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Self Care Selfies, Instagram, and a shot at happiness.

Before | After

This year has gone by fast. For me, this spring and summer has been a warm welcome back to life. I’ve emerged from a period of time that I will look back on as being one of the worst years of my life.

I’m not trying to be dramatic when I say that, except for the five days I spent in Los Angeles, there was not a single day in 2017 that I felt truly happy. The period of July 2017 through January 2018 is when I finally hit bottom, after a decline that had been taking place for at least a year before.

I won’t go into much detail, but this time in my life was due primarily to a toxic Day Job and a flare up of my health issues. At the beginning of 2018, these became so bad that I was forced to move. I was let go from my Day Job. By some miraculous karma in the Universe, it was the same week a position at a library opened. I was able to return to the work that makes me genuinely happy. And it has given me the ability to properly take care of my health—both my physical and mental health.

Yes, I lost a lot when I changed jobs—a large amount of income and health insurance, to name a couple important items. But since coming out of the fog I have realized the last few months have been the best months of my entire life.

My journey to the depths and back has been documented on my social media, specifically my Instagram. I started IG in October of 2016. I have come to see my IG as a diary of sorts, and I’m really grateful for that.

When I look at every single picture I took in 2017 (except pictures taken during the aforementioned LA trip), I remember how unhappy I was, how hard I was fighting to survive, how sick I felt, how hopeless everything seemed.

But in my IG captions I talk about self-care, feeling grateful, holding onto snippets of hope, chiseling out my days one word and one breath at a time.

Some people might take this as proof of how shallow and misleading social media can be. I was miserable and sick yet I was posting pictures of my food and cats (and flowers and books and barns and the really cool ceiling at the dive bar). #Selfcareselfie was my most used hashtag. But scrolling through those pictures now I realize how important my IG photos were to help me get through that misery and sickness. Among all the shit and pain, I did have things to be grateful for. And sometimes being able to capture one moment in time and hold it close, be able to keep it still and look in on it made me feel better when nothing else would.

In the end, I believe there was a lot of misery and pain that didn’t teach me anything. Contrary to some inspiration-porn advocates, not all pain is useful. That being said, I still learned a lot about myself when I was so low. I want to remember that. I’m grateful that I took those pictures and saved those moments. Even as I look at them and remember how terrible things were below the surface, I still have them. They’re a part of my story.

I also have an exact date of when I started feeling better. The IG post from February 10th 2018 was the first I look at and remember feeling all right. And every post after that so far in 2018, I see happiness.

IG is now my favorite social media platform. I love seeing my friend's selfies and all the fun, creative, day-to-day moments they post. I get so inspired seeing what people are doing, even if they are just simple things. And when the big, life changing things happen, I can catch a glimpse and celebrate with them. I'm grateful to have that in my life as well. 

I don’t think I would be as happy as I am now without those dark days. But I’m seizing this opportunity to feel happiness with my whole body and every ounce of my creative spirit.

And you can be goddamn sure I’m going to take as many selfies as I can. Because when I need them, they will help me get through again.

'Til then.

PS- I swear this wasn't just some big promo for my IG... but you can follow me anyway: theunlacedlibrarian 


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