This Instagram Life
Once upon a time a girl happened upon blogging and her life was changed for always. She found herself creating a scrapbook full of all that she loved and she felt her heart do a happy little skip when she realised that there were others out there just like her. And so she wrote for them. And for her son who was at the time just one year old. And sometimes she wrote to the man who left or the one who couldn’t stay no matter how much he wanted to. Or she needed him to.
But mostly she wrote for herself. She wrote and she collected pretty pictures and even prettier thoughts. She let what was unhappy tinge her days in sepia and looked at her life through a rose-tinted lens regardless. What she was creating was a scrapbook of all of her days. Her hearts desires. Sorrow, gratitude and joy. And sometimes she lost whole afternoons just to scrolling through all of her own yesterdays, shocked to know that were versions of herself she had left behind without even realising she was casting them off. Surprised by the evidence of her own growth.
At first blogging was a difficult business, requiring much fathoming of bewildering computer language and dalliances with cameras that wouldn’t do what she wanted. Then for a while the words and pictures seemed to flow right out of her hands on to the keyboard, so fast she couldn’t keep up, blogging two or three times a day and feeling inspired at every turn. But suddenly, as blogging became more prevalent elsewhere on-line, this girl grew shy. Too aware of herself. Questioning the value of every sentence and worrying that somehow those who read her could SEE her: that they would come to know her as a fraud, a pretender, a charlatan dressed in scarlet roses. That they would look at her and see straight through her to her vulnerable, cobwebbed heart.
And then someone big and tall and as vulnerable as she was came and blew away the dust from her house. And he made her happy. And deeply sad. And so proud of herself and her home and her son she could barely breathe sometimes. Look what you did, he would say smiling. And she started to see it. Despite it all. Despite the sadness and the fear and the worry and everything else. Despite it all, she saw that somewhere along the way what was just a scrapbook had become a way of life: that all the values she eschewed on-line where a huge part of the way she lived, with kindness and gingham and roses and so much gratitude. That her art and her life had merged into one lovely polka-dotted bubble and it might just be alright after all.
And so she started taking photographs of everything. From the new toaster to the violet pastilles always in her bag. The kitten and her latest bedtime reading matter. She snapped away daily, taking her own lovely ordinary and seeing it all afresh. And though she couldn’t blog it all (for she still felt a little shy), she would sometimes sit down and look at her life on-line in the same way she viewed other people’s: through a lens. Isolated parts of her day snapped to make up one lovely whole. A little boy with curly hair. A kitten with great big eyes. An A for Alison. Everything including the kitchen sink. All there in a way she could see and appreciate, not the blurry fuzz of everyday life, but snippets of her own authenticity on a tiny phone sized screen.
There would always, always be blogging, but now there was also Instagram: little love letters to her own heart, captured daily so she could treasure them always.