I changed my mind about Instagram

In other news, Marina has been re-hired as my unofficial muse/IG model.

Do you all remember back in April I wrote about saying good bye to Instagram?

According to my stats, that post was one of my most read ones, and I think that my reflections on the performative part of Instagram – and feeling too old to be participating in any of that – resonated with a lot of my readers who don’t want to feel on display and dislike the pressure to overshare their business.

My Instagram break lasted from late April to late June. Specifically, June 29th, when I decided to upload a picture I took of the pond at Goodale Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, and in the center of the pond is the elephant fountain. I was taking a walk break around the pond when I noticed a family of ducks on a rock and wanted to get a picture of them to send to my mom. I did, texted her and held on to the picture a few more days before having my “what the hell” thought and deciding to get back on Instagram.

And I’m actually having way more fun with it now than I was then.

Looking back, there was an unspoken big reason why I decided to get off Instagram in April. Granted, I did write about this in my April post, but I severely underestimated the impact when I was actually going through it.

My depression was at its worst and frankly, seeing happy people and people performing happy simply made me feel like my situation was more impossible, like I was always going to be in the black hole. I had been unemployed for six months at that point, studying for a licensure exam that was required for the jobs I was looking at (independent insurance agencies) with little faith that I was doing the right thing, and my former boyfriend and I were going through the rough patch that turned out to be the beginning of the end. This was the point where even mindless scrolling and distractions weren’t working to alleviate the heartache, and I felt guilty when I was taking hours to scroll through my phone or play Animal Crossing because, after all, I was unemployed. If you were serious about getting back to work you’d be applying everywhere, the voice in my head – and a major one outside of it – was chastising.

The other thing I noticed about myself then was that the more time I spent on Instagram, the more of a judgmental ass I was turning into. At the end of the day, it really didn’t matter what the goofy network marketers I briefly knew in college were promoting or how scruffy Former High School Hottie was looking. But heartbroken, resentful me was digging for any relief or escapism, and – while I’m not proud to admit this – nitpicking captions and filter choices was the means to that end. From my own upset I was petty and keeping a self-loathing cycle going.

Before I uploaded the picture of the pond, I read my original blog post again to remember my reasons why I got off in the first place besides the depression. My original take on me being too old to be performing or writing long, self-exploitative captions is still the same – I’m still turning 30 at the end of the year and don’t want to be the gal clinging to her youth at the expense of her dignity.

So I simply won’t be.

Nobody said I had to be doing goofy stuff or looking at the performers and their goofy stuff either. I don’t have to post unflattering pictures of my thighs to make a point about how cellulite is normal or post long captions about how secure I am with my age/body/life choices so far that really wind up arousing suspicion.

My page is rated I – short for, “I post what I want and whatever sparks joy on my profile.”

So for the past month I’ve been back, I’ve been intentional and having fun with it, and truly embracing the creative, beauty-making aspect of social media.

I love being outside and flowers, so over the past six weeks I’ve been sharing pictures of sunflowers I’ve discovered on my runs in Victorian Village, the roses at Columbus Park of Roses and the gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory. There’s beauty and color on my page from those places, as well the sunset over Bridge Park in Dublin and Bunny Fountain last Saturday.

The Marina Crush Monday pictures are back, which my cat patiently tolerates when she isn’t watching the birds or sleeping in one of several hiding spots. I’ve even been having fun taking post-run selfies, when I usually hate how I look in pictures without a full face of makeup.

And the best part of being back on Instagram: I’ve announced my news about training for Columbus and felt that sense of community and support from the other runners I follow. I wound up getting emotional after the announcement and watching the likes and well wishes come in, simply because I didn’t realize how far away I had gotten from a positive community.

It may sound dumb, but sharing pictures of the things I see on runs, in nature, of Marina and the occasional selfie brings me joy that I lost and wasn’t able to get back for a long time. Depression robbed that from me for a season, and this past month I’ve made a lot of progress in getting back to myself. In addition to putting out pictures that are colorful and happy-making, I’m also getting my writing mojo back, with a planner full of writing prompts and blog ideas for the next few weeks that I’m looking forward to sharing with you all. I picked up a book again last night, and I’m looking forward to getting back to regular reading and book reviews. The creative juices are flowing, and in hindsight I can’t believe the well dried up in the first place.

But then I had to remind myself that there will always be rain to come back, pour fresh life into the vegetation and wells, and bring the earth back to life. My storm came and passed, and now the world around me is full of flowers, birds and rabbits at the feeders and sunshine.

So reader-friends, I’m back on Instagram and posting only things that are happy, beautiful or positive. I’m having fun cultivating pleasant spaces online and in my real life, and I hope you all will stay for the fun. You’re all welcome to follow me on Instagram.

Yours in writing and running,

Allison

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