Dear Instagram: A Love Letter

Dear Instagram,

Thank you.

For what? More like, what NOT for?

My path to you was longer than most peoples’. For a long time, I was denied your company because of my unwilling and  childish contract with my Blackberry phone (or, I should say, my daddy’s contract). All around me, peers and friends alike sported sexy, young iPhones that were laden with every app imaginable, accelerating them years into the future while I lagged behind like a chump with BBM and embarrassing graphic displays.

Of course, this was all during your very early years – when no one really understood your purpose, and receiving one or two likes per picture was unexpected and pleasant. When photo-editing apps were not in circulation quite yet, and all we had to rely on for covering blemishes and beautifying otherwise not-so-picture-perfect pictures were the filters you fed us (Valencia and Lo-Fi for LIFE) (But also Mayfair, just later down the line).

But then, as most successful apps and social media platforms do, Instagram exploded. Celebrities began taking part, and with the birth of so many glorious photo editing apps, both professional and unprofessional photographers alike began Afterlighting, FaceTuning, and VSCOcamming the shit out that shit (#VSCO #VSCOCAM #IUSEVSCO #HIEXCUSEMEJUSTWANTEDTOLETYOUKNOWIEDITMYPICTURESINVSCOBECAUSEITSONLYTHEBESTPHOTOEDITINGAPPEVER #V #S #C #O”).

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Soon, once completely unknown, aspiring photographers were blowing up. Thousands of followers led to thousands of likes, which gave birth to “insta meetups.” “Wait!” Someone somewhere exclaimed. “What if all these locals who like each other’s pictures actually meet each other and talk about how aesthetically pleasing their shots are and pet each other’s egos and maybe even weiners if it gets to that point?”

Instagram created a whole new community for lovers of beautiful photography, perfectly stylized selfies, #foodporn, and the occassional too-hilarious-not-to-share screenshot of texts between you and your friend/mom/dad/aunt/grandma/boss. And, for all this, I thank you.

I love you with every fiber of my being.

With you, I’m not scared to post just about anything.

I’m also not afraid to admit when I’ve posted something that isn’t even worth 11 likes, resulting in my deleting it with no shame (done that twice this week already. I’m not on my game and it’s embarrassing. Even I can admit when I’m trying too hard, guys).

Instagram frequently massages and caresses my ego. It says “Hey. It’s not in your head. You do look exceptionally cute in that picture and you should obviously post it.” It also doesn’t get annoyed with my incessant checking for likes (since, you know, I turned off banner notifications so I have to go into the app itself to see how many people love or hate me that day). In fact, it likes to keep me on my toes when it freezes up, pretending I have no new likes, then suddenly spitting out 20 at me. GASP! They like me, Instagram! They really like me!

But more than all of that incredibly narcissistic shit, Instagram seamlessly combined my two biggest passions into one, fluid app and that is why I love it and feel the need to thank it a thousand times over.

For so long, I was called “the group photographer.” Throughout college and a little beyond, anywhere we went and anything we did, my friends knew they could count on me to have my Canon PowerShot on my person to document said event. Every beer bong, every tailgate, every blurry $1 shot night was locked into my camera to (try and) remember forever. More than that, friends would literally beg and bribe me to ensure I “put up an album” on Facebook as soon as humanely possible. “When are you putting the pictures up?!” They’d demand of me. “In due time, guys. Probably today during my 500-person lecture.” #college.

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Coming up with witty album names and hilarious photo captions was my life blood. It’s what made my day, my week, my MONTH. Taking out my hilarity via Facebook albums of friends filled me with accomplishment, purpose, and enough endorphins to rationalize skipping the gym that day. But then came Instagram. What do you mean I can not only upload this picture IMMEDIATELY, but also include an impossibly attention-grabbing caption with it? You mean, I can be a writer and pseudo-photographer all day, every day, sometimes four times a day?!??

Sold.

Instagram has no rules. I mean, it does, but most people don’t follow them. There’s still enough blurry, poor-quality, absolutely awful on every level pictures posted a day, but for every annoyingly terrible gym selfie, there’s five adorable fashion blogger selfies that force you into convincing yourself you’ll look the same as they do in that exact romper. Somehow, your 5’4″ stature will gain six more inches when you place this exact magical romper on your body, because #Instagram.

