It’s the end of December 2022 and I am officially an empty nester. As I sit here in the cold Virginia weather, pondering about my life, my days gone by, my painful achy knees and how incredibly unfair life is stacked against women, Instagram popped in, like an unwanted but always hovering but never leaving or staying guest.
When there is so much that my mind is grappling with, and so much that I want to quieten down, I realize with dismay that Instagram has been occupying so much of my brain space and contributing to so much of my unrest. I needed to be honest and accept that I was going nowhere with this a/c. I took a long hard look at the WHY’ behind the account and listed them. To be honest, I was never the one for limelight. I work hard and strive to do things good and to the best of the project’s possibility, but once it’s done, I glow for a brief firefly moment and I quickly move on to the next challenge, the next conquest, the next steep hill. Whether this is because of some twisted traumatic dysfunction within me or because I genuinely do not care for world wide recognition is beyond me and tbh, why does it matter anyway?
I am here. This is how I feel. This is true and valid, and I must act on what’s valid and once I pull the trigger, I will be free of the exhaustion of belonging to a long gone dead limb of my very diverse tree of life. So dramatic no? 🙂 I am sure this is how we all feel at some point – to be burdened with some of the different parts of our past, unwilling to be rid of, and unable to start afresh..
2023 Instagram is very different from the October 2010 Instagram I started posting on. I was always an early adopter. To blogging (on blogger), to Pinterest, to twitter, to Linkedin, to Instagram and a couple others that are now defunct. 2011 Instagram was about pictures. This was the time when I picked up photography as a hobby, became obsessed with the Nikon DSLR, and delved headfirst into the world of exposures/pictures/angles and the joy of capturing great visuals. It was a harmless simple categorical site that just let us be. Since it got bought over, the changes have been fast and multifold. Like many, I adapted, and started accepting challenges thrown at us. I still am a sucker for the visual, I love the video and I am constantly learning how to do better with the creative part of Insta. THAT is not the problem as much as the algorithm engagement, the monetization, the bots, the purposeful suppression of the feed, the lack of customer service, the ease at which anything could be stolen and the audacity to do it all without any sense of moral or ethical accountability.
It’s a free site, the company is not obligated to you, says logic. and logic is right.
What hurts me is the slavery that Instagram has made of us all. To force all to become content creators, to force us to be “social” – for crying out loud, some of us are not social and why we love the quiet of the online world, till ofc the pandemic came and forced everyone to get on here. It’s like the extroverts made the quiet very noisy. Some sane voices have drowned. I tried to be myself, but niche was important and to my varied interests brain, if the society didnt mock me enough for not building equity in one space, and build a career, the internet was also asking the same of me. That was not saddening but crushing. In a world where we are constantly working to build ourselves up, we are forced to reckon with the hum of not being enough, the buzz growing stronger with each shift in how Instagram operates.
No matter what I told myself, and no matter how much I didnt care, there was an illusion of holding myself out for the ones who cared for what I said on Instagram. A few, and many silent ones who come out to whisper their thanks over messages, but isn’t that enough, I asked myself. Wasn’t it Maya Angelou who once said that “Your legacy is not your riches but how many people’s lives you have touched in your lifetime” and by that regard, don’t I have already a rich legacy I can be proud of?
What else am I chasing? Numbers? The freebies? (that I can very well buy?) The network, that I already can tap into, simply by just being me? Is there $$ to be made? So what is it?
Am at this juncture in life when its tiring creating content for the sake of content, to take selfies and to post pictures and for what? a few compliments? Validation? I don’t need that anymore, and the biggest proof of it is in my camera roll. I go for events, I am dolled up, but there are barely any pictures of the moment. They do say that when you forget to take pics, it probably means your real life is full and plenty more than your reel life.
10 years is a good run. No? Rads.og was my original Insta account, so it has a lot of memories in its archives. I cannot and will not delete it, until I am able to make sense of the archive download. Rads02 is the original ID – but a second account I’d created later on, and which will now become active and stay private.
I do not think am done with speaking to the world yet tho’, as I believe my calling is in the arts. However, is Instagram the medium in which I find myself? No, absolutely not. Not anymore at least. This post came easily to me. I didn’t think it would, but it did. Not the sentiments, but to be able to pen them down. I was sure I had a writer’s block 🙂
My old true loves: writing, photography, and dance is where my heart is. These holidays will be interesting to say the least.
Am sure I’ll find my next stage Ikigai soon.
Wish me luck..