything else that seemingly came with being a blogger. Much as I tried, I couldn’t command an audience with my tales from a small town north of Toronto. Eventually, I gave up on the idea of being a full-time super blogger and focused on just the writing aspect, whether or not people read it.
What I found most difficult about aspiring to the sisterhood of bloggers was the amount of time, presence and energy spent on social media. Even though my blog posts came few and far between over the years, I always felt this nagging sensation that I had to be on social media, I had to keep posting on Instagram, I had to be connected at all times. When my personal life went on a downward spiral two years ago, I dabbled with the idea of deleting my social media accounts. I didn’t want to share anymore. I didn’t want people to know my business. I didn’t want to be pulled away from my family and into the abyss of feeds that I didn’t really care about.
It took me two years to finally get rid of Instagram. It happened slowly and then all at once. First, I turned the cellular data off of my phone for Instagram and then I realized how productive this made me at work, how I drove without picking up my cellphone, and how I was starting to feel happier. For someone who has lived through anxiety and borderline depression, feeling happy is scary. Happy can be taken away as quickly as it’s felt. Case and point – once, after a lovely night out with friends, I went home and scrolled through my Instagram feed. The insecurities and comparisons kept coming. Suddenly my fun evening out with friends didn’t seem so great.
The moment I felt like my evening didn’t measure up to others’, I deleted (not just disabled) my account. Goodbye 680 followers, goodbye family, goodbye years’ worth of photos. Hello to my sanity.
It’s been a mere two weeks since I deleted my account and here’s what I’ve noticed:
- I am not as much of a moody bitch as I used to be
- I don’t start conversations with, “Did you see what ______ is doing on Instagram?”
- I LOOK at people when I talk rather than at my phone
- I can put my phone down for hours without feeling like I’ve lost a limb
- My sex drive has increased intensely (maybe because we’re actually spending time together or because I’m not glued to my phone or because we’re not fighting over me always being on my phone. Regardless, It’s been a win-win for me and my husband)
- I READ a lot more!
- I enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning instead of scrolling through an endless array of photos
- I am more present
- My anxiety has lessened and my confidence has grown since there is no one I need to compare myself to
- I’m more productive at work
It’s sounds insane that an app would have this much effect on a grown woman; on the other hand, it’s often the smallest things that have the greatest impact.
When I tell people I deleted Instagram they look at me with wonder and worry. They think I’m weird or trying to go against the grain. What they don’t understand is that without Instagram I feel free. I don’t have to keep up with anyone but myself. I don’t have to like photos I have no interest in. I don’t have to pretend I’m happy and spend time choosing the perfect filter and writing a witty and appropriate caption because I’M LIVING MY MOMENTS. I’m looking around and I am hella more aware of what’s going on.
Deleting Instagram was the best decision I’ve made; it brought me back to myself.