We are all guilty of it right...endlessly scrolling through photos wanting and hoping for what others have, comparing our lives to strangers and then ultimately feeling like crap when you're done. I am sure this post may surprise some because it's easy to see someone else's successes or perfectly styled picture and say to yourself, "wow, they are kicking butt an taking names." But little do you know that they are struggling to keep up with the Joneses and that it's taking a toll on them. I found myself in that place a month ago and I've decided to take a break from Instagram. Many people may never admit to that or even write a post on it, but I have always been transparent when it comes to my struggles as a small business owner. (while still working as a full time pediatric R.N.)
It's funny how different life was before this app existed. I really wish sometimes that it was never created because life would be so simple and full of contentment from the things we have already been blessed with, we would enjoy hot meals because we didn't spend 15 minutes trying to get the best lay flat, or answering the question "did you see that?"...No, because I was checking my feed. I remember when I first joined Instagram, I would snap a random photo from time to time, add a filter and post it with no worries about the likes, comments, or the number of times people regrammed it. (Pretty sure that word was made up because of Instagram) Then we got engaged, started wedding planning, and my posts became all about wedding details and the planning process. Our wedding was on a beautiful day in November, surrounded by our family and friends, we ate and drank until the night was done then left for our honeymoon the next day. It's was truly the most perfect day. The day before we were heading home to Miami, we received our photos back from Shea Christine and all of the memories from our wedding day flashed before my eyes. I cried tears of joy and happiness because the images were everything and more, full of moments to relive for the rest of our lives. Some time passed after the wedding and I was waiting patiently to hear from Shea to tell use that our wedding was selected for publication. The day never came and other real weddings were being featured everyday on different platforms and there it started, those negative thoughts..."our wedding wasn't special enough, "it wasn't beautiful enough, "I didn't plan it well enough" and all because a blog said no. Or because I didn't see one of our photos pop up on my Instagram feed, with the most perfect caption, and everyone commenting "so beautiful", "swoon", "or I want this for my wedding." All the happiness was taken away the moment I let comparison get in my head.
Fast forward to February of 2016...I had this crazy idea to start Cotton & Crumb. Of course, the first thing I did was secure my Instagram handle because I knew that a small business would never survive without a perfectly curated feed, full of photos and quotes. In the beginning, I never thought twice about it...I posted the photos of my gifts and creations, with the most confidence in the world. I never worried about the likes, or how the overall layout of my images looked. I posted for me and for the business I was growing.
As the months passed, I continued to get busier, but I also became more aware of what others were doing. I was constantly seeing posts about "another fully booked wedding season", or "YAY, another published wedding", and all I was trying to do was survive and hope that another inquiry to come through because someone trusted me enough. It wasn't until recently when I was putting together a large welcome gift order, along with a few individual gift requests, on top of working 36 hours, and creating a new line of things for the shop, that I almost had a full mental breakdown. I was anxious, I was constantly on my phone looking for new emails and spending hours figuring out my post for the day, designs weren't free flowing and natural. I kept second guessing myself and it hit me...this damn app is ruining everything; my happiness, the time spent with my husband, the confidence I had in myself and the product I was producing. I couldn't believe that I let Instagram make me question everything!? Who is to say that my success is less than the accomplishments of others!? What did it take for them to get there...what did they sacrifice?! Was I willing to do the same? I felt like I couldn't work fast enough to keep up and it was Lotte (past bride, current virtual pen-pal) that reminded me "No matter how long your ideas take to come into fruition, you have to remember that for the most part that for these other people, this is their full time job, where they are spending all their time and energy on these projects. She soo hit the nail on the head and this is where my anxiety was coming from...trying to keep up with everyone else.
It was after that conversation that I realized it was time for me to take a break...to detox and just live without the pressure of posting and to create freely without the pressure and influence of what other were "launching" or getting published for. May is always thought of as a time for renewal and refreshing. The flowers start to break through the ground, the leaves are green, there is an excitement for the arrival of summer and the fun it brings, so I couldn't think of a better time to take a break while I create, just be, and most importantly celebrate my birthday during our road trip to Savannah & Charleston.
For my current clients, I will still be here for you and for future clients or friends...this does not mean I am not here for you. Reach out, send an email, come see what I am up to here on the blog. Here is to new things to come and to enjoying the every day moments without pausing for the perfect picture. Remember friends....you are enough.