Tuesday, November 15, 2011

truth in the happy place

I've been thinking about Julie's post from the other day.  In it she takes aim at a blog world that shows only the rosiest of views, day in and day out.  She calls for more honesty from ourselves and directed at ourselves, and she's posting truths on her blog this week in response.

Her post made me think for a while about what I share here.  I'm not afraid to share my failures alongside my successes; recipes that don't turn out as planned, projects gone wrong, stories of unruly children...  I don't share all the realities of my life, but choose to show the moments that I find happy, inspiring, or at least entertaining.  This blog is my happy place and my honest place, just maybe not my brutally honest place. 

I have noticed the prevailing "life is perfect" vibe, it's definitely out there, but I mostly don't care.  I don't assume that everyone else's lives are non-stop joy, that everyone else's lives are perfectly manicured, even if they're trying hard to portray it that way.  For the most part this perfection doesn't make me feel inadequate, though the occasional twinge... maybe.  If you want to show me your happy, that's fine with me.  If you want to show me your mess, that's fine too.  A healthy mix of the two is probably just right.   

You know, that said, I will confess that I do cluck and shake my head at some of the design blogs that show meticulously arranged rooms, especially nurseries.  Whenever I see a nursery with a delicate paper mobile hanging just inches from the crib, a fluffy white rug on the floor, a modern cube side table with a single perfectly retro tin toy atop, sitting next to a book case with all of the books arranged by color...I laugh and assume that whoever owns this room hasn't actually had that child yet.  I chuckle, imagining how swiftly a seemingly immobile baby can learn to stand and shred that delicate paper mobile.  I imagine the moment when the child scales the bookcase, pours their grape juice into the white fluffy rug, or demands the plastic battery-operated farting dinosaur take center stage instead of the hip retro tin toy that matches the decor.

I want those of you who share time with me here to find it a comfortable place to hang out.  It's really satisfying to me when someone says "hey I learned something today" or just that they enjoyed a project I've shared.   I like making people happy.  Maybe Spilling-Ink has a point, perhaps we do have an "inner Oprah" who wants to cheer people on to a happier, better life.  When I wish everyone a good day at the end of my posts, I'm being sincere.  If I could surprise you with new cars and goodies hidden under your chairs, I totally would.

While I attempt to write this post I am sleep-deprived from tending to 3 sick children throughout the night.  The smell of bleach still on my hands.  The children who were vomiting like Linda Blair last night have regained all of their vigor and pep and I, working on less than 2 hours of sleep and feeling like a sedated sloth, just threatened to throttle one said child if he hit me with that Nerf ball one more time!!!   The irony is not lost on me that this is information I would not normally share, but today I feel compelled to.  Truth.

Have a great day everyone.  I mean it. 


Diane Sullivan Photography said...

I love this post. Truth and authenticity - two of the most inspiring words I know. The good, the bad, and everything in between, as I like to say. Let it all be inspirational!

PS Hope the little ones are feeling better and you get some rest soon.

rachael {imagine gnats} said...

lovely :) i feel like i try to be honest in my posting, but at the same time i'm not really sure that anyone wants to know exactly how many times i woke up in the middle of the night with our stomach-bugged children over the weekend (i feel your pain). it's a fine line, for sure.

i do agree with you on the nursery thing... but other than that, i generally assume that people aren't sharing every bit of things. and wouldn't it be great if we COULD hide things under chairs??


Unknown said...

oh Lisa, I love this post too! I tend to zone sometimes with some blogs when it's all 'fine and dandy' all the time. I too felt like throttling one of my darlings at 8am this morning - when it looked like I might have to make my way down to A&E - thankfully I managed to remove the tiny HAMA bead from an even tinier nostril - hope your day improves! x

Tree Dellinger said...

Keep it honest, keep it real. I can only look at perfectly decorated, perfectly clean blogs for so long before I question whether it's real or just all photoshopped. I just can't relate to all that faux perfection.

lynn bowes said...

Best. Post. Ever.

I think later today I'll take pictures of that melted sterling double bezel so carefully made to fit a ring of jade with a peace sign cut out oh so delicately as the buyer wanted. But no, I had to mess with it until it morphed into an expensive blob.

We need to see the shoulder sagging, head dropping, bleach reeking moments of learning when all does not go as shown in blogs of perfect lives, that's for sure. Now to go check under my chair - oh, it's just a dust bunny.

