Thursday, 23 January 2014

the reality ..... online me

I have had some beautiful comments on IG over the last few days. Well, all the comments are always beautiful, but these few particularly got me thinking about what I portray through this online personality petalplum).

Let's start with the first reality right now: I have left the dinner plates on the table, a half washed up sink of dishes, and my kids have Lego spread all across the floor in our teeny leaky shack that I'll probably step on and swear about (and yell about!) later tonight. 

So, the comments I am thinking about made my heart sing to read them as it's so lovely to be thought of in this way. But then my heart got a bit sad because people are thinking I'm zen and productive and creative with no anxiety...... While I can be these things, that's not the whole of me. In fact (and especially if you ask my family) that's only a very small part of me. Mainly am I zen when I'm sitting crocheting, which isn't so productive for getting jobs done around the home or work (paperwork mostly) stuff needing to be done.
It got me thinking about how we (I) portray myself through my Instagram feed, through this blog, and perhaps also while talking to customers at markets and such. For people know very little about me, and certain aspects of me. Only what I share. 

My friends were talking the other day about the lack of reality through social media, particularly IG. How everything is so extremely perfect and beautiful. And how they'd like to see a kid vomiting or something with that realness to it. (Though I'm totally sure they could find that if they went looking!). And I've read a few articles over the past years about people portraying only the fun, exciting, beautiful parts, and how that can affect us by watching and making us feel inferior.

I do get that. That aching feeling of why isn't my life all white walls and perfect antique / modern / vintage / retro in the hottest colour at the moment. Why doesn't my life have the Instagram filter to it! Why isn't my crochet as good, why aren't my kids as pretty, why don't I have those lovely shoes like everyone else. I've had that feeling with blogs and with Instagram. 

I want to tell you why I gave up that feeling (mostly), and how. And also, why I think it's so important that we all keep showing our online personalities as the best we can.....

Firstly - it's so unhealthy to always be looking outside of yourself for happiness, and inspiration and contentment and joy. We must learn to find happiness within, from whatever we have to offer ourselves. I found at times my stomach felt tight and knotted thinking about what I didn't have, and what someone else had, and often breathless. And I was missing out on the beauty of what I do have right here right now. Completely not seeing it, or appreciating it, or acknowledging it. 

How to give this up, you ask? It's not easy. I'll tell you that. And I think it doesn't go away completely, but I think that's ok. I think to feel that occassional tightness and breathlessness means we want to improve ourselves for the better, but first we must love ourselves. Two and a half years ago I stepped away from the blogging world I was caught up in (due to our living situation), and had time to really be where I am here and now. And enjoy and appreciate it just simply for itself. Not to notice it so I could share it online and boast about it, but to soak it up. I haven't found I needed to do that with IG. I've learnt instead to follow people who make me feel inspired by their images, their words and (most importantly) their community connections. And to feel happy for them for their wonderful situations, not jealous - because they are people who deserve good things too, and who work hard for those good things. 

Also - and this is the important one - I've learnt to notice, appreciate and love moments in my life that I can share. Be sharing them on IG and here, I sometimes take more notice of them. By photographing and thinking about a moment I take it in. Sometimes I don't take photos, I simply take in the moment - and that's the best isn't it!
So, instead of showing the ugly, uninspiring things that don't bring me joy in my life and my days, I actively choose to share the joyful creative inspiring nurturing beauty-filled moments. By noticing things I make them bigger in my life. 

I think this is such an important thing for us all to do. Yes, please do keep it real - you don't need to show off to friends, or to impress people, but if you share those moments that bring you real joy and where you see beauty you will notice it more in your own life, and find the anxiety of watching other people's perfect lives will diminish as you start to see the beauty of your life - no-one's life is perfect, those people are simply choosing to share the moments that bring them joy and beauty.

*I am not at all suggesting that we ignore everything bad in our lives, for some things do need to be looked at and dealt with and talked about. I think it's important to talk about a lot of things that are sometimes hidden. But if that's all you focus on, if you cannot find one moment of beauty, please please look harder at a flower in your street or the clouds across the sky or the meal you cooked for your family. (Or please go and talk with someone in real who can help you to love yourself and see the beauty in your day).

And please be kind to yourself!

Ellie xxx


  1. You are so awesome I love it! I agree that people show the best side on social media, but not everyone does all the time, I think the people I follow, whose feeds I love show me the every day beauty, IG has made me see this more I think, I am looking for it more, to document it. I think there is a difference between showing your best side and being fake. I think that is the key to it. You can still be authentic and just show nice things, nothing wrong with that at all.

  2. What a thoughtful post. Yes a lot of blogs (I don't do IG) are magazine perfectly posed photos, and yes sometimes you do wish your life was like that. I try to show nice things in my life o my blog - I guess it gets me to look around, to appreciate what I do have in my life, in my neighbourhood. I may not show the mess, believe me it's there, I try not to share the problems we face in our home. For me looking at blogs is time to escape my real life for a little while, so nice photos and prose are important.
    Love your photos above by the way.

  3. I struggle with the amount of time I read design blogs, is it just creating a want in my life that I don't need? As we are renovating I do find images of rooms and gardens inspiring and I love reading the blogs of creative people even though it does make me wish I made more. I agree IG makes you recognise the beautiful moments and things around you and sharing them is cool too.

  4. this is wonderful ellie. I'm sure none of us live a picture perfect life, and yes, most of us share more of the beauty and joy than the hard and the ugly, but it's there, for sure..and every now and then it's nice to see it and to share it just so we can all feel a little more normal. I've shared some of the more personal and challenging, and its a pretty big deal, opening yourself up publicly, but they were things I felt I needed to share, even at the risk of being judged or criticised. I stopped blogging regularly because I couldnt figure out what I was doing there, the time away made me realise what I love most about it, and that has to be the wonderful and very real sense of community, as well as the documenting of my children..for me. x

  5. Thank you for these beautiful words, Ellie, you continue to inspire me!
    I like looking back at my Instagram gallery and remembering all those moments - it is a kind of journal though I don't like taking too recognisable pictures of my children, I prefer keeping those for family members only. A hand reaching for the carrot sticks, a smile peeking our of a bouquet of wild flowers is enough to evoke those happy moments for me, I can picture the rest.
    Yes, Instagram pictures are sometimes arranged and set with beautiful props and lighting, they are not meant to be "war" photography but a little glimpse into our artistic soul, even if the reality is a bit messier than we would like to admit. We display our best and leave the "craftermath" on the sewing room floor...

    Have a happy, beautiful weekend!


Thank you for your words and thoughts. I do so appreciate each and every visitor to my blog. While I try hard to reply to your comment, it often doesn't quite happen..... know that I'm sending you a thoughtful thanks xxx

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