A drawing of Ana holding a phone and taking a photo of a cat who is washing itself. The cat says, suprised, oh, hello Ana.


Jottings from Ana Rodrigues

Overthinking Instagram

I very rarely share online if something isn’t going well in my life. I’ve always treated my social media the same way most of us do: we only share the good bits. I thought I was doing that but nowadays, I look back at some photos of what looks like an excellent time of my life but now I know very well that it wasn’t like that at all. I suppose that at the time of posting them I was too numb to see what other bad stuff were surrounding that moment. I particularly hate seeing photos that remind me of previous jobs. Now that I’ve processed and understand many things that happened to me that were wrong, my heart sinks scrolling through my instagram timeline for example. I can’t even handle opening photos to delete them because it ruins my day.

Something similar happened in 2017. I had my first and only Facebook account since 2009. That account had lived through a lot. I actively avoided opening my Facebook account because at that point I had accumulated a lot of people who just reminded me of pain.

I used to struggle a lot with boundaries and defending myself. I hated (and still do) confrontation. I would allow lots of people to win arguments because I couldn’t handle the stress of standing up for myself. I was petrified of upsetting people and always been too apologetic. The fact that I couldn’t stand up for myself damaged me so much. Opening a website and see lots of people who caused that damage was a constant reminder of sad times. For those reasons as well, it takes a lot from me to block or remove someone from social media. It is really bizarre but I am always afraid that, if I do remove someone from my social media, that person could ask me why and that would lead to confrontation especially if it is someone from your work place. Unfortunately, as a woman, after some years I’ve accumulated some people who I had to block and because of this, I became very obsessed with privacy settings.

Everything hit the fan when in 2017 I used the marketplace option in Facebook when I was moving houses. I needed to sell some furniture so I thought it was ideal. The user experience was amazing - I quickly added photos, location, price and soon after I received my very first message.

 The thing about marketplace is that strangers could send you a message to talk about the item you are selling. A person who was not friends with me on Facebook (an innocent stranger) messaged me and since I was using my laptop at the time, I quickly clicked on the notification and opened Messenger. I saw, in front of my eyes, my previous clean Messenger inbox with only around 5 different conversations going on, be flooded with previously deleted messages… including from people I had previously blocked. I saw them all loading in front my eyes and be reminded of names I really did not want to see. I also saw my Messenger settings be reset. It unblocked people I had blocked and anyone could send me a message.

I started to shake, cry and in panic. I was physically frozen. I couldn’t delete my messages manually because that meant that I had to see them. I couldn’t manually block those people anymore because it was too much. I decided to delete my account all together.

I already knew that “deleted” messages don’t mean “deleted” in Facebook’s servers. I figured that it was a bug and I think that in the moment I allowed someone who wasn’t friends with me to message me via a brand new feature it must have reset the status of previous messages and profiles in relation to me. I didn’t report the bug as I was too shaken up. I only deleted the account and moved on. Probably this is fixed by now but I don’t want to try or test it myself.

Today I am feeling the same with Instagram in regards to bad memories. Especially because I don’t recognise the person I was that posted 6 or 5 years ago and even before that. I changed so much. I want to give younger self a big hug but I also want to erase that person.

Some people I follow, although they never did any harm to me whatsoever, they accidentally remind me of someone or an event that I don’t want not be reminded of. But because they never did any harm to me, I can’t bring myself to unfollow them because I don’t want to be harsh so the cycle continues.

I never open my own profile in Instagram but I want a blank start. I do like Instagram. I like following friends and inspiring people. I love seeing colours and even memes so I still want to have an account. Unfortunately, I read that I can’t delete an account and use the same username. So I am at loss of what to do.

I will be more mindful of what I share online too. I will make sure to only post photos of something if it is a 100% positive memory. It isn’t to show off to other people - it is for my own sake. I want to be able to use it like a photo album. Open it and smile - instead of anxiety, panic, remorse and tears. Maybe during this Christmas break I will find the guts to do a purge but I know that it will be a "fake purge".

I should also bring up something important to me that is the catalyst of these personal notes (including my talks about blogging). This year was a very important year to me because I did therapy. As my previous post mentioned I went though some rough patches in my life that I never properly processed before. Perhaps it is because the year is about to end but I have been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned about myself and how I worked on my mental health. It has been a process of forgiving myself and rebuilding my confidence but in order to do that I had to face many repressed feelings I had and it wasn’t easy. I may or may not do one or two more posts with some tangents on this topic but I am happy to finally let it all out and be honest to myself.

I’m not going to waste bytes talking how social media, the way it is today, is a shit hole. I’m not going to waste time either explaining why deleting social media is a privilege. So this is just a rant from someone who is somewhat upset that someone else' server will never forgive and forget your past.

Note: I mentioned these social media platforms but it applies to any other platforms. I really like a lot of people who work at the companies mentioned and I know that these companies have created a lot of amazing things too.

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The end of 2018

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