Best. Post. Ever.

Mousy Brown said...

I don't think we should feel obliged to show the dark side just as much as we shouldn't feel pressure never to be seen to fail. Writing a blog is an individual thing and that can be seen in the many amazing and crazy and wonderful blogs you can find. My space is mine and I resist being told I am doing it "right" or "wrong" - it just "is" and I work on the premise that if people like it they will read, if they don't they will move on...I have "met" some good friends and made lots of connections but I am sure many more people have read and gone without me ever knowing they were there...I have a personal hit list of blogs that feel like finger nails on a blackboard because they are so, so twee and others that leave me crying in my tea...the wonderful thing is there are soooo many other blogs out there I will never be short of something to read and I am happy that my readers are just as free to leave if what I write is not for them...I think you get it just right (for me!) so just keep doing what you are doing well....I'll get off my soap box now...sorry for the essay! :D

Tumus said...

I feel you need this quote: It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

I have no delusions of what impending motherhood might be like, my skill level at sewing, my abilities to fly down rocky hills with roots on a bike...nope, no delusions here because if I did I would have many more broken bones, less hair from pulling it all out and no projects to inspire me.

I think sometimes it's human nature to share "too much" about oneself in order to just feel better about sh**. It's not a bad thing. And it's not a bad thing to be sincere in the hope that your well wishes will be well met.

There's not enough optimism in the world these days and you can't sugar coat that fact. It's nice to know someone, somewhere out there hopes I have a stellar day.

Chiska said...

I just wrote a long round about comment, but the jist of it is this. I love coming to your blog. I like what I read here, it lifts my day. I confess to some jealousy from time to time, but that comes from you living by trees. It also encourages me to take a look around and what I do have and enjoy it instead of pining So thanks for sharing what you do.

julochka said...

I love it. the whole truth of it. now get some coffee in you, woman!


Anonymous said...

Blogs for me are a connecting place with other people. I keep up with the ingenuity and talents of others. I even wonder and worry about those bloggers who suddenly quit updating their blogs. Are they sick? Did something unfortunte happen to them that they can't bear to share? Whatever the case I follow blogs to connect with others. We all know the world is part paradise part tedious tasks, part heart wrenching pain but there are people out in the world that have walked in our shoes and share their lives with us.

Anonymous said...

I know what reality is made of, and it's not of perfectly clean, tidy & spotless nursery or homes. Reality is made of screaming kids, germs & toys all around, unmade beds ... of endless piles of WIPs that gather dust, lack of inspiration, questionning ... of shameless people & copycats online, of so-called friends (thank goodness that doesn't happen so often !) ... and the list goes on.
It's always a matter of balance, and of what we can possibly do.
About how people blog & what they blog about ... we all blog differently, but I truely think that blogs are like people, some are superficial, and other are not.
big hugs my friend

Amber said...

I love this post, thanks Lisa!!

Marilyn said...

all I can say is "to each... her own".
our blogs are ours to do with as we please. if you don't like one, move on. there are soooo many there to choose from. sometimes perfect is just what i need. other times, someone elses mess and dirty dishes...make me feel better!!! life's too short... :)

Glo said...

Thank you for verbalizing what has been swarming around my brain for a while.

I had a temporary job a few months back. It was a new world for me. In my job I would sometimes get a peek into hard moments in people's lives. I reflected a lot about it, and journaled my thoughts. I considered sharing those thoughts via blog, but never followed through. I couldn't see how to do it. The blogs I subscribe to are all pretty light, and there are no big existential points ever made. I figured no one would read what I had to say.

As for the blogs that show the immaculate interiors, etc, I feel the same as when I look at fashion magazines, with impossibly thin models in perfect makeup, hair, and $5000 outfits. I look around my house and get into a sort of decor bulimia:

I have too much crap
it doesn't match
it's too eclectic
I need a new coffee table........

And so it goes.

Margie Oomen said...

truth be told
i see and hear and sometimes experience more intimately than i ever imagined sadness every day in my clinic that when i come home i just want to go to my mostly happy place ( my family, my kitties, my blog, my garden, my forest, my making). I might otherwise fall in the abyss myself.
Oh and didn't you know those "designer" babies just don't do those things.

Scrapiana said...

This is a really interesting one. I know that my blog gives a totally unrepresentative picture of my life. But that isn't why I blog. I blog about tiny shreds which delight, interest or amuse me, those things which carry me through the other stuff. And though I occasionally leak some sadness or concerns, I don't blog to air my problems.

