That Time When I Went Instagram Famous

Joe changed his blogger name, so he's not Martha Stewart. And yes, I'm logged in and blogging from his account, but I assure you this is me, Lara. I can prove it by telling you that I scootered a lot in college, and that's what 90% of my blog is about, my scootering days in college. I'm just too lazy to log into my account, and not entirely sure I know how to, either.

But here you go, mom, I'm blogging. I've been missing from the blogosphere (I feel like there's a word like that, but I'm not sure what it is.) This blog post might give some insight as to why that is.

A preface... this post is not looking for pity or kudos. If I was looking for people to verbally boost me up, trust me, I would have written this a long time ago. The only reason I'm writing it now is because I've gotten over that, and now I'm writing it for me.

A couple of months ago I got hit with the urge I'm sure everyone is hit with. And that was to become iNsTaGrAm FaMoUs. Specifically Instagram. Because the facts are these folks (as she puts on a fedora and pulls out a candy cigar) Instagram is a young person's game, yeh see? And if you want to stay cool, Instagram is where it is, yeh see? Facebook just isn't gonna pay the bills, yeh see? *End bad mobster scene*

I dunno what it is. I was doing a yoga challenge on Instagram for fun, I started getting likes, I wondered what it would be like to get more likes, I wondered if I could get free stuff on Instagram, so I decided to learn more about that. I read articles about SEO and "influencing" and all that you've got to do to become famous. This isn't going to be a blog about what it takes, because honestly I think that stuff is as dull as nails. And maybe that's why I'm not Instagram famous, because I consider all that boring.

But I took the step. Decided to dedicate a large portion of my life to this new hobby, and career of sorts, because it IS time consuming. The first step was making my account public. Which isn't that bad, actually. I don't post many pics of my kids faces on my Instagram, I don't post their names, and I screen every account that passes through mine and block them if I get a bad vibe.

A strange thing happened, when I did that, though. It wasn't the fact that my account wasn't private anymore... it was just the knowledge that I was moving forward with this plan to get ***famous***... but a part of me mourned. It was really strange. I remember the day, remember where I was sitting, remember embarking on this aMaZiNg JoUrNeY all Bachelor style and feeling like I wish I could go back, already.

I did all that stuff. I created a page in my planner where I'd track my progress. I'd use all the hash tags, I'd look for other accounts and follow and engage with them. I'd learn what hashtags were trending. I tried to stylize my feed.

What the crap is all that about? Stylizing your feed? Making sure the pictures you take match the pictures you took before? UGH. That was probably the worst part for me. I mean, I like a certain look in my photos, I like them to be warm and colorful and stuff, but heaven help me if I post two yoga pictures in a row, or take a break from the yoga photos and post a picture of the beach. But it disrupts the entire aesthetic.


That's mean. And I don't really mean that.

But in a way, it is. I've battled my whole life with finding a balance between recording and living, because the two don't seem to mix together any better than oil and vinegar do. In the end, you may come out with a nice salad dressing but it's going to be fighting to separate the entire time.

Do I witness life with my own eyes? (Or through my contact lenses... because... I didn't listen when my mom told me to stop reading books in the dark. I've got a rebellious streak like a bad girl, obviously.) Or do I witness life through my phone camera, or professional camera? Do I take in moments and enjoy them in my soul without thinking about how I'm going to portray it on my blog? Do I pursue adventures for the sake of enjoying my family and my life, which, at the ripe old age of 25 already feels like it's moving too fast, or do I take adventures as an opportunity to write and photograph, not for myself, not for my kids, but for my doting fans?

I didn't want that life. And that's what I felt die inside me. I felt my brain start to analyze the pictures I took of my kids. "Are these candids really that good? Are they too blurry? Are my kids looking perfect enough here? How long can I get them to sit still in this position or recreate this moment over so I can take a couple hundred more, where 99 of them won't be good enough and only 1 will be worth sharing?" I started picking apart my yoga photos, and with it, my home, and my body. "Ugh, I wish I had a brighter paint color to make these photos pop more. And maybe I need hair extensions and what is that fold of skin doing on my hip, ugh."

And yeah, I do wish I had a brighter paint color because I love the light... but why did it have anything at all to do with my Instagram feed?

This isn't to take a jab at those who are "Instagram Famous." I applaud you. I recognize how much work it takes. It really is a job. And many of you are inspiring to others.

And that's what I thought I could do, perhaps I could get to a point where my words would move masses and I could share powerful truths and give a voice that maybe wasn't there before. I do have platforms I care about. Eating disorders. Body acceptance. The gospel of Jesus Christ. The importance of education and children and those who have less than...

But at what cost. Do I set aside what matters most to me... my family, my children, my own *self* and craft a world that, while powerful and influential, is not authentic.

Or do I put down my camera for a while. Do I take a break from writing. To focus and be present. To take in life at that moment. With my own eyes. Own hands. Own lungs. For me, and for no one else in that moment but me... Because being there in my own skin is the best thing I can do for my family.

So I did.

And now I post whatever the crap I want on Instagram. Which is not that much, actually. Because that experiment of becoming famous really did a number on my relationship with social media, and I'm still working out those kinks. I still do hashtags, too, because it helps me connect to a really interesting and fun yoga community.

But this blog post isn't for the famous. Because who among them is going to read it, honestly.

This blog post is for the ones out there like me. Who don't get many likes. Who have a junky phone camera and a fancy point and shoot. (RIP DSRL camera....)

My life is better when my photos are hurried and blurred. When hairs are astray. When I post a picture of a beautiful, memorable and hilarious moment that gets only 5 likes rather than 500. My relationships are happier when they're not only not posed, but also not analyzed in the candid to make sure there are no flaws. 

I'd honestly recommend this experiment to anyone, though. It's rough. But it will open your eyes up a lot more. Since doing it, I've cut back my social media usage from 3-6 hrs a day (that's disgusting and embarrassing to admit) to 30 minutes a day. With my spare time I've picked up books, taken walks, gone on bike rides, cleaned, changed diapers, raced, sang nursery rhymes, hiked, laughed, and yes, cried a lot, because I'm me and I'm not gonna be able to get through life without the crying hahah.

When I look to the people I truly admire the very most in life, the people I want to emulate, the people who inspire me beyond description... my parents, my family, my husband, my children, my friends... it has so little to do with their presence online and so much to do with our personal connection, and my connection to their own lens of life. 

I have a bad habit of not knowing how to end blog posts... but I guess... maybe.... if you're worried about this stuff, it's not bad to give it a try. Maybe you'll be wildly successful at it. But maybe you'll notice how much you missed the before. And maybe it will give you an opportunity to go back and do the before again, but with a new found appreciation and respect. 

And now you can't say "So no one told me life was gonna be this way..." because I did. So there.

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