• Steve

‘What I call… the Quotebloat’: Finding inspiration on Instagram

"Sometimes life is like a pair of curtains,

you have to open yourself up to let the sun in.’

Who knew curtains could be so profound? What genius first uttered these words of wisdom and insight I hear you cry! What filter and background would make this quote look amazing on my Instagram feed? I MUST IMMEDIATELY SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE I KNOW OTHERWISE THE UNIVERSE WILL IMPLODE.

This quote, dear reader, was actually invented by me, this morning, whilst searching through the Dunelm Mill ‘Fabrics and soft furnishings sale’ on the toilet. Despite these most humble, yet productive of beginnings, I urge you to share these words proudly far and wide across all your social media accounts. Why not add a generic landscape picture of the sun gently breaking through the trees on a misty morning? Add a bold font? Personally, I find ‘courier new’ the sexiest font… but go with your instincts. Why not get these words on a tea-towel, or better yet tattoo them on an intimate body part to surprise a loved one? With an inspirational quote, anything is possible.

In reality, there is nothing I find makes me angrier than the trend of ‘Inspirational Quotes’ in places like Instagram. These pretentious, meaningless, arse-aching updates make me want to send a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle to every person who has ever created one of these quotes with one piece missing. Later, I will then send them a picture of that one missing piece with the caption ‘How do like it when YOUR fucking time is wasted?’ on it. Of course, this only works with the small minority of people who both create inspirational quotes and are keen puzzlers, but you get the idea. I’m mad.

The very worst of these offenders seem to fall into two distinct categories:

The first is usually a girl who is called something that reminds you of a Dulux colour chart… like “Indigo” or “Saffron”, with lip fillers made from 100% recycled plastic, and owns a dog breed you’ve never heard of. Her inspirational quotes are usually sandwiched between updates of aggressively deconstructed hipster food such as a ‘Mango and Kale Burst’ and pictures suggesting you give money to unexpected charity causes such as offering manicures to homeless people.

The second is the direct opposite of these people, yet somehow equally as annoying. These are the often-shirtless, hyper-masculine, fitness models who are named ‘Maximus’ or ‘Steel’ who seem to have built their bodies into perfectly inverted triangles that point exclusively to their probably tiny manhoods. These triangle-shaped superheroes humbly offer us mere-mortals expensive 30-day transformation challenges (that we give up on in a week) and quotes such as: ‘You get what you work for, not what you wish for’, where lifting a car instead of driving it is the path to self-acceptance.

These people, although always skinny, are guilty of what I have coined ‘Quote Bloat: the over posting and over sharing of quotes that sound great, but are in fact, utterly pointless and ridiculous. After a bar of chocolate and jealously fuelled stalk of these types of people, I have found my five favourite pointless quotes:

At number 5, we have:

‘Great things never come from comfort zones’

What utter and complete rubbish. It literally has the word ‘comfort’ in it. I have many comfort zones in life: My bed, the pub, or the park bench that offers the perfect place to judge teenage mothers and people I suspect of being vegan. All of these places DO certainly offer great things, mostly because I can (and often do) drink in all of them.

Sliding in at number 4 is:

‘Don’t Stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.’

Despite the numerous times I have looked at the NHS website, I am in no way medically trained, but can still tell you this is bad advice. What if a job, such as completing a 999-piece jigsaw that you believe is actually 1000 pieces takes longer than a day, or a week, or a month? Shall I not sleep for a month?

Edging in at number 3 it’s:

‘The first step towards getting somewhere is deciding you’re not going to stay where you are.’

This has to be the most obvious and meaningless statement ever written along with ‘do not touch’ and ‘more to share’. It is like saying ‘the first step to dating is realising that you're single’. Yes, Sharon. We know you are single. Your 1000 posts about cats and pointless inspirational quotes like this reek of desperation and loneliness. Stop posting meaningless quotes and try tinder.

Nearly topping the charts at number 2:

‘Trust the timing of your life’

I came across this on Instagram and I have absolutely no idea what it means. I think any sane person would immediately think of Bill Medley’s 1987 hit from Dirty Dancing: ‘I’ve had the time of my life’. Ladies and gentlemen remember ‘trust the timing of your life’, as the quote suggests, and attempt Patrick Swayze's famous lift with your grandmother, beloved pet, or potted plant.

And my number 1 pointless quote:

‘What feels like the end is actually the beginning’

This is my favourite feels-good-but-means-nothing quote. Unless you are in an Ikea Store, the end is never the beginning. The end is.. well the end. Films, T.V., and books usually all say ‘THE END’, and guess what? It is not at the start… BUT THE END. How would the Olympics work if the end was the beginning? Would Usain Bolt have to run the 100 metres backwards? Or just keep running forever? Just think of all of those delightful Virgin Media adverts we would have missed out on.

These types of useless and pointless phrases need to stop. That doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t great quotes by famous people out there, as Oscar Wilde said: ‘There is no sin except stupidity’. The world, and as I much as I hate to admit it, even Instagram has some great ways to inspire and be inspiring to others. GO FIND IT OR MAKE IT. As much as I hate to admit it.. the world is not like a pair of curtains, only you can let the sun in.

© 2020 by Gracefully Mel. For collabs or enquiries please contact melissa@gracefullymel.co.uk