Last night I was walking with a friend visiting from Manila, and she wanted to get in contact with someone and T.o. and I were like, “just message him on Facebook”.
“I don’t have Facebook,” she said.
“Oh, then he must be on Instagram,” we suggested.
“I’m not on Instagram… Anyway, I’ll get his number from someone.”
And I realized, it’s been almost four months since I’ve been off of Instagram, and it’s made me live differently, particularly in travel. Isn’t that crazy that an app can have that much impact on the way you live?
I work mainly with brands and publications and I always get newsletters, articles, metrics, that I didn’t even ask for; reminding me how you need to keep up through social media. I’ve always had this hunch in me that it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all in terms of determining your business or career progression.
You hear it in the news. A politician quits Twitter. An actor deletes his social media account. Pete Davidson quits Instagram following his relationship to Ariana Grande. Does that mean his comedic career is compromised? That guy needs to keep tabs with the world to remain a cast member on SNL. But he’ll manage to do it somehow.
Personally, I’ve been experiencing so much change and so many decisions to make, that I decided to cut off a medium so I can focus on what’s going on in my life versus monitoring what’s happening in everyone else’s. So it’s been a sort of social experiment I’ve tried on myself and I just wanted to share, how it’s been going.
I’m reading again. One of the moments when I realized I need to decrease my Instagram time was when I was reading an article, and I found myself just skimming through—scanning for the essential sentences in each paragraph so I could scroll down to the next. As a writer, that’s not good. My attention span in reading, and also listening to people, I found was waning. I have since finished the 822-page John Lennon biography I bought in 2016. I bought a magazine recently, and it was the first time in a long time that I finished all the articles I wanted to.
I’m rediscovering other ways of information. I keep up to date with newsletters, print publications, visiting websites I like, and just by talking to friends. I feel that people are scared to miss out a lot. And I get that. You discover so much cool stuff on social—that a brand has a sample sale, that someone launched something... But the core of your personality (who you hang out with, what your interests are) will attract similar frequencies.
This week, dinner with another friend brought up the Celine show outrage, so I googled Phoebe Philo and spent my entire dinner and commute catching up on the history of her tenure in Celine. That morning I saw an article about it on the Highsnobiety newsletter but didn’t click it. But because it came up in conversation, I returned to it. We’re so scared to miss out. But if you do, then just catch up. Sometimes people condescend others for not knowing about something. For me, I respond with, “well, thank you for telling me!”
I’m rediscovering other sources of inspiration. Taking a break from Instagram’s black hole of images has refocused my attention to alternative areas of stimulation as a creative. For one, New York is such an auditory city. If you could capture the character of Bali in a box, its essence would be in scent. In New York, it is in sound. It’s one of the things that remind me that I’m here. Birds in the Upper West, buskers in the subway stations, clacking heels from people trying to cross the street when they only have three seconds left, and sirens—always—occasionally around.
I loved when Instagram added that feature to save images and organize them into collections. I had one for Hair, Style, Design, Copy, Random Funny Stuff. Now, my audio library is growing. I’ve recorded the sounds of New York with tags like “L Train on a sunny fall day, bongos at 81st C, doo woop street band Greenwich, 79th Spanish sounds.” Two words: Voice Memos.
I’ve let spontaneity in my life again. I subscribe to this model/writer’s newsletter (she’s really witty) called “Things I would buy if I didn’t have to pay rent” and she posted about a vintage bazaar in SoHo. I wasn’t supposed to go, but because I got my period, decided that I was not in the mindset to be work-productive and should just shop instead, hahah! The logic of a woman. And I’m so glad I did. It was like the speakeasy equivalent of shopping.
They only send you the address if you sign up for their newsletter. When I arrived at the apartment, there was no sign so I just rang the doorbell and they buzzed me up.
The building was one of those SoHo lofts you see in the movies. When the elevator opened, it lead straight in to the apartment, no hallway. And it was so cool! People were so chill. Nobody greeted me or asked who I was but just let me in and let me browse. When I wanted to try something on, they let me use the master’s bedroom. It was the kind of vibe reminiscent of the Syquia open Christmas parties in Manila.
On another day, I had lunch with T.o. near his office and we walked by a cinema house called Film Forum. I saw a poster for “Kusama - Infinity,” which was about the life of Yayoi Kusama (today’s top-selling, living female artist). I got a ticket for that night. Didn’t check the trailer. Didn’t wait to see if it got good reviews. And just went. When was the last time you went to something because you discovered it walking around?
That’s it so far.
Not saying I’ll never be back on Instagram. But for now, it’s nice to remember what traveling was like before it. Xx
To end, some music. 🐖✨