Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Social Media Feed

Alecia Kennedy
6 min readOct 18, 2021

Rewriting History and Making Your Ex Disappear

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day and happened upon a post by an old acquaintance, a former co-worker and business owner whose shop I frequented for a couple of years.

We never considered ourselves friends but we did share bits and pieces of our personal lives, and she and her husband graciously let me spend one sad, drunken night at their place once when my ex husband and I were having a rough time. I remember the last time I saw her, we ran into each other in late December of 2017. I had just lost my corporate job and she was starting school. We chatted briefly on a sidewalk and then parted.

Her post was an engagement announcement, complete with a history of the relationship from first date to the present, which took me by surprise. I had no idea she had divorced, let alone met someone new and was ready to marry again. The picture she posted also confused me, since this guy looked remarkably like her ex and my curiosity got the best of me. I decided to investigate.

I started scrolling through her feed all the way back to 2012 and there was not one single picture of her ex. Gone were all the cute cozy photos of her husband and their dog on a Sunday morning. No pics of their travels, no wedding pictures. No dating pictures. Nothing. He had disappeared from her feed and her life. It was as if he had never existed. Honestly it was eerie. There was only one picture that alluded to her previous relationship — a picture of her in a wedding dress standing beside her mother and grandmother — the only evidence that I was not completely crazy.

That moment reminded me of a movie that has always disturbed and intrigued me: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In the film, you watch the life cycle of a relationship from first meeting through a painful break-up. The protagonist, upon accidentally realizing that his ex has erased all memory of him (this is science fiction), has his memories of her erased also.

So there they are, two people who don’t have to live with the painful memories of a love gone wrong. Everything should be wonderful and they should have moved on with more suitable partners — but that wouldn’t have made for a very compelling story…

Alecia Kennedy