Do you see the above photographs?
In the Before shot Justin and I had just gotten home from spending the night at my parent’s house the Trader Joe’s bags on the ground were what we decided to pack in (those brown bags have SO much potential, I swear!) and were in need of being unpacked. I had just pulled a load of wash out of the dryer which needed to be folded so onto the couch the clean clothes went so that I would be sure to remember. A variety of school books and DVDs lay strewn about from use, the couch pillows are squished from being leaned onto, and the shoes we had just kicked off are not placed neatly on the rack by the door. This is our living room in real life, you might call it our living room in process. In the process of a day, in the process of being used for what it was made for, living.
The After picture is the kind of photo I would take to upload to my blog. I would wait until the optimum natural light streamed in through the large window and would actually take the photo from the opposite side of the living room to avoid the glare from the window. I would suddenly become aware of everything that was out of place or that didn’t ‘make sense’ in the room and would immediately remedy any clutter, squished pillows or unorganized shoes, and then I would put that photo up on my blog as an example of our ‘living space’.
Do you see the problem there? Have I just shown you a genuine example of my life or have I shown you only my highly worked for and controlled best?
It is of course, my best, my most polished living room, the kind of living room I don’t have time to maintain for longer than a photograph and yet that is the room I give to any of you readers as the example of my home.
I can’t help but feel convicted that this could be a problem for both you as the reader and I as the blogger. For you, because it automatically indicates a false image of how I live my life and it is possibly the only image you might have of me, one that is not tempered with real experiences or interactions with me. And for me as a blogger because it automatically sets a standard for the way I represent my image on my blog and consequently, many times, the way I feel I must live my life. I wish my blog to represent my REAL life, but feel that the standards around me are just too different from my poor newly married state of life, so the right thing for me to do must be to adapt to displaying the images and experiences I see other successful bloggers presenting. So I adjust my home and my photographs and the telling of certain experiences to fit the mold, the minimalist, witty, adventurous mold, but then at the end of some days just feel plain tired out from playing the blogging game for so long.
I think that no matter how many times a blogger or instagrammer says, ‘my life is crazier and more difficult than my photos/posts represent’ but still crafts eloquent posts and takes particular photos, that message of them being ‘normal’ never sticks and can really just result in them seeming even less genuine.
I find the problem a difficult one to come to terms with. It’s one that makes me wonder if I should stop blogging all together because I want to be genuine to the true story of my life on my blog, but find it challenging to do so while also attempting to maintain the ‘right look’. But I then realize, again, that no matter what blogs are very, very poor representations of the human experience. I truly love blogging and blogs, but no matter how many times bloggers clarify the ‘normalcy’ of their days, their blogs will still misrepresent the humanity of their life every time.
I think in some ways it’s what readers, including myself, want. We want to see the pretty pictures, feel inspired, and have something grand to look up to, brilliant adventures to read about, and a standard of living to aspire to…but it creates such a fine line between inspiration and comparison, that so many times those two get muddled together and instead of a community of honest life, blogs become another area to have to better ourselves at, improve upon, and feel intimidated by…as if we needed any more of those areas in our lives.
This topic might just be a moot point in the end because blogging has built itself into what it is today after a good long while and a good many posts ;) But I think the concept behind freeing ourselves as bloggers and blog readers to fully understanding what blogs are good for and what they are not good for is one that could be ever so important.
I think that bloggers should continue posting the clarification posts…I think that it could still be important to refer to that truth even though the method by which it is done (blog or Instagram post) might still not get the right message across. But I also think that it could be important to keep in mind that it is more of a weighty choice to blog then it might seem. Even a blog with one follower is still speaking into another person’s life with message that should be one of truth, not a false reflection of reality and I believe that is an opportunity that should not be taken lightly.
I’m not quite sure how the balance works yet, because blogging can be a craft and it isn’t abnormal to want to succeed and do our best at a craft, but it can also quickly become an insincere outlet of information and an inaccurate representation of human experiences since blogs are not just publicized as a craft, but as a record of human life and human lives are full of a lot more than just our best. I’m still trying to fully think through the topic, whenever I’m pondering it or talking about it I seem to talk/think in circles on the pros and cons of the subject, what do you say? Any thoughts on this topic? Is it a problem or just a reality? Is it a unique aspect of blogging that is a positive or is it an area that should be improved upon?
p.s. in other incredibly practical and joyful news, after 3 ½ months, 8 interviews, and who knows how many applications I have found a job at a law firm and I start tomorrow!! I can’t believe the time has actually come for me to be able to embark on this journey, I feel like, even though it was so hard sometimes, I needed the summer to prepare my heart and mind for full time work and now I just have an overwhelming sense that I am ready (and excited and hopeful!) for this next step!! Happy day!!! :D