any given square

I don't have as much energy and enthusiasm for Instagram as I used to; most of the time it just feels like an arms race. Like if I don't periodically supply proof that I am alive, that I'm still moderately attractive, that I have friends and a boyfriend and do fun things, I will be dismissed as irrelevant and uncool. That I will be pitied for my lonely, workaday life.

This is hugely ironic, since the years of my IG heyday (~2013-2016 I guess?) were actually some of my unhappiest. These years were broken up with the occasional incredible experience, sure, but the truth was that not having a (real) job was a soul-crushing existence that made me feel ashamed and alienated every single day. But wow were my dog and my boyfriend photogenic, and wow was it easy to look at pictures of us and convince myself that I was complete and life was okay.

I have a couple of wildly successful friends, one of whom leads the kind of life most people would kill to spray all over Instagram. International travel, a gorgeous girlfriend, endless good times with long-standing, very close friends. He doesn't post one fucking bit of it on social media. Occasionally he'll send me some jaw-dropping photo from, say, the south of France or Aspen, when I ask where in the world he is. But that's where his need to prove anything to anyone ends.

On the other hand, I have acquaintances whose quest for validation on IG makes me genuinely uncomfortable. These are the same people who will tell you, unasked, how blissfully happy they are, how devoted and adoring their partners are. Okay. Sure. But just as the truly rich never talk about how much money they have, the truly happy don't need to constantly assure everyone how perfect everything is.

That's part of why I don't like Instagram as much anymore. It can all seem a little sad and desperate, and any given image is now suspect. Instagram couples in particular get serious side eye from me - because I've been in one. All that energy invested into building a narrative feels tryhard.

Then there is the fact of my own questionable motives. It's definitely nice to see, at a glance, all of the people that I'm currently close to, and all the recent great times I've had with them. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some part of me needing to regularly post a Happy Square to remind those who've hurt me (read: left my life for one reason or another) that I'm doing great, thanks for checking in. Oh did you think I'd have trouble getting over you? Peep how ridiculously hot my new boyfriend is. While you're at it, kindly be reminded how attractive I am. Or: Remember when you decided I wasn't good enough for your friendship anymore? No worries, look how much fun my new friends are. 

Anyway, here are some blurry and imperfect shots from moments that will stay in my memory as anything but: