Every time I get dressed up and do my makeup, I take one hundred pictures. I don’t take these pictures to print and put in a photo album. Nah, I just take them to find the one that will make it to my Instagram account. Once I’m satisfied with the one (out of a hundred) picture, I edit the lighting, spend twenty minutes thinking of a caption, and then hit “post.” You think one would be done after all the hard work, right? Nope. Now I have to keep refreshing to see the likes add up.
Now, I would say I’m a pretty confident person. Hell, I go outside in a big Pokemon tee, and some beat up pants four out of five times a week. My hair? Oh, that’s never done. I never really care what people think about me in real life. What for? They aren’t feeding me or financing me! But when it comes to my Instagram account, I found myself caring. A lot.
I would only post pictures in which I did not look fat, ugly, or crazy. Every post was a manufactured version of myself. Angles to hide the things I did not like, filters to change myself into someone others would like. I would still post pictures of myself without makeup or the best outfit, but still, it wasn’t natural. Off-guard pictures were never candid, and nothing was ever “just because.”
When I started working out again, I thought it would be better. I would not be as concerned about the pictures I posted. However, I found it made it worse. I would be conscious of every single picture in regards to my weight. If I felt I didn’t look like I was losing weight, everyone would think “What is she going to the gym for? She’s not even losing weight.” I even started deleting pictures from the past, in which I looked fatter.
The only pictures that weren’t so manufactured were pictures of other people and myself. When it was a picture of my boyfriend and I, I didn’t care too much about my looks because the attention wasn’t on just me. I still was concerned about the number of “likes” though.
This morning after I checked my Instagram for the billionth time, I started thinking about my sister’s wedding next week. In my mind, I was already planning the specific pictures I would take, and the attention they would receive! After ten minutes of this, I had to stop myself and ask, “What the fuck am I doing? Why do I care this much?” And I really could not think of one good answer! Everything sounded so stupid to me. I go on my life saying how much I do not care about what others think of me, yet here I am, planning a photoshoot for others to see! I finally did what I have been wanting to do for a while: I deleted my Instagram.
People delete their instagrams all the time and make a comeback. However, I think I’m done for good. I can’t continue to live my life based on likes. I know there’s a lot of people who have social media, and do not care about the likes and things like that. But if I am being honest, I can’t do that. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be gratified by the “likes.” I allowed myself to measure my worth and looks by the number of people who liked something I posted. It is hard for me to admit any of this, because no one wants to think they “live off” the amount of “likes” they get. But that is what it is! If Instagram did not let people like your pictures, or it did not have a count, would you still use it? Every social media platform has some type of way to gratify you, whether it is by the number of likes, views, of retweets. It is hard to narrow down why we enjoy it, but we do!
If I’m confident in my real life, that should be enough for me. Half of the people who like my stuff, never even say a word to me in real life. People begin to think they know you by the things you post. I can’t allow myself to live like that anymore. I’m worth more than however many “likes” I get on a picture.
I still have my Facebook because that’s how I connect with family. It also lets me share my blog. However, I added an extension to my browser that does not allow me to see the number of “likes” I received. I also don’t have the same unhealthy relationship with Facebook as I do with Instagram. I found that with Facebook, I don’t care as much. I can’t tell you why. I do have plans on getting rid of it, though. I do not hate Instagram, or all social media. I enjoy it. However, when the “likes” started to matter to me more than what I was sharing, I knew I was not using it for the right reasons.