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I took a year off Instagram, here is what I learned.

Photo Credit: Andrew Nassih | Website | Instagram

Hear ye! Hear ye!

I’ve joined the world back on Instagram after a year and a half off (including Facebook). I have a love hate relationship with social media, as all humans do. Here are some things I’ve learned while being away, why I left, and why I’ve decided to join again.

Why I left:

It was a major distraction
— by distraction I mean a distraction from listening to my inner voice, my own inspiration, and a distraction from my own path.

It was a major time suck — we all know how that goes.

I had a bad case of self loathing and low self esteem. It was something that was there before instagram and became more intense, perpetuated by the vicious cycle of comparison.

Why I’ve returned:

The new mute features make me feel comfortable because it allows me to create my own boundaries – it’s what I’ve been waiting for!

– After putting all my focus into my blog and feeling proud of what I’ve created, I wanted more readers to share my experiences with. After all, I wake up at 5am to fit in blogging before the rest of my work day… I should show off my commitment and hustle.

Collaborations & Networking – My ideas for this blog keep expanding and it seems Instagram is the best way to discover and collaborate with other creatives. It actually has made some blogging aspects easier…

Family and Friends – Quarantine got me missin’ them! Not only was I off the grid, but I have an android while the rest of my family has an iphone. For some reason, I am the only one in my family that doesn’t receive the family group chat. It’s really annoying that androids and iphones selectively allow certain texts to come through, so joining them on socials was a way to see some photos they’ve all been sharing. *Curse you smart phones*

Improved my ability to deal with and almost eliminate self loathing – I had to quiet the noise to find the voices within. It’s always a challenge and I work on it everyday, but I feel like accepting Instagram back into my life signifies a milestone of confidence that is still growing, but this is a major step for me.

Tools I’ve enjoyed using while tapping into my inner voice:
*Meditation with the Calm app
*To Be Magnetic -Journaling and hypnosis workshops to help hone in on your authentic code.
*Lots of inspirational podcasts

What I’ve Learned:

I’ve learned how to fully take in the moment without a camera — There are words, poetry, and other senses you can use to lock in a memory.

Alternatively, I’ve re-learned the fun of taking photos just for the pure enjoyment of taking photos and just keeping them for myself.

I’ve become a better listener, and a much better conversationalist. Unfortunately, a lot of us have forgotten how to dig deep into conversations, or what to do with small moments of silence. Or people assume we already know everything about them.

I love being a mystery to people. It’s nice having something new to bring to the table when people ask you ‘What’s the latest?’.

I’ve become a better initiator with my friendships (or at least I hope so) – Since I couldn’t DM people on IG I have to text, email, or actually call them! I’ve slowly been working through my contact list and having virtual coffee chats which have been so nourishing to my spirit, especially during these times.

I’ve learned how to fully express my thoughts. Through blogging and Twitter, especially, I’ve learned how to stand behind my own opinion, and sound confident in saying what I gotta say. It was hard at first because I was used to just double tapping something as the extent of an agreement or not. I think this has been my favorite lesson thus far.

I learned patience. Particularly when it came to the excitement of finishing a creative project. With Instagram, I got so used to things being instant! (as the name goes…) Learning how to be patient with the outcome has really expanded my projects into something more.

Ultimately, it’s all about balance right? Which is always easier said than done. I admire those of you who can keep those boundaries, but for me it was difficult.

Another thing to note is that, in this social-media-detox process, I came to realize that I suffered from major anxiety. There was a mixture of life events that added to the equation, but taking out social media helped me identify triggers, eliminate them, and allow me to return with a stronger psychological shield.

I am happy to be back and like I said, I feel very accomplished being able to sit here and admit that I am back on Instagram. It took a lot of inner work to get to this point.

I am however very aware of the old habits that quickly came flooding back into my psyche. I try not to take myself too seriously, and I am enjoying the process of putting myself out there, being a performer (another thing I had to admit to myself); being a creative, and just going for it.

I try to remember that, it’s all instagood… right?

Not funny. But seriously, taking a break was what I needed. Those close to me know I’ve been doing a lot of inner work and it’s exciting to step back in and say…

My name is Darin Marie. I was born and raised in the burbs of Los Angeles, spending most of my formative years in San Francisco. I'm a database manager by day and this is my creative outlet. All photos are my own unless noted otherwise. Thanks for stopping by!

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