It seems like there's been a recent influx of "authenticity" posts in my Reader lately... bloggers discussing what authenticity means to them, what a typical day in their life is like, their ongoing efforts to create a genuine "internet self." It's a fascinating topic, especially when platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs allow you to be very selective in what you share about your life, intentionally or unintentionally creating a "you" that may not be entirely accurate.
I left my hometown many years ago and didn't go to my high school reunion (it was the weekend after we got back from our honeymoon and I couldn't justify a special trip home)... I'm only still "real life" friends with a handful of people from those days. So for the vast majority of people I went to school with and for the people who follow my blog whom I've never met (P.S. I love you), the person they think I am now is the person I am online. And I got to thinking what that looked like... does it reflect reality?
Like most people, I think over time what's resulted is a slightly better version of my life. Where Facebook is concerned - I share the good stuff, occasionally vent about the bad stuff, and try to be encouraging/congratulatory/supportive/witty when a friend's status or photo calls for it. There's rarely a photo of me without make up or un-showered. There are no status updates about the 2 minute spat Jared and I had about throw pillows, or the bigger fights when we both go to bed angry. There are no check-ins at our weekly Target runs. And as for my blog, I try to share things that are interesting to me and that I hope are interesting to others... projects, recipes, personal anecdotes and reflections on my life. While I'm not exactly an open book, I try to be as open as I'm comfortable with while still protecting the things I think should remain private. My hope is that even if you're not getting the whole story, you're getting enough to know that I don't have it all together, that makeup and Photoshop are my closest allies, that every finished project has had its share of ripped seams and second guesses.
But... in case I've created the impression that my life is a bit rosier than it really is, I thought I'd share some of the not-so-pretty truths for a change:
- I am severely intimidated by other bloggers... I often feel like everyone else is about a thousand times more original, talented, and creative than I am.
- I let fear talk me out of doing or saying way more than I'd like to admit.
- I haven't had a pedicure since before Emma was born, and it looks it.
- I'm not a very good listener. I'm too quick to offer my thoughts or advice, when most of the time the person telling me something probably just needed to vent.
- My house smells like BBQ on a fairly regular basis due to the oak my husband burns in our fireplace. We do not live in a cabin and I do not like this smell. But I love my husband and he loves his fireplace, and there you have it. (For the record, my imaginary Pinterest home of perfection smells like this.)
- I am good or even very good at doing a lot of things, but a master of none. This has been the case my whole life. I get bored with something or distracted by a new challenge before I ever get to the mastery stage. I've learned to accept this about myself, but sometimes I get envious of people with the discipline and focus to become truly great at one thing.
- I long ago lost the battle against Rocco's hair. It goes with us everywhere. Emma wears it to daycare. (Sorry, not trying to rhyme. I'll stop now.) There's no amount of Furminating or Dyson-ing that comes close to keeping it under control. I shudder to think what non-pet owners think when they come to our house.
- I'm very conflicted about my post-baby body. My body will likely never be what it once was (especially with my non-existent workout routine) and some days that makes me feel strong and proud - like the extra skin and fuller hips are a badge of honor that indicates to strangers that I am a mother. I am fierce and I am capable of more than they will ever know... And other days I'm like every other girl, staring at herself in the mirror sizing up every trouble spot with a cruelly critical eye.
- I'm terrified of uncertainty. I avoid it at all possible costs. For any given situation, I mentally prepare myself for all possible outcomes - from not being able to find the right fabric for a project, to how we're going to pay our mortgage should both Jared and I find ourselves out of work at the same time. I'm sure some would say this is unhealthy (like my husband, or a therapist) but it works for me. (Strangely, the one exception to this is when I travel - I love unstructured, unplanned travel. Figuring it out as I go along. The thrill of getting lost in a new city. Ahh, where's my suitcase?)
So there you have it... a little dose of reality for my slightly better Internet life. I'd love to know what you guys think about this... Do you think your Internet self is a realistic reflection of who you are in real life? Does it matter if it's not, or is it commonly accepted that we're probably all a little less perfect/happy/hip/funny offline?