I’ve always been a believer that life unfolds through a combination of fate and free will. Some things are destined to happen, while others you are left with the power to determine your direction. I completely believe that meeting Curt was predestined. We had 3 years of opportunity to meet each other but timing is everything and we met exactly when we were supposed to meet (on the last possible day we could have, I might add). Starting the blog on the other hand was a result of free will. I don’t think I was “meant to start a blog” and that it was written in the stars to happen. I simply made a choice and let passion drive me forward. What unfolded has been a beautiful journey from which I have learned an endless series of lessons. Whether by fate or free will, every experience has molded and shaped me into the person I am today.
Along the way I’ve always had an innate sense of when something felt “right” or “off”. Call it a gut feeling, instinct or sixth sense, mine has never seemed to falter even when it sounded a little crazy. It told me to go into that grungy basement in Montreal where I first met Curt and to buy TheHealthyMaven.com on a chilly fall morning in 2012. It told me to take the leap and move to San Francisco (even when I cried everyday for the first month) and it spoke to me loud and clear when it was time to do yoga teacher training. That doesn’t mean its always felt good and it certainly doesn’t mean I’ve always trusted it, but when I have its all seemed to unfold exactly as it should.
Which brings me to today’s post – a post I’ve had written in my head for a couple months now – and how my gut is telling me that it’s time to break up with Instagram. But first some backstory…
When I started The Healthy Maven 7 years ago, Instagram was just in its infancy. I had an account (davida.kugelmass) where I very rarely shared blurry iPhone 4 pictures with ugly filters and strange white frames that had absolutely nothing to do with THM. A few months into starting the blog I noticed a trend of bloggers promoting their work and sharing a behind-the-scenes look at their lives over on Instagram. I was immediately hooked and slowly I began sharing more of my own life over there. And it felt good. Really good. I got to expand my community here and use it as a platform to encourage people to come back to the blog for healthy recipes and wellness tips. It also took the place of my weekend recaps and random ramblings giving me an opportunity to share more in “real time”.
In 2013, Instagram truly was shared in real time. People weren’t sharing highly curated images with perfect backdrops and even better hair. It was novel to get to see behind the curtain of your favorite celebrity or influencer. I should add that “influencer” wasn’t even a term yet. I remember how much I enjoyed following along on Instagram and I certainly wasn’t immune to the attention THM was getting over there. It quickly became a place for easy validation and a sense of community, when I didn’t necessarily feel like I had that in real life.
But that was 7 years ago. Today Instagram is a different place. It is a combination of overly curated, unrealistic versions of “reality” on the feed and extreme oversharing and vulnerability vomit over on stories. Admittedly, I have very much been a part of this. I, like most bloggers, felt the need to keep up as the industry moved into more fast-paced, eye-catching images rather than long-form content like you see here on the blog. Despite always feeling far more connected to the blog than to Instagram, I felt pressure to stay relevant on both. And I sense I’m probably not alone in this.
Over the last year I’ve felt myself creating more and more distance between Davida, The Healthy Maven and Instagram. At one point in my life I loved sharing the nitty gritty details of my everyday. But as I’ve gotten older, I feel less inclined and no longer believe that it serves me or you to share every moment of my life. This has created somewhat of an identity crisis as I establish more boundaries between me (Davida) and my business (The Healthy Maven). Understandably so because for many years my identity was The Healthy Maven. I shared everything. And therefore Davida = The Healthy Maven. But now, The Healthy Maven isn’t just me. It’s Tanya, and Georgia and Jess and Eilise. It’s you guys and your stories and the recipes that feed your families and the cleaner beauty products you’ve switched to. It’s no longer about what I meal-prepped for the week or what Curt and I did for date night last Tuesday. Those things may be entertaining, but they aren’t useful or resourceful. And that’s the big realization I have come to…
I want The Healthy Maven to be a resource for you, but I don’t want my life to be a source of entertainment for anyone but me and my friends and my family. This is inherently what Instagram is, a source of entertainment. Sure, you can post recipes and useful tips but it’s a platform that thrives on pretty images and witty captions. The meaty stuff, the deep stuff, the stuff that can help you make profound changes in your life (and that have profoundly changed mine) have always and will always live on the blog. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks as my gut screamed at me to make a change. It told me without hesitation or uncertainty that it was time to take a long, extended break from Instagram.
