Why I deleted all my photos on Instagram

Serena R
Serena R
Sep 2, 2017 · 3 min read
No photos!

Ok, I archived them, but my Instagram is empty and here’s why:

A few months ago, I declared that I was going to be “insta-famous.” I told this to anyone I knew, or met, with the confidence of a model and the self-promotion of a Bachelor in Paradise contestant. I am neither of those things so my attempt at fame was obviously ill conceived.

But I tried. I asked friends, strangers, my family, and my boyfriend to take photos of me whenever we were out. I would then immediately go through the photos, edit them, and then post the proper hashtags. As I was ignoring my company, I would mumble something along the lines of “Sorry, I’m just trying to make sure everything is perfect.” My favorite word was curated. On a trip to Florida, I made my brother switch seats with me so that I could copy his pose and get an awesome photo of the Everglade swamps. The rest of the time was looking at photos of myself instead of looking at the beauty of the Everglades. My boyfriend would get frustrated when I would ask him to take 10 photos, and then another 10 at a different spot, and then another 10 and still decide that all the photos were unusable. These are only a few of too many moments where I was solely focused on my social media presence.

But everything was great- I was getting more likes than I ever had before! One photo got 120 likes and I was overjoyed despite the fact that 120 is not a lot by any means. I started to base my self worth on likes. I thought getting likes meant I was pretty or interesting. When I wouldn’t get likes, I became disappointed and depressed. My boyfriend would console me with the phrase: “You’re comparing your life with other people’s best life.” But here I was attempting to share my best life and still coming up short. I compared myself to other women on Instagram: I was too short, my hair was too frizzy, I didn’t have a flat tummy, and so on. I would scroll through Instagram in bed and cry myself to sleep.

The last straw was when I went out with a friend. We took the same photo- it was identical, but she got more likes. By a lot. My best life was identical to her best life and she got more likes, more validation. I began to resent her with every like. I should have been proud and excited to have an awesome friend who takes Instagram photos with me, but instead I was bitter and angry. That person is not the person I wanted to be.

Before this insta-fame venture, I used Instagram to document my life. I took photos of my dog, my friends, and the beauty of New York City, but now I was only using it to take photos of me and me and nothing but me. Why was I so invested in this stupid app? Why was it causing me so much anxiety and emotion? Why was it making me a different person?

In order to be happy, I needed a clean slate. And that’s where we’re at now. My Instagram is empty and I am much happier. I am no longer comparing my life to others because I am simply living my life without documenting it. I’m sure I will post to Instagram again, but I am trying to no longer see validation in likes and comments. Although, if you could like and comment on this post, that would be great (just kidding).

Serena R

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Serena R

I sometimes write. I sometimes don’t.

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