The Life Lesson Instagram Taught Me
Lately, I’ve been trying to revamp my Instagram profile.
As if I don’t spend enough of my valuable, irreplaceable hours on this planet surfing through people’s images of a life they want us to think they live, I’ve decided to “revamp” my profile.
Sadly, yes. Lately, I’ve noticed this trend of people cropping their photos, putting them strictly in black and white, or using only one type of filter and I feel like their profiles just look so much more sophisticated and clean cut.
So in true Stephanie fashion, I took my inspiration to the extreme and deleted about 200 photos from my profile, aware I might regret this later. (One time I wanted a fresh start so I made a new Facebook profile and lost a lot of my old contacts, photos, and posts.)
Yet here I was, ferociously tapping the delete button.
When Instagram had finally had enough of me and told me that I couldn’t delete any more photos, I complied and searched through popular images and people’s profiles instead.
It was then that I came across a girl who’s profile looked exactly like what I wanted mine to look like. Her photos were cropped, there were clean white spaces between all her photos, and despite the variation, they all seemed to be in uniform.
But as I kept scrolling, I noticed that she must have went through the same exact phase I did in wanting her profile to look more uniform. The more I scrolled, the less uniform her photos were. The more color there was. And the larger the images were.
I thought about the difference between her and myself.
I was trying to erase the past, and she was just building on it.
I thought, maybe instead of deleting my photos, I should just start posting them the way I want them to look. Why did it matter if my previous photos didn’t follow this trend?
Truthfully, I’m just an extreme person I assume, particularly after this event. I see to the very end of things. I try and look at the “big picture” even when the outline hasn’t been placed before me yet.
While it is a blessing to be so thorough, it prevents me from living in the moment, and in this case, remembering and sharing these moments with people who explore my life through my photos, and the instances I reminisce through my photos as well.
Then I thought about how seriously we, or at least I, take social media. Here I was completely restructuring my visual profile to appear a certain way to people I knew, who would certainly remember the time my profile was a mess, and conversely, people I had no idea even existed.
I learned a really valuable lesson in all of this.
The lesson is that one doesn’t need to erase their history to reshape their future. The same way a car does not need to reverse and retrace it’s route in order to take another direction. Sometimes all you have to do is make the turn.
I think ultimately, we allow things from the past that have no place in the present to haunt us and continue to remind us of who we were, and where we were in our lives, no matter how far away we might be from that place.
We hide these things from others, and in turn, ourselves, to try and forget that they ever happened, to try and forget that we were once and still are imperfect beings, when really, those imperfections highlight the most profound and unmatched beauty of being human.
Moreover, we place a sickening amount of effort in performing for other people. We accept things that deeply disturb us, like social issues, vanity, and other injustices, and become so entwined in our constructed fantasy that we, at times, even forget who we are.
So when I saw this girl’s page, it wasn’t just another page. It was a story. One that I, apparently, was too afraid to tell.
But if I don’t write my own story, who will?
If I continue to self-edit, scratch, erase, and highlight all things that should have been “cropped out” of Stephanie’s story, so to speak, who is going to display the honest me to the world?
Remember when I said that I would probably regret the deletion of 200 photos from my social media profile? Well that moment came the minute I realized that those were pages from my story that were violently yanked from the spine of perhaps one of the most amazing books to ever be written.
And certainly, they couldn’t just be put back in to place.
So from here, I know that rather than pretending to be something I’m not, being too selective in what I share and how I edit it, I’m just going to build on the foundation that I’ve built so far.
With all of it’s cracks.
And all of it’s my imperfections.