18 months of Instagram
by LOGAN SACHON
I think about Instagramming a lot, but I do not Instagram a lot. In the 18 months I've had my account, I've posted just 102 times.
My friend Annie, a former neighbor in Portland, told me Instagram was a fun way to connect. I started following her beautifully styled photos of her garden, her meals, her thrifting finds. Annie lives a really beautiful life, and seeing Portland through her eyes made me happy but also made me ache for the city, for meals in her kitchen, drinks on her porch. Each photo showed, and said, that Annie was living the life she wanted to be living, and beautifully.
I lurked for awhile, posting nothing. I didn't know what I wanted say about myself, what I wanted to show about the life I was living. I was living at my parents, in transition between cities and jobs, wondering what to do. I didn't have any thing to share, so I didn't.
TOES IN THE WATER
My first post was in December, two days after Christmas, the view from my bed. I captioned it, "Morning in America." I remember feeling good about my cultural reference, and also feeling defiant about posting a photo of my messy room, my twisted sheets. I decided to jump in—it may have been an imperfect view, but it was mine.
My next three photos were all of my friend Megan's house, tiny announcements that, though I lived with my parents across the country, I still had friends with beautiful lives. I followed those with a picture of my dog, still one of my favorite of her. Then three in quick succession of transit: the open road, a tunnel, the train station, the tracks. Movement! Excitement! Things were happening!
The momentum ends abruptly at the end of the month with a picture of a pile of clothes on the floor." I'm never sure how this happens," I wrote of the mess, and also my dark mood.
I moved to New York in the beginning of March, but didn't post until mid-April (a photo of a church and a skyline from a walk downtown—"reminds me of a different city"). The pause was deliberate. If I was going to be a New Yorker, and I wanted to be, I couldn't reveal how excited I was to be there. I kept it cool, though I thought about taking pictures constantly, not to post necessarily, but not not to. The next few months brought about a photo a week: of a flower arrangement a friend made, sunsets and skylines, snapshots from a few trips upstate, trees, clothes on the line. In June my brother became the first person to be showcased on my feed, other than a blurred selfie from the first week. He's lying on a blanket in the park. I remember being so happy to have them there. "Hey Hermano," I wrote.
The year went on and my own life started to become, well, Instagrammable. A pretty back garden, the view from a friend's roof, sunset behind Manhattan. Sculptures, a friend's skirt, the spread at a dinner party, my brother and nephew. Trips to Vermont and upstate to visit friends at their farm. I posted mostly landscapes, rarely portraits. On one picture of a river surrounded by trees upstate, a friend commented, "you're killing me." I remember wondering if it meant I should stop posting pictures of my trips—was it bragging? But I couldn't believe my good fortune in being there either.
In the fall and next spring, several visits to the Met resulted in many pictures of paintings I loved, mostly of dresses. Later I would post them with captions ("for feeling anxious, elegantly"). These are some of my favorite pics in my feed—I can remember walking around the museum with my friend Megan, being drawn to the paintings with dresses, taking pictures of them. Posting them was to share the beauty, and also share the fact that I'd been to the museum; must never fail to broadcast a trip to a museum (and I didn't: In August, the Museum of Natural History makes an appearance, the next June, MOMA).
December brought a trip home. No shot of a messy room this time, now home is a decorated mantle with twinkle lights and a fire ("good job mom great job mom"). I was happy to be there.
I've been very quiet on Instagram lately. I'm tempted to blame it on the heat, but I think it goes beyond that—each post says something, and I'm not sure right now what I'm trying to say. I scroll through friends' pictures, look at their lives. Smile at the pictures of parties and beaches, commiserate with their own from-bed shots. But even though I'm not posting right now, I'm thinking about posting.
I took a picture of a sprawling rose bush near my house in the spring. At the time my feed was filled with roses and flowers. I didn't want to just be another rose bush, so I didn't post it. But I'm holding on to that picture, keeping it for a rainy day, maybe in a several months when it's cold again. And then I'll post it, captioned "May."