Wednesday, 20 March 2019

social media liberation + my instagram

I started my instagram (@oceanpainter_) when I was fifteen years old. About a couple of months in, @highhsoul gave me a shout-out and I gained 2,000 followers. For the next three years, my Instagram grew. I gained popularity quickly, worked with several brands promoting clothes and jewellery- even designed my own collection.  And it felt incredible - this secret life. The likes, the comments, the DMs from girls my age who were inspired by me. And yes, it was intoxicating, at 9,000 followers, a little slice of internet fame.

Now at 20, the app is only on my phone when I re-download it. I have 5,000 followers, a number that decreases every day, and... it's refreshing. I'm not sure why I started to lose so many followers. If anything, I feel as though my photography got better, my captions more real. Yet, I began to feel detached. Posting didn't fill me with a buzz anymore; I felt unworthy of a platform, unsure how to use it. I became distracted by comparison. Scrolling would make me unhappy, not inspired, and try as I might, I still ended up on models pages feeling inadequate, sometimes even ugly. Why would I keep something on my phone that made me think this way? Why would I mindlessly scroll when I could be writing, creating, reading?

I couldn't think of a reason so I pressed the little 'x' and watched it disappear. As simple as that. For a while, my fingers clicked on empty space when bored. @oceanpainter_ was my identity - it was my creative outlet, my community. I felt loved there. Admired. But seeking validation from an app is easy until the comments stop, the number drops and you're refreshing your page wondering why nobody cares about you anymore.

Sometimes I wonder who I'd be if my account had kept growing. I'm almost certain I'd be simultaneously self-obsessed and insecure. Social media is not a 'bad thing.' I met one of my best friends - hi, Jade - through my instagram; I have been able to connect with people from all over the world; I've documented my life in beautiful, filtered images. It becomes a 'bad thing' when it's your only 'thing.' At fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, my page was where I saw myself: in the likes and comments, in the numbers. Now, I post for me and write, for you. I still want to inspire, encourage, do all the things I was praised for a couple of years ago. I'm never going to abandon that account. If anything, it's a time capsule - one that I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through and reliving. Photography will always be a passion of mine and on that page, I can share it, interact.

But I'm not just an account on instagram anymore. That part of my life, I'm so grateful for, but at 20 years old, I think there's more. Thank you to everyone that has shared a little bit of love for me and my photos on the internet - I appreciate you all so much. I hope you continue to enjoy my photography and sometimes, I hope you can delete the app too. It really does feel amazing.

- J

Sunday, 24 February 2019

hi + alcohol

Hi. It's been a while and I have quite literally just grabbed my laptop - very spontaneously - wanting to write something. A lot of thoughts, epiphanies, life lessons have been floating around, in, out of my life recently and I want to share some: for you and for me. Starting with alcohol. Right now, I'm feeling hungover and I hate, hate, hate this feeling not just because I feel ill but because I don't feel me.

Last night, I left the club alone at 1:30 am - an hour and half before closing. Sadness just overcame me and I didn't feel like dancing with a load of drunk people or pretending to be happy when truthfully, I had just sat on the toilet and cried. Earlier this week I visited one a best friend and got far too drunk and again, under that much alcohol, didn't feel like dancing. Instead I went to the sea which was actually pretty magical, and freezing, and watched a strange magic trick. I think I've realized I love people a lot more than I thought I did.  I love talking, connecting, listening, helping. It's probably why I often prefer pre-drinks to the actual night out...

And last night, I made a personal promise not to drink too much because after the sea earlier this week I died. It was so bad, I spent hours crying on the bathroom floor wanting the feeling to be over. ((I seem to cry a lot)) I poisoned myself (and hated myself for it). And last night I didn't get too drunk. But I did drink more than I set out too and most worryingly, I wanted to get smashed.

As always, this post is a messy expulsion. I don't want to go out clubbing for a little while. It just doesn't inspire me and right now, I want to be in a constant state of inspiration. I like to drink. I do. But I never want to crave it more than clarity.

- J

*image from tumblr*