I've Been Blocked

I've Been Blocked

And it hurts.

    by Giulia Scalese

So, let me start off by saying, I have indeed blocked people on Instagram. Mostly just spammy accounts with inappropriate content, but, I've had a couple other motives as well. For instance, I’ve come across an account or two in the past which were not only severely plagiarizing my work, but the work of other artists I support, and I have an absolute no-tolerance level for plagiarism. So slimy. To me, the act of blocking a plagiarizer isn’t so they’ll feel my wrath, but it’s like an "out of sight out of mind” tactic. As in, eventually, after not seeing my work in their feed, they will forget about me all together and start “sourcing” inspiration from other places. And I have to tell you, it works. It really does. There’s also the rare case in which you have to block stalkers, who by the way, basically fall under the same slimy category as plagiarizers, except can inflict even more harm than just stealing some artwork. 

There you go, I’ve admitted it. Instagram has given us the feature, and I have used it. What can I say other than I hope my reasons were valid enough and no one got hurt in the process? I’m sure I’ve been blocked before as well, but I probably would have never noticed… until yesterday. You see, there is a very popular account that I not only follow, but truly admire. The account is run by another female artist, let’s just call her Judy. I love Judy's posts. She’s a skilled artist who’s works are colorful and cultural and downright entertaining. In a nutshell, Judy travels the world and documents it in her artistic style. Judy is popular. She has 100K+ followers, she works with many brands and publications, she’s Instagram certified - really, really popular. 

I’m not sure why (maybe this has happened to you?) but for whatever reason, it had randomly occurred to me the other day that I hadn’t seen a post from Judy in what felt like weeks, and of course she’s someone who posts daily. I chalked it up to Instagram's new un-chronoligical algorithm for a minute, until I realized I hadn’t seen anything from her on Snapchat either. Hmm, whereever did Judy go? Maybe just some down time for the summer I thought. So, I hop into my app, input her handle to see what she’s up to, and what did I find? Nothing, zilch, nada - to quote Instagram “No results found”. My first thought - “Where’d she go!? Why would she quit Instagram?” Lol, a very niave first thought. Convinced that this didn’t make much sense, I decided to go a step further and google her. I mean, she has to have a website, right? Right. Everyone does. Maybe a clue will arise! Now, it may sound like I’m the one becoming a stalker here, but I promise my intentions were coming from a place of actual concern that one of my favorite accounts may have been wiped from the planet. And if I found out it did, then ok, I’ll move on, no big deal. Everyone has their own personal reasons and it certainly doesn’t effect my life at all. 

So, google results load and there she is, the very first link to show up is her Instagram. This makes sense, right? Google probably still has an archive of her now non-existant account. So I click it and I’m immediately taken where? To her Instagram account! Wait, it is here, but why does it say she’s made no posts yet? More naivety sets in. "Why did she delete all of her posts?" Ok, at this point, I’m an idiot. I’m actually considering that someone with her beautifully curated feed actually wiped her account clean. I’m obviously wrong. But still, I take one more step before realizing what has actually happened. I switch over to my secondary account that I use for personal posts, search her handle, and there it is. Judy’s account with that pretty blue check mark next to her name. And guess what? 1000+ posts, all in tact. I suppose this was the moment when it hit me, “Aww shit, she blocked me.” 

Mystery solved guys, well, sort of. A whole new question had arose. WHY? Why did Judy block me on Instagram? See, our relationship goes a teeny bit further than just me following her. She followed me too, and had even reached out to me at one point claiming she loved my work and wanted to collaborate as soon as she wrapped up some other projects she was working on. She said she’d follow up with details, but that collaboration never took place. It really didn’t matter to me though, I was still a fan who enjoyed seeing her work and adventures and we were still on a friendly comment level. 

 So, if she liked me at one point, what in the world could have gone wrong to change her mind? I started asking myself a bunch of questions and reflecting on my recent behavior. "Have I been bad lately? Have I recently posted anything that could have been offensive to the general population?" (Have I? Seriously, tell me.) But the thing is, I am a neutral person. On my feed I don’t get political, I’m not opinionated about anything other than shoes and bags and I’m really just about keeping the atmosphere positive. With the exception of a post I made that contained a marijuana leaf, I seriously couldn’t think of any other issues. And you know what? Something tells me it wasn’t the Mary J thing. 

In the end, I don't get it, and I probably never will unless I hear the exact reason come from Judy's own mouth. However, throughout the (hour-long) process of documenting this mini event and my feelings towards it, I've been left with what is like that annual reminder that, if someone decides they don’t like you, that’s their business. Don't have "George Constanza" syndrome and be that person that freaks out because you're not someone else's cup of tea. The truth is, I've probably already spent too much time questioning it, and if I plan to continue growing, I need to be prepared for a lot more. For instance, comment trolls. 😈 How will I ever deal if I can't deal? Luckily though, I watch Seinfeld every night - a show which has gloriously mastered a simple life lesson; don't be a George Costanza and everything will be OK.

P.S. Judy, if you change your mind, maybe we can still collab! 


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