Obviously it's been a long time since I've posted anything here, and... I don't really have an excuse. I just wasn't feeling the whole long-form-content thing. And that's the whole blessing/curse of self employment, isn't it? That I don't have to do anything I don't want to. I mean, #goals, right?
Which brings me to the point of this blog post. If you haven't been following me on Instagram (which, if you haven't, how on earth did you get here? I have so many questions...) you've probably heard me mention that my "theme" for this year is "doing things I'm afraid of". And if you haven't, my "theme" for this year is "doing things I'm afraid of". For some context, I am afraid of a great many of very stupid things and I guess now I'm... doing them. A lot of them. From learning to cut a pineapple to sewing actual pants with buttons to posting a picture of my butt on the internet, to booking a trip to freaking TEXAS, scary things are getting DONE. Honestly this has been going surprisingly well: exactly none of the scary things that I've done this year have blown up in my face and resulted in a world-ending catastrophe. Of course, we're still a couple months out from that trip to Texas I booked... but I digress.
But here's the thing that's kind of starting to bother me: the more I do these (usually dumb) things I'm afraid of the more comfortable I've become with sharing about them and the more people have positively responded to them and said nice things about me being encouraging or inspiring or, most uncomfortably, #goals. Now on the one hand I've been very fortunate to find the internet to be a very positive and inspiring space and I'm happy to be able to be on the giving end of this transaction rather than the receiving end for a change. But guys, I am not #goals. Not even a little bit.
Look, I may have a nice late-20's-embracing-who-I-am-as-a-person-and-not-hiding-it-to-seem-more-socially-acceptable-or-something going on, and it seems to have led me to some opportunities that I never thought I'd get to see (which hopefully I'll be able to share about soon), but, before anyone starts putting me on any kind of pedestal, there are a couple things I think are worth talking about:
The first is that, like one would assume, I'm pretty particular about what I share online and curate the heck out of it. My social media presence is less about accurately representing my actual life and more about giving myself a record of my highlights and accomplishments so that I can look back on them when I'm having a hard time. Which is... pretty much most of the time given that outside of my curated highlights, my life is a wreck, guys. I'm not sure where my reputation for having my crap together and a DGAF attitude came from but 1. I have approximately 0% of my crap together and 2. I actually do G a lot of Fs. Waaaaaaaayyyy too many Fs. For crying out loud I am a grown-ass adult woman that had "cutting a pineapple" on their list of fears that need to be conquered and I think that really says a lot about me as a person.
Yeah, so social media isn't (even close to) an accurate representation of my life, who's is? I'm not saying this makes me unique, it's just... a lot of the comments I've gotten make me really uncomfortable because I know that they don't know what's happening outside of the Instagram square. And it's mostly me yelling at my kids while they chase each other through a trashed apartment, often breaking things and injuring themselves in the process. I mean, if we're being honest. I may be able to pull off some cool illusions on the internet, but in real life I only just now figured out that our gas bill isn't randomly twice as much as usual, I just forget to pay it sometimes. I've been paying our bills for eight years.
The second thing, which is a lot harder for me to talk about, is that while yes, my recent accomplishments are cool and there's nothing wrong with being proud enough to show off the fruit of my hard work, the successes I've had have not come easily. Not at all. The last thing I want is for someone to look at anything I've done in the past year or so and think that there was anything quick or easy about it. My early 20's were hell guys. I spent the better part of a decade convinced I would never see anything beyond the misery and failure that I let surround and eventually define me. If it seems like I'm surprised or skeptical that some things have worked out for me lately it's 100% because I am.
Look, I'm just as stoked as you are that I've had some moderate success as an artist, but did you know I spent over ten years on failed etsy shops and craft fairs with nothing to show for it? This year I made a pretty decent part-time income running my own gig teaching art and craft classes (and next year I'm adding sewing!), but five years ago I was doing the same thing for $9 an hour at the most poorly managed craft store ever. I spend a lot of time these days sharing the things I'm passionate about online, but only after spending my entire adult life hiding them to seem more "socially acceptable" because I was desperate for friends (update: still don't really have any irl but at least I have people on the internet to talk to?). My kids are awesome and I love them but they resulted from the kind of pregnancies/birth/postpartum phases that make me laugh at the people that ask me if I'm gonna have a third one (I... should probably stop doing that, I guess it's not very nice). I may look 19 on the outside but I feel approximately 378 on the inside. And don't get me started on all the days I spend stuck in bed from chronic pain.
My point here is that while comparing ourselves unfavorably to strangers on the internet seems to be an inescapable side-effect of digital culture, please, please, please don't call me #goals. I'm not aspirational. Tbh I hope for your sake I'm not even relatable, I mean, I literally asked my mom to call amazon customer service for me the other day.