We all have things in our lives that nurture an inferiority complex. Maybe you’re being upstaged at work by a coworker whose potential cyborg status is still a little iffy with you. Perhaps those white chocolate chip prune cookies you bake that everyone in your family raves about have earned you an embarrassing upcoming segment on the auditions for Top Chef. My personal feelings of inferiority come from a daunting social media fad. Who knew a free app could have such a profound impact on my sense of self worth? I have a confession: I am an inferior Instagrammer.

I know you might be surprised, but it’s true. Instagram is a great way to covertly creep on people’s lives without dealing with the annoying status updates, game invites, and birthday reminders that come along with Facebook. I’m pretty sure the idea for Instagram was born in Starbucks, amidst a dozen Apple users all sitting three inches from the screen, clicking through the wedding photo album of some distant acquaintance who may or may not even know their last name. What Instagram has made me realize is that my life is not photogenic, and I may be on the path to becoming the little old lady who lived in a shoe.

Just yesterday I considered Instagramming a tumbleweed. I was a step away from posting a picture of my appointmentless calendar. Walking to work, I saw a freshly painted fence that was drying in the sun, but not even a healthy hit of Lo-Fi or X-Pro II was enough to make it Instagram worthy.

I’m hit or miss with Instagram. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to snap a picture of my cat when he’s looking particularly feline fresh, or I’ll capture a photo of the Chicago skyline and apply a cool filter (because that actually never gets old), but left to my own devices, my unedited Instagram anthology would mostly consist of meals, my desk at work, the toilet, and my computer screen.

Who are these people going on adventures every other day, anyway? One day they’re on a boat with some giant marlin they caught, and the next day they’re frolicking in an open field with dandelion fuzz framing their face while sunlight haloes their head. Furthermore, who’s taking pictures of these people? I can’t imagine asking my friends, “Hey, can you take this picture just of me having fun? I’d like to put it on Instagram. #fun #life #hehe”

Kids and pets are great Instagram subjects. By “kids,” I mean infants to seven year olds. Once a child turns 8, it’s no longer adorable.

As for pets, I guess mine aren’t as cooperative as they should be. They’re not always getting into adorable mischief—most of the time it’s that bad kind of mischief (AKA trouble) like gnawing some irreplaceable family heirloom or pooping or peeing where they’re not supposed to. Should I make an Instagram video of myself ugly crying because the cat clawed through the screen again and was out on the second story ledge in a reckless attempt at curiosity suicide? Maybe I could take a pic of the dog getting muddy paw prints all over my sheets (and how I didn’t change them until laundry day because I’m lazy, and mud never hurt anyone). …Any good?

I couldn’t possibly forget about the selfie. I’m not going to blow smoke up your sass, here—I do not look always look selfie worthy. To document how I look on an average day would be selfie sabotage. Most days, I look so ratchet piglets come and find me:

I'm literally Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.
I’m literally Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.

Normally, you’ll see me not wearing make-up with my hair in a lumpy ponytail, and all my worldly possessions in the bags under my eyes. If it’s that time of the month, I probably have the Lord Voldemort of zits somewhere on my chin. To the women who look fabulous enough to selfie every day, I applaud you, but can we get real for a second? Half of the people using #nofilter or #nomakeup are lying. Oh, so your eyelashes are naturally clumpy? In high school, when they asked for your ethnicity on standardized tests, I hope you were filling in “Valencia,” because that’s the only way your skin tone looks like that.

I’ve learned how to cheat the system and appease my 16 followers: If I do selfies of my profile, no one can see the bad skin situation on the other side of my face. Photographs of the city of Chicago can do no wrong. People are more interested in pictures of my cat than they are of me. Taking pictures of my shoes is a good way of illustrating that I own more than one pair of shoes, and that I presumably go places.

I’ve been trying to be more discerning with what I choose to Instagram, but sometimes, a few unworthy attempts sneak in…

#messywriting #ringthatisn'tonmyfinger #stupid
#messywriting #ringthatisn’tonmyfinger #stupid
I'm so embarrassed. #shame
I’m so embarrassed. #shame
This looks like the cover to a shitty book.
This looks like the cover to a boring book.

And without further ado, my favorite…

I mean, what was I thinking?
I mean, what was I thinking?

70 thoughts on “Confessions of an Inferior Instagrammer

  1. Haha that last one is great! Keep going, some of those are really good actually – I have faith that one day you will be an amazing Instagrammer!!

    <3, Charlotte

  2. I’ve embraced most aspects of social media, but have yet to understand the appeal of Instagram and Pinterest. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m finally getting old… Nah. There are just not enough hours in the day for me to waste on every single social media trend…

    1. For me, the real appeal of Facebook were the pictures, so I like it from a stalker standpoint. Instagram is tricky though, because there’s something more intimate about following someone there than friending someone on Facebook. And naturally, all the people whose lives I want to creep are private.

  3. Taking bad pictures is an art. I have decided to take to twitter and instagram to post Bitter Blurry Photos, where I just take the worst pictures, blurry and out of focus and of things that no one cares about and will someday start an art gallery that people will view and pretend like the pictures have meaning and depth.

