Insta Glam vs Instasham – And is it so different to bygone generations?

Insta glam vs insta sham – Self preservation or a lie? How different IS it?

I went to post a pic today – a carousel of our bedroom – just by ducking to the side of the room, I was able to crop out all the rubbish – the clothes spilling out of the wardrobe (the doors that never close) the suitcase under the bed, the linen basket, the ironing hanging up ready to be put away – etc

The pic looked lovely. Just adjust the shadows and light a bit – perfect.

It is a slightly tweaked truth.

I wanted to post both pictures so the second image wasn’t tweaked at all. and I stood in the worst place to get the worst angle.

Both a truth. Both our room. Sharing both.

It got me thinking.

It reminded me of when someone says ‘Hi, how are you?’ and you have the option there and then, to say brightly ‘All good thanks! you?’

You get to choose which words to speak. And it largely depends who’s asking as to what you say, doesn’t it.

You might be thinking ‘Actually awful, blah happened and I feel terrible and haven’t stopped crying and I can’t sleep’

It’s not a lie to say ‘Fine thanks’. Is it?

Sometimes it’s actually easier and less draining to say that. To speak your truth may just open up too much conversation and drain the last bit of energy from you.

I was thinking about mental health and Instagram & all the pretty squares we share.

I love pretty squares, but I think we all realise they are just that and the squares never show the whole truth.

I don’t think times have altered THAT much over the years, either. Social media does get a bit of flack. And I can see why, everything and everyone is so accessible. Anyone can portray any life style they want. Anyone with a phone can take and edit a nice picture and anyone can fashion themselves an online life that looks perfect. (Although I think that, in itself, must be exhausting)

But all of this got me thinking – maybe to simpler times of my Grans’ era.

My two Grandmothers couldn’t have been more different. My Nan-nan (Mum’s Mum) was brill. She was my friend, she loved everything I love, and if she was here today you bet she’d have had an Instagram account !! It was her that gave me my love of shoes, she LOVED shoes and she let me play for hours with her shoes and her jewellery – she had so much costume jewellery she  stored it in a big box under her bed. I’d ask her to pretend she didn’t know me so I got to see her reaction as I casually teetered past the bathroom, decked out in her best kitten heeled  slingbacks and a string of plastic pearls from  Woollies -I’d make her sit on the side of the bath and say  ‘Oh I love your shoes!’ as I walked past – haha!!

My Grandma – well, she was a different kettle of fish entirely. She was almost victorian in her ways. she rebuked modernity. She had a pantry with a marble slab that she insisted would keep the butter (chicken, milk, cheese, basically anything that should have been in an actual fridge) cool enough.

She had a flat iron that was perfectly good enough to iron with –  ‘Who needs electric irons??’ she’d protest.

She had a front door step that would have been the envy of the road. She lived in a Victorian detached house with a bay window, stone mullions and a bright red front door with a shiny brass knocker.

It looked PERFECT from the outside. Her grass was neat, the flowers always bloomed and the holly hedge was clipped to an inch of its life.

A perfect front. And I wonder if the neighbours judged her on the picture perfect appearance?

She chose not to share her truth, and for the next 60 years after ‘it’ happened, she kept up appearances and kept that frontage perfect and despatched Grandad to clip the holly hedge and it all looked just so. People were probably jealous of what they saw. Jealous of what  they may have perceived to be, perfection. The neatest house on the road.

The truth was, that everything was far from ok. When my Dad was 16, his younger and only brother died suddenly and tragically in an accident at home. Richard was 11. No one ever got over it. My Grandma would be on ‘tablets’ for the rest of her life and no one would ever speak of  what happened. (What happened was, he had found a lump of metal in an old and abandoned derelict house, and he took it home and when no one was in, he decided to take it  to the shed and try to spilt it open with a hammer. It was an unexploded hand grenade left over from the war (this was 10 years after the war ended) He was killed outright and so was his best friend. Utterly devastating, I can’t even imagine)

I don’t think any of them could bear to move house after that. And to keep things exactly as they had been might have been the only way my Grandma could function. Which would explain the reason why she didn’t want to move with the times and get a fridge, or an electric iron.

