One of the most common critiques of the social media world--a world most of us find ourselves entrenched in--is that it presents us with edited and often idealized images of other people's lives. We see more of others' aspirational lives than we do of their real, everyday lives. While we might lament this, we often tend to present the same camera-ready version of ourselves--especially those of us in the blogging space. Most of the bloggers I read look great in every image they post, and some have professional photographers do all their photo shoots. And I don't even read fashion blogs, those are just the lifestyle blogs!
So where do I fit in to this?
I'm committing to posting real pictures of myself and my family. I'm committing to showing you my bad hair days (aka every day), unflattering angles, blemished skin, and imperfect outfits. I'll also show you my untidy, incompletely decorated home, my children's mismatched clothing, my husband's funny haircuts. I'll probably write a lot about my struggles and challenges, too.
While ultimately I want Dear Sabrina to be a positive space to visit, I don't think that has to mean glossing over the myriad imperfections of everyday life, and especially of myself. Being married, raising kids, raising kids abroad, and, you know, life, are inherently messy and difficult things, and I don't want to hide that from you. I want to deepen this space by being real about all of that.
I also hope to post some flawless, beautiful pictures of me, my family, and my home sometimes, if that's ever possible. I'm not saying it's bad to look great in social media or on one's own blog, because I'd love to look great everywhere I am. I just want to try to balance the perfectly-presented, Photoshopped version of my life with the real version, which is often inconvenient, messy, and mismatched. Who's with me?
When I told James I was writing this post, his response startled me. "But don't people visit lifestyle blogs to be aspirational?" He asked. "Don't they want to see someone who looks great, with a beautiful home? Isn't that why they're coming to your site?" Honestly, I was shocked. I'm trying to build this blog as a haven of realness, thoughtfulness, and introspection, and my husband was the first to tell me that no one wants that realness.
So I turn to you, friends and readers. While I stand by my commitment to be real in this space, I am soooo curious to know if there's a kernel of truth (or a nugget, or a boatload!) in what my husband said. Do you visit blogs and social media sites to see how great everyone else is? Or do you want to see reality, even if it's a bit messier and maybe less inspiring? Please tell me!
(By the way, I love Glennon Doyle Melton's self-reflection and honesty here.)
All photos by James (my husband)
Hey Jodi, and firstly, many congratulations on the blog! It's truly beautiful (in many senses of the word)!
People are different am sure, but personally I tend to re-visit those blogs that also tell about the struggles and challenges put forth by life. For me to relate to someone or to someone's writings, and for them to be meaningful to me, there has to be cracks and imperfections. Otherwise it becomes like soap that just slips through your hands, it may somehow look nice but just doesn't stick with you. It's strengthening to be able to think about the whole range of aspects and things that life brings along together with others, and inspiring to hear other ways and perspectives of dealing with daily struggles.
Keep the blog a reflection of who you are, and there will be no way to fail it!
Thanks for this thoughtful comment, Lotta. I relate to what you say about cracks and imperfections; I always feel uncomfortable around "perfect" people, largely because it makes me feel like I'm failing at my own life. Sometimes just knowing that someone I admire finds something difficult allows me to breathe this huge sigh and feel okay about my own struggles.
I would love to have james' funny haircuts
Sorry Jon. =(
FYI, when the barber finished his last haircut, he said, "oops, I cut this section too short and now it just sticks straight up." He's been using a lot of product recently.
We don't really know each other, but I saw your Facebook post and got curious. After reading and seeing your pictures, I love them.
For me your husband is wrong. I love how my wife looks and it never matters how's she dressed or how her hair or skin look, and I found myself admiring you and your family in the same way.
You may be starting a revolution to return to organic with your bold blog!
Tommy, how lovely to read a comment from you! I've always admired you from afar, as I've heard so many wonderful stories from Valarie. I'm so glad this post resonates with you; it's refreshing and enlivening to be seen when you let your guard down. Thank you. =)
Things are so much funnier and more interesting if they aren't perfectly polished!
I say "Yes Please!" to the real thing! Our struggles and challenges are what unites us in humanity and what makes our successes and victories the sweeter. I really appreciate your courage in posting imperfect pictures and sharing your struggles. I think it's scary and vulnerable to do that....but it allows connection that perfection doesn't. Thank you for being so brave! I can't wait to keep reading and relating. This question also reminds me of Anne Lamott - she is brutally honest in her writing, which is why I read her work. To know we are not alone in our imperfection also allows us to take joy in one another's successes. It creates a more accurate view of life. If I didn't have mommy brain I might be able to write this more eloquently and with correct grammar but oh well! haha!
I hope am bold enough to continue posting subpar pictures here without feeling like I had to shroud them in an explanation about being "imperfect" -- I hope I can just post so-so pictures without having to qualify them.
I've always loved Anne Lamott for the same reason - her honesty is so, so uplifting.
Wow your blog is amazing! Jodi you are amazing!
It's the real things that inspires and makes it easier for everybody to accept themselves and realise that you don't need to be perfect to be interesting and inspiring. Just be you. Honesty and reality sometimes shows the cracks and the cracks makes people unique....and everyone is unique.
I really enjoyed reading this and all the comments.
I hope you understand my text.
..and I'm with you!