Birthdays are inherently joyous occasions made even more special when surrounded by loved ones. Many people mark this occasion with month-long celebrations! They celebrate with their families, siblings, and different groups of friends, a date night with their spouse, and numerous evenings filled with slices of decadent chocolate cake and extravagant presents.
Birthdays tend to be tricky for me. To say I am less than enthusiastic about my own birthday is an understatement. As the day draws near, a feeling of anxiousness makes its way to me. It wasn’t always like this though. As a teen, I would stay up till midnight waiting excitedly for the phone to ring when my friends would call to wish me a ‘Happy Birthday’. But a lot has changed in recent years and I almost dread my birthday and want it to pass as quietly as possible now.
For the longest time, I was hesitant to share my struggles with anxiety and skeptical of opening up to even my closest friends. I was terrified that disclosing this would affect the nature of our relationship and change the dynamics of our friendship. At that time I felt my whole life was revolving around managing my anxiety and I did not want to be defined by it. But once I shared my struggles I was surprisingly relieved and felt a weight had lifted off my shoulders. These friends stood by me and supported me through the most difficult time of my life. My life is better because of you. I am so grateful to each and every one of you. This one is for you!
It is a truth, universally acknowledged that raising teenagers is far from easy. Add to that a global pandemic, schools closed, afterschool activities cancelled, vacations postponed, no hanging out at malls and it starts to look even more bleak.
It would be safe to assume, it is equally frustrating for both parents and teens during these times. Under normal circumstances, I know I need a break from my teens every now and then, as do they. But now our days are spent diffusing tension between family members. (Fun Fact: It’s usually my husband diffusing the tension, and I’m the one creating it).
I finally hit the very coveted 10K in my Instagram journey a week ago. It did not come easy. Most content creators reach this milestone in about a year or lesson average, and for some it might stretch to two. You know how long it took me? Exactly 4 long grueling years! There were many things that I probably didn’t execute well, and along this very long journey there were many lessons learned.
It is fair to say, that I doubt anyone wants to know what I did to get here. I mean it did take 4 years, so obviously I wasn’t doing something right! So I figured, let me share what ‘not’ to do on Instagram. So here it is, in no particular order, things you should not do if you are wanting to hit your first milestone on Instagram.
Planning out summer vacations can get a bit tricky in our household. We had to juggle work schedules, the kids camp sessions, and back to school dates. But as we did that, one thing became realistically clear. I would have to be spending a good portion of our family vacation by myself! Without the family. A solo vacation. Let that just sink in for just a bit.
If you are an instagrammer, who isn’t well known – for example, someone like myself, you may understand the struggles that we go through periodically! For the most part, Instagram is a tight knit community, but if you haven’t infiltrated the inner circle and are an outsider, it can be quite brutal.
They say the key to Instagram is to create good content, engage with others, post aesthetically pleasing pictures, and voila you gain followers by the day! And yet, here we are, doing everything right but are still struggling. We console ourselves by saying ‘Instagram changed the algorithm on me again’, and that’s why engagement is low. But we still struggle. Everyday! And today I thought I would share some of these struggles with you.
Disclaimer: This post was written in humor. Perhaps with some sad truth to it.The terms ‘popular’ and ‘better known’ are all relative. This post is not directed at anyone in particular.
You tag the morepopular bloggers in your post, in hopes that they will ‘like’ or better yet ‘comment’ on your picture. After you tag them, you sit there waiting. And waiting. Then you hop onto their Instagram page and check the ‘tagged pictures’ and ensure your picture has showed up. Yes, there it is. Yet there is no like or comment!
You purchase a product (or in my case a book) that you had seen on a bloggers feed. You figure this would give you both a common platform and a reason to connect. Then you post it, tag them, and write a convincing caption – ‘look what I just bought! Thanks so much for recommending it. This completes my life!’. They double click and ‘like’ your story mention – privately. All those dreams of collaboration quickly fade away.
You look at your number of followers every morning as you roll out of bed- eyes barely open. Did I get 3 new followers?! This gig is totally worth it! By the afternoon, never mind, I lost 5 followers.
You write a thought provoking caption, utilizing the thesaurus for good measure. Next you take a stunning picture, incorporating a ‘bokeh’ effect, because that is what good photographers do. You post it thinking this is the ‘post’ that will generate engagement! People will be nodding their heads, commenting and least of all, at least liking it. An hour later, there are two comments. Two! Coincidentally, the two comments come from friends you had sent Whatsapp reminders to, saying ‘I just posted something. Make sure you comment!’
You find out via Instagram stories that a PR or Media event took place in your city. You were the only one not invited! Or, PR packages were sent to all the ‘better-known’ Instagrammers, and you didn’t receive one! (Note to self: maybe they are the ‘influencer’, and you are the ‘influencee’)
You say you don’t want to buy followers or use applications, or bots. You are convinced organic growth is the way to go. But honestly, this is taking an eternity! I will die before I reach 10k! #thestruggleisreal
You convince yourself you need a better camera, better captions, better content, perhaps even new stationary (again me). After all those purchases, you are still the ‘lesser-known‘ instagrammer.
There are numerous posts that claim everyone should support each other and it takes a second to click ‘like’. So you go ahead and click ‘like’ on several pictures. Because let’s face it, it has to come back to you. And yet you are there left waiting. What happened to #womensupportingwomen and all those empowering hashtags!
In an effort to to grow your account, you plan to host a ‘Giveaway’. I mean this is bound to work. After this giveaway, “I will gain at least 100 new followers because people will tag others, and frankly this giveaway is downright amazing! So naturally people want to snag this up asap!” You gain 7 new followers and 3 leave after the giveaway ends.
You join Instagram pods, despite the negativity associated with them. This way at least someone will be ‘obligated’ to like and comment. Because at the end of the day, something has to work!
I thought of more struggles, but I wanted to keep it to ‘Top 10’, because SEOoptimization and all that jazz. See, I am trying all the right things!
If any of these resonated with you, and you nodded to yourself, please leave a comment either here or on my Instagram post (or both if you are feeling generous!). If you are a reader, and sympathized with this post, please also leave a comment. Taking all sympathy likes too! Don’t let my struggles go in vain.
Have you joined the Marie Kondo cult as well recently? Are you now de-cluttering, re-organizing, buying perfectly sized baskets and rolling up your clothes in pretty little rectangles, so they can stand on their own? I take it then, you have binge watched the new Netflix show ‘Tidying Up‘?
I spend a significant portion of my day behind the wheel. Starting from the early morning drop off to school, groceries, errands and after school activities – it all adds up to many miles in my car and multiple trips during the day! You could perhaps say that I’m a high mileage mom!
My vehicle of choice: The Honda – MRV. Or as it is known in some countries the Honda Pilot. As an expat, we have had our fair shares of moves, and every time I have had to buy a car, I always end up getting the Honda MRV. I don’t know what it is, but I have a strong affinity with that particular car. Perhaps it is the reliability or safety of the car? Or maybe the familiarity that I have developed with it over time? It just seems to have a certain je n’ais se quoi that makes me choose it every time! I have driven the Honda MRV for the last 11 years across 3 different countries! It is essentially a practical car for me which is more than I can say about my husband’s brand affinity with Audi’s(but that is for another blog post!)
I had been wanting to read ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng for the longest time. It had become one of those books that everyone had read and I was lagging ridiculously behind. (Yes I know. It’s not a race.) A friend of mine quietly shared that she had a copy, and I was quick to ask if I could borrow it. But as luck would have it, there was a ‘waiting list‘ for it. When you reside in Doha, new book titles are hard to come by, so the notorious wait list is your only hope!