You may have noticed I’ve been quiet on the Instagram front. It’s been over a year since I’ve deleted the app. I could be dramatic and say something along the lines of, gone without a trace but that simply isn’t true. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been writing blog posts. I bet you’re thinking, why and how have I survived this long? Let’s just say it’s doable and was for the best. I have taken social media breaks every now and again, but none lasting as long as this.
The Question is, Why?
Uploading on Instagram had started to become tedious whilst I was in China. We all know that it’s banned so using a VPN was the only solution to jump over that Great Firewall. Daily life consisted of constantly connecting and disconnecting, freaking out and panicking when VPN is down due to some stricter measurements over certain periods, or it’s just being absolutely rubbish. Being disconnected from the outside world wasn’t a pleasant experience. Because I was travelling a lot, sharing it through stories, uploading to the feed without spamming became second nature. I began to fall behind on my uploads, due to VPN and laziness. Time in between uploads became longer, resulting in stopping overall.
Everything became a chore, from editing to captioning. If you’re a long time reader, you would know I have terrible body issues (I’ll touch upon this in more detail in a separate post). If not, you do now. Last year, I had reached my lowest point ever – emotionally depleted and dangerous weight loss habits continued to escalate. To save myself and my wellbeing, Instagram had to go. Queue in Gloria Gaynor – “Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now ’cause you’re not welcome anymore…I will survive.”
Touch and hold the logo, press uninstall and poof, adios. I do not regret it one tiny bit.
Do I Miss IG? FOMO?
I had never expected to last longer than a month or two, never mind over a year. Once I’ve hit the 6-month mark, deactivating my account altogether did cross my mind. Now I’m thinking, should I? There’s no set date for my so-called “comeback” so actually deactivating wouldn’t do any harm right? I’m thinking about it again as we speak.
I even said to myself, when I do hop back onto the bandwagon, I’ll stalk every single one of my follows and unashamedly like their photos to see how they’ve been, what they’ve been up to etc whilst I’ve “disappeared”. In other words, be nosey and be happy for them. A late cheerleader you can say.
The habit of checking Instagram had nestled itself comfortably into my everyday routine. At first, it took a while for me to realise it’s been deleted and have been tempted to download it again but as the days went by, this habit was being overwritten with something new.
Do I feel lost without IG? Not particularly, no.
Do I miss it? Nope. The lack of chronological timeline was off-putting.
Just remember, the IG life isn’t real.
The Real Q is, How Do I Feel?
Refreshed came straight to mind.
I preach about not comparing yourself to those on the platform and that it’s not real, yet I subconsciously still do it. After all, it’s hard not to when your life and looks always gets judged and compared to others – a typical toxic Chinese habit I absolutely detest; something that’s happened throughout my whole life and sadly still does. Don’t get me wrong, it also happens in the West too, but it’s worse in Chinese culture.
When you get rid of the source that’s causing you pain, that’s when you start feeling light. No weight and no burden. If you compare today’s me to last year’s me, I am different. My behaviour and emotions may have progressed positively into the green but that’s not to say I’m 100% better. I’m far from 100%. There are many other factors contributing to this but conquering them one at a time is far better than approaching them all head-on at the same time. There will be times where I’ll relapse but for now, take it one step at a time and to not overwhelm myself.
Stepping away from what I now deem social media as a toxic environment is something I would highly suggest everyone do once in a while. Looking after your own mental health should be the utmost priority for every single individual out there. It will do you some good, trust me. Mental health is slowly becoming less of a taboo but the approach and services available are still not good enough. We need to toss out the stigma. Do I need to say, it’s 2020 goddammit! 2021 is fast approaching.