It never rains in heaven-The sugar-coated reality of Instagram

The summers of my childhood were marked by exhausting games with friends, curious expeditions in town, creative explosions of wrong ideas and other mad plans spontaneously invented along the way. A troop of fearless soldiers always ready to invade empty houses and spy strangers with their bikes. I have many stories about those times, however, this particular one takes place a little earlier.

I remember how when I was 4, maybe 5, and we were somewhere outside with my mom, every time when gray clouds began conquering the skies, I used to look worried at her and say:

“Mom, there’s a storm coming, it’s going to rain”

To which she inevitably replied with the exact same joke:

“So what? You’re not made of sugar, are you?”

Sincerely, in the beginning, I never understood the meaning of that phrase. Of course, I wasn’t made of sugar but what did that have to do with the fact that we were about to get soaking wet?

I believed that my mother had a rare gift of highlighting the obvious: our core substance wasn’t sugar. Great job, mom! Now tell me about the rain!

Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo

Funny thing is, the moment she said that, a strong craving for sweet would arise in my belly and I would reply “I wish I was made of sugar”.

Then it was her turn to look at me with a bemused face.

Truth is, I was a fierce fan of everything extremely sweetened like chocolate, ice-cream, cookies. For instance, when we would go to a coffee shop and my mom was with her friends, the other kids and I would use the opportunity and secretly rob all the sugar packets that came with their coffees. Then we would hide and gulp down the white crystals. We could swear it was the best feeling in the world.

Naturally, after a while, we would start feeling sick. The body has a limit for everything and we were masochistically experimenting with the boundaries of sugar consumption. We devoured sugar like water. Yet when the rain hugged me with its pouring arms, I never melted.

Photo Credit: Hans Vivek

Some time ago I was sitting in a coffee shop with a friend and when he said he had to go to the restroom, I automatically, as usual, reached out for my phone. (I don’t like checking it in front of people when it happens I feel the urge to apologize immediately but when there´s no one around, it´s a normal action).

So I stuck my nose into the screen and started scrolling. I was hungrily absorbing someone’s honeymoon pictures; some vacation photographs from the Maldives; many selfies with TV smiles and magical backgrounds; photos of new shoes, dresses, hairstyles; people having fun at parties last night; people bragging about how much money they make online without actually having to work; some fitness mamas with their babies in completely white kitchens…

It seemed like people were living their dream lives with such an ease. And while my brain was waving red flags at me, reminding me that that was not all true, my finger kept moving across the screen feeding me with more and more images straight out of heaven.

Suddenly I felt someone shyly pulling my dress. I moved my eyes slowly. At first I saw just a small hand with a sugar packet in it, then I found myself staring into the eyes of my 5 years old version. As shocking as it sounds, I wasn´t stupefied at all. She, (I?) accommodated herself in the chair by my side and said:

“It´s all very sweet, isn’t it? I like it… You know, I wonder if it ever rains there. ”


She showed the phone screen and said: “There, in heaven”.

I laughed at her imagination. “That’s no heaven, that’s Instagram.”

“Hmm…” she remained silent for a while. “I’m not sure what Instagram is but everything there looks very beautiful… can I live in it?”

“Don’t be silly, you can’t live in Instagram” I felt absurd having to respond to such a simple thing.

“Why?! Are there any storms there?”

“There can be no storms in Instagram.”

Surprisingly, she seemed satisfied with my answer, a warm smile appeared on her face. She got off her chair and just when she was about to leave, she turned around and said:

“You know, maybe that’s for the better. Otherwise everything there would melt.”

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