Discovering Instagram has meant that I have found a strange middle ground where like-minded women actually want to read what I have to say and listen to my opinions. I am able to observe and learn and sometimes emulate what I observe of others and some amazing real life friendships have been born.
On the less rose tinted side, my instapath has been a journey in self discovery too and I have re-ignited the addictive nature in my personality. I know that I am not alone in this but late at night, when I type my security code into yet another website (let’s not pretend they don’t already have my card details stored), I wonder about how healthy this new interest of mine really is as it increasingly feels more and more empty.
BI (Before Instagram) I was always a shopper but my habits have taken on a new level of excess. Regardless of means, many of us aspire to emulate our favourite bloggers who, in my case at least, do not post about Primark or Target.
I have always been a shoe snob and so I don’t follow pictures of cheap shoes. I, like so many, follow the aspirational. But when does the aspirational turn into the everyday?
Another lesson has been how quickly we are conditioned into larger and larger purchases. A few years ago, I would hesitate at checking out of a fairly modest basket. A £250 purchase took some serious consideration but yet it probably consisted of a fair few items and would always include at least a 20% off voucher, carefully scoured from the internet.
Fast forward to now and the ‘seal’ (as Karen Blanchard has aptly christened it) is well and truly broken. A couple of pairs of designer shoes in and I was away. All caution was thrown to the wind and it was a downhill slope from there.
Gucci has well and truly been my undoing, ruining all perspective. I have gone from viewing my first purchase, the beautiful, now iconic, gold Gucci marmonts as a treat, a one-off purchase, to just the first of a growing addiction. I bought them in the firm knowledge that they would go with everything, but a mere 8 months later, a rainbow of marmonts has passed through my door and 2 more pairs have remained. I have amassed a myriad of choices, most of which I have neither the occasion to wear nor the climate to do so but yet those Miu Miu leather soled ballerinas still they haunted me – in borderline winter – in England! Needless to say, I bought them.
The ‘big’ purchase of old is still big but it is more easily justified somehow. I shop without caution as I have the eternal ‘return’ fall back. Luckily, my shopping, thanks to my children, is largely limited to online. When I do make it to the big city, the seal remains mysteriously intact, which leads me to believe that there is hope for me yet.
I remain largely satisfied by the online shopping experience and whilst I look forward to the arrival of my goodies, the experience has become empty and wracked with guilt. Shopping has become like an old lover that I am growing tired of. For me, like men, the chase has always been the best part.
Luckily, my year of excess has not been my undoing but I recognise it’s time for a change. Whilst I am not promising abstinence, I hope to exercise more control. I have witnessed much in my year or so on Instagram and it has taught me that we must be careful not to believe the hype. Whilst I infinitely prefer it over Facebook where I am tired of being bombarded by the seemingly perfect lives of my real life friends, I have learned not to take it all so seriously.
There are people everywhere living pretend lives. Whether that be posting their perfect holiday pictures on Facebook or their new designer handbags on Instagram, try not to feel inadequate. When all is said and done, the ‘stuff’ matters very little and most of them really can’t afford it either. The connections we make are what is important. Showing each other the love and appreciation that those who post all seek is where it’s really at.
The price of that knowledge has been twelve pairs of designer shoes in my case. They will stay firmly in my wardrobe and will be enjoyed for years to come but may end up on eBay in a few years. In the meantime, I resolve to wear more of what I have and appreciate the Insta squares for what they are – inspiration – not necessity. I will continue to shop but I will be more ruthless in my choices, buying only what truly gives me butterflies.
Shopping is fun but it’s a one night stand in the great scheme of things. I hope that the friendships I make from all of this will have more longevity.
So don’t believe everything you see in those little Insta squares.
Question: Can you relate to this?
Written by Natalia Wolski