So, what exactly is an aperitivo chat? It’s a chance to have an intimate heart to heart, the kind where you can bare your soul. It’s where we get deep about things that actually matter, like your heart, without fear of doing la brutta figura.
How is your heart? That’s how I wish we greeted each other, instead of the empty “how are you?” To be honest, Instagram was pinching my creativity and self expression, which was making me feel empty. My heart started to hurt. Anytime something makes you feel less than enough, it’s time to pull the plug to come back to yourself.
Before I get into WHY I want to chuck Instagram to the curb, let me make two things clear.
- Instagram is not all bad. I have made some wonderful connections on Instagram, and that’s a beautiful thing. I’ll be eternally grateful for Instagram for bringing me together with these people. And I trust that with or without Instagram, these true connections will still be sustained.
- I don’t know if this is a forever breakup. I might get back together with Instagram someday. But not today.
So, now the break up. Why?
Perhaps it’s not Instagram, it’s me. Isn’t that always the case?
It’s probably because I am in a bind career-wise at the moment. Yes, I have a job I actually enjoy quite a lot at my alma mater. Is it stable? No. Do I have benefits? No. Do I get paid enough? No. So I have found myself scrambling just to make it. Someday when I’m past this point I will tell you more.
This “not enoughness” has spilled over into other areas of my life. ESPECIALLY Instagram.
I found myself obsessed. All of the social media gurus have a “secret” to hacking the Instagram algorithm. Why were those things that worked for them not working for me? Why does so and so follow them and not me? Why did they follow/unfollow me? Why didn’t this picture get more likes? It’s been 20 minutes, WHY IS NOBODY LIKING MY PICTURE? Is it really that terrible?
I was consumed with figuring out how to get more likes and more followers. All while deep down, that feels wrong to me. Classic cognitive dissonance. I refuse to be fake and do things like comment on 90 of the top posts DAILY that I don’t actually care about just so people might notice me. (That advice actually came from Gary V (seriously, it’s in his video here). I respect and admire Gary immensely, but c’mon Gary, ain’t nobody got time to be a slave to the ‘gram! (Unless, perhaps, you want to be solely an Instagrammer, which I don’t. I want to be primarily a blogger and it’s just me doing everything by myself). He actually says that it’s a “good use of three hours a day” to go on a commenting spree (but only on the POPULAR photos). To me, that’s almost as bad as a bot liking & commenting on random pictures. The goal is the same: for people to notice you. These are the things you need to do (but that I refuse to do) to play the game. I just wanted to share what brought me joy on Instagram. And most of the time that’s some sort of uninstagrammable pasta. Couldn’t I just do that? I could, in theory. But the only thing that feels right in this moment is enjoying my pasta WITHOUT worrying about how to get the perfect Instagram shot and how many people will like it.
I had to let go of Instagram because I could never feel enough. I found myself unable to enjoy it any longer. Something had tipped, and I could no longer cherish those beautiful connections because I was too obsessed with those who didn’t care (even though I didn’t want to feel that way). I even tried a one day hiatus, but that wasn’t enough. In fact, it fanned the flames. And as I’ve found with sugar, sometimes you just need to go cold turkey and cut it out completely so there’s no temptation. It had reached a point where I couldn’t just sit back and say, “oh well, I don’t care about numbers.” The more you try not to want it, the more you do. So, I deleted the Instagram app off my phone (not my account), and now I no longer care about numbers. I’m all about words.
But really, I made a fatal flaw with Instagram. I had my original account, and then I made one for the blog (with the idea that Alberto & I would both post recipes to this account). However, it was impossible to keep up with one account, let alone two (who can post a PERFECT picture and respond to ALL comments every day? Tell me who you are so I can learn your secrets!). I ended up posting mainly travel related pictures on my main account because those were the pictures I had handy, and that turned out to be a BIG mistake. (Especially because I don’t consider myself a travel blogger at all). When I decided to just post from my main account, I combined everything that I love: languages, food & wine. And I believe that may have been part of the problem with my declining interaction. I think it’s rare for people to be uber passionate about all three of those at once. All of the successful accounts that I see focus on ONE category. So maybe I confused people with my content. Or maybe because I’m not in Italy now, I’m boring. Who knows.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit all this….but I think we need more vulnerability in the world. Without vulnerability, we lack humanity…and that’s when things get scary.
So what now?
I am going to focus on things that I’ve been putting on the back burner:
- Put more time into the blog. I have been trying to post consistently, but I’ve been neglecting it because of my obsession with Instagram.
- Make local face to face connections. I’ve been wanting to start a local Italian meet up, and connect with local wineries & Italian restaurants.
- Create my dream language course that I’ve been wanting to make for years.
- Focus attention on my English/Italian exchange Facebook group and actually improve my Italian.
- FEEL FUCKING FABULOUS and not worry about making everything “instagrammable.”
So friends, thank you for reading this. Has Instagram ever made you feel bad too? Or do you have some sort of magical power that allows you to give zero fucks? (Excuse my French).
So now I want to ask you the very same question: How is your heart? Whether you actually want to tell me or not, I hope that you eliminate things that make you feel bad. Just let it go.