I'm drawn to read the blogs I follow for insights into other crafters' perceptions, for connection, for belly laughs, for breathtaking beauty - often extracted miraculously from the ordinary. I don't think you live in a perfect bubble, Lisa, but I know from my own experience of family life (and can therefore edit right back in without any effort whatsoever!) the sleepless nights, the ragged days. You achieve a kind of alchemy or sublimation here, and I'm cheerleading you all the way. There are other places I can go for doses of grit, misery and meanness of spirit.

Barbara Prime said...

I found your post via another blog, and it's so much what I need to hear right now. I have a blog attached to my knitting design business, on which I sometimes share a bit of family life along with things associated with my work. Lately my blogging has been very sparse, as I struggle with the beginnings of anxiety disorder. Maybe my readers would understand better why I'm absent, if I told them the truth. But I'm still so fragile, even thinking about it is difficult. I hope I can find the strength to get better, and perhaps then I will also show more publicly that my life is not all rosy either.

martita_bonita said...

since you like crafting, lichens & moss, you should check out this blog!

p.s. your tiny birch bark canoe tutorial is incredible!

Lisa Boni said...

Like Margie, I have a job in which I often encounter deep tragedy (as well as great joy.) When I come home at the end of a shift, I go to the blogs that refresh and renew me. It doesn’t mean that those blogs never address the tough things in life, but that when they do, they also show the way through those tough times in an uplifting way ~ something I’ve felt your blog does beautifully!

Others write blogs in which they do nothing but complain about the difficulties of life ~ and for them and the select readers who follow them, it obviously fulfills some of their needs. But in the long run, I think most of us like to know that amidst the difficulties of daily life, there are joys to be found, beauty to experience, things to create and families that grow and thrive!

Jenny Bartoy said...

Great post Lisa! So sorry about the kids' bug and your sleep-deprivation!!

Tara said...

Here, here, Lisa! I look for those blogs that are a happy medium. I don't read those blogs that tend to whine and complain about the crap of everyday life. Likewise, I don't tend to read those designer blogs. In the middle of the mess that is my kitchen table, I like to read the blogs of those who find the pretty in the everyday moments. Does this make sense?

barbara@sparrowavenue said...

i love it that you come out and say it like it is/ no complaints, just a positive get-on-with-it approach


NanaBeast said...

I love your approach to blogging. Your happy place where you share and help others who have like-minded interests has become one of my happy places. Never have I had the idea that you lead a fantasy or unrealistic life. You highlight the real life things that give you pleasure or pique your interest.

Lisa, YOU are my Oprah. Remember what you sent me that had my husband jealous because of my ecstatic exclamations of joy upon receiving it? That teacup gives me more than the delight of having a thing of beauty - it makes me laugh to remember opening it and fills me with joy at our connection through your blog and the items I've bought from you.

Erin said...

I like coming here because you share your interesting little projects, moments of joy and beauty in the day or in life - which inspires me and make me smile. :)
But what really makes me come back to your blog is your nice warm genuine personality that I feel between lines. I like to be around nice people in both real world and virtual world. Simple as that! :)

Anonymous said...

You can never please everyone, no matter what you write. Sometimes I read "mommy" blogs that are too honest and I want to hear something a bit more positive. Sometimes I read creative blogs and I get frustrated because I don't have any time to be creative, so then I want to commiserate about how difficult it can be with children. The internet is large, you can always find something you want to hear.
On a different note, the word below for me to type in is the word "create". I think it's an omen.

HollyM said...

I've struggled with the very question of how much to write on my blog.
I visit a few blogs each day and the ones I like the best are a bit of a mix of 'the happy place' and some honest moments occasionally. I confess there was one blog that I had to give up on because there was just too much complaining and whining to bear after a while. But when everything is all rosy, that doesn't please me either. I may quickly look at pictures, but i don't connect.
Some have a better sense of humor than I do and can write about those bad moments in the day with a bit of wryness.
I don't have the best sense of humor so I'm left to mostly write about my works in progress, my day and the occasional bit of 'stuff' when I haven't any work to show.
I like that balance when I read too. It makes me feel like I belong if I can connect with someone else's trials.

joanie said...

You're a star. Loved this post so much!

P.S. Just turned my chair upside down to see if maybe you popped by while I was out.


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