Why did I delete my Instagram for a period of time? First and foremost, let me just say that these are my opinions, along with my reasons for myself to delete my Instagram. I have no issue with anyone who has an Instagram, nor am I encouraging that everyone delete theirs. Again, these are my opinions, and you don’t have to agree with them – I don’t expect everyone to. I also don’t expect everyone to have had the same experience as me either.
Our society has used social media to do great things. You can network. You can meet new people. You can become a part of a movement. You can grow your business. You can stay up-to-date.
However, what it also has done is alter our society’s focus to comparison. Who looks better, whose body is more attractive, who’s the new girl with all those followers, who has the most money, who has the newest pair of shoes, who has cooler pictures, who’s traveled the most, who’s doing something with their life.. A versus B. Always.
This right here, this whole comparison thing, is my issue with Instagram.
I always found myself comparing myself to the next person.. As in girls I know, girls I follow, girls who are famous, or complete strangers. Whether it was her lifestyle, her body, her hair, her attention, her tattoos, her relationship, her everything. I even found myself once comparing myself to some random girl on the popular page’s picture of her nails.
It got even worse when I would compare myself to girls I didn’t get along with or girls from my significant other’s past. What did he see in her? Am I better? If not, how can I be better?
It’s funny. Someone recently told me the other day how she would see me on social media and think I had myself so put-together. Not quite. I’m human. I have insecurities, and I have no shame in admitting that.
In my opinion, this app quickly turned into a platform for competition. Instead of worrying about going out to have a fun night on a random Saturday, chicks are worried about making sure they post pictures – VIP and bottle service, or a good selfie so their ex or a girl they don’t like will see it. In the hopes that it will ruin their mood. Or posting pictures for certain attention and compliments from complete strangers.
This is just toxic, to me.
I know what everyone is thinking right now. “Keilani, you’re the last person to talk. You were just like that.” You’re right. I’ve been there. I was that girl once.
I found happiness and pride in posting pictures and getting the attention I got from them. I liked knowing that I looked good to other people. The number of likes I had on each picture made me happy. (No, I wasn’t half naked or drunk in all of my pictures, let’s just clear that up for the record. My pictures were innocent, but I would post pictures for attention is my point.)
I was lost.
This app brought out the worst in me. I was constantly finding myself comparing myself to everyone around me. For what? I know I’m different.. I know what I can offer. Why do I do that? I was almost addicted to it. I couldn’t help it.
I started to look so hard at other girls’ pictures and find little flaws about them to make myself feel like I was better. When in reality I wasn’t good enough with myself, because if I was, there would be no comparison.
It was then that I realized it’s all unrealistic. Instagram is like our highlight tape of our edited and photoshopped lives. We show everyone what we think the best of us is. Whether that be our physical appearance and number of followers or our material things and places we’ve traveled. But realistically, we won’t show our lowest points. We won’t talk about our money issues, our insecurities, our vulnerabilities, because we don’t want to be looked at a certain way. We won’t be better than the next person that way. But everyone, everyone, has those issues. But for some reason we’re so focused on posting pictures of what everyone CAN’T do (travel) or CAN’T have (material things, exotic or physical features), instead of posting pictures of what we all might be able to relate to… Ironic, right?
Not to mention this app has given “fame” a whole new definition. There are literally thousands of people who gain the fame of big-time celebrities just because of the pictures they post on social media.
Yup, I’ve been there too. I loved it at one point. I liked having all kinds of followers. Strangers complimented me daily. I was almost addicted to thinking of the next picture I would post and what attention I would get from it. My DM’s were some of the craziest (and funniest) messages I’ve ever read. I built rapport on the club and party scene. I’ve been there. Completely caught up in this made-up world online.
But I realized that I don’t want any parts anymore. I don’t want to portray myself like that, because I’m going to be someone’s wife someday. I’m going to be someone’s mother someday. I am my parents’ child. How am I representing not only them, but myself in the best way I can?
I definitely do believe it’s possible to portray yourself correctly on social media. I do. And it’s not that I felt like I didn’t do that, but I could’ve done a better job. My problem though, is that Instagram would bring this disgusting trait out of me that I never knew I had. Finding girls’ flaws who are complete strangers to me, for what? Comparing myself to people I don’t even know, for what? Creating competition, for what? Wishing I had a lifestyle, body, hairstyle, business, closet, or certain kind of money that I don’t have… For what?
I realized my issues weren’t that “Instagram” made it this way for me. But that the issue was within myself. I needed to let it go in order for me to not compare myself anymore.
I realized I didn’t love myself the way I should. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself. But I didn’t love myself as hard and as much as I should have. That’s what got me caught up in this social media world that isn’t even real by any means. I looked for other people to show me love I should’ve shown myself – they were filling that void for me.
Instagram gave me a platform to be toxic. It gave me a platform that made me crave satisfaction from attention. It gave me a platform that made me compare myself to other women. And this just isn’t me.
Something I’ve learned is that instead of focusing on the differences between each other and creating animosity, we as women need to use each other for empowerment. We women are all we have sometimes (not limited to just women, either). It’s time to change something.
So, I begin with myself. I’m starting to love myself, so much deeper and harder than before. I need to. I realized you can find a pretty face and nice body just about anywhere. So, what separates me from the rest? There’s a lot. But I don’t need an Instagram to prove to everyone that I’m different, and I definitely don’t need one to prove that I’m better. Because I’m not in competition anymore. I should have never been. I’m on my own path and my own race. Facing my own obstacles, fighting my own battles, opening my own doors. Also representing myself as a woman and individual as well as my family and my life. Not focusing on how I look in a picture, who will like it, etc. And, once again, I’m perfecting the woman God made me to be. Believe it or not, life goes on outside of that Instagram world.
I’m not a crazy feminist now. (Nothing against them.) And this doesn’t mean I’ll never take a selfie again. I’m just pointing out how this social media world brought out something in me that I never want to be a part of my character.
Am I opposed to getting another account again? No. But if I do, it will be when I know I love myself enough to not compare anymore. And I will avoid the explore page as much as possible *rolls eyes*.
Again, these are just my thoughts on Instagram and why I deleted it for a period of time. Many people ask me if I deleted it because my ex wanted me to, but in reality, he didn’t. I did it on my own. I needed to, and it’s really helped me so I don’t see things that I normally wouldn’t so I don’t compare myself like I used to. What I can say though, is for once, I’m finally starting to look in the mirror and see Keilani instead of how I can be better. And that gives me so much more satisfaction than any of those likes and followers ever will.
“Somehow, we have come to the erroneous belief that we are all but flesh, blood, and bones, and that’s all. So we direct our values to the wrong things.” – Maya Angelou
-Keilani M. Afalava