I'm going to be real. Because I feel like I deserve it - and so do you.
I'm not the same. I've been broken, cracked, and my spirit has been altered (.....again).
My life has been a series of traumatic alterations and breaks that I've somehow pulled myself through- according to my therapist - despite many odds. (Yes, I see a therapist and I recommend everyone should see one!)
This time, though, I feel different. This time I don't think that I can pull myself through by masking it by keeping myself busy with work or trying to cover it up with happy photos and pretty pictures that somehow represent the best parts of my life and not the real stuff.
Over the last nearly two years, I have grown to despise Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, selfies, propped photos - it's all fake and unreal. I'm tired of comparing myself to others. I am tired of feeling lousy about myself at the end of the day on top of everything else I'm dealing with, because my life and my work aren't picture perfect like I see portrayed in my Instagram feed. I've stopped following those I thought I "needed" to follow, because it seemed so egregiously fake to me. I would become angry every time I would see perfectly propped this-or-that - it was making me feel inferior and that angered me. It didn't used to, but now it does.
I've grown wildly intollerant of "fake" everything. I've grown intollerant of other people's masks. I've grown intollerant of my own masks of trying to do things "perfectly" - and I have many. It's something that I developed early on in life - striving for perfection and acceptance of others. Grades, work, art, my own self image, all of it. And I'm tired - exhausted, really. I just want to be ok with me and how I represent myself, and have others be okay with me and appreciate me for who I am, not for what my body looks like, or what my perfectly propped picture says about me. Isn't that what we all want?
I mentioned, nearly two years ago, that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to return to this place of celebrating my family's life in pictures and art. And to a large extent that has become true. I haven't scrapped in over 6 months. Not even once. And I'm okay with that. I don't feel pressured to create a specific memory for the sake of a scrapbook page, and that's kinda nice. And my kids are happy that they aren't constantly baraged by my camera.
Perhaps the reason I can't scrap with the same zeal as I used to is due to the still nagging guilt I feel for still having my entire family to hold in my arms, when other people I know can not. Perhaps it's just that I'm tired of the one-upping I feel that comes from social media and trying to appear to be someone I am not. I'm not sure. I'm sure they both play a role.
How I see it, and my truth is:
I don't want to spend unlimited amounts of time working like I used to. I have these beautiful kids that I am so lucky to have and I now refuse to work the 40-60 hours/week that I used to. I now refuse to work on weekends when my husband is home so that we are able to have some much needed family time. And I refuse to use that time together as an opportunity to create an in-organic experience for the sake of my work. That feels fake and dishonest to our family.
I don't insist on styling up my kids for every photo.
I don't insist that my kids' rooms look like something I want them to look like or that are always photoshoot ready.
I don't have wanderlust.
I'm not a fashionista.
I'm not a size zero after having x- number of kids, hell, I couldn't even be a size zero after 1 kid!
My meals consist usually of leftovers and acting as a sous chef to two kids who won't eat anything that remotely looks beautiful or fancy, or that took any time to make.
I have a mutt, not a designer dog.
My studio isn't meticulously painted, propped or styled.
I don't make up my face and hair every day.
My home isn't out of a page of a magazine.
I don't feel the need to perpetually take selfies alone or with a lovely gaggle of beautiful friends gallivanting around to stylized places that specifically would look great as a backdrop for one photo to share with everyone on social media.
I HAVE TRIED BEING ALL OF THESE THINGS AND IT HAS MADE ME MISERABLE.
Believe me, I absolutely WISH I had all of these things in some parallel universe - but I don't. And honestly, I don't actually think anyone's world is like this - but that's what you get on an Instagram feed and it can be nauseating and exhausting to try to live up to when you see so many other people's "lives'" look like it.
I've had to edit many things in my life, including my Instagram feed and how I spend my time.
I need to focus on me.
I can't sit at a desk and/or computer all day long, day-in and day-out any more - because that's what it took to try (unsuccessfully) to live up to some of these things I've mentioned above.
I am on a quest to seek balance.
Do I want to work? YES!
Do I want to work like I was before 12/14/2012? Absolutely not.
I am trying to figure out for myself what I need to seek true balance. I am working to re-define what that looks like for me.
Do I have any jobs with outside companies lined up? Nope. Not even one.
Do I wish I did? It depends on the job.
Do I have ideas in mind for what I want to do? Yes.
Do I think I will get to them today? Probably not.
Will I let you know when I do get to them? Yes.
Do you care at this point? I'm not sure. But I'm going to do it anyway, but at my own pace.
Yes. I do have a new website I am "working" on. That is the place where I will link up my workshops. And I will get it done for those who have previously purchased my workshops as soon as I am able. I am targeting within the next month. What the other content on the website will be at this point? I guess that is the big question mark.
I leave you with some final thoughts before I come back to this place next time. These are my own opinions. Not meant in any way to judge, rather to explain my absence by giving you a glimpse into my thoughts about the world around me in response to my own experiences. I'm trying to evolve, grow and become stronger as an individual, a mother, friend, wife, artist. Mine is an unusual circumstance in which I hope none of you have to experience. But when real trauma happens to you, it changes your core essence and how you view and perceive the world and the people around you. I don't feel that I can continue this path of blogging and portraying myself or my family in a somewhat public way without sharing my truth with those of you who have followed my journey for the last 6 years. I thank you for all of those years. I hope that you will support and embrace this new path with me, whatever that may be. I'm aiming for it to include REAL life, balance, love and positivity.
And, if you are on a similar path, let me know. I would welcome some other real-lifers in my life! :)
I wanted to share these two songs that I LOVE about being less than "perfect" (or what everyone thinks about being perfect). Honestly, if these songs came out when I was younger, I think they would have been game changers for me in my fruitless quest for perfection all these years! Enjoy :)