"Keeping it real."
These are phrases that are thrown around a lot on the internet.
I've received comments myself even that people love that I "keep it real".. and then go on to talk about these fake people who are fake and post overly staged fake photos of their fake life. Maybe I'm just not following the right people, but upon receiving these comments I usually wonder who these people are.*
Maybe I'm naive, but I tend to believe that most of what I see on social media stems from the truth, and it's just a question of, "to what degree, is this the truth?" For example, that eggs benedict with the paprika sprinkled on top, mimosa with an orange garnish, sitting prettily on a rustic wood table. I assume that's real food, at a real restaurant, on a real table. Did I maybe move the salt and pepper shaker out of the photo? Perhaps. Did I place the mimosa in a more photogenic location? Likely. But that doesn't make my meal any less real. It means I view social media (Instagram especially) as a creative outlet. I enjoy the challenge of trying to see and capture things in a different way- from above, from the side, slightly off center, half in the frame. So- YES- sometimes there's some rearranging that goes on before a photo to make it look clean and presentable. On occasion I even take a few shots of it, although I would hardly consider myself over the top in this respect. I'd go on to say that in this respect, I'm a very average Instagrammer.
But here's my question- why do you need to see shit piled on my counter or in my sink or my dirty closet for you to think I'm real? Do you lack critical thinking to know or assume those things exist? My social media is not a place for you to go to feel better about yourself. To assuage your guilt or get peace of mind that I'm just as messy as you are. If that's what you're using it for, well, that says more about you than it does me.
The same can be said, perhaps even more overwhelmingly when it comes to topics for blog posts. I don't need to wish Matt a happy birthday on my blog and qualify it by saying "even though you drive me nuts and we fight, I love you" to make you feel better.. because that's exactly what those sentiments are designed to do. People are so damn scared of coming off as inauthentic that instead of just doling out praise, we make sure to qualify it with something "real", for example, "I love you so much, I love our life, even though we have struggles." and honestly, that drives me more nuts than just saying something positive.
Do Matt and I have disagreements and hard shit? Yep- and maybe I just violated my own rule by even putting that out there.. but it's illustrative of my point. The thing is, the struggles in my relationship are none of your damn business. It'd be one thing if the topic of this blog was relationships and relationship advice. Then perhaps it'd be inauthentic to not spill everything. On a more personal note- I ran into serious issues in past relationships by divulging too much of the personal with family and friends. Every. little. tiff. was aired out via email to girlfriends. That possibly had more to do with a) the relationship I was in not being a fantastic one, and b) my age and maturity at that point, but I've come to realize others are not so quick to forgive and forget those wrongs as you are. The more people you bring into your relationship the more people think they have an opinion on what happens. My relationship is personal and sacred and it's between us. If you (the proverbial "you" of course) come here expecting me to air my shit, it's just not going to happen, and perhaps should require some introspection on why you feel like you need to see that from other people in the first place.
This isn't to say I'm perfect, and that everything I see on Instagram or read in blogs I can view through the mature, reflective lens, and repeat to myself those things I said before. Absolutely on occasion I find myself feeling a down or dare I say, jealous, of something I see. Again though, with the self awareness I try to stay in touch with, I really try to use those moments of inadequacy and jealousy and funnel them into something good. If I see a brunch I'm jealous of, I do some menu scouting and plan a little brunch date with M or my friends. If I see a beautiful vacation or home, I think of ways I can replicate that locally, or fix up my own bathroom to turn that jealousy into happiness in my own life. I fail at this sometimes, but it doesn't mean I fault the people taking or posting the photos.
Maybe it's just me, but I find overhyped and overpraised efforts to keep it real, insulting. I share what I want when the mood strikes and not to satisfy anyone else that my life is real.
*There is absolutely an exception to this statement, and these are the hyper stylized, sponsored, "professional" instagrammers. The thing is, I don't usually follow these people. It's less to do with the portrayal of perfection and more to do with the constant. schilling. of shit.