I went for lunch with a friend the other day. After we’d caught up on the important things – her recent trip to NYC, what we wanted to eat, which of the middle aged men in the office was being most of a displeasure to work with that day – we moved on to more general topics of conversation.
Some background: I moved into my flat with Rob at the end of last summer. ‘How’s the flat?’ asked my friend, ‘Are you completely sorted now?’
‘It’s fine.’ I said, probably while cramming crisps into my stupid mouth as quickly as possible. ‘No update on that, really, we like living there. The only thing is…it’s not very Instagrammable. It looks rubbish in all photos, it’s SO annoying’.
Let’s just take a moment, as she did, or as I presume she was doing while giving me an ‘are you for real?!’ look, to consider how ridiculous that is. The only thing I have to say about the first flat I’ve moved into with my boyfriend is that it’s not very Instagrammable? Really?
You bet. Embarrasingly, I wasn’t even being mildly ironic; I do genuinely lament the less-than-pinterest-worthy appearance of our flat on an almost daily basis. It’s so far from interior goals, and so far from my own tastes. The whole place is covered in woodchip effect wallpaper, for god’s sake. The ceilings are all artex. The colours are all peach or brown or cream. The curtains are the most heinous print, I can’t even tell you.
And yet…it does feel like home, because it is home. Would I choose the way it’s decorated? No, absolutely not, but it’s a rented flat; we’re not going to be painting the walls, or replastering the ceilings, and while we can add bits and pieces to ensure there are at least some things we‘ve chosen about the place, they don’t make too much of a difference. I mean, I know people like to say ‘oh it’s amazing what some plants or candles or lamps will do’, and it is – to a blank canvas. This, unfortunately, is not a blank canvas. It’s a tremendously dated canvas, but we love the location and it’s a great size and a good price and has nice sash windows, so it’s fine.
Except that it’s not fine, apparently, because I spend a longer-than-I’d-like-to-admit portion of my day scrolling through Instagram, and this isn’t about the shade of peach my landlady thought would be absolutely lovely for the bathroom, it’s about that tendency social media has to make you feel like the things in your life just aren’t as good as others have in theirs. The interiors I see on my feed are all pretty, or rustic, or interesting, or pristine, or searingly cool – in other words, nothing short of double-tap worthy – and so I look at my own home, which I truly love living in despite disliking it’s decor, and I come to resent it for not looking like the ones on my feed.
And my home is not the only perfectly good thing that Instagram causes me to dislike, either; oh no, there’s so much more. A few weeks ago, Rob and I went on a ‘Make Your Own Gin’ experience at Adnams in Southwold. We put off booking somewhere to stay for so long that by the time we did get around to it we had a choice of exactly one hotel, so naturally that was what we went for. The room and the bed were small, the interiors were dated (sensing a theme here?), and the bathroom looked a bit like my nan’s, but in the important ways it was exactly what we wanted; reasonably priced, close enough to walk to the Adnams distillery, breakfast included.
So yes, appearance-wise it was a bit shit, in the way that some old school hotels are, but that was almost endearing, and we had a bloody lovely time. Except, of course, for when I was staring aghast at the room, wondering how on earth I would get the essential ‘breakfast in bed’ or ‘hotel bubble bath’ staycation shot that I was obviously required to post in such an un-Instagram environment, and claiming that we should have just driven home after all.
There are countless other examples I won’t go into detail about too; the delicious and very pretty cupcake I moaned about because I didn’t think it was photogenic enough, the nice building that didn’t look as nice as I wanted as a background and was therefore branded ‘hideous’, and, of course, my own legs/face/hair/clothes.
I am fully, oh-so-painfully aware of how pathetic this is. It’s ridiculous, and shallow, and that’s exactly the reason I’m writing this post. I’m a twenty-seven year old woman, I work with social media every day, and I’ve read more ‘social media is a highlights reel/don’t compare yourself’ blog posts and articles that you can shake a selfie stick at. And yet I’m not immune from letting it make me feel rubbish about my weird textured bedroom walls and my less than luxe hotel stay and my wide, muscular calves that don’t look *quite* the same in a skirt as the long, lithe ones I see every day on the Explore page.
So if I can let my social feeds make me feel like the things in my life just aren’t good enough, I cant help but think it would be easy for others to feel the same way. Young people, for example, or people who are less hyper-aware of how the whole internet thing works, or people who are generally struggling to see the positive things in their life at the time they happen to be scrolling.
