OPINION: Ditch your therapist, start a finsta

A person staring at their phone with incoherent symbols floating around them sits across from a shocked therapist who sits across from
Graphic by Elaine Yang

It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday, and there are feelings. Feelings about the cute boy in your environmental analysis class, about that awkward moment in Frary Dining Hall when you thought someone was waving at you and you waved back a little too enthusiastically and about the acrylic nail you broke on the treadmill but can’t go back to fix because the nail technician told you to be careful.

These are small things you wouldn’t want to burden your therapist with, for fear they would dismiss you as a “dramatic college student” and begin doodling idly in their notepad while you explained, yes, you should have been more careful. But it wasn’t your fault that your nails turned out so long, especially since you explained that this was your first set…

Sounds like something only a finsta can solve.

While there is a general consensus that the term “finsta” is an amalgamation of “fake” and “insta” (as in, an Instagram account), its function is left to the discretion of the user. These accounts are generally followed by fewer people (usually close friends) and contain content not suitable for the main Instagram account.

Some use it to post provocative content they don’t want co-workers or relatives to see, while others (myself included) use it to rant about the inconveniences of everyday life, the so-called “little things” users feel it would not be worthwhile to unpack in therapy.

Even beyond the seemingly unimportant ranting opportunities a finsta provides, the flexibility of timing is equally alluring. Say you wake up from a dream in the middle of the night where you were stabbing your ex with a moldy fish. What the hell does it all mean? Take to finsta and you’ll soon find out! There’s a good chance at least a few of your followers will be awake, regurgitated psychoanalytic theories and personal anecdotes in hand.

This leads me to my next point: audience. There are certain things we may only feel comfortable talking to professionals about, but, generally speaking, we tend to put our best face forward in therapy. I know I do.

Therapists can only give back what you put in, and oftentimes it can be difficult to put in 100 percent authenticity. Finstas create a platform where you can air your grievances and receive input from people who probably know things about you that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with Dr. Johnston. 

Therapy is important. I’m not negating that by any means. But sometimes that’s not enough. One or two sessions a week cannot unpack all the shit life throws our way every second of every day. Nor should they. 

So next time there’s a minor inconvenience in your life and you feel compelled to suppress it — don’t. Take to finsta instead.

Cameron Tipton PO ’20 is a psychology major and avid finsta user. You can follow them to find out their deepest darkest secrets and meretricious ramblings at @plasticpersianprincess.

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