To keep the house as neat as a new pin and to keep the front as perfect as it had ever been, was probably less exhausting than facing the truth. The truth that EVERYTHING was wrong and that EVERYTHING had changed. It was her way of controlling what she could control and by doing that, she avoided any questions and conversations, with the ebb and flow of neighbours over the years, that she would never be ready to have.

She was never one to ‘air her dirty washing’ and ‘sweeping a problem under the carpet’ was the proper way to deal with things. ( I know I know. Hard to imagine now isn’t it)

So you see, in a weird way, my comparison, although extreme, to today, that what we portray, might not be a manipulation of the truth to gain admiration and respect or to make anyone jealous. It might actually be a form of self preservation. An escape from what might be happening. A pleasant distraction – a beautiful rabbit hole.

I think that we are all learning that the perfect lives seen on IG are NEVER perfect. And I believe that perfection might sometimes be a form of control and possibly escape. (I also think it’s ok to show the perfect for no other reason, than it makes you happy)

We all know that if social media is making you feel less than good about yourself, you should stop looking, but I do think that’s easier said than done!

My Nan’s Instagram account would have looked like mine – pretty enough, tarted up for visitors – if you like!

My Grandma’s would have been utter perfection. The geraniums in the greenhouse would have been worthy of a rosette. The lawn would have stripes and best china would have always been in shot (she had a whole CUPBOARD full of ‘Old Country Roses by Royal Albert’ which she never used as it was the good china. I could never understand it and I think it’s where I get my ‘maverick’ ways from – USE THE GOOD CHINA, WEAR THE GOOD SHOES, USE THE GOOD HANDBAG, WEAR YOUR BEST DRESS!!!)

My Nan (Mum’s Mum) used to let me help her polish her front step (Instagram is the new front step haha) We used a polish called Cardinal Red. She let me slop it everywhere. and then we’d sweep up the leaves and rose petals from the path, and admire it all. She liked it nice but it was never perfect. I liked it better at her house than Grandma’s. It was warm and cosy and like home should be. We were all a bit scared to move, in Grandma’s house.

But now, as I am sitting here thinking, I can understand my Grandma’s need for control and perfection. It was her way of coping.

I wonder how many IG accounts are hiding a bigger truth behind the beautiful imagery and is it so different to times gone by?

I also wonder if I need a chocolate biscuit as this is quite deep for a Thursday afternoon!

I guess, for me, my bottom line would be, let’s not judge. There will always be more than you are told. There will always be more than what is shared.  And don’t let any of it dull your own sparkle or knock you off your own path.

If you are feeling wobbly, don’t think that no one else wobbles. Just that some, like my Grandma, don’t show it. For no other reason than self preservation and escape.

What do you think? Too deep?

Yeah, time for a chocolate biscuit!

As ever

Thanks for stopping by!


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16 Thoughts on Insta Glam vs Instasham – And is it so different to bygone generations?
    13 Jun 2019

    Sally, you are spot on with this post. No one has a “perfect” life – it doesn’t exist. We are all doing our best to get from day to day, making the most of what we have and striving to do better.

