5.10.2010

Wig in a Box


I had a minor freakout tonight when I came across a blog that was just so beautiful, it enraged me! It was filled with hazy photos of glamorous people doing laid-back, glamorous things; picture Grace Kelly hanging out on somebody's back porch eating some crostini with fresh chevre and apricots. The worst part is that these people lived in my town, and they were my age.

Envy is the worst. The more I looked, the fatter, lazier, and loserish I felt. Sometimes pretty personal blogs drive me crazy; they can be skewed to represent a totally unrealistic life that consists of sun-kissed champagne breakfasts, perfectly tailored vintage clothes, and a neverending supply of fresh flowers. They seem to say, "Here's my life. Isn't it fabulous and perfect? Look, here are some pictures to prove it." Was I jealous? I was, and then I wasn't. It's a matter of perception, and then perspective, which can take a while to come in to focus.

I compare myself to other people a lot, and it's always a mistake. I should know better by now, because it only takes about five minutes for me to remember how much I love my life and all its dirty dishes and dry feet; all the normal little details that make it real. Do you ever go crazy when you've seen one too many perfect lifestyle blog? How do you talk yourself down? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Also, here's more Hedwig to illustrate how I feel.

12 comments:

Meaghan said...

Oh, you are so not alone. I was thinking this just the other day when I wanted to take a picture of a cupcake and I realized it would take me a good hour to clean off and organize all the crap on my kitchen table. I have decided to just practice radical honesty on my blog and hope that I don't freak people out in the process. There are enough smoke and mirrors in the world; I don't need to be part of that chaos.

Becky said...

Oh, grrr! (sound of nerve being touched).. the absolute glut of post-Martha craft lifestyle bloggers, which came to a critical mass about '07, drove/drive me bonkers. Vignettes, tableaux, arrangements -- all this precious, pastel, selective focus inanity. I make myself feel better by thinking that a "Hoarders"-style mess is juuuuust out of lens shot.

Love the idea of radical honesty, Meaghan!

pollyanna cowgirl said...

Oh, THANK YOU, ladies! So glad to know that I am not alone in this backlash. It's a variety of the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses kind of thing, but there are a million Joneses on the Internet, and they're all showing off all at once. It can be a lot to take when you're alone at home, not wearing pants and eating cereal straight from the box.

Leilani said...

As a freelance writer who has no daily reason to play dress up, pluck eyebrows or even shower, I feel like you did last night, and often. Everyday, in fact. How do I re-inflate? I just keep my head down, keep showing off my wordsmithing in magazines and newspapers, keep telling myself that my boobs really are big in comparison to my actual body frame. More often than not, I'd rather fill out a dress than snack on chevre with honey and marcona almonds (which I did yesterday, but only because Whole Foods had samples.)

Periodspacecapital said...

Yes! I resound your sentiments from the mountain tops. And not just blogs, but television and even people's facebook profiles often make me feel that there is a ubiquitous joie de vivre that I am missing and failing to create. I know a million times over not to compare myself to others (and I also have to try not to compare myself to other people's abilities to ignore relativism, and stop deeming myself a failure).

I am very tired of the litany of blogs proclaiming "I'm cute. Look at me." I've had to pair down my google reader subscriptions, because I realized that I don't have to look at anything that doesn't make me feel better about myself. I've also tried to stop myself from watching movies or tv shows that make me feel bad too. Does that mean I might not watch 500 Days of Summer because I don't want to look at Zooey Deshchanel? Maybe, and the more time goes by, I feel like that's okay.

On the good days, I get involved in my own stuff and forget, but it's hard sometimes. I also try to love the things that make me feel good without restraint. I'm looking at you 30 Rock. Sometimes I try to do things like NOT look through the Reed College magazine at who's doing what.

My sister and I were giving ourselves weekly assignments at one point. One of our assignments was to lay off the social networking, only using it for messages. It can be hard to minimize the activities that give you time to think about what other people are thinking.

Long story short, THANK YOU! for your well timed words.

pollyanna cowgirl said...

Leilani, I'm glad to hear you say that--after all, looking at all those clean Scandinavian interiors and tidy design folks is a part of your job. It's hard, you know?

I mean, sometimes *I* live the high life too; sitting in my backyard that's really just an empty driveway drinking margaritas and playing Scrabble with the love of my life. I have some great times. But one of the things I find myself fighting against (and this is where your less-social-networking idea comes into play, Netty) is that those sublime moments still exist even though they haven't been documented, photographed, and shared with the world at large. There's a real trend towards "If it happens, Tweet it," but I just can't/don't want to go there, and it weirds me out that so many people do. Who knows? Maybe lots of people do lead ideal and completely satisfying lives. I just have to remember that I'm finding my own weird little successes every day, and if only I know about them, that's okay.

What a weird and modern problem, you guys! It makes me want to go camping. And yes, alumni magazines should be outlawed or only sent to rich people to get donations. :)

Christina said...

Haha I can relate to your post!!

Giggly said...

Polly! This is a great post and I totally can relate.
I get blog critics (my family) telling me to polish my blog and leave out all the "Real" because we don't want other people to see the real. We want them to see the fantasy. "La, La, La, I love my life, everything is perfect and tidy, my kids are adorable and flawless." Like, gag me with a spoon.

XOXOX

Squidhelmet said...

<3

Katherine said...

Man, I have talked to Anna B about this issue a number of times. Maybe you have too!

Dry feet...not showering...I love it. Yeah, my life is like that too. And also with the occasional lovely/amazing moment that is invariably not captured in pixels.

With beautiful, photograph-rich personal blogs...they captivate me (it's like spying!); they enrage me (don't you people have anything better to do?!); they confuse me (whence the need to make your life so visually perfect, and/or represent it as such?). I don't know! It's an interesting phenomenon that I would love to have someone explain to me the why's of.

Anne said...

Polly,

I just would like to say that you are amazing and I love reading your blog. You could probably write about doing the dishes and it would be fun to read.

Miss ya!
Anne

Jen said...

Gah I feel this way everyday, I wish I wouldn't torture myself like this. I get crazy jealous/insecure when I see local photographers' fabulous blogs and how much they are working... Thanks for sharing this, it helps to be reminded that most everyone feels this way at one time or another. Isn't it sad how we use comparison to belittle our own life, choices, hard work...? Arrg!
And by the way, you are FABULOUS!!