I've wanted to write about my addiction to Instagram for some time now, but didn't know what I really wanted to say. The word addiction makes it sound sordid and taboo, but it's not like that.
Social media has so many negative connotations, but I love my Instagram community. I do not want to apologize for it or be embarrassed by sharing pretty things in that little 2 x 2 inch square on the screen of my phone.
I get so much inspiration from fellow artists, writers, bloggers, photographers, mamas, poets, designers + the alumni of folks I attended Write Doe Bay with earlier this year. I love it. I really do.
Instagram has been a positive place to share parts of my life with others. No, I don't show the muddy entryway of my home or the messy sink full of dishes. Some would argue that I'm not keeping it real, but I would say to them - Who wants to see that?
Beauty is what I find when I scroll through my Instagram feed and that's what I also personally want to share. I try to find the beauty in my life and what we're doing and share it with others. Our life is far from perfect, but there are some pretty perfect moments that make me want to shout from the rooftops that I'm alive, healthy and living in this amazing world. A wee bit dramatic, but I think you get the drift.
There is so much beauty…
The austere, real beauty of the natural world.
Beautiful children laughing, playing, doing ballet or playing a sport they love.
Creatives bravely sharing the beauty of their work.
The simple beauty of food - satsumas, freshly baked bread or a steaming cup of coffee.
The beauty of the written word as shared by authors, readers, bloggers and publishing houses.
The simple beauty of human connection and friendship.
I have found as the days tick into weeks, months, and then years, that I like being alone. Once social and outgoing, I'm finding that I like the quiet of my home and take great solace in reading the words of others. Since I am particularly visual, images and photographs amp up the words I read and Instagram links me to a small world of friends who share many of my interests.
|My words + Grady's shoe|
And while it's true that I won't let my 11 year old son have an account, I do share images with him. He was recently inspired to draw his Nike tennis shoes based on a post an illustrator shared on Instagram of her own son's work.
This avenue of sharing has helped me to stay connected with my sister, as well as friends and family that live all over the world. I only wish I could get my best friend and husband to use it. It's not their thing, but I wish it was.
Instagram has definitely changed how I use my phone and how I share words + photos. I used to come here to this very blog to catalog and record our life. It's been harder and harder to do so. Mainly, I think, because of the ease of using Instagram. It's a way of sharing an abbreviated version of what's going on with me or our family, but I long to sit and write for hours at my desk and save on my blog. Oftentimes, the day does just not allow for such indulgences.
A really lovely opportunity recently presented itself when a woman I met via Instagram, Rachel Cedar, contacted me and asked me to participate as a writer in her 28 Days of Play series this coming February. This never would have happened if I hadn't been writing and sharing my life on Instagram. I'm super excited and will share more about this project in a future post.
Earlier this year, the publisher of Mamalode, Elke Govertsen, asked me to collaborate with writer Annie Flavin and illustrate the centerfold for their print and online magazine. Again, I don't believe that ever would have happened if I hadn't put myself out there; by sharing my daily drawings on Instagram. Sarah Geurts Miller, Mamalode's managing editor, asked me to participate as a guest poster on their @mamalode feed on Instagram for their #dayinthelifeofmamalode series earlier this year, too. Mamalode also published essays I've written online and can be found here, here and here. The social network of Instagram easily merged our relationship and helped us to share it with readers of our IG feeds. I'd do anything for those women running Mamalode. Absolutely anything.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of good has come from my willingness to share on this social media platform. And while I try to temper my usage, it's a source of daily inspiration and camaraderie with my fellow community of Instagrammers. It has become this daily source of joy and I'm not inclined to give it up any time soon.
Opportunties and friendships were made this year through this social network and I'm really grateful for them. I hope more of that good fortune spills into next year and I know I'll be ready to receive it with open arms and, most likely, a phone in one of my hands.
I'm not embarrassed or ashamed.
Not one little 2 x 2 inch square bit.