Life isn’t all diamonds and rosé, and it shouldn’t be. Life is raw, emotional, real, and, well, life. That doesn’t always come across on your favorite blogs (including this one) and it especially doesn’t come across on most Instagram accounts (again, including mine). But where is this all coming from, Julia? Let me back up.
Last week I had dinner with a friend (let’s call her M) who is a successful marketer and an ex-blogger. She had a lifestyle blog back in the day before lifestyle blogging was a thing. She gave it up a few years ago when she saw the direction in which the industry was headed. You’ve definitely noticed this direction in one way or another. Allow me to explain . . .
It’s the fact that everything is covered in a shiny gloss, a manicured exterior. That there always seem to be fresh flowers and perfect hair and meticulously styled tablescapes and pretty girls easily balancing on heels on cobblestone streets and fancy events with fabulous people and expensive colorful meals. We all enjoy looking at photos of such wonderful things, but it’s so far removed from most of our realities that it’s good to remind ourselves of what is actually real every once in a while.
I fully admit that I do the same thing. My Instagram is chock full of photos that match the descriptions above. M’s question to me was, “Why do you do it”? I can’t speak for other bloggers but for me, it’s three-fold:
1. I started Lemon Stripes with an intention of making other people smile every day. I try really hard to do that and some of the more “real” moments in my life will not accomplish that, I promise you that. I just can’t imagine anyone wanting to see me and my husband eating take-out on the couch watching a House of Cards marathon.
2. It’s a weird form of escapism. If I’m having a stressful day at work or if my husband is annoying the crap out of me (love you, baby!), it’s nice to be able to create something beautiful. It takes my mind off of whatever is making me feel less than 100% in that moment.
3. At the end of the day, my blog is my brand and I want to partner with other brands that appreciate a positive outlook. What I’m trying to say (in a horribly roundabout way) is that as much as we bloggers hate to say this out loud, blogging makes money and I’m hoping to buy a house and start a family in the next few years so yeah, making money to do all of that is important for me! I have chosen to also have a career in marketing but many bloggers rely solely on their blogs for income.
All of that being said, I can see why people like M get frustrated with us bloggers for all posting the same Diptyque candles and pink flowers and outfits laden with LiketoKnowIt links. I get it. Just remember that on the other side of that photo or that blog post is a real person surviving real life like everyone else.
I try really hard to write posts like this one amidst all of the pretty outfits and paleo cookies and throw pillow updates. Check out a few:
In the spirit of being real, my college friends were appalled that I didn’t mention the late night bubble gum shots we took in New Orleans in my healthy travel tips post so let me shout from the highest of mountaintops I took a pink bubble gum vodka shot and it was gross and I didn’t write about it but now I am (I hope they’re happy!).
While I’m at it, I want to say one more thing: Sites like GOMI have been created to hate on people who put themselves out there every day and share their thoughts and feelings with the world. I’m all for constructive criticism but hatred and bullying is unnecessary.