And so I am choosing to listen. I’m believing that the value I offer and will continue to offer will thrive here on the blog and the podcast without the use of Instagram. I’m trusting that the people who are meant to find tips for surviving a cold, or seasonal allergies (or SHINGLES!) holistically will find me and that you know I’m your girl when you’re trying to find the best clean foundation or concealer. I hope I can continue to help feed you and your families everyday and that you’ll tune into the podcast each week to be inspired by a new voice in health and wellness.
Over the last year I’ve slowly been decreasing the use of the platform and distancing my life from stories. I stopped sharing every meal, my weekends away with Curt, our hangouts with friends and precious time spent with family. I’ve taken more days off from Instagram than I ever had before and created a bigger barrier by scheduling posts and having Tanya share some things so I could have a break. And it’s felt really great. For the first time in my life I truly feel like I am living my life for me. I spent most of my life leading up to starting the blog living my life for other people. I then started The Healthy Maven and my life revolved around living a life for you. Making sure it was entertaining, authentic and inspiring. But what I’m now realizing is that the most authentic version of me isn’t living her life for other people, but instead trusting my gut when it tells me to make a change. I can only hope that this decision can also be inspiring to you, but I’m letting go of needing that validation.
A few other thoughts I need to get out of my brain:
-How long will I be gone for? I don’t know. I’m expecting at least a couple of months but likely more. There is of course the chance I don’t return…who knows! Only time will tell.
– I really thought of not announcing this or saying anything (TBH it feels kind of silly having to announce your exit for a social media platform), but I didn’t want you to worry or create any kind of stir. I wanted to address it head on and make sure that you know I’m still doing great.
-Speaking of which, this is not some nervous breakdown where I’m going AWOL. Everything will remain as is on the blog and the podcast. I genuinely love working on both of these and they are truly what drives me to show up here everyday. While I may no longer be The Healthy Maven, it remains my favorite platform of choice to use my voice and share my work, something I hope I can continue to do for a long time.
– I truly believe our culture has a very real addiction to social media. I urge you to evaluate your use of social media and the content you are consuming. Question whether or not you find something inspiring or if it adds joy to your life. If it doesn’t, take a moment to ask yourself why it doesn’t (we can learn a lot from our triggers) and then unfollow. Set a social media timer on your phone and actually stick to your allotted time, and from time to time move the apps around your phone so you aren’t unconsciously opening them without any thought. Also I highly recommend you read Irresistible by Adam Alter which discusses in detail our addiction to technology and the physiological effects that social media has on our brains.
-Yes, I’ve had to communicate this to brands I work with and no it hasn’t been all positive. It’s been very eye-opening for me how seriously people take Instagram and how much weight they put in a social media platform. I’m still in the process of sorting everything out so it’s been a little messy. Just being transparent with you.
-I’m so excited to get the 2ish hours of my days back that I normally spend on Instagram. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but I’m excited to find out!
So how can we stay in touch?
Of course I’ll be here on the blog and sharing a new podcast episode each week (unless otherwise noted) and YouTube videos for green beauty favorites. You can always check in here for the latest, but I also encourage you to sign-up for the THM Tribe Newsletter so you’ll get a once-weekly email with the latest posts, episodes and videos straight to your inbox. You can also subscribe on iTunes (or your podcast player) and YouTube so you’re notified when a new episode is live.
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I still have so many thoughts on this subject that I’m sure I’ll be sharing another update in a few months. I imagine some distance from Instagram will be very enlightening for me.
As always, thank you for supporting THM and trusting this crazy gut of mine. I know I don’t always make the most conventional decisions but I so appreciate you always respecting my choices even if they seem a little out there. I feel so lucky and grateful for this community. Truly, thank you.
NOW – let’s go back to using the comment function on blogs! Would love to hear from you guys below. I’ll be here answering comments!
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