For everything you are and for everything you will be, I love you. I’m sorry for my selfies. I’m sorry for all the food shots. I’m sorry for never using your filters anymore because, let’s face it, they have nothing on #Afterlight or #VSCO (#vsco#vsco#vsco).

But really, I’m not sorry.

Not really.

Not even a little bit at all.

xox,

emma

 

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The Sex Life of Barbies

My barbies were always naked.

No, really. To find my barbies with clothing was a rarity.

My barbies liked to party in their birthday suits, and did not in any way believe in the idea of not having to take your clothes off to have a good time. They knew that partying naked was the BEST TIME.

And, sure – you can laugh it off, like “Oh, ha! Curious little weirdo child, experimenting and exploring with naked barbies!” But it wasn’t that innocent. Because my naked barbies were always doing the deed, boning, bumpin’ uglies, P in V – whatever you want to call it, my barbies were always having SEX.

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How I knew to make them engage in frequent and unbridled intercourse is a mystery to me. I grew up in the ’90s – a decade that sang songs about ponies jumping on it, unprotected teenagers contracting HIV when they should’ve been sticking to the rivers and the lakes they were used to, and one classic melody that just straight up was all like “LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX.” On top of all that, MTV Spring Break took over our televisions and fragile and suggestible little minds every March/April, flashing images of girls covered in whipped cream, shiny navel rings, and hard nipples before our unbelieving eyes.

Cable really should’ve gotten on top of parental control devices sooner, huh?

The ’90s was a highly sexualized decade. Of course, every decade is highly sexualized because sex is never not interesting or intriguing. Be it MTV, crass sexual humor in movies like Austin Power’s gun-boobs and “ALotta Fagina,” or the soft core porno I would accidentally come across on late night HBO when my parents were out enjoying an adult dinner, my unassuming mind was being over-sexualized without me even realizing it (the one time I did sit there and gawk at soft core porn, I waited for my parents to return home from their night out, stunned and shaking. Sobbing, I explained to them what I had seen: “There were two women and only ONE man, and their boobs were everywhere and he put them in his mouth!” I heaved uncontrollably).

But as creepy as it is to think about all of the above and how it maybe explains the person I am today, one of my best childhood stories is birthed from my Barbies’ nakedness.

My dad had HAD IT. He was sick and tired of finding his youngest daughter playing gaily with her fully exposed Barbie dolls (I guess I was caught in the act more than once – moments I clearly blocked out with serious tenacity). Finally, he made a threat:

“If I find your Barbies naked one more time, I will take them away from you. Do you understand?”

What is it about kids and pushing the red button when you’re told to not push the red button? Is it because, like dogs, we crave discipline? Do we instinctively hope to be caught as to teach ourselves important learn life lessons? Or are all kids really that weird?

With total defiance and tunnel-vision focus, I made sure to not only get my Barbies naked the very next day, but plant them and myself as close to my father as possible. I took my boy and girl dolls, wrapped them tightly in a memorable purple hoody that seemed to always be laying around for the coldest kid in the room, and shimmied to the very end of the computer room couch, where my dad was working on the 800-pound family desktop. My Barbies’ heads were the only visible part of their bodies, poking out of the hoody just so.

“Are they… are they naked under there?” My dad asked, knowing.

“No!” A bold face LIE! But why? I wanted to get caught, that’s why I had planted myself where I planted myself. What a twisted child.

“Yes they are,” he demanded while swiping the hoody and dolls from my chubby, sweaty hands (some things never change).

And he wasn’t bluffing. He took them away. Probably just for the day, but regardless – I cried and probably screamed and, if my vocabulary had been more extensive at such a young age, I’m sure I would’ve told my father he would rue the day he took away my naked Barbies. Instead, I can assume I was all “I HATE YOUUUUU!”

And that, my friends, is how I learned about human anatomy and the undeniable, disturbing, incessant need we all have to experiment heavily with nakedness.

The end.

xox,

emma

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