Breaking Up with Instagram (sorta): Our toxic relationship. . .



First of all, we never really got along. I mean, we have absolutely nothing in common. I’m more of an introvert and he’s…well he’s unquestionably the most extroverted, narcissistic, self-absorbed, bi polar, pompous, asshole I had ever had the displeasure of meeting. But, I’m optimistic so I gave him a try. Everything seemed perfect at first. We would chat for hours, took screenshots of captivating quotes and funny memes, post some of our most intimate ‘selfies’ with galvanizing and engaging captions. We were “lit” as the kids would say. Then people started to notice us, follow us and give us all this attention we were unfamiliar with, some good…some bad. I, of course, wanted nothing to do with any of it. I stood my ground and fervidly declined from the inception- I was unimpressed. But he loved it, and together we began to obsess over notifications, comments, new followers and ‘likes’. He got me so deep into the mix I developed anxiety. Apprehensively, I’d wait for the approval of strangers before I’d do simple task like eat, watch a movie or even shower. Posting things like “Hey guys please choose my next meal, Tacos or Pizza” and “Hey y’all I’m headed to the movies what should I see?”

My obsession turned into possession as he started to control everything I did. He told me I needed filters to be beautiful, hashtags to trend, emojis that stood out, captions that made me appear “deep” and “woke”,  the best time to post a new picture, the best filter, the best angle (particularly one that made my nose appear smaller) he told me to lose weight or use photo-shop because fitness was trending. I just had to be perfect at least for him and them…the strangers. When someone would unfollow us he’d make me track them down, send them a scathing direct message and block them. At this point our world revolved around being validated by complete strangers. 25 likes…50…175…500…1k in under an hour then 1 like…30…35…36…36…36… 36 likes in 7 days??? Ummm what the hell was going on we’d worry.  Was I getting ugly, fat, boring or maybe there was someone else, someone more popular? I mustered up enough courage to tell him one day that I was done. I didn’t want to play anymore and I even shed a tear, he laughed. I was addicted. He told me that I loved the dysfunction and craved the turmoil. He was right. He reminded me that if I leave him, we’d no longer be connected. And I needed him. There was no one else that could make me feel worthless and worthy at the same time. There was no one else that would shower me with endless likes then leave me comments such as “you’re fat” and “you’re ugly” and “whore” and “slut” and “get a life” but finally I realized that the verbal abuse that ultimately came with the popularity wasn’t worth my already fragile mental health. So I dumped him.  Some would say cowardly but I did it nonetheless. On a rainy Sunday evening, when no one was watching…when he least expected it… I nervously hit the deactivate (temporarily) option. And, I haven’t heard from him since. 😉


Elle Clark

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