By Ameena Pathan
As a social media influencer, it’s my job to keep up with the trends. But what happens when you’re keeping up with a trend that requires you not to post about it: the Instagram detox? Get a glimpse into the darkness of my diary from the six long days that I quit IG.
I feel like I’m starting a movement. A life cleanse. Maybe this will cure my depression and make me feel less empty? I’ll never need a therapist again! I feel obligated to let my followers know I’ve left Instagram. Maybe they can follow in my footsteps and change their life for the better too, like when I promoted those weight-loss gummy bears made by that Russian uranium factory. Should I post a story letting everyone know that I’m taking a break?
24 hours into this cleanse and I’m already bombarded by messages from all my friends:
“ARE YOU ALIVE?!?”
“Are you running from the law?”
“Are you mad at me? Did you block me? I can’t see your profile. I’m sorry that I told Stacy about that time you borrowed her lipstick last year and used it to paint your entire body for your Pink Panther Halloween costume.”
32 hours in: my friend sends me a link to an Instagram meme but I can’t see it. Fuck, should I just re-download it to look at funny content? Meme literacy is so important for the influencer. Otherwise there’s nothing separating you from the basic millennial who still thinks the Bernie Sanders inauguration meme is the peak of comedy. No, shut up. It’s only been a day, I can definitely do it for longer. Or maybe I just ended my career, permanently lost the 368 beautiful, carefully-curated posts that made up my feed and will never reconnect with friends and family again for the rest of my life!!!!
Going to a cafe in the mornings seems plain boring now. What’s the point of getting an aesthetically pleasing cup of coffee with latte art of a beautiful peacock embellished with foam pearls by its feathers, its soft patterns grazing the top of my coffee cup, if I can’t post it? Maybe I should focus on things that taste good rather than look good? LOL, nope. How about I make a cheese board? Ugh, that’s too pretty not to post. I’ll just have a cheese string instead. Is life even life if you can’t share every aspect of it with thousands of strangers? Damn, that was deep. Is this what Plato felt like? I wonder how many followers he had…
My mom barged into my room today asking what I wanted for dinner. I told her anything is fine. “What? No viral feta pasta, mashed-up Oreo cake, IG worthy Kylie Jenner shrimp tacos or whipped coffee?” she asked, looking at me with concern. I had to tell her whipped coffee was from, like, eight months ago and that I had deactivated my Instagram.
It’s so annoying to have to explain my struggle to everyone separately. I should’ve been basic and posted on my story: “deleting IG, message me if you need anything.” But then I would have had to reply to hundreds of messages trying to talk me out of it, begging for my unique quirky-yet-cute take on the best Sephora birthday gifts and other pressing social issues. So forget it!
I feel like I’m losing touch with society. I’m just like those old people with no phones, completely detached and relying on free preview TV channels to stay up-to-date with the world. When I finally get to see my friends in person, I’ll give them a big hug, smelling of mothballs, my skin wrinkly, offering them a butterscotch candy. Yep, having no Instagram accelerates the aging process.
I give up. I…can’t…deal. You know what they say? The four necessities of life, water, food, oxygen and Instagram. I’m eating foods that are actually healthier, rather than the ones that just look healthier. I’m being way more productive and spending much less screen time on my phone. I’m making more valuable memories with my family. I’m spending time working out and being on my best game. But NOBODY KNOWS. Why? BECAUSE I CAN’T POST ANY OF IT. What’s the point of only living for yourself and not the rest of the world?
Accomplishment: not using Instagram for six days. Reward: Instagram.