I care…

A constant question in my life is: how open should I be?  I have no problem sharing things about my life; I’d rather be fully transparent, with all my cards on the table, than try to bluff my way through.  But I’ve found other people don’t necessarily appreciate that.  And because I have these remarkably frustrating and deeply seated need to please people, I filter what I share.  I care about my reputation; I care about being authentic; I care about being trustworthy; I care about not being judged.  I care about whether people think I am being over-dramatic or a self-obsessed asshole.  I care about whether people will judge me for swearing and if that will sway their decision to let me babysit their kids (even though I would obviously never swear in front of children!!).  I care about if I am wearing a shirt that my sweat will show through.  I care about if the shoes I am wearing are too loud when I walk.  I care about finding the balance between authenticity and privacy.  I care about my motivations for posting things and I care about other people perceptions of my motivations for posting things.  I overthink and overanalyze.  I am remarkably self-conscious about how many times I have used the word ‘I’ in this post so far…

A caption from my Instagram, to further reiterate:

“To anyone who saw my little overthinking breakdown on my story last night, I apologize… I mean, I’m not going to lie, all of those thoughts are pretty much always bubbling just below the surface anyway… But there was a trigger last night that brought them to the surface and apparently onto social media. There have been such a variety of experiences and events over the last few years of my life that have shaped me, but I’m remarkably insecure about admitting to some of them. And maybe I don’t have to, maybe that’s not any of your business. Maybe privacy in the midst of social media is something I should embrace more. But where is the line of authenticity drawn? Is all of this just a way of pretending we have friends and relationships when what we really have are followers? Where do honesty and vulnerability reside? What would my life have been like without the pressure to present things are certain way on the internet? What of this is an act and who am I really? And the biggest question of the moment, am I the only one? Does this bother other people? Do you have doubts you’re afraid to share? Do you know who you are at your core? Would you admit it if you didn’t?”

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I care…

Curation.

Hello, whoever you are who is reading this.  You may be new, you may not have noticed, or perhaps you don’t care, but I just realized that I have been so particular recently in what I have been posting in this blog that I feel I am being exactly what I DON’T want to be: curated, edited.  I want to be honest and real and rambly (that’s not a word, but you understand…one of the awesome things about language  – webster doesn’t dictate what I can or cannot communicate).  I want to be profound and dumb and whiny and inspiring and hopeful and downcast…I want to be REAL.  In everything that I do.  But instead I feel like I am actually being true in nothing.  Instagram gets a different part of me than Facebook does, and I still don’t understand Twitter to be quite honest, and here, on my blog where I feel the most real, I still feel this need to have a certain theme or whatever.   So what if someone scrolls through and moves on because I am too unpredictable in my content to follow.  I shouldn’t care, right?  Except that’s not really how it works.

I can preach all day about facades and honesty and give off the air that I am above caring about it all.

But I’m not.  I care desperately.  And I HATE that.  I HATE that I have been checking my number of followers on IG, that I have been wondering why people have unfollowed me, why I can’t reach 250, when some people hit 1,000 without breaking a sweat.  I am intimidated by the vast number of talented creative people all over the web and IG and etsy.  How will I ever stand out among them?  Why would anyone ever choose to buy a piece of art from me when ten thousand people are doing it better?

Comparison kills.

(speaking of which, so does smoking.  there’s research to back it up.)  It sucks any enjoyment out of the things I am doing because I never measure up.

It’s a constant striving, a constant desire for more and better, but ultimately for most and best.

And so I see that ugliness in me and my reaction is to seclude myself.  To run from other people.  Because then instead of facing that ugly jealousy in myself, that voice saying “you’ll never be as [good, smart, pretty, skinny, successful, creative, kind, artsy, motherly, perfect] as they are. just give up now before you fail.” – instead of confronting those things I go into my metaphorical cabin in the woods.  For a while I am content with the birds and the grass and the sunshine and books and art…but that loneliness always comes creeps back in.  And the part of me that has spent a good deal of time in Christian community says, “well, if you were finding your all in Jesus, you wouldn’t be feeling so lonely. that hole you feel is just that God-sized vacuum” or whatever quote I am misquoting….point being, then I feel ashamed at feeling lonely, guilty for wanting to rejoin society.  And then I step my toe in the water, go on a coffee date or whatever, and find myself tripping down social stairs with my tongue tied around my ankles. “How did I ever interact with humans in the past?  I can’t even tell a story without coming across like a lunatic!” And then I end up online again, where I can filter my thoughts before I send them, photoshop my acne, delete my whining, hide my tear-stained cheeks.  UGH.

My best friend and I have been talking about some of these things recently.  (Even being able to say that I have a  best friend (and an awesome one at that!) is such a blessing.)  And I am doing a lot of reading and thinking related to the digital world for my thesis.  Do we need people?  Are we cheapening our stories and our lives by sharing them in bits and pieces on all of these social media sites?  Is the digital inherently harmful for social interactions?  Can it be done in a way that is life-giving?  That actually allows for understanding and connection and authenticity?  Does that mean narrowing down to just a few places to invest?  (the internet never really ends up working like that though it seems…)  But today I read the blog here  titled “Is Blogging Dying?” by Mayi Carles where she definitely convinced me if there is one online place to invest, particularly if I am going to actually try and start a business, it is on a blog.  Which after thinking about it, makes a lot of sense.  If I don’t like the pressure of chronological posting (the feeling of always needing something fresh and new and better than the last thing) I have some degree of control to alter that here.  Maybe in the end that’s a horrible way to go about having a blog, but at least I get to make that decision for myself, and can choose to change it myself.

Anyway, now I’m really off track… I think being married to a man who rarely (never) tells a story without tangents and mid-thought rambles has rubbed off on me more than I think it has. haha  Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing.  Rambly just may end up being the best description after all.  The opposite of curation. Which is also, incidentally, not a word.

 

Curation.