What if they come to think that their perfectly lovely family holiday is rubbish, because it doesn’t involve a Santorini sunset and a pristine infinity pool? Or that their New Look bag is a bit shit because it’s not a Gucci Marmont? What if they don’t feel grateful for all the great, important things they do have because they’re so busy thinking about the fact that they’re not the things getting thousands of likes on the ‘gram?
Hopefully, I’m not giving people enough credit, but frankly, I can’t help but feel that social media posts of other people’s homes and holidays and possessions makes me into a bit of an ungrateful arsehole sometimes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it could have a similar effect on others. Instagram shows us the gorgeous, the aspirational, the impressive and the creative. It also lets us assume that the things that are getting more likes are more ‘worthy’, and therefore if what you have doesn’t match up to the curated reel of hashtag goals, it’s probably a bit shit.
What I’m not saying here is that I want everyone to start posting photos of their washing piles and half eaten sandwiches, in the most visually unappealing room in their house, in poor light. I genuinely appreciate beautiful photos of beautiful things (preferably with a side of frank, real talk). I’m also totally on board with the idea of finding beauty, or at least interesting visuals, all around you, even in the ‘ugliest’ of places. This isn’t meant to be about that though – it’s about recognising that letting social media make me resent the things in my life that aren’t ‘Instagrammable’ is stupid, and vowing to appreciate them instead.
Things don’t have to be worthy of a double tap or a ‘great shot!’ to be pretty fucking great (and that comment is probably from a bot anyway). They don’t even have to be worthy of a photograph. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get back to my granny flat and sit on my ugly beige sofa next to my peach coloured woodchip effect wall, and remember to be grateful that I have a home that I feel safe, relaxed and content in.
21 thoughts on “Instagram is making me hate perfectly nice things and it’s pathetic”
I bet you i would say the same thing because insta is priority for bloggers even through we get annoyed at insta. Just keep being you, and you don’t need an insta perfect house, home is home. Have a great week.
So true! I had the same thing at home, I love my flat but it isn’t ‘instagrammable’ but lately I haven’t let that stop me! I’m now for all the home flatlays! x
hahaha this made me laugh! When I lived away we had brown carpets, beige walls and a green sofa… definitely not instagrammable so I get completely what you mean…! But even now I’ve moved back to norwich to my parents lovely home, the only place I take photos is my bedroom as I persuaded them to paint the walls grey and filled with all the white ikea furniture! It’s so silly isn’t it!!
Laura | roseandweston.blogspot.co.uk x
I say the same thing all the time because my kitchen bench top isn’t marble… when in reality I live in the nicest place I’ve ever lived in my entire life and I still find things to complain about. Instagram is NOT reality and we alllllll need to remind ourselves that. It’s just so easy to get sucked up into that aesthetic bubble, isn’t it?
Sharni | http://www.agirlandgrey.com
LikeLiked by 1 person
THIS IS ME, THIS IS ME!!!!!! Sorry this post made me nod my head so much and now I’m all shouty and over excited because THIS IS ME!!!! (clearly watched too much Greatest Showman!)
My life is, very shamefully, run by instagram! When we went on holiday to N Wales I spent SO long researching our holiday cottage and it was all because I wanted the perfect interiors for my Instagram. I get very irritated if we go to a cute coffee shop and someone else has the nice table and I’m stuck in a dark corner and if I can get a photo I want I will throw a full on diva strop.
it is ridiculous, and even more so when you have someone “normal” with you who just doesn’t get it. What is actually wrong with us!
Can so relate to this on all levels! I’m in the process of looking for a new flat and keep ruling ones out based on the decor alone and I really need to stop. I also get annoyed when people want to go to restaurants that aren’t instagrammable haha. It’s so easy to get caught up in social media even when you know better!
This is so true and so honest! Thank you for sharing this!
