Leaving Instagram

by - September 19, 2018

 Recently I was thinking about why I started Instagram, as well as my blog. My mind was consumed by the idea of deleting my Instagram at least. I figured- who cares? Who really cares about Instagram that much? If it didn't pay my bills, I would delete it right now and just live life and focus on other stuff. I don't know how many hours I spent feeling like I was creatively stuck in what I posted on Instagram. Some people saw me as just another Instagram Girl, and some people saw me as trying to post things I just loved. I never cared about the high or low number of followers I had but it was always pretty cool to see people liked what I liked. I didn't like any of the promotions that people came my way with- the skinny teas, the tights corsets, the distasteful products, and overly sexualized photo shoots. I didn't care about what people were offering me to post photos like those- because what they wanted or what they promoted didn't fit with who I am. Sure I post bikini pictures online but go look at everyone's Instagram in summer. Guys and girls post photos of themselves in their bathing suits all the time. Just because I post myself wearing little clothing doesn't mean I'll also go shoot with you just because you can "totally imagine" me in some creepy nude scenes in the woods... I honestly deleted the app for a day and felt so much better about it. I went about my day working on my apartment, listening to podcasts while I cleaned, watched movies, wrote a bit more on here. I made it all the way to the night, and at about 2am I decided to redownload Instagram.

 I was upset with myself the next day. I went a little over twenty-four hours without the app. I was seriously contemplating quitting, like why not? But then, over a cup of coffee and rain dropping from the leaves above my window, I remembered why I started my Instagram. I did a major eye roll at myself. The cliche saying that people used to use as an excuse to do crazy things- do it for the 'gram! That one, well that is actually sort of why I started Instagram in 2010. My first post was of a lamp at my grandma's on Christmas day. I don't know why I posted that lamp. I don't even remember what the lamp looked like but I want to say the shade was red. But I remember I started more seriously on my Instagram later on when I saw all the cool photos people were posting. I was very depressed at the time, didn't really do much, to be honest. It was around my birthday in 2013- so late February for those who don't know. But around then I started taking it a little bit more seriously. I had already acquired a bit of a following. I used the tips and tricks I had learned to work rather well. I was talking to other (then micro) influencers like Regan Wingo and Acacia Brinley (now Kersey) for a hot second. They helped me figure out my Instagram even more and slowly but surely I built up a following. Doing more and more, posting about more and more things more adventures. I had honestly made Instagram my reason as to get out of bed, brush my hair, put on clothes, and go outside. I didn't do things to make my life seem cool or interesting. I just kept wanting to take more and cooler photos- so I needed more and more content. I needed more and more things to take photos of. Hilton Head was always the best each year, because who doesn't like beach photos? I would take hundreds if not a thousand different photos from the trip and hold them out for as long as I could. Kings Island trips, high school football games, parking lots, concerts, winter formal, Halloween parties, Irish pubs, record stores, colorful bathrooms, museums, hotel rooms, parks, parties, Bunbury, High School Graduation, water parks, selfies in public and so much more. It made me branch out and take more photos. Try more things. Get out of my comfort zone more- something I am still working on today.

 My boyfriend helped me take all of my Zaful photos- we traveled all over Hilton Head Island the first two weeks of August this year. We used the photoshoots as an excuse to travel and explore more. He told me that he could tell when I felt comfortable and when I didn't just by looking at the photos. When kids, teens, and parents walked by I'd shut to hunch my shoulders forward, dumped my smile, and cross my arms or legs. I have been taking photos in public for so long and am just now starting to get more comfortable. Austin just kept reminding me over and over again that I would never see any of these people from here again. It was his first trip to Hilton Head, he didn't realize until later that everyone who travels to HHI is basically from Ohio. But I listened to his advice and relaxed. So what I was half naked in a little bikini playing in the sand in front of a camera. I was having fun. I was getting outside on the beach. Rolling around in the sand. Laughing my butt off at my boyfriend.

 All of that is exactly what made me think of why not to delete Instagram. I did it to keep myself going. To get me out of my bed. Force me to look presentable to be outside. Forced myself to go to social functions while my social anxiety just hit me at full force for the first time ever. I literally didn't leave my room for three months until my sixteenth birthday. From then to summer I slowly pushed myself out more and by fall I was going to all the football games. Whether I posted about them or not- I was standing there in the cold and the rain to just go see it. It made me try new things and let me push my anxiety back- then take a literal snapshot of me breaking out of my comfort zone. I did a photo shoot on a bridge over the Ohio River and I am deadly afraid of heights. Most recently I sat in a tree to do a shoot with people walking underneath me and staring at me the entire time. But I did it, I beat my anxiety and got out of our beach condo. So I'm obviously keeping Instagram- I'm too much of a pack rat to delete my digital scrapbook.



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