A new period of my life is usually marked by a clearing out of my instagram. Every time I remake myself, unearth a new version of ‘me’, I usually delete all my old posts in an attempt to get away from who I was. As a definitive reminder that I’m not that person anymore.
We’re always shifting and we’re always changing, but I think a lot of the time we don’t really stop to reflect on the progress we’ve made. All the stops along the way.
Like deleting old photos, we all like to ignore old versions of ourselves that don’t match up with who we think we are in present. But that doesn’t make those old versions any less ‘us’ than the us that we are now. As Fitzgerald said, “Somewhere inside of me there will always be the person I am tonight”.
So here’s to all the nights I’ve forgotten along the road to where I am now. Learning to love all the me’s that I’ve been the past because it’s the only way I can truly love the me I am now; unconditionally.
23 March 2015
The bio quote is from my then-favourite song, Killer Whales by Smallpools. I remember describing that song as: ‘if my life were an indie movie, it would play as the end credits rolled”. It summed up the care-free vibe that I was trying to inhabit but not quite there yet. Photos were mostly ones I dug up out of the archives that I used in order to frame my life as something it wasn’t. The profile picture isn’t even me. It’s a photo I took of a friend. I really didn’t know who I was back then..
20 June 2015
This was shortly after my brother got out of hospital, but before things got really bad for me. I was in a place of ignorance and perpetual movement, just putting one foot in front of the other and trying not to think about the past. Most of these photos were taken at friends places because I was always on the go, staying with this person and that. The blue one in the top right is of the roof at Westmead Children’s.
8 September 2015
This period was when I started to develop dissociation. I remember scrolling past the black and white picture on tumblr and just relating to it so deeply. It felt as though I had disappeared into nothing, just evaporated out of thin air, out of despair. The quote in my bio is from a Wombat’s song that really resonated. I knew that I was in the middle of a deep period of transition, the part where it all starts to plateau, and you’re far away enough from the start for it to not feel new anymore, but not yet close enough to the end that you can feel a sense of closure. Things just felt very stuck. Like my feet were planted firmly in the sand and the whole world was spinning around me. But you can’t really tell from my Instagram that I’d hit rock bottom.
27 January 2016
These photos are from the holidays right before I started Year 12. I was trying to be out in nature as much as possible, trying to surround myself with pretty things so I’d feel that way on the inside. The bottom middle photo is one my nan took at the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens. That’s where my brother had the cardiac arrest. I got my nan to send it to me and captioned it with some quote about how some days everything feels just right, and on others the weight of the world just weighs down on you.
10 April 2016
This new era began out of one of the worst days in my life. I was so stuck in dissociation that I genuinely thought at times that I was hallucinating. I remember sitting in art class in one of my free periods, someone stood up to grab a paint brush and I had to walk out the door because I just didn’t know whether it actually happened. I’d lost all trust in my mind. That night was probably the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life. But the day after I picked myself back up. I stumbled across ‘At the Heights of Despair’ by Cioran, completely by chance, and read the entire thing in a day. The quote in my bio is from it. As a reminder to myself that I live because life doesn’t make sense. The mountains don’t laugh and the worms don’t sing and I don’t die tonight. From there, things started to look a little better.
27 August 2016
This was just after Trials. Just after I handed in my Extension 2 Major Work. And just before the last assessment period I would ever do at high school. I’d just left all my friends. I’d realised they were holding me back, and I them. Sitting in the library, trying to write an essay about the Great Gatsby that was due the next day, I listened to Blonde by Frank Ocean for the first time. I didn’t yet know the lyrics (oh how far I’ve come), and the songs shuffled until Solo came on. Everything stopped when he said “there’s a bull and a matador duelling in the sky, inhale, in hell there’s heaven.” I was stressed, I was tired, I was friendless. But I was starting to see the heaven in all of this. It was the first step towards recovery. The selfie on the top right is from the day after I submitted my Major Work. Even though I had a bajillion assignments to do, I did my makeup, put on some funky tunes, danced around my house and spent the day taking selfies and taking care of myself. It really was a pivotal moment for me.
15 November 2016
This was when I truly stopped giving a fuck about what the people at high school thought, and truly realised that Instagram could be something for me. I deleted all my old posts – I was always trying to be someone in them, not just being. I posted pictures of myself that I would never had the courage to before because they weren’t super flattering (bottom middle), and I started writing captions that were more than just song lyrics from a list on my phone. The middle photo I took whilst studying outside for the final HSC exams. The one after that is of me at my 18th party (which was all family because I dropped all my friends lol), right before exams started. I really stopped caring about projecting a certain ‘aesthetic’ or ‘vibe’ and just posted whatever the fuck I felt like. It was liberating.
9 June 2017
After the HSC I went to New York, where I deleted my instagram while sitting in Central Park. I realised that Instagram always tracked certain phases of my life, and I didn’t want to feel trapped in it’s confines. I didn’t re-download instagram until half way through Semester 1 at uni. I felt like I finally had a good enough relationship with my self and my worth that Instagram wouldn’t become something debilitating. I can’t explain to you how much I changed in between the last photo and this one. They’re truly not the same person, but I love each of them for who they are and what they did for who I am today today. The quote in my bio is from a book that genuinely changed the course of my life. If you know me, you know that Waves by Virginia Woolf has a special place in my heart. That quote is from the back cover of my edition. Now that I think of it, it applies to the entire concept of this post. Instagram can show you the evolution of yourself, marking how you shift and change through intermittent time capsules captured in photos. It shows how I’m made and remade, continually.
01 January 2018
The second semester of uni was quite tough for me, physically and emotionally. I came out of first semester feeling drained, and spiralled from there. The start of the new year really was a fresh start for me – what can I say, I’m a sucker for cliches. But I honestly felt renewed and more capable of communicating my authentic self – or at least an image of it – online. It was still a curation of the best parts of my personality – life definitely was not all acai bowls, beaches and books – but it was pretty damn close. The quote is from Cicero, which I actually discovered in a Milo song. According to Cicero, a Sage was asked while fleeing his home town why he didn’t bring any of his personal possessions, to which he replied omnia mea mecum porto – meaning all that is mine I carry within. It’s still one of my favourite quotes to this day, serving as a reminder that everything I need is already inside of me.
4 March 2018
And now we’ve arrived at today. I deleted my instagram while I moved out of home. It was a distraction and I needed to be more present. I re-downloaded it the other day and posted around 600 photos in the space of ten minutes (approximately). For the most part I’ve given up on writing captions. I don’t want to tell people what to think about the photo, or what to think about my life. They’re just snippets of my day. Not the whole picture and definitely not the whole me. But they capture an essence of who I embody in a fleeting moment. Who I am the second I take a photo. I was there in that moment. And now I’m not. But it’s always nice to remember where I’ve come from. I just don’t let it dictate where I’m headed anymore