Hello, and welcome to Mommy! It’s me, Mommy!
Mommy is an advice blog for anyone who needs help, who needs an ear, who needs validation, who needs a complete stranger to talk through their feelings in the public forum of the World Wide Web. I’ll begin by saying that I am no guru, nor am I an expert on anything. I don’t know what you should do with your life, I don’t know how you can find peace, I don’t know what you should eat for dinner. I can’t even figure out how electricity works. I, frankly, am insecure about offering advice at all which is probably something that, as a newly-minted advice blogger, I shouldn’t say out loud. I may be wrong about literally everything. I may not be able to tell you what to do about any given situation. I will never be able to explain to you why, when you plug a thing into a wall, it gets all shiny and makes noises. So what the hell makes me, your beloved mommy, qualified to be writing this blog in the first place? Believe me, I am asking the exact same question. All I have to offer is that I am also a human on this extremely messy planet and I, too, am squelching around in the muck that is human existence and, as I do so, I have this sense in every place in my body (yes, every single place) that I am here to listen to you and to offer what I can and to validate whatever it is that you’re feeling. I am your mommy and I love you unconditionally.
(I will also offer, in the way of qualifications, that I was born on October 29, 1989 meaning that I am 1. a Scorpio sun and 2. a Scorpio moon. Consider that my resume.)
Sometimes I feel weird about how much I care about Instagram likes. It feels self-serving and selfish, like an ego-booster. Is that wrong?
Hi, friend! Isn’t our world so confusing? I truly believe that humankind has been plagued by different versions of the same questions for the entirety of our puny existence, but adding social media anxiety to the mix of our species’ god-given angst-tornado is truly a recipe for disaster. It feels like our culture is constantly telling me that I can’t like myself and that I HAVE to like myself, at the same time somehow? That I am simultaneously special and unique AND stupid for believing I am special and unique, that I was duped, that I’m just another ~entitled millennial~ ***special snowflake***. So whatever, right? If all this is true at the same time, that I am special and that I am not, that I rule AND that I drool, I’m inclined to believe that…truth just DOESN’T exist. And if I start to accept that there is no one way I have to be, that I am nothing and that I am everything, then I get to filter out all that noise, which sometimes shows itself like, “I am a terrible person for wanting Instagram likes, why am I so insecure? Aren’t I better than this?”
To advocate for balance for a moment, are you thinking about the likes when you’re supposed to be yukkin’ it up with your friends? Are you not able to stop checking your phone while watching a movie with a loved one, even in the holiest of holy places, the movie theater? Are you taking your phone to the bathroom with you, even when you don’t want to? The likes give you an ego boost and that’s not necessarily wrong, but what if you care too much? Is it interfering with your ability to be present in your daily life? Is being present in your daily life important to you? Then maybe try to take a step back. Take some simple, concrete steps – like only allowing yourself to look at Instagram at certain times of the day, turn off notifications if you have them set up, maybe de-activate for a little while every time you feel the need. If you know you’re going to post a picture and want to keep checking for likes, then don’t post that picture right before you go out with friends or when you sit down to begin your life’s work (as I did before I sat down to write this letter to you.)
I want you to know that you are so, so much more than your Instagram likes (as The Queen once said, “We’re so much more than pointless fixtures, Instagram pictures”) but you are also so much more than your worry about Instagram likes. Life is short, so worrying about likes on Instagram is probably a waste of it, but worrying about worrying about likes on Instagram DEFinitely is. Be gentle with yourself. You are showing something to the world and even if it’s just a picture of you in your own bathroom or a pile of dog shit with a cigarette put out in the middle (I looked through my own pictures for ideas), you want people to respond positively. We all want that, we have all wanted that, you are not a bad person for wanting that. We are ALL chasing that high in some way – through Instagram likes, tucking away the memory of your friends laughing at your joke, your boss acknowledging your skill, the moments that you feel like ~you~ have really shined through and someone noticed. That magic. It is so unbelievably radical and tight to get to a place where you give all the validation you need to yourself, but getting validation from other people is the next best thing and is also 100% okay! post to Instagram, rake in the likes and let them make you feel good. It’s ok. You deserve it. If we could all be more comfortable with our own need for validation, think of all the time we could put toward new Instagram posts instead of rolling around in our own beds, naked probably, clutching our heads and thinking to ourselves, “Why do I care so much about what people think of me?!?!? I am such a bad person, such trash, for hoping someone liked my picture of dog shit with a cigarette in the middle!”
We are allowed to want people to like us, to like the things we do, to think about us when we are not around, to hope that someone came across our picture and couldn’t double-tap it fast enough and thought to themselves, “Ugh, that person is so cute/funny/smart/interesting/I just like them!” All that said, I have to advocate for balance again. Look at your Instagram every single day for all I care, and absolutely GLOW with pride at those likes you’ve accumulated, get high as hell on your notifications – but, I also hope that your own double-tap is the double-tap that matters most. Your own seal of approval is truly the most important, you are the world’s foremost YOU scholar, a true genius. Your very saliva is imbued with magic, even your goddamn initials are holy. Telling yourself that with a straight face and being your own ultimate Instagram-liker is something to work toward. (You get that this whole Instagram thing has become a metaphor for life in general right?) I believe in you and I trust you – you’ll find the way.