Hello 👋🏼 My name is Emma and I spend a lot of time thinking about my right thumb. Weird, yes, but bear with me. I wonder about whether my abductor pollicis brevis, as Google tells me this particular muscle is called, is strong enough. I think about whether or not it’ll withstand the hours I regularly spend double tapping my way through an app I so desperately want to feel connected to, yet also hold a deep resentment for. I often think about whether or not my poor right thumb is built to withstand Instagram.
Considering Instagram contributes to how I financially support my son, it brings an anxiety that comes from regular business stresses when content is being curated and so much is tied up in continued posting, engagement, and exposure, whilst also a personal one. I get to the point with it where I don't want to post anything, which is how I have felt the last three weeks. When nothing feels genuine or appropriate, I'd prefer to not post anything at all, but I know it's part of my job and actually I can't always just stop. I'm starkly aware of the scrolling that can quickly become a spiral of comparison and feeling ‘less than’ for lots of people. I also know that self-doubt can certainly be part of that. Here’s my posting battle:
I upload a picture and edit it before my caption. I ask myself: Does this fit aesthetically on my grid? Is it ‘on brand’? Does it have the right palette of colour? Is anyone even going to care about this picture?!
I’ll insert and swiftly delete a comma from my caption, then add an emoji. I’ll go back and edit the image a bit more, needlessly edging the ‘brightness’ slider an invisible smidge to the left and then decrease the ‘sharpness’ for no reason at all. After that I’ll hesitantly make my return to the ‘share’ screen and that’s when the lump in my throat starts to form.
It’s then that I’ll start to feel inexplicably sick; as my thumb cautiously returns to the ‘post’ button and accidentally clicks it before I’m emotionally ready to release it into the world. For the next five minutes it’s a familiar, cyclical internal monologue of self-criticism and questioning. *Continued in comments*