I went through and added the #ppsips tag to all of my coffee photos. Not surprisingly, there were almost 200 photos involving a coffee cup or coffee. In my defense, I tagged a few icees and such too. I post quite a few pics of coffee and I’m cool with admitting that.
My name is Pamela and I post pics of coffee on Instagram.
Some people make jokes about people posting pics of their food and such and I do that too. You can’t blame me for that one though. Once you work in the tourism industry, it’s forever ingrained in you to take pics of your food. You might need them for an ad later! My apologies if you think that’s super lame.
So why go back through thousands of photos and hashtag them? Oddly enough, all of my different cups have a special, different meaning to me. They all remind me of some memory or retell a story, and I love seeing them cataloged together. As I went through photos back to 2013, I realized a larger connection though. Each of the coffee photos had a telling caption. I either used that coffee to wind down and relax or make up for a bad day. In essence, the coffee was symbolic. Therapy of sorts.
Way back in the beginning, I only drank white mochas from Starbucks. They were my gateway drug, if you will. To some, it probably seemed wasteful that I made so many trips there, almost daily. If you total up what I spent on white mochas, we probably could have bought a small car. Or a new patio set. Something substantial, for sure. However, those mochas meant something more to me. Those mochas represented a turning point in my personal development where I finally realized that it was acceptable, and even necessary, to do something for myself. To buy something, just for me, without guilt. I’d never been so kind to myself before and I only turned this corner with the encouragement of my husband. Even though he saw how much money we were throwing at Starbucks, he insisted that I keep going.
These mochas were also my excuse to relax, to take deeper, slower breaths. There was just something about settling in with that cup that slowed down the world around me. Honestly, I was more addicted to that moment than I was the caffeine. When that warm liquid hit my mouth, it was like the entire world around me hit the brakes. My shoulders would relax. I’d breathe deeper and slower, and most importantly, my mind would slow down just a bit. It was with these cups in hand that I’d think and dream and rest. I’d also never given myself that luxury before and it was as if I finally got a glimpse into self-care and slower living and I never wanted to be without that again.
As I scroll through the rest of my old feed, I saw when I finally started making coffee at home. It was a learning process for sure, and it took a while for me to get that same satisfaction with a less tasty cup I’d made myself. Eventually though, I hit my stride. I started with a few gifted cups and then began collecting them from our travels, etc. This was another turning point for me because I allowed myself to purchase cups that I loved or meant something to me instead of continuing to use those logo cups you get from your insurance agent. (More about that journey here and here.) These cups are where I first started to practice surrounding myself with things I loved instead of only the cheapest version or things I already had. Still, when I pull one of these new cups from its cabinet, I’m reminded of how much joy this transition has brought.
As I read through some of the captions, I realized that these photos of coffee cups represented either the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. My captions either celebrated finally taking a moment for myself or marked a moment of recovery from a bad day or hard time. Those early captions absolutely make me cringe for a variety of reasons and yet I feel joy over the progress I’ve made in the last few years, and I am proud to look back and see myself working to navigate that change. Those photos and those captions represent a time in my life where I was wrestling with a lot of new truths and working hard to learn more and grow out of some limitations and struggles I’d carried with me for years.
I sat there looking at those almost-200 pictures, knowing that some find them silly. Some snark at the idea of me continuing to share photos of my morning coffee, even more so at having a special hashtag for them. Who cares about a cup of coffee, right? We’ve seen plenty. I care though. I realized today that sharing those photos isn’t at all about the coffee and it’s only barely about the cups. Instead, they’re about my journey to self-care. The represent little windows of time in which I slow down and process life and the world around me. They’re the only thing I can photograph to celebrate my progress and growth into the person I ultimately want to be. Eventually, the captions won’t be littered with apologies for taking that time to myself and sharing a photo of it. I’m going to keep working on that.
Do you want to share #basic photos of your Starbucks, pretty donuts, or artisan muffins? Do it. Haters gonna hate either way. I’ll be sure to throw a heart your way. And I’ll keep sharing my basic pics so you don’t feel alone. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. For you.
By the way, here’s more on coffee. In case you thought this wasn’t a serious enough matter, there’s more.