This week's Honest To Blog is one I think all bloggers have to face at one time or another. The feeling of needing to be overtly positive to gain attention/readers, and the feeling of dishonesty that might come with only sharing the good parts. Danielle wrote a really great post on this last week and I think she highlights the problem perfectly. Here are my thoughts:
I really started to get into writing this blog while/after I had broken things off with my boyfriend of three years. Times weren't exactly easy, but I saw this blog as a way to document to awesome things that came as a result of taking initiative in my life. I saw that breakup as a way to reinvent myself to be happier, healthier, and much more positive. I had found myself to be pessimistic in that relationship, and that was just one reason it was an unhealthy one. So that was that, I had a blog! I had a blog where I was going to share all the awesome things life had to offer. Everything was positive, and I rarely had a rant or "Debbie Downer" post anywhere. I was undeniably inspired by other positive-powered blogs and I wanted that happiness that they seemed to have. They had it all going for them. A great readership, their blogs paying the bills, and what seemed to be an overall magical life. I wanted that too!
My blog was a happy place. It still is, I think! I aimed to speak to other girls just like me. Letting them know they could have a perfectly manicured life, too. But after a while I started feeling like there were some holes that needed to be filled. Do I consider myself a positive person? Absolutely. Do I consider my blog to be a positive place? I really do. Does positive necessarily have to be void of some of life's "trickier" moments? Yes... wait... no? I think I'm slowly but surely learning that it doesn't.
To be, being positive means finding the bright side of any situation. Even if that means a really, really bad situation. Having these Honest To Blog posts has helped me balance the need to be "real" and upfront with all of y'all, but still find the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes knowing that you're not the only one who thinks these things or doesn't have a "perfect" life, well, that's reassuring.
I don't read those blogs as often as I did. I'm not sure why. I like a well-maintained life as much as the next person but I don't want to find myself constantly wondering "What is her real deal?" When we're presented with a totally trimmed blog that only shares the good things, we're left to decide what we believe: 1) They have the most amazing life ever. Nothing ever goes wrong for them. They don't have financial issues, they don't argue with their significant others, they don't ever stress out, and they don't ever cry. Or 2) They're so crazy they have to leave all of that out. Disclaimer: I don't think people are actually crazy for leaving out the bad stuff... I don't blame them. My point here is that as a reader of these blogs, it often leaves us feeling inadequate in that department. Like our life isn't "magical" enough to be that perfect.
Blogs are edited content. Partially fact, partially fiction. Fact in the sense that this is what really happens in our lives, but fiction in regard to the fact this isn't all that happens. I get emails asking all the time "You and Mike are so perfect. You never seem to fight. What is the secret?" The Secret?! The secret is not blogging every time we don't agree on dinner or plans. I feel like when things get blogged, they undoubtedly get magnified. If I were to blog that we had a disagreement, someone out there would take that and spin it to make it sound like we were destined for failure. If you don't blog them, people exaggerate it and assume that you're just the epitome of perfection. There's a line and you have to decide where you stand as a blogger.
I'm a life and style blogger. I blog about my life, and I blog about my style. It's fun, but that's not all I do. I've had anons take jabs at me saying "Why don't you get a real job? When you say you're working you're obviously just blogging." Actually no. Far from. At the end of the day it's my freelance design work that pays the bills (along with Mike's job). I don't often blog about a lot of my design work because it's not really all that relevant to LCH. I know that by not sharing this aspect of my life, I'm undoubtedly going to become the target of "You don't have a real job!" comments. Ultimately that leads to more emails about being a full time blogger. (While I consider blogging a full time job, I'm not sustained by my blog 100%. Not even close! (I wish!)) I've gone off on a tangent but my point is this: You have to decide what is worthy to go online. Just because you don't read it on someone's blog doesn't mean it's not there. And just because you do read something doesn't necessarily mean you should take it at face value.
At the end of the day we are all curated journals. Blogs aren't a "tell all" piece of work, or an unbiased/unedited look into people's lives. I choose not to blog pictures of me with a big ol pimple on my face... that doesn't mean I never get them! We choose pictures of ourselves that are the most flattering, we don't post the ones where we have a double chin or wonky eye. I think as a blog writer we have the obligation to present ourselves in a way that isn't overly dramatized. That doesn't mean blog all of your troubles, it just means don't act like they don't happen. Even if you don't want to tell the world you have them, don't claim you don't. As blog readers we have the obligation to read blogs with a certain understanding that what they're putting out there is edited. It's never the full story (and if it is, someone needs to get that blogger a filter!). Blogging is not the Big Brother house. Not everything needs to be broadcasted.
I love having a positive blog. I love being told that my blog, among others, brings happiness to some readers. My blog will continue to be a place of positivity, but that doesn't mean my life with get any less stressful. (Seriously, if you want to know how I am 99% of the time, peep my twitter. That's where I get all of my rants out! :P) Moral of the story: Don't let other blogs make you feel inadequate because your life isn't all sunshine and skittles. Don't feel "less than" because you don't look as flawless all the time or because you and your boyfriend argue over the date night movie. All bloggers have these issues, even if they're not showing them!
If you're a blogger, do you ever feel the pressure to present a perfectly curated blog? If you're just a reader, do you take a blog at face value or do you keep in mind other circumstances that may not make it to the cutting board?
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Honest To Blog is a weekly free-writing series on LCH where I share my thoughts, feelings and frustrations with all of my readers. 100% unedited, unbiased, and sometimes unpopular, you can often find a boatload of typos just by glancing at it. Click here to read the rest of the series!
PS; I have been asked by multiple people if they could use the Honest To Blog series on their blog and I say go for it! Please just give an attribution link to me or my series, and be sure to leave a link for me to check out in the comments! I'd love to read what you have to say!
PPS; I've been asked to write a post on how I stay positive so I'll try to get to that this next week!