      13 Jun 2019

      Absolutely loved reading this about your grandma’s , yes it was quite deep for a Thursday… it will leave me thinking the whole weekend

    13 Jun 2019

    Love this! It’s so true that we never know the whole story, only the story that people want us to know. A healthy dose of realism never hurts though. We should all remember not to judge. If I had any friends I’d wish they were like you. xx

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      I always say, Instagram is full of the nicest people I have (n)ever met. I think we are all so lucky to have online friends – its a real community that I feel lucky to be a part of!
      All the while, having in mind that we are only ever shown what they want us to see – and that is true in real life too, isn’t it xxxxx

    13 Jun 2019

    Great post Sally and spot on. I agree with caroline especially on her last point.
    As I get older I want to be around positivity and like minded people, no time for anything else. x

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      same here – And I think like minded people do tend to gravitate to each other xxx

    Suzanne O’Connell
    13 Jun 2019

    Love this Sally 💕 I had both houses pictured in my mind.
    It’s so true! Keep the good side out, it’s what we do. I’ve been working a LOT lately and haven’t been posting like I usually would. It’s safe to say the garden and the house need attention and No way would I post to Instagram if it isn’t perfect. I haven’t even had friends round in ages. I think I needed to read this.
    Thank you xxx

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      Life sometimes takes over doesn’t it and something has to give hey – we can’t spin all the plates all the time – we haven’t had anyone round for ages either – basically pull up the draw bridge at the weekend and do nothing ! Sometimes I only tidy up to take a pic! But it makes me tidy up so I am thinking that’s good! lol xxxxxx

    14 Jun 2019

    Growing up I would hear the phrase “top swank” meaning all for show on the outside like when you wear your best coat over worn out clothes! No one but you knows what’s underneath. Different times different “coat” x

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      Top Swank!!! OMG I love that!! haha! And yes – that analogy is bang on !!

    14 Jun 2019

    You write so well .. it is so easy to judge people and criticise but you never know what’s really going on in their lives and what they are dealing with … I too have felt guilty for posting the showy pictures of holiday or garden plants… but no more it if makes me feel happy then I’ll do it and to hell with what other people think !!!

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      Couldn’t agree more!! It’s quite liberating isn’t it!!

    14 Jun 2019

    Hi Sally,
    Your so right and very perceptive. I have always said to my best friend,who has had a difficult life. And over the years to my daughter. Everyone’s life may look perfect etc on Facebook ,Twitter, Instagram ,whatever. But it probably isn’t true, people will portray an image or a lifestyle and it may be far from the truth. Don’t worry about what other people like, say wear etc. Just be true to yrself do what u want. Like what u like and wear what u want to wear. Don’t let anyone dull yr sparkle. For me personally it has took me till I’m in my mid 40s to be able to do this. I left my husband last yr after being with him for 24 yrs. I’ve finally started being me flaws and all and I’m calmer etc and tablet free. Xx

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      Vicky you are amazing!!! I definitely think our 40s are our best years and where a lot of our confidence is discovered! You have certainly found yours – sending loads of love!!! xxx

    Faded Velvet
    16 Jun 2019

    So very deep, yet all so true.
    Wow, that was a lot to injest! Those poor mums to have to lose their sons! Clearly she was controlling what she could and probably going through the motions kept her upright when she wanted to be in bed counting the flowers on the wallpaper. Or drinking heavily to escape her reality.
    Everyone has their way of coping. Or not. It seems IG viewers really only want to see pretty. I’ve tried showing “real” squares and nobody likes them-because everyone has ugly squares of their own. They want to be motivated and inspired when scrollling. They also seem to like things kept pretty light and bright for the most part. You, Sally have bridged that gap though; you seem to have a just right mix of real and things to strive for.
    Lol you’re genius really! Thank you for sharing your history and thoughts.
    ~Faded Velvet

      Sally Hurman
      17 Jun 2019

      Hi Donna
      I think that you hit the nail on the head and it is a fine balance of being real but not too real in the image as like you say, everyone has enough mess of their own! And being real but not too glossy otherwise it doesn’t inspire and it has a negative effect on the reader. I 100% agree – I am here for the inspiration and motivation and I don’t engage with images that don’t appeal to me – unless I read the caption and understand what is being shown to me and why. Generally on a scroll, the image needs to make me stop and take the time to read the caption – it’s a fine old line isn’t it! Thankyou for being so kind about my posts xxxxx

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