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Instagram vs Real Life

There's been a lot of attention recently around the issue of "behind the Instagram" sparked predominantly by the epic meltdown of "Instagram Model" Essena O'Neill. Whilst I don't personally hold the girl in particularly high esteem (I think she's a dickhead, a clever dickhead) I can relate to the whole "Instagram vs Real Life" dilemma

Everyone knows how much I love Instagram. My breakfast is on there, my pets are on there, the contents of my underwear drawer are on there, half the bloody internet has seen the inside of my bedroom but one thing that doesn't tend to pop up in a glossy filtered square crop is my daughter. Yes that's right I have a daughter and a fiance and SHOCK HORROR we're a pretty happy family (snack stealing squabbles aside) so why isn't she proudly displayed on my Instagram feed next to my new shoes and my favourite lipstick? Partly because I don't feel like trivializing her in that way but mostly because, personally - and here's the bit that is a PERSONAL opinion that I hold MYSELF and which in no way reflects the actions or beliefs of others and neither casts aspersions on their choices... 

Because I don't want her on my Instagram. Don't I love her? Umm yes, I would fight a fucking bear for her if one for some unknown reason chose to try and attack her in a genuinely  plausible scenario. Aren't I proud of her? My fridge is covered in her Mensa-Material art (Insensible scribbles which alarmingly resemble penises, Freud help?) None of the above. Pride and Love - Tick Tick. Mostly it's because I can't personally ask her "Hey Isabelle, how do you feel about being being exposed to the entire unfiltered worldwide web, every human being on the planet with internet access and a keyboard to hide behind? Are you up for that?" She's 16 months old. She has no idea of the horrors of the internet and I've had the odd nut job Instagram Stalker situation in the past. Trust me, I know they're out there. Lurking

So I opted her out.

Does that make me a bad person? Maybe. But I don't care. Does that mean I hide her away from the world? Nope. As every single one of my Facebook friends can confirm I am certainly not guilty of that. The spam speaks for itself... Status Update: "Hey look she did cute thing number 27 today, unnecessary picture." But privacy in general is good, especially when so much of the rest of your life is laid bare with the intention of benefiting others with honesty 

That leads me back to Instagram - The glossy highlight reel of Millys world. Looks great doesn't it? Wouldn't you just love to be Milly? It's all cocktails and fashion and fancy cappuccinos and that £70 candle she never seems to light. And that's great for like 6-8% of my life. The rest is the real stuff. When I post a pretty #Tumblr image I'm not lazing in my bed in my oh so chic PJs wearing a fancy facemask and drinking artisan coffee from a handcrafted mug scrolling for inspiration because I have nothing better to do. Odds are if I'm posting a #Tumblr image I've been sat in the hospital all day with my daughter who has an ongoing condition and therefore haven't quite managed to capture anything quite glossy or pristine enough with my own camera to make the cut. After all no one wants to see the depressing vending machine or the wires and tubes hooked up to the my precious tiny child. That's not what Instagram is about. It's escapism

When I get hundreds of likes on a selfie it's probably the first time I've put make-up on or dressed myself  that week. My appearance isn't my priority. My hands aren't in the shot because they're burnt raw from medical alcohol scrub and why aren't I smiling? Because I just can't quite muster it ahead of the 3 hour drive to Bristol childrens hospital later that day to hand my baby over to a surgeon I  just met, trusting her life in his hands

Cute Starbucks cup right? Lovely shot over those autumn leaves. There's an odd sort of comfort to be found in the trivial during the helpless hours I spend clock watching and waiting for that call telling me whether my child survived yet another operation. Ditto on the outfit, "Your figure is to die for Milly!" Literally. Because I dropped 4 dress sizes to stress over the past year and can't seem to find the motivation to get excited about food when what little energy I have left is focused on not breaking down entirely. This sounds like a load of self-pitying bullshit right? Mmmmm Hmmmm. I think so too, hence why it took me 16 months to write about this stuff. But it's important as so many of us with hidden battles choose to take solace in the creative outlet of social media

So the next time you feel shit because your coffee isn't in a fancy corporations cup or your saturday night is more X-factor than A-list just remember that it's not all what it seems. And yes, some bits of this post are funny and some bits are pretty sad and that's because the sad bits are true. Real Life. We all have battles to fight, we all have struggles to bear and tears to shed but sometimes that tiny superficial corner of the internet we call Instagram is the escape we need as long as we remember what is real and what is pure illusion

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing post lovely, you are absolutely right about social media and particularly instagram - couldn't agree with you more - it's a place of escapism where people want to exit their daily lives for a few minutes to look at beautiful & amazing things. People need to realise it's not always real life! Sounds like you've had a really difficult time of things this last year but I really hope your little girl gets well soon and I'm so glad you've got a lovely little family despite the hard times! Your blog is so gorgeous as is your instagram feed - and that's the whole point of it, to create something amazing and a place for people to escape! xxx


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