the insta-cation

(so upon reading it back, this post is feeling very 'waaaaah!' white-middle-class-thirty-year-old-problems … but it think it's important for me to get it out and have it somewhere. so that if i ever start to notice the obsessive outweighing the sporadic again i can come back here and remind myself to stop … to snap-out-of-it … to remember to balance the two sides of my nature.)

so … instagram.

i think i may have been addicted. i was addicted … and it's so so easy to get that way because there are so many crazy-gorgeous amazing inspiring people in there … and so many awesome hashtags to play with … and everyone is so sweet and kind and supportive. it was a whirlwind romance … but then (without realising it in the beginning) things started to get done purely for instagram … and things that should have been happening (like housework and playing with small people and doting on my husband and making the things i wanted to make) just stopped.

because unlike blogging where the commenting is off in an email waiting for a response later … with instagram they're all THERE! … and i was finding them impossible to ignore. when i only had fifty followers it was ok. it was easy to say something back to everyone who had something lovely to say … but it started to get harder and harder. people would say things that i wanted to chitchat with them about … but i felt like i should say something to everyone else who'd left a smiley or a 'love' in the comments above (because that's what i'd always done) and then it would all seem too hard so i'd not. and i'd get to the end of the day having posted five or six shots and then (because that's what i'd always done) feel obligated to spend several hours replying 'thank you' to smileys and 'love's.

my love put up with it for quite a while … because he could see the good things that were coming from it … but then there was an argument … and it helped me realise that i'd been doing things the wrong way. (well really i think i knew all along in the back of my mind … but i was trying to ignore the little voices telling me that things were becoming silly.)

so i stopped. i took a week long insta-cation … and i felt like i really was on holidays.

oh there was some documenting … but only things that seemed truly worthy. not the on-the-treadmill-must-produce-something frenzy that i'd felt previously. only things that i really WANTED to do (and then take photos of) … and all the time taken up with the 'thank you'-ing was put to much better use.

it was amazing!

and i've learned a few things …

i was holding myself to a standard that i wasn't holding others to. if i drop a 'love' or a smiley on someone's shot it's a bit like a second 'like' … i don't expect a response. i doubt i'd remember where i'd left those kinds of comments most of the time, much less expect a return comment. but i made myself FEEL like i had to say 'thank you' to everyone who did the same to me.

i created a sense of obligation within myself to produce a certain number of shots in a day … regardless of feeling that way inclined or not. purely because i'd HAD days when i had felt that way inclined … when the flow was in high gear and things just seemed to effortlessly roll from one idea to another. i think perhaps i was afraid that if i had a quiet day it meant the inspiration had left me … a desperate scrabble to claw back that gorgeous sense of flow.

i was letting fear of hurting peoples feelings online stop me from operating in a sensible, rational, appropriate way at home with the three shiniest people in my world.

and finally … i'm a total nutbag!

so i'm going to stop being a nutbag (in the bad sense … i'm pretty sure i'll always be a bit nutbag-y). instead of running on autopilot on instagram and in the real world, i'm going to say 'thank you' by being a more measured in my posting … quality over quantity … by thinking harder about my commenting to others … by responding to comments that spark my interest and feel like they may start conversations. i'm going to do things in my life that i can instagram if i choose … play with my kidos … dote on my husband … make things … because they're the thing that really make me happy and most of all they're the important things (along with keeping on top of the laundry … i guess).

phew! congratulations … you made it to the end of my novella!

so … because i've had a few people comment to me that they struggle with insta-obsession a bit too, i guess i'm hoping to maybe start a little dialogue (with this slice of how-i-really-feel). perhaps how-i-really-feel might help someone else take a closer look at how-they-really-feel … please please add something if you'd like to. i'd love to hear if you've felt the same … or completely different … (or just wanna tell me to get over it!)

… xx

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