Monday, October 18, 2010

Ack! I just gotta' say it: nobody's perfect!

I appreciate a quiet Sunday afternoon when I can catch up on some of the blogs I follow, hoping to spark some creativity, see what friends and fellow writers have been up to, or sometimes just get lost in someone else's world for a while.

Inevitably I click from a blog I know and love to one on their reading list that looks interesting, and so on and so on. What a fun way to work my way around the world from the comfort of my own home!

But occasionally my journey into other's lives causes me to log off and smack my laptop shut in exasperation. I see perfectly-lit pictures of beautiful, clean homes and happy, organically-fed children, and I read about how they fill each day with fun and educational activities. It's all about love and hugs and rainbows and fuzzy little kittens.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!? Nobody's life could possibly be that perfect.

My name is Jane. I school my children at home and I feed them only foods we grow in our back yard, sans chemicals. I support baby-wearing and I abhor spanking. My husband is a genius and an entrepreneur. We never speak a harsh word to each other in any of the three languages in which we are fluent. We don't own a television. We have no debt. Our children don't know who Hannah Montana is. We make our own furniture and milk our own cow. Look at my beautiful home!

Seriously? Hhhhhhh.

There was a time when I would have been a little jealous of Jane's seemingly wonderful life and might have even tried to be more like her - the her in the snapshot she posted on-line, anyway. Now I just sorta' lift an eyebrow. Just a little. I don't judge Jane, but neither do I assume that her children have never thrown temper tantrums, her husband loves his job, Jane lives caffeine-free, and she has never been embarrassed by the state of her home when company stops by unexpectedly.

If her life really is that way? Well. Then more power to her. It sounds exhausting.

The fun thing about blogging (and the Internet in general) is that we can present only the aspects of our lives we wish to share. We can stage our photos. We can skip blogging on our crappiest days and write twice as much about the best days. We can make our lives look as perfect as possible. Or we can use our space in the blogosphere as a place to dump all the drama and share all the frustrations of life. I try to land somewhere in the middle.

I use this blog as a sort of journal and even though I haven't been at it very long I look back on my previous posts and remember the good days, bad days, ugly days, and yes, even the seemingly perfect days. My life is about striving for ... I don't know ... goodness. Peace. My family's happiness. But it gets messy sometimes, and I'm OK with you seeing that because messiness keeps me humble. Messiness is real.

My friend B is forever reminding me, "progress, not perfection." Pretty good words to live by.

I can't help but think some people spend so much time polishing the facade that they forget to live the life, and that's a shame.

That's all. I just had to get that off my chest. I feel better now.

Oh, and chances are if you are reading this, my imaginary character Jane does not represent you. Jane is all those people whose real names I don't know but whose perfect photos and children and spouses and homes are just too sugary sweet for my taste.

Now I'm really done. Off my soap box. Carry on!

And for heaven's sake, enjoy the journey. It can be imperfect and beautiful at the same time.


  1. Well said Jen...I actually had to take a blog off my list that I followed just for that reason. It was irritating how "perfect" she portrayed her life. Perfect husband, perfect house, perfect kids, all the money she seemed to want to spend and didn't have to work....GAG ME..better yet...SPARE ME

  2. I started writing a comment, but after four paragraphs I figured I should make it my own blog post, lol. I haven't felt much like blogging lately, but you inspired me. I know you weren't calling me out, but I identify with the pollyanna bloggers. So obviously, I find this conversation interesting, but I look at it all sort of differently.

    However, I too come across blogs that make me feel worse instead of better for whatever reasons. That is the joy of having so many blogs available to read. Clicking away is easy and finding people that speak your language is often only a few blog hops away.

  3. Thanks, ladies.

    Candy, I look forward to reading your post on the subject. ;) I do think there is a part of all of us that can identify with the pollyannas of the world. I love to read and I read A LOT of blogs with varying focuses (money, parenting, faith, cooking, relationships, everyday life) and I like living vicariously through others - to a point. And I do wish good things for people and want others to be happy. But I also feel like some present an unattainable goal. "Look at how great my life is, with such little effort! And don't you wish you were like me? You should!" It's a blogger's version of being on the cover of Vogue, all airbrushed and Photoshopped. I like reality. Substance. Everybody's got junk, ya know? I don't fault the blogger for not wanting to put their junk out there, but I hope others realize this is but a snapshot of a person's life of which they have complete control, which means they can make it look as good as they want to, even if their life is really in a shambles. Perhaps it is the reporter in me that's always digging for the real story. There's ALWAYS more to tell! LOL! And you are correct - kindred spirits are only a click or two away. Which is why I love the Web!
    Thanks for commenting.

  4. I also think some people are a little leary about posting their REAL problems in a public arena. We all have them..some people are just more personal about them than others. (like myself) Depends on what their outlet is for their blog.