Why I deleted my instagram account
As a birthday present to myself, I decided to delete my Instagram account. It was an ordinary Tuesday morning, and I had uploaded two different pictures already that morning, before deleting them, anticipating what the reaction would be and what certain people would think if I uploaded a certain picture.
Then I just decided I was over it. That week, my phone had dropped and smashed to bits again which came again after I promised myself a day without instagram and promptly redownloaded the app a couple of hours later.
Curing myself of my insta-addiction was the best thing I have probably ever done for myself, though I might 'work less' which hasn't happened so far. Here's a full list of reasons why.
1. I was addicted
I would wake up in the morning and start scrolling. I found myself wondering what to post today and whether it should be a work picture, friends picture, a quote or food picture. What would make me look least self-obsessed, whilst still portraying the image of a perfect life along with a good dash of serenity and humbleness?
As in, what would make me feel better than others for a brief moment that day?
I'd spend hours on it, going through pictures of other models and people I've lost touch with to see what they are doing. Yep, they are all working heaps, have flawless bodies and have millions of followers and likes. If I went to a casting and didn't get it, I could watch the job in real-time from instagram. I'd wake up in the morning and start comparing myself to other's filtered lives straight away.
I would try to delete the app almost weekly, and inevitably re-download it within a few hours. I was full blown addicted, never without my phone and found it really hard to do something enjoyable, like watch a sunset or eat a nice meal, without the urge to upload it to 'my story'. My life was being lived through my phone, Black Mirror style. When I would be with friends we'd purposefully go to places to 'take cool instagram pictures', as above. How depressing is that?
2. It's all fake
Every picture had been carefully thought about, dissected, and probably edited it if wasn't already photoshopped. I found myself doing things like the above, going to a beach to take a cool picture of a papaya because fruit is 'in' fashion at the moment, so that I could have a cool instagram picture to put online. What for!? Probably most importantly, who for?
For my 13.5k followers who don't even know me, who know the highlights of my life and according to instagram, are mostly males between the age of 25-35?
The answer is, probably most sadly for myself, to prove to myself that I was doing ok in life because I had proof of it on my phone. I needed the validation of strangers on the internet and it would never make me happy because it would never be enough, as there will always be someone who seems more popular, more beautiful or who is working more than you are. There will always be people with more followers and more glamorous beaches to pose on, also to millions of strangers all over the world. It's a nasty cycle of fake validation and an unattainable image of happiness.
3. I 'needed it for work'
Despite the above, being harassed online for almost a year by a stalker and knowing how unhappy instagram makes me, I could never delete it because I 'needed it for work'. This might be true, I will probably not have as many clients finding me via instagram anymore, but that is the entire reason I have model agencies. I am signed to some awesome agencies who get me some amazing work, and that is their job. The entire reason I have a portfolio is so that clients can see my work, and if I am good at what I do, the fact that I don't have an account where I am posting bikini pictures or what I ate for breakfast or showing my carefully curated 'personality' shouldn't matter.
I used to think I needed to post pictures of me working so people could 'see me working'. Why does it make a difference? These things only matter inside our own minds. The reality is that no one actually cares if you are doing an e-commerce job, if you haven't worked for a week or a month or if you are shooting a Gucci campaign, and if they do then it is to do with themselves, not with you. I visited a friend in hospital who was wondering whether to post a picture to show 'why she wasn't working', which is insane!
Posting daily was just causing me more anxiety than it was worth. I would dissect everything in this 'virtual world', wondering why I didn't have as much reception as other models and imagining reasons why brands didn't tag me in their pictures, when the reality was probably that they didn't want anyone else to use me.
I felt like it was all fake anyway, as I never ever look like I do when I am made up, airbrushed, lit and angled perfectly. I would even compare myself to myself, hating that I portrayed a fake image online when I like to think I am pretty honest.
4. It was making me anxious and depressed
Incase you hadn't guessed already, I was/am a pretty anxious person. I am forever overthinking things and dissecting situations, imaging all of the possible worst outcomes!
Last year I went through a very difficult year and it's what has led me to this point, so while I don't regret it, if I didn't have Instagram and an imaginary audience to play up to, I probably would not have made so many terrible choices. Instagram just amplified every bad choice I made, every anxious thought and every depressed state to be worse than it actually was. The great and terrible thing about it, is that you just see what people want to put out there. Nothing is real, and no situation is as bad as your mind can imagine it to be.
5. I was missing out on real life
The picture was more important than the sunset, the picture at the top of the lighthouse was more important than appreciating the walk up there. I would waste hours of my day stuck in this virtual world and spiralling down a vortex of unhappiness.
I have undergone some major changes in the last few months, letting go of things that don't add to my happiness. I stopped drinking alcohol, eating meat, bingeing on sugar, entertaining drama. Instagram was the elephant in the room, the obvious thing hanging over my head that I 'had' to do but didn't want to, until I realised that I actually don't have to. It was a major part of my life because I let it be.
The world hasn't ended, I still am getting work, I still have the people in my life that matter and I just have a lot more room in my head for positivity!