selena gomez
Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Toward the end of September, Selena Gomez went on a brief yet prolific posting spree on Instagram, where she was at the time the platform's most-followed user, before abruptly announcing that she was taking a "social media break." Much to the chagrin of her 144 million followers, she kept that vow for nearly four months, only returning to her page this week, once 2018 was safely in the rearview mirror and she'd had enough time to "step back and live [her] life" far away from the never-ending stream of posts and Stories.

That's not to say that Gomez's return to the app came entirely without warning. In the weeks leading up to this triumphant revival, she'd actually resurfaced on several of her friends' pages, perhaps testing the waters before diving headfirst back into Instagram. Now, however, she appears to be fully and wholeheartedly back, hinting that there's plenty more to come beyond the two back-to-back posts she's shared in 2019. Here follows a timeline of how, exactly, Gomez went from taking a vow of Insta-silence to logging on an unprecedented two times in under 24 hours.

September 23, 2018: The infamous "social media break" begins when Gomez edits the caption of a previously shared selfie to add, "As much as I am grateful for the voice that social media gives each of us, I am equally grateful to be able to step back and live my life present to the moment I have been given. Kindness and encouragement only for a bit! Just remember- negative comments can hurt anybody’s feelings. Obvi." Obvi!

December 18, 2018: After almost three months of silence, during which Gomez reportedly entered treatment for an emotional breakdown, her followers receive an early Christmas present in the form of a handful of tagged pics showing Gomez on a quick getaway to the mountains of California with some friends. In the photos, Gomez, wearing a sweatshirt from pal Taylor Swift's Reputation tour, looks fresh-faced and happy as she poses with her former Wizards of Waverly Place costar Bailee Madison, models Connar and Caroline Franklin, YouTuber Aaron Carpenter, actor Austin North, and model Geneva Natalia.

January 10, 2019: Still not fully ready to fire up her own account—or, perhaps, to re-download the app and dig up her password—Gomez continues her slow return to Instagram by making yet another cameo appearance instead. This time, she pops up in the background of a photo from none other than Swift, a slightly blurry selfie showing Gomez, Swift, and Cazzie David holding up glasses of wine, captioned, "20wineteen."

January 14, 2019: Finally, Gomez shares a post. *Cue "Revival."* Alongside three artsy black-and-white shots of herself, the singer and actress writes, "Last year was definitely a year of self-reflection, challenges and growth. It's always those challenges which show you who you are and what you are capable of overcoming. Trust me, it's not easy, but I am proud of the person I am becoming and look forward to the year ahead." The post surpasses 7.6 million likes in under 24 hours, and garners likes and comments from famous friends like Reese Witherspoon, Julia Michaels, Vanessa Hudgens, and Busy Philipps.

January 15, 2019: Not content to stop there, apparently, Gomez shared yet another post only a few hours after her initial comeback. This one, an explicitly labeled paid partnership with Puma, features several photos of her in her latest sneaker design for the brand, with a caption seemingly promising that her Insta resurgence is far from over. "Lots to look forward to in 2019. I can't wait to share the projects I've been working on with you. The first one is here: Cali," she writes.

At this rate, she'll reclaim her title as the most-followed Instagrammer in no time.

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