The Real Reason why Instagram is so important to me

Photo taken by the wonderful   Xanthe

Photo taken by the wonderful Xanthe

Why I started Instagram

“Why did you start your Instagram account?” This is a question I get asked a lot by my followers and by people who interview me (In fact, I believe this question gets asked every time!) and I always give the same answer; I want to be an author so I built up a book-loving community that would potentially buy my books. And while that is 100% true, it isn’t the full story.

So today I thought I would take you on a little story time and talk about the personal reasons as to why I started my account and how something pretty amazing blossomed from the emotional pain that I was going through. I’ve never really talked about how my account was born out of something that was actually pretty dark and I have to admit that I feel a little bit strange talking about it. So many people have been through much worse than I have, but I want to show how important having a creative outlet was for me.

So, let’s rewind to 2 years ago.

I was in a pretty toxic relationship that was built on his commitment issues and my untrusting of him. While I was in this relationship, I didn’t so much as pick up a book, and I didn’t write anything creatively other than what I needed to for university. I wasn’t myself. I let him get away with saying, and doing, things that I would never in my right mind let anyone get away with now. Towards the end, I was a paranoid mess and secretly crying every day.

And then, he broke up with me by text a day after spending the better part of a week with me for my birthday. I was expecting it to happen, but it didn’t mean it hurt any less. I came home to my family for two weeks and cried for most of the first week (my sister even asked my mum if I was going to die - her words), I spent most of this time in bed not really moving all that much, I stopped eating and lost a lot of weight. I’d lost ambition to do pretty much anything, and at times I really didn’t care what would happen to me at all.

And then Bookstagram came along. To say that Bookstagram saved me would be an over exaggeration, but it gave me a place to channel all of this pain that I was feeling and create something from it. It was a distraction. I started devouring book after book and creating photo after photo and eventually I started to feel alive again. I became a better version of myself, someone who had drive and ambition, the person who I wanted to be. Now of course, I’m not saying that everything magically sorted itself out as soon as I started Bookstagram. It still took months and months, and a very alcohol-fuelled summer, for me to feel okay again. But without Bookstagram, it really would’ve taken me a lot longer to get over it.

I think some people are so quick to belittle the creative outlets without really realising what it can do for a person. I will always, always defend the Instagram community whenever it gets attacked because it means more to me than I’ve ever let on. It can really help some people through difficult times, and that’s why I’ll always be grateful for this community. If I didn’t have this creative outlet to keep me busy, I would never have known the joy that could come from it. Without the pain that I felt, I wouldn’t even have my job, which is pretty crazy to think.

I wish I could go back to my 19 year old self and just say “girl, this is the best thing for you.” Because it truly was. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it, I wouldn’t be so strong, so compassionate, I wouldn’t have the morals that I’ve developed over the years and I certainly wouldn’t have a pretty successful account and be writing this blog post now (in fact, this person would probably take one look at my account and find some way to make me feel shit about it or call it “gay”, but I have the insight now to know that someone who would say this about something I love is not someone who I want in my life.)

I know Instagram isn’t going to be around forever. And I know I’m not going to be creating these images forever, and eventually a different social media platform will come along and that will be the next big thing. But I will always look back at my time on Instagram and be so, so thankful that it happened. I turned it into a career and that will never cease to amaze me.

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Instagram saved me