Can I go on anyone’s Instagram? Just for a minute, I swear!
By Isabelle Orr, Entertainment Editor
I once considered spending $34 in Claire’s on the Katy Perry Prism tour jewelry line the lowest point of my life. But as I lay underneath my duvet, watching the same blurry video for the 42nd consecutive time, I knew I had reached a newer, more dismal depth.
Like every person who rolls the dice on app-based dating, I went through a passion-driven, tumultuous relationship that ended in a breakup. Instead of facing the facts that sometimes two people, no matter how much they love The Prince of Egypt, aren’t meant to be together, I faced our breakup with all the maturity of a young Ramses (from The Prince of Egypt). I went through stages of grief (eating a pint of non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s), anger (angrily eating a pint of non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s), and sadness (crying into a pint of non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s). Every time I thought I was over the relationship, I would see something that reminded me of my ex and I would run back to the Save-On frozen section, my safe haven. All in all, I gained about eight pounds.
Because I like to make myself feel bad (see: unfortunate haircuts and bangs from ages 12 to 16) I would further twist the knife in my side by combing through social media for any glimpse of my ex. My methods were as follows:
I would check first for new tweets, followed by any tweets they had liked or commented on. In desperate times, I would scroll through their friend’s pages for any tweet that sounded like they were talking about my ex. Twitter checks were executed at least four times a day.
While they didn’t personally have an Instagram account, I had followed many of their friends whilst drunk (my go-to party move that people never, ever like). I kept careful track of Instagram stories, watching for even the slightest glimpse of my ex. Instagram checks were executed at least three times a day.
When each social media search would prove fruitless, I would open up Messenger and stare at the tiny box next to their name that said when they were last online. Seeing the green “active” dot would whirl me into a frenzy. Were they talking to someone else? Were they just about to message me? They hadn’t been online in a while—were they okay? Messenger checks were executed so many times a day that I would lose track.
My need to see what they were doing verged on obsession. If I needed get up at seven, I would set my alarm for 6:30 to factor in the half hour I would need to do my “research.” Nothing was safe from me—each like and subtweet meant something, and by God I was going to crack the code.
This went on until one night I stumbled upon an Instagram video of them at a party. They were in the background of the video, only in focus for half the shot. I watched them laugh and dance an infinite loop, and as I cried underneath my blanket, I realized that they were completely fine. They were enjoying their life and their friends, while I would full-blown weep at every concert I went to during any mildly sad song.
I shared my feelings with a coworker’s girlfriend, who didn’t really know me at all and looked vaguely alarmed.
“If social media is getting you so down, you should just delete it.”
Delete it? The idea was ludicrous, and I told her so. After all, social media was where I got all of my news. From Pete and Ariana’s breakup to the new Carly Rae Jepsen single, I was up to date on everything that mattered, thanks to my trusty iPhone.
“It’s obviously making you unhappy,” my coworker’s girlfriend (who I had begun to think of as a sister with whom I could share my deepest fears with) said, edging slowly away from me. “I think it’s worth a shot.”
That night I did the unthinkable. One by one, I deleted Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I didn’t delete Messenger though—I’m not a complete Neanderthal! I wept a little, like I was taking near and dear friends out to the backyard and unceremoniously shooting them in the head. After all, who had been there for me more than social media? It saw my ups and my downs, the thick and the thin, the time I got my septum pierced. Prom photos, graduation, weddings—my media sphere had seen it all. And in one fell swoop, it was gone.