I woke up last week with the worst case of
Sunday Monday Scaries of my life. Despite last year’s harsh realization that I’m too old for music festivals, I once again decided to attend all four days of Lollapalooza, and come Monday, I was a shell of a man. The festival had broken my bank account, my body, and three pairs of my sunglasses. I attempted to quell my anxiety the best way I knew how: by dropping a fire ‘gram and raking in the sweet, sweet likes. At 6 o’clock, my pic had the potential to break triple digits and I could finally see the light at the end of my hungover tunnel.
And then it happened. A notification popped up on my screen that has been burned into my brain ever since.
“Your mom requests to follow you on Instagram.”
I’d like to say I handled it in a mature fashion and understood that my parents and I were now both adults, and we should view each other as equals. But I did not. I wept. Wept for all the future “Are you drinking too much?” talks I was going to have to have. Wept for all the funny picture captions that were going to be overanalyzed and misunderstood. And most of all I wept for all the future pictures I wasn’t going to be able to post for fear of my mother seeing them and realizing what a disaster my life truly is.
I‘ve spent the past week keeping that friend request in limbo and agonizing over my choices. Perhaps I could have an open discussion with my Jewish mother about boundaries and how she doesn’t want to see exactly what I’m up to? Not going to fly. I accidentally let it slip a few weeks ago that I let my father follow me because he likes to see what’s going on in my life. Anyone who has divorced parents knows there is an ongoing competition between parents, much like The Cold War, and any act of favoritism by the child is going to spark months of passive aggressive comments and guilt trips.
I love my mom, but there are some things a mother just shouldn’t see her son doing. My dad understands that photos of me shirtless and drinking in the middle of the day are a fact of life, but I doubt Mama Arcadia will see it that way. My dad and I also have a strict understanding that if he ever starts commenting on my photos, he’ll be blocked before he even has a chance to explain that his comment wasn’t “actually racist.” I know for a fact my mom will break this cardinal rule within the first day of viewing my pictures, and I will have to bear the wrath of a group text involving a screenshot of her comment.
I briefly entertained the option of entering negotiations with her regarding picture sharing. Maybe if I promise to send her five photos (of my own choosing/PG rating) a month, she will allow me to have some Internet privacy? Again, unlikely. This will surely start a lengthy conversation about what I have to hide, and how come I “don’t want my own mother to be a part of my life.” Therefore, I am left with only one option: let my mother follow me on Instagram and clean up my life.
I’m not about to go back and start removing existing pictures and editing captions (I have some pride), but I can’t keep running my account the way I have been with my mother watching. Did I have a fantastic #TBT of when I threw a house party on a Wednesday night in high school that I was going to use this week? Not anymore. That photo from Lolla of me, shirtless, on a throne, with two scantily clad women on my lap? Definitely not an option. I can’t have both my girlfriend and my mom being mad at me at once; that’s a nightmare.
I will instead be posting pictures of myself in “that nice button down” my mother bought me for Hannukah, in a respectable setting with no alcohol in sight. Other acceptable photos will include pictures of cats in funny outfits or photos of my girlfriend with a cute caption. The world will never get to see the photo of me getting handcuffed in a full suit that just surfaced on my friend’s phone. Gone are the days when I could have posted a photo of myself asleep in the bushes in a Spartan Squad shirt as an homage to tailgate season. To all my followers who look forward to my debaucherous pictures and inappropriate captions – I apologize. That life is behind me now, and I don’t miss it at all. I am a responsible adult and will portray myself accordingly on social media.
Unless you follow my Snapchat, in which case it’s still the wild fucking west out here. Don’t tell my mom. .