Starting college felt like an immensely liberating time: I lived on my own (with five other girls), had no one saying I had to go to class (I did anyways, religiously), and I could eat ice cream for breakfast if I wanted to (I never have, but still).
What I really saw within the jump to college was an opportunity to reinvent myself, or to at least vamp up the sides of me I hid from the people I had gone to school with my whole life (sometimes the comfortable is uncomfortable). I especially hoped I would take my whole food Instagram-blogger thing a lot more seriously…
and I did. At first.
I kept taking food photos when I could, cooking fun dishes, going to vegan events, writing for Spoon University and telling people I had a vegan food Instagram. Instead of shying away from it all, I really promoted it.
However, at some point I kind of hit a wall. It wasn’t an out-of-nowhere thing; in retrospect, I realize it was a pretty gradual ruin. I fell from my foodie ways, practically retiring my camera and only dusting off my Instagram page once a month to post a random photo I had taken.
This wasn’t even what I wanted to do, though… so what happened?
Social media pushed my brain into a creative standstill.
I scrolled and compared until I was too insecure in my worth as a food Instagrammer to keep pursuing it at full-force. I became complacent, thinking that nothing I was doing was original, good-enough or worthwhile. As much as I blame social media, I also blame myself for falling prey to the evils of social media.
A Forbes article explained that “studies have found correlations between higher social media use and poorer mental health, including depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation, lower self-esteem, and even suicidality.”
It sounds really heavy and the studies cited were not done with large sample sizes; however, I think most people would agree that, at a minimum, scrolling through photos of people who have six-pack abs, are traveling across the world, or have a picture-perfect relationship lead to upward comparisons.
Upward comparison happen “when we compare ourselves with those who we believe are better than us,” as defined in an article for Verywell Mind.
It’s okay to admit that feeling jealous of what others have is easier than simply being happy for them.
It’s not okay, though, to continue this vicious cycle of letting the seemingly perfect lives of others to affect your own life. I want to make more of an effort to use what others post as inspiration for myself and to be happy for the success of others.
So, after months of pushing away my passion for food photography and writing, and after a phenomenal self-help book, I decided to get back to my philosophy that the camera eats first because I want it to. I know that having a food Instagram is something I genuinely enjoy and that it’s not worth my time to suppress this hobby simply because others are doing it too.
Thus, I am deciding to put myself back out there in the foodstagram world, with a confidence in my own creative work and ability to be happy doing what I love…for me.
One of my favorite motivational quotes is “it’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.” I see my break from @mirandasmunchies as just a small bump in the road; stopping what I love all together will not get me to happiness, but getting there won’t happen in the easy blink of an eye.
So, here’s to the journey, and the process, and to doing what we love without trying to fit into the mold we thought we had to squeeze into.
And here’s to the fresh, new Miranda’s Munchies.