On Instagram meltdowns

I keep going from Instagram is amazing!!! to Instagram is freaking me the fuck out!!! in rapid succession… !!! … !!! … !!! … !!!

I always wanna take my time with new things because my nervous system tends to overreact. Which is why I told myself I was going to ease into this Instagram thing, but I don’t think social media is an ease into it kind of situation… It’s more like scratch a little corner piece from a scab and watch it rip further and further until you realize this scar goes the entire length of your body and now you’re not just bleeding profusely, your organs are starting to fall out…

Alright, maybe I’m over exaggerating just a little bit. And I guess I need to backtrack to explain what the heck I’m even talking about.

I don’t really know how to handle myself psychologically when I look at other people’s work, especially if it’s related to my own. Which is why I haven’t been looking. And why I’ve been keeping myself so very well isolated. Because when I start to expose myself to what everyone else has been doing, I literally get hot flashes and feel my system go into overdrive.

It’s this damn stupid comparison reflex. This is what this person is doing… so what does it say about what I’m doing? This is what this person looks like… so what does it say about what I look like? This is what this person is saying… so what does it say about what I’m saying? All the fears, all the insecurities that stem from competitive, if you’re not winning you’re losing mindset. Which is why I haven’t been looking. Which is why I haven’t been getting stronger.

It’s always easier to avoid, and I’ve already established that this a preferred mechanism of mine. But avoiding keeps you crystallized in a disempowered state. I can pretend that I’m doing so great over here on my own, but show me the picture of another erotic artist and I collapse into a puddle on the floor, trying to make myself disappear so I don’t have to deal with my bruised sense of self…

It’s a compounded emotion too, because a huge part of it is feeling ashamed of myself for even having this reaction in the first place. For being so petty. For not being able to see myself as who I am and others as who they are and holding everyone in the same space without needing to make hierarchies in my head. I am so proud of the values I believe in, but applying them in real time sure is a higher level challenge.

Oh the ego. I totally see what everyone is talking about with not letting your ego rule you, not letting that inner monster eat you away. But recently I’ve been attracted to the idea that those out of control egos are truly just weak egos. Somehow I find more hope in that perspective. That a healthy ego is a strong ego. You don’t need to fall apart comparing yourself to others if you are well grounded. This is why I’ve been telling myself I want to feed my ego. And not feed it with the kind of crap that keeps it forever hungry, like some nutritionally deficient fast food that leaves you wanting. No, feed it with real food, real love, and real experiences.

Real experiences. That is the opposite of avoidance. That is what I am seeking. That is why I am still here, learning to trust that I have something to offer. And burning through the shame that comes up on the way there.

I have been wanting to take care of this fear of others for a long time now. Last summer already I was dreaming of making a series on my favorite things. Curated by Rain type of thing. But that would require me to dare look at what’s out there, and dare look at myself as I look at others…

So much of it comes from the zero sum model lie that there isn’t enough attention for everyone. That if someone else is worth looking at, it means it’s going to take attention away from you. And replace the word attention with affection, love, money, success, and it makes no difference, the idea of not enough stays the same. On an intellectual and spiritual level, I am so clear that this is utter bullshit. On a practical and emotional level though, that’s where these inherited hangups still rule my world. But I swear to god, I am not here to be complacent about this, I am here to heal myself. So I’m gonna do the fucking work, and cut through the bullshit. I will learn to see others with clear unadulterated eyes, so that I can see myself in the same way. So, stay tuned for the Rain Robert likes. It’s going to be a shower of wonders!

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7 thoughts on “On Instagram meltdowns

  1. I call social media the red dot syndrome. You don’t really feel validated until you see someone has ‘liked’ something you posted. I used to fall into that trap on Facebook especially. When I realized I was sitting in front of the screen waiting or willing that to happen and it did not I knew I had a problem. First I learned to shut it off for hours at a time and not to jump right away the second I see a notification. Its okay to wait is what I have convinced myself of. On Instagram it was a bit different and I still struggle with it sometimes. I see photos, good creative photos getting hundreds or even thousands of likes. The best I can manage the few times someone has reposted one of mine is a couple of hundred. Which makes me feel good at the time, but then when I see such manipulated photos that defy nature get thousands of likes I get annoyed with it all. Like a feeling of ‘my picture is more interesting’ why don’t you like it! So what I have been working on is to say fuck it. Its a better feeling to me that my friends and peers like my work. Understand my work. I’m not a professional, I’m just someone passionate about what I do. I don’t do much manipulating as a rule. What you see is what you get. If vinyl records are back and popular, so too will photography that looks natural and real. Fuck whatever is not real. You are real Rain. Go with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Robert. First of all, thank you for saying I’m real, that means more to me than trillions of likes. And thank you for making me feel less alone in my social media freakouts. I so hear everything you’re saying about it. I’m still fairly new at the whole game (it does kinda feel like a game) and it’s really challenging to make sense of it. I really go from loving it to hating it, from wanting to stop participating to getting excited at the endless possibilities of self expression… Anyway, it’s good to feel in good company navigating it. Again, the point I seem to need to learn by heart is that life is so much better when you come out of isolation!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That the negative Ego is a peculiar animal goes without saying. I find in the process of meditation that the negative Ego can be observed in its natural enviornment. I see the thoughts arise, and as they ripen the negative Ego tries to turn them into a worst case scenario story which will occur in the near future. When these projections are brushed aside, then the negative Ego resorts to plan B and attaches itself some humiliating or painful memory of the past with the intention of reenacting that scenario as counterfeit hero rather than victim – all the time reminding itself of the lie it is attempting to perpetrate! It certainly does not have my best interests at heart. I understand how you can regard it as a monster!!

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    1. Maybe Instagram can be a new meta kind of meditation, where one can observe one’s thought patterns, sort of highlighted, like a thumb powered exposure therapy, scrolling down from one hang up to another, getting the priceless opportunity to breathe through whatever arises, release the pettiness that we so often hide from ourselves and embrace the life affirming qualities that allow us to see the humanity in ourselves and others. This might not be in Instagram’s official definition but it’s how I plan on looking at it from now on!!

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