Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Life Beyond the Instagram Feed

This past week, I was invited to watch Ingrid Goes West at the AMC Theater in Pacific Place.

The protagonist Ingrid,
struggles with mental health issues and strives to find human connections. She turns to her phone and Instagram in hopes of feeling connected to others.

After seeing an #instafamous girl named Taylor on Instagram continuously post about her incredible life in LA, Ingrid makes a drastic life decision and chooses to relocate to California. She creates a new Instagram: “Ingrid Goes West”, and works to befriend Taylor from Instagram.

As I followed along Ingrid’s journey, several themes emerged in her struggles and plight to find friendships. The most important topics included Instagram, the online personas we cultivate, and the struggle to find real human connections.

Not only could I relate to Ingrid - who constantly checks her phone and Instagram, but I could also relate to Taylor because I've been guilty of asking random strangers to take my photos at landmarks or sunsets... This movie has inspired me to reflect about the online presence I've worked so hard to build - specifically on Instagram.

So today I’m going to share with you my life beyond my Instagram feed.

Let me first begin by saying that blogging and social media is just a piece of my life. What you see on Instagram is me, but only a segment of who I am.

Let’s look at what you DO see:

A Curated Feed
What you do see on my Instagram is a feed of edited and professional photos.
You see a curated feed.
You see me with my hair and make-up completely done. 
You see my photos from Europe and some incredible sights in Seattle.

What you don’t see:
  •          Me brainstorming content to create for you guys. I literally reach out to a few of my friends and little sister to run content ideas by them before I even start writing.
  •           Scheduling a time and place to shoot with my photographers.
  •           Hunting for new locations
  •           Fighting with the wind and looking for the best light at the photo shoot location
  •           And the thousands of photos I’ve taken to select the few photos published on my feed

What you DO see on my Instagram stories:

You may follow along my Instagram stories. Sometimes you see my dog Boone and other times you see blogger events.

You may see other bloggers, free food and drinks, and sometimes giveaways or fabulous clothes.

What you don’t see about those blogger events I share on Instagram story:

  •           My commute from Everett to either Downtown Seattle or Bellevue after work. Sometimes I’m sitting in traffic for over an hour just get to a fun event…
  •          You also don’t see me rushing home, throwing off my office clothes, and changing quickly into something cute and rushing out the door.
  •          The struggle to find parking.

Here are a few other things you don’t see online….

  • What you don’t see on my Instagram or blog is that I work for the Boeing Company full time. I’m not brunching in the middle of the week or hanging out at coffee shops in the afternoon. I’m literally running meetings or building power points.
  • What you don't see on Instagram is that I don't cook and I don't prioritize the time to learn how to... I literally live off salads and Trader Joes pre-made meals...
  • What you don’t see is me studying for the GMAT, taking the test, and me continuously questioning myself and my next steps. Oh and of course, applying for grad school. This was a whole process and experience for me to go through last year. 
  • What you don’t see is that I attended class once a week for 9 months to get my marketing management certificate from the University of Washington.
  • What you don’t see is my getting up at 5am each day, walking my dog, working out at lunch, and writing in my free time.
  • What you don't see is that I have dreams of planning an airshow one day and also dreams of being in front of a magazine cover.
Though I love creating beautiful content for you guys, I do want to be honest with you and share more often that my life does extend beyond my instagram feed.

Ingrid Goes West is a great reminder that our online personas are not a whole representation of who we are.  It’s also important to remember that we cannot replace them with real life connections and friendships.

We are more complex and more beautiful in real life.
Our struggles and lessons of life that make us human are what also connect us.

Additionally as much as I love blogging and social media, Ingrid Goes West personally reminded me that all the established bloggers I follow are real people - who also have mastered to curate a beautiful feed and tell a story online. Sometimes I get so caught up about feeling like I need to keep up with the other blogger around me or that I need to be doing more.

But I have to continuously remind myself why I love blogging, writing, and taking photos. My blog and Instagram allow me to express this passion. As long as I'm helping others or bringing new perspectives with the content I write and the photos I take, I'm happy.

In essence, this movie reminded me to stay grounded and honest with not only our followers, but also ourselves. We don’t have to lose who we are or become inauthentic in our journey to become #instafamous. 

Thank you for reading!


P.S. Ingrid Goes West is out in theaters on August 11th!

Photos: Miriam Subbiah

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