Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Confessional: The Lies Behind Lifestyle Blogging

I want to start this post by saying I do not intend the title to be all encompassing. I am in no way suggesting that all lifestyle blogs or bloggers fall into this trend. It is simply an observation of my own personal experiences lately. This post is also probably gonna run a little long, but I hope you'll take the time to read it.

I feel like blogging, or at least the lifestyle genre of blogging, is so often centered around people who have their shit together who are trying to help others do the same thing. Posts about improving your eating habits, exercise schedule, time management, budgeting, style tips, etc are everywhere. People love reading this posts, so they tend to bring in some decent traffic, which is probably why so many bloggers have turned to writing them. And don't get me wrong, they are great. Who doesn't need some time management tips now and then? And getting to see how other people have worked through what you're dealing with is always comforting.

At the same time, however, I feel this trend has put bloggers into this weird authority position. Like blogging is for those select few who have figured it all out and are ready and willing to share their success secrets with everyone else. If you scroll through the most popular lifestyle blogs, they read like real life fairy tales. Perfect relationships complete with Instagram pics from rom-com style date nights. Always runway ready hair and makeup. Elegant recipes that they insist take less than an hour to prepare (lies, always lies) complete with food magazine worthy photos. Many blogs seem to have caught Facebook syndrome, where people only share the good, where everyone's life seems so much better than yours and nobody wants to admit otherwise. In short, lifestyle blogging has become very 2-dimensional. And I have to be honest, guys, that sucks.

The thing I love about blogging, and frankly about the internet as a whole, is that it gives anyone the opportunity to share their truths. It is the opportunity for everyday, real people to share what matters to them with people thousands of miles away. It gives all of us the chance to remember and remind each other that the magazines, the models, the fairy tale lives are all fake, and to be comforted in knowing we are not alone.. But more and more blogs are reading like Cosmo articles: all this could be yours if you x, y, z... It has made it really hard for me to engage with other bloggers lately, because I simply cannot relate to a lot of their blogs. They are too put together, too collected, too organized, or at least that is what they seem to want us all to believe. There was nothing for me to grab onto, nothing to make me have that "oh my gosh me too" moment that makes me fall in love with a blog. Instead I just felt lonely, like I was the only one struggling, like this was a community people like me are not really meant to be a part of. And I simply refuse to accept that.

The truth is I cannot help you get your shit together, because I am a certified hot mess. And I believe this subconsciously led me to stop blogging: I felt like I did not have anything worth sharing. I suck at time management and I have no work-life balance. I am not an authority on any of the things I felt like bloggers need to be an authority on. And that is just really frustrating to me, because that is never what my blog was supposed to be about in the first place. So here is the truth I would not share, the ugly, Instagram un-worthy part of my life.

  • I am currently working two jobs and making just enough for rent, food, and the occasional Steam sale splurge (I just bought Banished for $5; crazy day, whoa).
  • My anxiety is through the roof because I feel like all I ever do is work. I don't even work that many hours, but the schedule that comes with working two retail jobs is killing me.
  • I am terrified every single day that this, this weird, awful limbo, is going to be my life. That I will spend forever knowing exactly what I want to do and not being able to do it because I don't have the time, or I'm too stressed out to focus, or I just really, really need to freaking sleep. All I want is to be a writer and to build a community around my work and my content online. I have so many ideas. I want to start a Youtube channel, and a podcast, and I have so many big dreams for this blog. But I can barely keep up with the blog alone right now. And I know this is temporary. I know that I will find a way, because I won't be happy until I do. But damn the real world is scary.
  • I feel like I in general just make a really terrible adult. They say school is meant to prepare you for the real world and they are the biggest freaking liars. Seriously.
  • I often feel just generally un-important to the people around me. Always a treasured acquaintance, never a close friend. When I got to college I realized I had forgotten how to make friends and it is a skill I just never really got back.

I don't want to bore you with every detail, but the point is my life is messy. And I am willing to bet yours is too. I might not be able to help you fix everything, but I can let you know that you are not alone in the chaos. And that, to me, is the real beauty of online communities. That is why I started blogging and is what I want to contribute to. I don't want to portray this seemingly perfect lifestyle. I want to be a reminder that life is messy and amazing, and scary, and wonderful all at the same time. I want to build a real community of real people sharing and engaging in real conversations with each other. I want to make a difference, and I cannot do that by pretending I am anything other than the passionate, stubborn, anxiety ridden, determined human that I am.

I am thinking about making Sunday Confessional a weekly thing, a post dedicated to sharing the messier part of life that never makes it into the pictures. I would love for any other bloggers to join me. Leave the two-dimensional models and picturesque lives to the magazines. I am a happy and proud citizen of the internet, and I'll be damned if I let the plastic molds of mainstream media take it away from me. So as of today I'm taking it back, starting with my little corner of it here on my blog. Will you join me?

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