It feels strange to write this and realize it’s the first blog post I’m writing in three weeks. After a year and a half of blogging 2-3x a week, I almost have to remember how to edit photos, you know? It feels sort of deja vu.
Why did I pause?
The truth is, I’ve loved blogging since the moment I started and I still do. I love writing, I love fashion and photography, and most of all I love connecting with you by sharing the tips and tricks I know.
But for me the ugly side of blogging was always Instagram. It’s the biggest platform for bloggers at this point in time, but it’s also the one I don’t care for. For me a blog is about getting beneath the surface and connecting with you in an authentic way, providing value and having a platform to share my take on fashion and photography.
Instagram on the other hand is quite the opposite- it’s a parade of the same sweaters in the same Target or Nordstrom rooms, often with the same Lightroom preset followed by a witty, superficial caption telling you why you need that particular cardigan. iPhone pictures are strongly preferred to digital ones and from my experience, the less thought out a picture, the more people it reaches and the more sales you make. Why? Because this is what Instagram likes. But iPhone pictures in a Target dressing room have nothing to do with why I started fashion blogging.
Once you post your outfit on Instagram, you’re supposed to sit on your phone for 30 minutes (or more) to reply to superficial comments, largely from other bloggers. There are some genuine ones from you guys mixed in, but they’re the minority only because of the dozens of bloggers who comment in hopes of getting a ‘like + comment’ back to increase their engagement.
There was the time I wrote about a family member close to passing, or to raise money for childhood cancer research but still got dozens of comments from bloggers telling me ‘I love your top!’ or gushing how cute Juliana’s shoes were. They didn’t even read what I wrote. It was fake and felt like a waste of time.
And then there’s the comparison that Instagram forces. When you are constantly in touch with other bloggers it becomes impossible not to compare- no matter how hard you try- your life, your looks, your house, your physique, your wardrobe, your # of followers, your Instagram feed, how many likes you get, etc. etc. For months I made a conscious effort not to but the nature of Instagram makes completely avoiding comparison impossible.
Many bloggers have talked about comparison, or the pressure Instagram puts on them- myself included. I talked about it in this post back in November and then again this Spring, but here’s what I finally came to realize:
the only way to turn off the toxic was to turn off Instagram.
Blogging brought me happiness, but no matter how hard I tried Instagram was bringing me equivalent amounts of unhappiness. I needed to find my happy all over again, so I deleted my Instagram app and didn’t look at it for two weeks straight.
I felt a level of freedom, peace and happiness I hadn’t felt in a year and a half. It felt AMAZING not to care if my Instagram was growing (or dropping off the face of the earth) and amazing not to constantly think about what I needed to add to my Instagram Story or what photo needed to go next in my feed. But best of all it felt amazing to shut off the comparison. It feels so good. I feel free. And most importantly, I’m much happier.
As a blogger Instagram can become a powerful alternate reality. Even though it’s tiny squares and video snippets of other’s lives, it has a way of sucking us in and spitting us out. A few days after deleting the app it finally hit home just how much INSTAGRAM AIN’T REAL. Anything you can delete from your life at the push of a button isn’t real life folks and shouldn’t hold power over you.
I did go on Instagram the other day to check direct messages after getting notes on other platforms from you guys checking checking if I was alive. When I saw how many direct messages I got, I realized as much as I needed to shut Instagram off, I should have communicated better. For all the bad, the beautiful redeeming factor of this platform is the genuine community that also exists on it. I was touched how may of you reached out and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
photos c/o Deeana Kourtney Photography
And so we arrive here- a blog and community that took two years to build. Cutting off Instagram might feel like amputating both my blogging legs but I’ve given a lot of thought to where we go from here and this is where I’m at:
- Pro: I love writing blog posts and I can’t wait to keep doing them.
- Pro: I’m much happier without Instagram so I won’t go back to spending more than a few minutes on the platform each week (max).
- Pro: From a practical standpoint, I have other platforms that drive the majority of my blog traffic so that should stay relatively consistent.
- Con: Most brand collaborations start with interest from my Instagram, so I won’t have the same opportunities for sponsored content. As a result, my income from blogging will drop.
- Pro: my career is still my primary source of income and financially Juliana and I will be completely fine.
I would say the pros outweigh the cons- what do you think? 😉
Here is the monster takeaway lesson in it all:
You are in charge of your own happiness and you ALWAYS have the power to choose it. If you’re unhappy in some area of your life identify the thing that is stealing your happy and make the change no matter how drastic it feels. Don’t be afraid to re-write the rules. You have the power to take back your happy.
Thanks for hanging in there with me!
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