Kate at Yinzpiration published a thought provoking piece yesterday about seeking out the “real” on the internet. The balance between publicly sharing struggles, the gritty side of life, and the defeats against the (admittedly easier) sharing of successes and joy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. I toyed with sharing the private details of my life in a previous blog. While it was a valued outlet at the time, and created a community of support where I thought none existed, exposing the “real” is no longer the right fit for me.
I’m surprised by the backlash against only posting the highlight reel of one’s life online. Blogging to me is like Disneyland. It kind of looks like life, but you really know it is fake, but it’s ok, you don’t care, and you have fun anyway. When I publish posts about our outings and adventures, I leave out how the kid had a total meltdown at 4pm or that we got lost and Mr. Beez and I got in a big fight over directions. I leave these things out for the sake of my own memories. This blog is my scrapbook, and when I read past entries, I want to remember the fun things, the things that made me smile.
Maybe from these posts, my life comes across as all-happy-all-the-time. It is not. No one’s life is like that. I don’t write like that to make others jealous or feel like they’re missing out. I write like that, assuming that they know that Cinderella in her plastic wig is not a real princess. She’s an exhausting twentysomething actress, caked in makeup looking for a break. We all know that, but we still smile and take pictures with her.
I value the bloggers who keep it real. In my private struggles, I find meaning and support in seeing how others have similarly struggled and have overcome. I am glad they are there, I am proud for them, and I hope they keep sharing for their sake as well as the sake of their readers. But for me, sharing that struggle is outside my comfort zone.
There’s still a “real” in my rose-tinted posts. It’s not the same “real” but it’s there. This is by no means a criticism of Kate’s (and the bloggers she shouts to) initiative to give the full 360 of their experiences. There is value in both, and certainly room for both in this boundless internet.