Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen

This Is What I Instagrammed, But Here's What Was Really Going On

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I love Instagram. I try very hard to be as honest as possible when I use the app because I know it only offers a filtered view of our lives, and I’m all about the untouched, raw moments. Yet, despite that, I know there is still a type of filter on what I post, whether it’s a posed image, or simply the “editing” I give each photo before it goes live. It's still a limited, tiny view of what I want my life to be and how I want to be viewed. It’s the sunny-side up version of my life; the world I let you see because I can control what you see. I curate my Instagram (I hate using that word) to be true, to be genuine, but like everyone that uses it, I overthink my postings, and try to come up with moving or witty captions. 

To be honest: This is the one chance I have to show you my world, so of course I want it to make it look good. The selfies I take, and fail at, usually require 15 minutes of me snapping away. I’ve been known to move food or other items closer to a window, because photographers love light, and well, I have to think of what will look best on Instagram. I only photograph tiny corners of my room because my room is littered, with all the clothes — not just some, all of them. I don’t feel like cleaning them up anytime soon.

But I decided to merge the real world with the world I give you through my carefully curated feed. What was happening behind the scenes? How long did it take me to get that photo? How many selfies did I take? These are a handful of images that I’ve posted on my own personal Instagram, and what was really happening when they were taken. 

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The We Woke Up Like This Photo

What It Looks Like:

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My sweet, perfect babies cuddling in the morning, as they always do, every morning, because they are perfect and angelic and the light literally gathers around their sleeping faces so that I can flood your feeds with images like this. Of course they are still sleeping even though I’m awake, because like I said, they are perfect, and they always sleep in so that I have time to take care of things.

What Actually Happened:

“STAY ASLEEP WHILE MOM TAKES THIS PHOTO! STOP ASKING ME WHAT I’M DOING! JUST LET ME TAKE IT!” I’m standing above them on the bed getting frustrated because I can’t get the exact lighting I want. They keep asking me for pancakes, and I bribe them to stay still. We barely got this shot. 

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The #Selfie

What It Looks Like:

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Oh look, I’m so confident, and just nonchalantly leaning against this white wall. I must be so very cool. And my lips are perfectly parted, just so, because I can’t decide if I want to inhale or if I’m ready to say something, which will be articulate and perfect and basically the smartest thing anyone has ever heard and the angels will hum down on me because I am ***flawless.

What Actually Happened:

“Oh, I like this white wall, is it weird to take a selfie in a Popeye’s bathroom? I don’t care? IS THIS WHAT MY FACE LOOKS LIKE ALL THE TIME?!” Fifteen photos later… “I give up, this is so dumb. I guess I’ll share one. Should I share one? My face is so weird!” I shared it.

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The Perfectly Portioned Plate

What It Looks Like:

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Oh, I just eat beautifully color-coordinated foods all the time. I must care about what I put into my body, and how my food looks on a plate. I’m so hip.

What Actually Happened:

“Maybe no one will know that my floor is covered in crumbs ... I don’t even like posting food pictures but I really like these fish. This is a boring picture, but I see people do this all the time? Maybe they don’t anymore. AM I COOL?!” 

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The  Happy Family Photo

What It Looks Like: 

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Just putting the babies to bed. Look how happy we all are! Bedtime with two kids is always easy, and everyone is content. I must be one of those “good” moms.

What Actually Happened:

 Thinking to myself: “I want to take a cute picture of me and the babies.” To the kids: “You guys, I need to take a picture of all of us.” They oblige, and I try to get them situated, then I take what feels like 30 photos. In the process, I get kicked a few times, and have to stop them from “farting” on me over and over. Finally, I give up.

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The Weekend Morning Pic

What It Looks Like:

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Here I am, lounging in bed with the love of my life, just being cute. As cute couples do. At least I think other couples do this? The black and white filter gives it a more intimate feeling. Because we are ~intimate~.

What Actually Happened:

Trying not move too much because he was still sleeping (yes, he smiles in his sleep). Had to take over a million photos so my face didn’t look stupid. Still don’t even like this face, but it’ll do, I guess. Oh, and my arm eventually fell asleep.

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The Nature Shot 

What It Looks Like:

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We went for this beautiful perfect dreamy hike, and Noah just happened to stand there looking off at the mountains. Probably being grateful that his life is so perfect, with such a perfect partner.

What Actually Happened: 

No, that really did happen. I didn’t have to pose him at all, which is rare. I also didn’t have to take multiple shots. I happened to come back from peeing in the bushes, and he was standing like that. He probably wasn’t thinking about his perfect life and how perfect I am.

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The Still-Life Photo

What It Looks Like:

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My window sill is just perfectly curated with cologne, and a jewelry bowl full of gold pieces. Its no big deal or anything, its just my normal life. Being fancy that is.

What Actually Happened:

I bought this fancy cologne, which is one of my expensive adult purchases, and I wanted a picture of it, so I had to rearrange everything on my windowsill. But I had to make sure everything looked natural, and not so posed, yet posed enough, and not too natural.

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The Holding Hands Photo 

What It Looks Like:

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I was just laying around, having this quiet moment with my son. In the middle of the day. I happened to snap this photo of us on the couch.

What Actually Happened:

My son always grabs my hand, and in this moment, I wanted a picture of it. But I had the worst angle, so I had to take a million different shots from different positions. He kept trying to pull his hand away eventually, and I forced him to keep it that way until I got the perfect shot. He kept saying, “Mama! I don’t like this anymore!” And I was like, “YOU LOVE IT!”

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The Feet Photo

What It Looks Like: 

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Oh, just look at us: walking through beautiful fall colored leaves, from the store with our paper bag, canvas tote in hand with leather handles. We’re both coordinated so perfectly with our surroundings, aren’t we? We didn’t even plan that. And we even walk in sync. It’s like we fit in with the 20something, minimalist, natural aesthetic I’ve read so much about.  

What Actually Happened: 

Here I am, attempting to get a photo without dropping the bag. “Margaret, what are you doing?” Noah asks as I hold my hand above our heads to get a shot. “I just need to get this photo! Why do you have to walk so fast? Ugh! Stop walking like that!” Noah tells me this is just how we walks, like I’m supposed to accept that when I’m trying to take a photo! He starts walking slower, then I trip. Its’ a mess, and this photo was actually the outtake from that “series”.

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The Body Positive Photo

What It Looks Like:

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It looks like I’m a confident badass who is proud of her body, and wants to show that.

What Actually Happened:

“Do I post this picture?! Do I not post it?! It’s not perfect enough!” I’m actually very self-conscious, and cried a few times before I shared this image. I’ve never been someone to show parts of my body, mostly out of fear of not meeting social standards. I don’t think I was brave for posting it, because I’m not ashamed and any criticism wouldn’t be founded in anything.  But I knew I needed to share it because I knew I wasn’t the only one struggling. And I’m glad I did. 

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All Images Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen/Instagram

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