This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.
Statistic enthusiasts estimate that the internet has expanded by over 1000% in the last decade. Right now, there are over a billion websites, and it's only getting bigger. Without sounding like someone's nan reading a leaflet out loud, that's a lot of internet. As a result, the world wide web has presented us with some strange things: Tumblr communities where you can watch people smoke crystal meth, this ephemerally chill video, and the forever brilliant ratemypoo.com. That said, these sites are in a different league to the strangest thing of them all: Geri Halliwell's Instagram.
But the Geri Halliwell of the past is not the Geri Halliwell of the present, because modern day Geri appears to have taken on the form of an inspirational fridge magnet. In this new mode, she has become part-time popstar, full time Instagram user – the latter of which she uses as a beacon of stringent motivation, a vessel whereby she 'grams all the good things in life.
The first thing you'll notice about Geri's Instagram is her passion for baking. Essentially, she is Nigella Lawson without the cocaine. I have spent hours watching Geri press cookie cutters into batter, fold luscious chocolate mixture around a bowl, and punctuate her cakes with polka dot icing. Come with me…
Geri Halliwell has finished her first ever battenberg. She slices through that perfect yellow icing like a town mayor opening a new children's hospital. Her eyes meet yours and she laughs silently. A wooden goose sits on the window sill, the green trees outside sway gently in the breath. Beautiful music plays; it seems to fit perfectly with her movements, the crescendo of the track blooming as she throws her head back in pure delight. Experience this moment, immerse yourself in it. This is sensory nirvana. This is what the Danish defined as hygge.
The second thing you'll notice is that Geri Halliwell speaks exclusively in soothing, whispery tones. Forget the zig-a-zig-ahs of the past, the new Geri communicates as if she's leaning into your ear and letting you in on a secret she thinks is salacious but is actually quite tame. The closest thing I can compare it to is an ASMR YouTube channel. (If you're not familiar with ASMR, it's when people on the internet make videos of themselves dunking oreos in tea, or giving a Russian language lesson in a really soft voice, or slowly peeling through the pages of a shiny magazine to make viewers feel happy and tingly inside their brain.)
Geri Halliwell is staring blankly at the camera and murmuring the words "I'm making a really, really big cake", before slowly pouring an infinite bowl of egg yolks into a gently whirring mixer and quietly watching it blend. Your chest feels warm; liquid tranquility has marinated your heart.
It's not all egg yolks and conspiratorial whispering though. She also posts photographs of herself hanging out with an endless conveyer belt of farmyard animals. Here she is clutching a fat cockerel called Usain. Here she is, feeding some minty treats to a trio of baby donkeys. Here she is, being licked in the face by a horse. Here she is, taking a selfie with a newborn lamb. And here she is, in the mud, grabbing two snorting ginger pigs by the belly. When she can't be near said animals, she just posts inspiring stock photos of them. You can feel the knots in your stomach tighten as you remember that awful thing you did that time. You open your phone to check social media, hoping for a notification or two to give you a quick release of some dopamine. Geri Halliwell has posted a stock image of a lion on your TL. His mane appears to be gently rustling in the wind. His expression is one of pure acceptance; his eyes closed in total serenity. The caption simply reads: "Breathe". You slowly release the air from your lungs, like an old man finally letting go of his most painful secret. The knots loosen. You feel better already.
But the best thing about Geri's digital sanctuary isn't any of these things – not the cakes, not the animals, not even the occasional appearance from her John Lewis catalogue husband – it's the posts which are dedicated entirely to her face. In these posts, we catch a glimpse of Geri without the props, during her moments of reflection. They reveal the inner workings of her mind, up close and personal, usually when she's thinking deeply about life and existence and stuff.
Geri Halliwell is resting her head in her hand, searching for answers. As the subtle guitar strums of her own track drift through the air like fireflies, her eyes slowly blink in realisation. "They can change their minds, but they can't change me," her voice echoes back at her, as pure inspiration flows freely through her veins. Observe Geri during this fruitful moment and soak up the glory of a human at work. This is creativity in motion. Engage with yourself. Open yourself up to new experiences. This is the new you.
If nuclear war broke out and we all got sucked into a great black hole, I am certain Geri Halliwell would continue updating her Instagram. She would stand there calmly amidst chaos, a fixed grin on her face, repeatedly stirring the cake batter, repeatedly pressing record and publish, repeatedly saying "hi" and blowing kisses into the void. Because in the beautiful world Geri Halliwell has carved out for herself online, there is no destruction, there are no bad words, or broken promises, or negative thoughts. There is only safety and kindness and cashmere jumpers and fluffy lambs. There is only Geri and you and you and Geri, communicating forever in a vortex of comfort and light. Through her Instagram, Geri Halliwell has opened the gates of heaven, and invited us all to join her, forever.
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(Lead image via Geri's Instagram)