Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The "getting real" post

It happens, every so often, that I read a flurry of articles and blog posts imploring mommy bloggers and fashion bloggers and farming bloggers and faith bloggers to just get real. (Political bloggers need not fuss with this stricture as there is no getting around the real ugly.)

In case you missed the memo(s): Others' Facebook happiness makes us depressed, Pinterest as a whole makes us dissatisfied with our mere human crafting/cooking/skydiving abilities, and the rosy lives pictured in weblogs are akin to Photoshopped models in fashion ads, creating a rarified air that none of us can really breathe. Focusing on the positive can smother a person, apparently.

 If y'all want ugly there's always mainstream media. And the cupboard to the left of the sink. And screen-time-limit meltdowns and arriving a month early (or a month late!) to the orthodontist-whose-bill-comes-anyway, or an aching shoulder and a little bit of arthritis in that hand that makes you inadvertently drop a pot full of stewed tomatoes. Talk about a hot mess. The satellite internet limit that is exceeded by streaming school classes two weeks into the month. And the neighbor who left cookies in your mailbox and then got upset when the mail lady thanked you for them when they were so obviously for your kids from the neighbor (Follow? Me neither!). Someone from your church facing divorce, someone in your family facing cancer.

I kinda got on a roll there just thinking about the "real" of this week. It's only Tuesday.

You know, these are the everyday and bigger uglinesses that just don't bear talking about.
 Let's encourage each other with thankfulness and prettiness and focus on that. Won't you? I am aware that on your blogs and facebook pages, most of you edit out the schmutz. And I'm good with that. Not because I don't want you to be real! I do! I am so achingly glad you a real human being on this journey with me, and I want to walk with you through whatever you want to share.

One of the ways I survive the ugly is to post the pretty.
Y'all know it's bad if you can't look around and find some beauty. 
There's my one-time farmhouse. It is so very pretty in each season. Finally sale pending and approaching closure, not that I want to jinx anything, after seven escrows. Seven. I haven't blogged adequately about the heart-wrenching decision to move to this new farm two years ago. I haven't shared in any small part how I feel about the quality of light at that house, about how I left behind community and struck out for something new and found myself not just alone in the wilderness but lonely here. It took more than a year to understand that the light filtering through forest is its own kind of golden green. There's a glow from the barn when the stars are the only other light, and when you drive past the spaces between the barn boards look twinkly. My garden is amazing -- and overwhelming! -- and friendships once easily maintained by a stroll down the lane and a cup of coffee remain, and that spending time with those loved ones on the once-dreaded phone and internet is a new kind of beauty.

My new farmhouse takes more careful framing to find the photo-worthy. So I focus carefully because otherwise I'd live in a puddle on the floor. Truly. I thank you for your positive, for your gratitude, for your rose-colored glasses where the world wide web is concerned. Because I think the more we zoom in on beauty, the more we find.

Yesterday I realized my husband's dog Jake died five years ago. And my dog Bonnie Belle died nearly three years ago. So we got Murphy and Molly two years ago and now Molly is gone. Guess what? I never blogged adequately about the vomit and the accidents and the geriatric care that each of those pets required in their final days. Do you know how I got on this subject? I happened upon an old photo of sweet Bonnie Belle on the forbidden couch, and then laughed as I scrolled through that album to see all of the dogs fully owning the couch at one time or another. I remembered that Jake's last trip around the property was in pursuit of sitting by Laura in the stroller, down by the barn where I was watching the big girls ride ponies. I remembered that Bonnie Belle would ever so genteelly accept treats at the coffee drive-through even though she would never, ever ingest them because she was above the crunchy bone-shaped weirdness and she knew enough to wait for homemade peanut-butter-filled jerky treats at home. Molly? Molly loved the children so much that she let them dress her in hats and scarves. She would paw around in the dress-up bin for a favorite wool (dog slobbery) beret. Which is more true? The embarrassing bodily functions of aging pets or the photographed and internet-shared memories that cast them in best light?

I'd rather watch for the prettiness on the internet and hold your hand in person when we're having a crisis, big or small. I want to be "real" with you, but not so much on the internet. I'm just sayin'.


Katie said...

Oh my dear, dear friend. Sipping tea in your new farm house the other day I pined for those "good ole days" when we could stroll down the lane to each other's kitchen and share the real day to day. *sigh*

Elizabeth B said...

I love this.
I had to laugh because my cupboard left of the stove is ugly ;)I, too, am thankful for the pretty - it makes me aspire to create more beauty around me. Thanks for encouraging me as we consider buying a new home in the country and I ponder, with dread, how I will get in my daily walks and when will I see my friends? It could just be a new chapter and a new kind of beauty......

BLD in MT said...

Excellent, thoughtful post. I generally appreciate the moment of "real" when they are shared online, but that is not what I am after when I make blog friends. I am after the beauty--the inspiration--the hope and gratitude. I think online and in the real 3D world a sad many people always focus on what could be better, more perfect and thus fail to recognize all the beauty and wonder. I'll always be keeping my eye on that part. Its so much more rewarding.

I was "called out" by one of my readers once because apparently focusing on the positives is like telling people you don't care about their problems. I didn't get that logic. For me its more like we've all got problems, why not see what awesome we've all got going on, too.