I spent most of my March alone. My friends had gone home and not a lot was happening in school so I stayed indoors a good number of days. When I am alone, my creativity soars. I get to come up with so many ideas and, therefore, I end up finding something interesting to keep me busy. On the other hand, I have a tendency to overthink a lot. Beating myself up becomes the new self-reflection.
March wasn’t any different. I kept myself busy by working on my new Instagram page, where I would post factoids of different countries around the world. I started with Africa, and I really enjoyed discovering the beauty of Africa. I was very consistent in this blog, posting once a week. I watched a number of French movies, read novels and tried out new recipes. Indeed, I was having a time of my life. However, I was my own harshest critic. I amplified my mistakes and therefore regretted a lot. I thought a lot about my friendships and wanted to do away with most of them. (I didn’t. I learnt that friendships, like any other relationships need a lot of work. I had to come to terms with the fact that neither of us is perfect, and that I needed to learn to put up with other people’s weaknesses because I also expect them to learn to put up with mine)
It is during that time that I realized I had fallen into the trap of doing things for the gram. I realized that there were certain activities I participated in not because I wanted to, but because I wanted people to see that I had participated in those activities. It also scared me to see how much of an open person I had become in regards to my socials. This was never the case two years before. It’s not like I was some celebrity, I told myself. People did not need to keep tabs with everything that was going on in my life. I wanted to be low-key.
I went on a rampage archiving all my photos on Instagram and changing privacy to ‘only-me’ on Facebook. Then after three days, as is expected of me, I reversed that. Anyone who knows me well knows that my decision-making process involves see-sawing between two extremes before finding a middle ground. The first extreme, as you’ve seen, didn’t last long. I began walking on this tightrope called “my social media, my rules”, also known as, “I will post what I want and if it upsets you, you have the option of blocking me.” But it’s a tightrope, and I am no skilled tightrope walker. I fell off.
I decided to put a cap on social media in April (the cap would later be removed in May, lol). I would not update people on what I was up to. It was different for me, but I needed that break. I took selfies and because no one on social media would have the chance to validate me, I did that myself. I went to places because I genuinely wanted to. It also felt great keeping certain things under wraps. They seemed more special.
I went back to posting in May, only that this time, it was different. I made sure I did what I really wanted and what I genuinely enjoy, and then I would later decide whether or not I would post. Even now, I make sure that the intentions behind each post are pure.
To what extent should one share their lives on social media? That is the million dollar question. The long search for the answer was put to end by my aunt one afternoon, as I was undoing her hair.
“I believe that being open or low-key on social media is largely dependent on one’s character and personality.”
That was a eureka moment for me. I remembered the countless times I’ve failed at being very low-key. I am the kind of person who enjoys sharing a lot: happy moments, what I’ve learnt, my failures, vulnerabilities, you name it. I embraced that that day. I know of people who are uncomfortable with sharing bits of their lives with others – that’s okay too!
All in all, we should make sure that our intentions are always pure, and that we are wise about our social media activities. Also, did you know that being upset over what someone else has posted could perhaps be a heart issue, not necessarily their problem? Examine your hearts, loves.