I was an early adopter to Instagram and scored the coveted @firstnamelastname handle. For years I posted on that account. Hundreds of photos, captions, comments, and memories were stored there.
Then one day someone came along and decided they wanted the handle for themselves. I declined their request, and it wasn’t long before I found myself locked out of my own account, reported for “inappropriate content.”
I was never able to recover my (appropriate) content nor prove what happened, but a new account with my name and a “Public Figure” description was soon created. I think it’s pretty obvious that the director/producer Chase Butler beat the system.
It’s all good. I’m not bitter, and please don’t harass the guy. This was years ago. If I hadn’t lost such a large catalog of memories, I might even think it was funny.
Like any circumstance, good or bad, the lesson learned from it can’t be stolen.
I had spent years creating a carefully curated catalog of highlights from early adulthood. I never once thought it might be taken from me. I never suspected that someone else might put their interests before my own. It never occurred to me that someone would try to break into my world.
That all sounds dramatic when thinking about an Instagram account, but it serves for a pretty good metaphor. There might be a day when everything you built is taken in an instant. You might have to start over. It won’t be fair. And it might never look the same. The images in your new catalog might be drastically different.
There is a naivety in life we must shed. We also can’t become cynical when bad things happen. We must loosen the death grip we have on the way we think our Iives should look. If we don’t, when things end up not looking like they used to, we will be crushed. The memory of our pre-tragedy life will leave us hopeless.
I created a new account. Back at square one, I posted a new picture. I started the story over again. Do you see where I’m going with this? When life doesn’t go according to plan, when what you once had doesn’t exist anymore, please don’t give up. Start over. Again. And again. Keep telling your story. I’ll be your first new follower.