Yes to this post!! I get major sofa envy whenever I’m on insta or YouTube – doesn’t help that I hate them anyway and Aaron didn’t include me in the picking of the sofa process (they’re an ugly dark brown 😂)! I’m always sharing bedroom shots – it’s not realistic for me to go out and shoot often so I make do! ❤️
I feel this post so much, i could feel myself going “yes, me to” to so much of this. You are not alone, I think social media and instagram are amazing, but my gosh we don’t half put pressure on ourselves. I try not remind myself nothing is perfect, and it doesnt have to all be about instagram. Nonetheless, your photos always looks amazing xx
I love your honesty so much girl and I can relate about so many of these points! I like to just remind myself in these moments that in about 100 years when I’m all old and I’ve got kids and shit there won’t be time to look back on all the instagramable moments I missed because I won’t even remember them haha! Great post lovely 🙂 xx
Tash | natashatodd.co.uk
This is so true! I mention this about my black cat a lot, which I know is ridiculous. Your blog photos are always so lovely too – well done x
I relate to this so much because I feel it everyday! I love my new neighborhood, I feel safe in it and it looks nice, but it’s not instagrammable! I don’t have a car so I can’t just drive to places for my photos and I feel stuck! I wish I lived somewhere with white aesthetics, beautiful white walls, white steps, downtown city shots. I live in NC and the main reason I want to move to NYC is because of the aesthetics, isn’t it pathetic how Instagram can make us ungrateful about what we have. Thanks for this post it is much needed!
LikeLiked by 1 person
So I actually really like the colour of that wall in your flat haha! Instagram is so hard, I don’t live in the nicest looking place really so I always find outfit picture envy is a bit thing for me in terms of nice looking locations! Also I’m so with you on the hotel thing – I actually veto hotels just because they don’t look instagrammable, how ridiculous is that haha
LikeLiked by 1 person
I haven’t gotten to quite this sort of place with Instagram yet. But totally understand! I QUIT Instagram about a year ago because there was no way i could keep up with good content in my new living space… I currently live in a dark basement! Creative, resourceful thinking isn’t even an option when you don’t have the basics of natural light.
I try to stay away from even looking at Instagram, because it really does make a person feel discontent if they’re in a less glamorous situation than the lives everybody else is portraying…It’s still hard to feel like a genuine blogger when i’m not making my way up in the Instagram world, too.
But, it is what it is…We work with what we’ve got! Find beauty in the little things… And improve on the things we can.
I hope our world will adjust and that we’ll all be able to more easily love our perfectly imperfect lives, despite all the perfection we’ve been saturated in through social media!
💕 Alissa Ackerman, https://storybehindthecloth.com
It’s so hard not to get disheartened when Insta start kicking off, you’ve got nothing to worry about lady you’re killing it! xx
This is so interesting to read lovely! All last year that was my mentality… was where I staying/ living/ wearing Instagrammable? I would constantly think about it. I didn’t realise how tiring it made me feel until I had a few months off over Christmas and January. I’ve come back to blogging with a new view on things and now don’t really mind if I forget to post a photo of something or if the hotel I’m staying at has bad lighting…. I have lost 60 followers this month and whilst I do find it frustrating still i’m in the mentality that I don’t really care… Love that your wrote about this and keep doing what you’re doing as I love your photos as they are!
Oh this post ❤ My favourite read in a long time! It's SO true. Fun fact: the my room currently looks like a Pinterest board in one corner and a jumble sale in the other 95%. I also have a desk that's some kind of beige-grey wood… actually, on second thoughts looking at it now, i don't even think it IS wood?!
I also know that the coffee art heart that looked so "tappable" was, in fact, disgusting. The soya milk had curdled underneath and, despite having a very "insta-ready" shot of the cup, I declined to post it. My feed would have to wait, because i just didn't want to lie! Or perhaps, in future, i should just post it and do some real-talk in the caption, as you said?
Sorry how much i'm rambling! But i do know i feel it too, that feeling of dissatisfaction when things don't look quite right. When i posted my latest youtube, i spent so long getting frustrated over the lighting quality, compared to other youtubers. But in the end, did it change the WORDS i was saying, the true meaning of the video? No no NO (okay apparently i've morphed into Maggie thatcher!
So i think i'm going to go with the age-old mantra "don't judge a book by its cover". For what it's worth, home is home and no one can put a "like" on that – the same goes for good coffee! A thousand likes in the world can't make up for the sinking feeling in my heart when it tasted horrible 😛 Some things are just too important!
Bumble and Be
Love this was such an interesting read!! Completely agree with you at how it can change and warp our mindset sometimes, we should create spaces to live / work in that make us happy and safe, not tailored to what looks good on social media! Great post lady!
Oh gosh I know this feeling oh too well!! I keep thinking up plans how to make my house more like a filming / photography studio rather than a home.
Loved this post sweet! And the photos are fab, definitely worthy of insta (as pathetic as that is lol). Totally know what you mean. Especially with hotels, and affording an “instagrammable” place.
This is so true. It’s ridiculously easy to be taken out of any moment when it doesn’t feel ‘insta worthy’ enough. It feels like people are far more concerned with things look than how they actually are. It’s frustrating, but everything you say here is so so true.