An Ode to my Dead Instagram Account
To my dearly deleted Instagram account, you have no idea how difficult it was to quit you... but here I am, free of you at last.
It feels like it was just yesterday when I first created you. It was the summer of 2014. I had just transplanted myself to Norway and was slowly but surely seeing the lie of this new land I would be calling home.
I was alone at home for the most part, while T worked full days. I had no friends apart from the ones I’d left behind several timezones away. I had no job to keep me occupied. And to be honest, I was getting bored of watching the same reruns on Netflix.
So, out of curiosity, I breathed life into you by signing my soul away to the System.
It started off with random photos here and there, tinted in your nostalgic filters that still survive to this day.
You became a great creative outlet for me while also giving me a chance to reconnect and catch up with old friends outside of Facebook.
Fast forward to 2017 and several username changes later, you found yourself evolving once again. Your rows upon rows of perfectly framed travel and food photos were now featuring little fingers and little toes. My little Squidgy was born and suddenly, nothing else mattered anymore.
The babe won the war and proclaimed itself ruler of Gooberlandia, and for the next 3 years, you would find yourself inundated with hundreds of light-hearted and entertaining photos and videos of a spunky baby boy-turned-preschooler, joined by his little brother 3 years later. While some friends may have muted me or unfollowed me altogether, not once did you complain and neither did your algorithms.
And now it’s 2021. It’s been a year since the pandemic started and to be completely honest, you kept me sane through all the waves and all the lockdowns. I don’t think being cooped up at home with a toddler and a newborn would have been nearly as “fun” had it not been for you.
So, thank you.
But also, no thank you.
Your very essence of being fun — your hyper stylized images and snappy captions — were slowly frying my brain. I was wasting my precious time and energy on you, swiping up, down, left and right. You made me afraid of missing out on what my friends and family were up to, their posts inconveniently pressed between the maddening onslaught of your sponsored posts that were annoying to scroll past and have grown alarmingly in number these past few years (like YouTube moving from 1 to 2 ads at the start of the video). And no matter how much I tried hiding these sponsored posts, telling you that I wasn't interested in the crap you were trying to peddle, you would just post another one a couple of squares down the line. You had become the Hydra I was trying to behead, and I was no Heracles.
There were many a time when I found myself picking my phone up unconsciously, and almost immediately, my fingers would find their way to you. You and your colorful Polaroid-type camera icon. I would spend 5-6 hours of my time each week on you. Sometimes even more.
What value did I really get out of all those hours spent with you?
Yes, thru you, you made me laugh. You helped to reconnect me with my friends. But like most things that are free, you came at a cost.
You were affecting me in ways that I didn’t even realize or fully understand until I took a very hard and good look at myself.
Unbeknownst to me, I was trivializing my own thoughts and feelings by packaging them up into bite-sized stories, for you to wipe clean after 24-hours. You were ever so subtly pulling me deeper into the World of Wants, convincing me in your own jedi way that it was perfectly acceptable and normal to change out furniture and interiors with the seasons, and to buy clothes as often as a simple cup of coffee, and that my children weren’t living their best lives if they didn’t eat organic vegan, play with only wooden toys that cost at least 30EUR a piece, and wear only sustainable clothes and shoes.
And yes, it is absolutely my fault that I bought into your ruse. My fault that I let myself be led down this path for way too long — which is why I had to get rid of you.
Many of my friends were saddened of my departure from you. Some even tried to convince me to stay. To be honest, the days leading up to my decision to quit you were anxiety-ridden and stressful.
I was thinking of all the connections I was going to cut, all of those life’s moments I will be missing. How was life going to be like without me sharing a story about my two goofy goobergoos? How am I supposed to fill the voids in my days? Will my experiences and everyday moments feel just as real if I don’t document them and share them to the world?
The more I circled back to these questions, the more they sounded ridiculous. All the more I was convinced that you and I had to call it quits because no level-headed person would even be thinking or stressing over this.
I was addicted to you, and our relationship had turned codependent. As a psych major, the error of my ways were as plain as day.
It‘s been two days since I gave the system permission to delete your existence. And while a part of me is still wishing you were around to keep me company when my thoughts start running and my feelings start pouring over, I couldn’t be happier that you’re almost soon-to-be officially gone.
In the last two days, I’ve never been more productive, more present. I also feel more content seeing that I am no longer comparing myself to others several times each day. My bank account is also celebrating, knowing that there are now a hundred less ads for me to see and be swayed by each day.
So, again thank you my Instagram account for all the memories that you so “graciously” allowed me to access and download. A keepsake of our seven-year-long relationship. Soon, you’ll be nothing more than an imprint of your former life. An impercetible footnote in the System’s neverending book of stories. You lived a good life. You fought hard.
But I finally got the better of you, and won.
Goodbye. You won’t be missed.