Monday, 13 May 2019

now, next + purpose

And just like, that my second year of university (at least, work wise) is finished. About five minutes ago, I submitted my last assignment and instantly felt the creeping sense of an existential crisis. Or, maybe, more job-prospects-am-I-doing-enough crisis...

The future is overwhelming but as my  wise friend Jade told me the other day, 'The future actually never comes. It's always just the present.' It's so easy to believe the lie that we need everything sorted out, right now, plans, steps on the metaphorical ladder. Sometimes my dream sound so dream-like . The equivalent to 'I want to be an astronaut', 'I want to be a footballer': 'I want to be a best-selling author.' Writing stores, that's where I come alive. And yet, the astronauts in space, the footballers celebrating the premiere league season one day, too, said, 'I want to be.'

In this period of uncertainty, of what's next?, of how?, of they're doing more, I will hold on to one of my favourite quotes:

We will not be distracted by comparison, if we are captivated by purpose. 


*image taken from tumblr (*

P.S listened to 'Not in a Hurry' by Will Raegan when writing this..

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