    1. WHAT?!

      That would piss me off. Even if I didn’t want to Instagram, not even having the option would make me mad. We need to contact Bill Gates or something, this shit is out of order.

  4. Whoa, 16 followers? Who are you? Beyonce?

    All mine are pics of my dogs and I have 2 of my desk to show that I actually cleaned it once. My 8 followers loved it.

    1. I’m kind of a big deal…

      HA! Mine are mostly of the city and the cat, like I said. I try to give the people what they want, but sometimes I make a mistake and post a picture of a puddle or my front lawn.

  5. Loved this. So funny! I could only wish to be a crappy instagrammer, as I do not own a smart phone and my real camera was taken out to pasture by C. But I am pretty obsessed with all the photo filters and crap on Picasa. Good thing there’s no sharing mechanism (that I know of) on that or the world would get sick of me pretending to be a photographer really quickly.

    1. No smart phone?! I hate to be this person, but how do you live?!

      I’m pretty sure if/when I have a kid, I’ll have to quit all my other life responsibilities just to be their personal photographer. I would have no shame about being that mom who obsessively posts pictures of her spawn.

      Unless my kids turn out ugly.

    1. I’m glad the last one wasn’t a total fail.

      I guess that’s one small victory: I’m posting desserts, but I haven’t yet resorted to Instagrams of the desert.

  6. I can totally relate to this post. I’ve been on Instagram for over a year, and have only posted a handful of photos. I find the whole thing a bit boring if I’m being honest. My only reason for being on there is to check on my kids and their activity which far surpasses mine in both quantity and quality!

    1. Those kids and their Instagrams…

      I think we want to like it because we all want to assume that people are interested enough in our lives to want to see random behind the scenes photos, but in my case, my life is so boring there isn’t even a behind the scenes–it’s just a scene. Sometimes obscene.

  7. “Oh, so your eyelashes are naturally clumpy?” Haha!!
    I blame the movies that show the characters waking up with perfect make-up and just slightly crumpled hair.
    I don’t even bother with instagram because my life is so boring…

    1. Agreed! One of my favorite parts of Bridesmaids is when Kristen Wiig’s character gets up early to put on makeup to make the guy think she just wakes up looking like that. I wish I cared enough about my appearance to do that…

      I probably shouldn’t be bothering with it, either.

  8. Laughing, as always! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I spend (too much) time contemplating how some women are just picture perfect at every moment. From their hair to outfits to makeup (or #nomakeup), it’s ridiculous. We should overhaul Instagram with pictures of real women just waking up, smelling their armpits, sniffing a shirt off the floor to find out if it’s clean, etc. I’m sure Instagram would adore that!

    1. YES! I love it! #spinstergram is probably what that would be called.

      A failed attempt at a YouTube braid, a broken nail that doesn’t get filed for three days, or the pair of stinky flats that get worn 80% of the time.

  9. My pictures are always out of focus. Granted, I need a camera that doesn’t suck horrifically, but still. I’m never camera ready to be honest with you so you are not alone. I avoid cameras at all times (and even skipped a group photo at one of my conferences) and I admit it. All that aside, I actually like the hazy picture at the end… it looks like a haunted forest. 🙂

    1. It does kind of look like the Harry Potter forest. We had some insane fog that day, which is why I posted it, but I just look back on it with shame now.

      I don’t mind being in pictures, usually, but selfies are usually up close and personal, and I’m not always ready for my close-up. The dark circles under my eyes are camera shy.

  10. I haven’t embraced Instagram yet or Pinterest, oh I joined both but it’s rare that I post anything. I just have too much fun to remember to stop to take a photo.

    1. I’ll never be on Pinterest, because I think it’s ridiculous. I wish I could legitimately say the fun factor is why my Instagrams are bad… Unfortunately, fun to me is going to bed at 8:00 p.m. (I’m 70 years old.)

  11. I always wonder who is taking amazing arty photos of people on Instagram. And I would feel like a complete dick asking my friends to take one of me being all nonchalant and impossibly cool. Because that is how I am all the time, obviously!

    1. Yeah! I mean, it has to be their friends right?! I wouldn’t mind asking if we were on vacation or we saw something funny/out of the ordinary, but to relegate my besties to my personal photographer? I’m not that bougie.

  12. I like the pictures of your shoes, so keep ’em coming . . .

    PS – It is my dream to be an awesome Instagrammer!

  13. I love the ring one! It shows the depth of…….. forget it, I am an inferior art gallery visitor and couldnt even begin to tell you what it shows. I cant even see babies on sonograms!

    1. I love going to the art institute and watching people trying to impress strangers with their nonexistent knowledge of art.

      Here’s the thing about sonograms, like, how would anyone know if the equipment broke right before their appointment and the doctor put in a DVD? I mean, you can’t tell it’s your baby from a grainy black and white image like that.

  14. ” I can’t imagine asking my friends, “Hey, can you take this picture just of me having fun? I’d like to put it on Instagram. #fun #life #hehe””

    Yes, yes, and (fuck it) thrice yes!

  15. You could become Chicago’s foremost desolate forest photographer! Keep an eye on those forecasts for the foggy days 🙂

    Seriously though that’s a pretty nice pic, would make a great album cover for a really depressing collection of songs!

    Rohan.

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