Laura's Team Pick:
The Internet is the first thing I do when I wake up. I grab my phone, check my emails, catch up on twitter and read through Google reader before I even get out of bed. The Cincinnati Enquirer doesn't quite do it for me, so this is my way of catching up with what happened in the world while I was asleep.
Usually when I'm done I go eat breakfast and start my day, but sometimes the perfection of everything I'm taking in keeps me in bed. In the words of Wiksten, "looking at people’s blogs... can be intimidating at times, can’t it?...I’d say on a good day it’s inspiring and on a bad day it’s intimidating."
It's not right, but it's hard to dispute that there's some danger in saturating yourself with nothing but exquisitely curated images and words. Even the most well-adjusted among us will admit that it's hard not to occasionally get down on yourself for having a life that's less glamorous, organized, sexy, successful and busy-yet-balanced than the ones we see online every day.
Blogs occupy a peculiar space in our world. Unlike magazines, which for years we've acknowledged to be airbrushed versions of an already-perfected reality, blogs are positioned as institutions of truth -- alternative media that reflect how real people live. And so when we're unable to overcome that human tendency to compare ourselves to other people, the Internet becomes the go-to place for self-evaluation. You can't honestly beat yourself up for not looking like Sofia Vergara, but you can feel like you're not trying hard enough when you're eating another bowl of ramen while perusing Smitten Kitchen's lovingly photographed recipes.
It's a seriously bougie concern, but I'm not the only one who's suffered blog envy. After recognizing just how exhausting it can be trying to keep up with the blogger version of the Jones, Ez from Creature Comforts started talking about the things she usually keeps out of cyberspace. Enter: Things I'm Afraid to Tell You.
I like to think of myself as being transparent and genuine on my blog, but regardless, over the years I've struggled with how much of the behind the scenes nitty-gritty side of life I should share. I have walked outside of my comfort zone a few time, but the majority of the time I have always erred on the side of posting beauty and inspiration, instead of delving into the struggles or challenges I've faced for fear that negativity could quickly consume this space...
However as time has gone on, and with the ever-expanding roster of blogs that are out there showcasing pretty thing after pretty thing, I've come to realize that all this beauty can actually have the opposite effect. The always-nice that we see on constant display everywhere we look (from blogs to magazines, etc) becomes frustrating because it doesn't really look like how our life looks, right? Instead of visiting a blog and feeling inspired, we quite often leave feeling less than, and like our life can never really match up to what we see...Please can I at least get a raised hand if you're feeling me on this.
I'm feeling her. I have a whole in-case-of-emergency document saved on my computer called "Reason I'm qualified for life" that I break out when I need to remember that I've got it going on even though I'm not a PhD candidate with perfect hair who eats only vegan certified 100% organic permaculture fare.
After discussing the trend with some of her fellow bloggers on twitter, Ez invited 50 other writers to share the things they're afraid to talk about. The responses range from silly and endearing:
"I sometimes mix cake mix with water (just enough to moisten it) and eat it out of a mug. I never, however, put it in a bowl (???), and I rarely make a cake from a box. So yes, I buy cake mix just to eat it with water from a mug."
To heart-breakingly honest:
"My faith is the most important thing in my life. Here’s a big one that I was afraid to share, because I was afraid of offending people. But why? My faith is my rock that keeps me grounded in everything I do in life. I love all people, those who have a spiritual faith those who don’t. I’m embarrassed of those who claim to believe in God and preach messages of hate. (Do I even need to give examples here?) I try to make sure that in everything I do there is an undercurrent of love, because I truly believe it’s what binds us together as the human race."
Ez wants everyone who wants in to join the discussion, so how about you give it a whirl? Does the Internet inspire you or weigh you down? How to you keep those feelings at bay? What are you afraid to tell the world?