Tea Break Thoughts: Instagram & Identity

I’ve taken a bit of a break from Instagram. A 3-month break, if you’re counting. That’s a quarter of a year – which is kind of a lot, when you think about it. Recently, I sat down with a cup of tea to figure out what had pushed me away, and what I was going to do when the platform inevitably pulled me back.

Here’s what I came out with:

Getting back to Instagram: me in Iceland - the tea break project travel blog

Hello, Instagram. I’m back.

I’ve been struggling lately, trying to figure out who I am. I don’t mean in some great big existential where-do-I-fit-in-the-universe way – or maybe I do. I’m not sure. But I’ve been struggling with how to label myself. Am I a poet? A novelist? A teacher? In some ways I’m all of the above. For the purposes of Instagram, I’ve always been a travel blogger, though really that’s something I do for the pure joy of it. Then again – isn’t everything?

Ever since I joined Instagram, I’ve been trying to pigeonhole myself, in the way the internet seems to like. ‘You are one thing. You have one clear message.’ The trouble is, the more I look at people who only have one message, the less I trust them, and the less actual meaning that one message seems to have. ‘Make America Great Again’ is the perfect example. It’s the people who are complex and refuse to fit into categories, who are a contradiction, who are full of love and anger and curiosity, who are fascinated by all kinds of disparate things – it’s these people who are the interesting ones. It’s these people I trust.

So I’m back on Instagram, and I’m still planning to post lots of travel photos, because that’s something I love. But I’m not going to pretend any more. I’m not a super-stylish jet-setting travel blogger. I’m not even vaguely stylish. I like charity shop clothes and fancy footwear. I read poetry and literary fiction and also children’s fantasy novels. I love beaches and I love snow. I hate to be cold, but I’m desperate to visit Antarctica. I love to take photos of things, but I don’t know very much about cameras. I nearly always post photos of me from behind or wearing sunglasses, because I never feeling very photogenic.

I’m a contradiction, but that’s ok. I’m going to stop putting myself into boxes, as much as a square grid format will allow. I’m going to be me.

Hello again, Instagram. Time to get to know each other for real.