Social Media and the Myth of Perfection

These days the world spins by at dizzying rates, and social media is many times our only method of connecting with current events and interests.  We become isolated, but connected through photos that fly by our Facebook and Instagram feeds, status updates that offer quips into lives, and blog posts that often times present a glossy vision of what our ideal lives should be. Or, better yet, what we want people to see.

Having been blogging for quite some time (though not as active as I was in the past), I’ve seen a fair share of trends come and go.  I’ve seen bloggers start with their own little blogs based on interested and become superstars that become featured in nationwide traditional media.  Some now make their living off of their identity that started in social media.

But what I see very often is comments made on social media, and also overheard in real life, of people  lamenting that their lives are not like the blogs, Facebook pages, and instagrams they follow.  They pass judgement on them, often in jealousy.  From things such as “she must have a rich husband,” or “she must be a trust fund baby”, to saying things like “I wish I could do that all day,” “I wish my house looked like that, “I wish I could do that for a living”, or “I wish I had the time to do vintage makeup/hair/outfits every day.”  And then you get the comments like “You should do ‘x'” (which translates to the blog author/small business owner as what they’re doing isn’t good enough), or comments along the lines of “I’m more knowledable/talented/have been doing it longer, etc, and therefore must have my say,” to people just being darn right nasty for no reason .

I just want to remind everyone, there is a real person behind these glossy images that swoop past your vision in blogs, Facebook pages, and twitter and Instagram feeds.  I’m blessed to know several “big” bloggers/small business women in real life, and they are down to earth, honest, and do not lead nearly the glamorous and stress-free lives that people tend to think they do.

Just be kind.  Both to others and to yourselves.

We all put our best foot forward most of the time.  We don’t know what’s going on in their lives.  We can’t see what’s just off to the side of the viewfinder.  We can’t read in their faces what in going on in their personal lives.  And, a lot of time, bloggers (such as myself) tend to document the successes rather than the failures, because you can go back and see what wonderful things happened in your year, instead of focusing on the mundane, the ordinary, and the sad or depressing things that happened.  We don’t need to broadcast our heartache to the entire world, so we put our best foot forward and do something we enjoy, which can include dressing up, taking photos, sharing projects, and trying to connect with others of similar interest.

This is an exercise in being kinder to ourselves.  Stop comparing yourself to someone online.  YOU have your own set of amazing skills, talents, family and friends who love you, and amazing gifts.  Don’t hold it up to someone else and belittle yourself for no reason.  Because what we often see is a haze, a myth, and a fabricated reality that’s meant to be “the best”.  Be kind to yourself.

 

So I issue a challenge to fellow bloggers, should you be willing to accept it.

 

Do a blog post, gathering images from your blog, Facebook, and Instagram feed and share what was REALLY going on.  You don’t have to go into detail.  But let’s just take a moment to be raw and open and honest so that we can connect on a less-than-glossy level.

(Edited to add: This can mean something in your personal life, or something that might be less personal.  For example: that there was something distracting going on off-camera, your hair was only done on the side that showed, you had something duck taped to place, photoshopped, etc. Don’t share things you’re not comfortable sharing publicly. Read the follow up post for more info.)

Without further ado, here’s some of mine.

I’ve driven two hours in the heat up to this event, my cramps are killing me and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with pajamas and a heating pad.  Since I’m not wearing what I normally do, most people say hi to my husband and completely ignore me because they don’t recognize me.

I spent a month crafting and making our booth display, only to get heat stroke and be horribly sick.  My husband had to man the booth alone for the second day.

I had been dealing with really bad depression for several months, and it took a lot of effort to get dressed up and try to take pictures.  I rarely left the house.

I had a horrible car crash the day before on the freeway in Los Angeles that completely smashed in the back end of the first new car I have ever had.  It took serious effort to even leave the hotel room.

I had serious heath issues going on.  I dressed up to try to remind myself I could feel pretty.

I was freezing my butt off, had fake boobs added to my top, and was getting suspicious looks from all the families who were just out of view at the park playground.

The kids from the high school track team were running in the park and yelling obnoxious comments at me.  I was taking these with a tripod, by myself.

Since I’m self employed, I had worked over 40 hours during the week and sold so little that I made less than minimum wage.  And I was wearing a corset to make the sample fit.

My first time attending a yearly event that I associated with one of my best friends- who had died since the last event in a fatal motorcycle accident.  It was really hard.

Taken in front of a white backdrop drawn over my front door, because the rest of my house was an absolute disaster.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.30.06 AM

I was extremely over budget for the clothing line, even though raised more than I put our goal at for the Kickstarter.  I still owe some money to family (which is why it’s taking a while to make anything new!)

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.36.59 AM

My grandma, who I was VERY close to, was at the last stages of hospice care at home. I’d been going over almost every day, and helping out for some full days since we didn’t have a full time nurse.  She would pass away shortly afterward.

 

I could go on and on, but I think that’s enough.

Just remember to be kind.  Social media can draw us together, but it can also cause dissension and tear people apart, and cause all sorts of heartache and pain.  Be kind to both yourself and to others.  And don’t make assumptions based on the exterior.  <3

I’ll be interested in seeing who accepts the challenge.  If you do, please leave a link to your blog post here so I can read it.

Please also read the follow up post, written  a day later, because I felt I needed to clarify a few things about this post.

xo

140 Comments on Social Media and the Myth of Perfection

  1. charlotte raby
    May 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Lauren – you are such an inspiration!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I think most people have some tough stuff going on and to see how you have been able to keep going on your path is just marvelous. XOXO

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:25 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, Charlotte! Blessings to you, and thanks for the kind support!

  2. Mr. Tiny
    May 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Amen! I am so tired of the meanness! EVERYONE has a story made up of both happy and sad. I use my small-potatoes blog as an escape from the adversities in my life. I don’t think my blog/IG presents a perfect/magazine glossy view of my life (that’s certainly not the intention). Nevertheless, I am taken aback when people assume I am rich (I am currently unemployed) or when they say, “You have the BEST life!!!” I am grateful for my life but when I am bogged down in the drudgery of the everyday realities of it, I certainly am not thinking, “This is the best!” Thanks for encouraging people to be more open and more kind!!!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm (2 years ago)

      I totally get that! It’s always really weird. Or when I get an email for my company asking to be directed to a department, or “to whom it would concern.” It’s like I should have a little hat rack next to my computer with all my different hats for different roles.
      Hmm… that might be fun, actually!
      You’re awesome, and all the things you’ve been accomplishing the last few years are very inspirational. I’m a fan!

  3. Denisr
    May 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m in tears, and so thankful for your honesty. You are amazing! I’ll post some of my own moments later.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm (2 years ago)

      *hugs* you are awesome, too! Thanks for your support!

  4. Charo Palacios
    May 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi. I never wrote a comment, but I had read you since years ago. I only wan say: thank you and this is,a great, great idea and lesson. I’ll wrote a post in my blog, because I think this is important. Thank you and a big hug from Spain.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so very much for your comment! I’m glad you liked the post, and thank you so much for contributing to the cause by posting your own blog. *hugs*

  5. Alexandra Maas
    May 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

    I don’t know you, but I seriously, seriously love you. This is what’s keeping me from blogging. Warm hugs from the Netherlands. Keep ‘m rolling gall – you’re awsome!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs!

  6. Heather. Ordover
    May 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm (2 years ago)

    A. Men.
    Aside from your impressively stiff upper lip, I think the courage it took to write and annotate this post is inspirational. There have been episodes of my podcast where I’ve shared troubled times and then the next day gone back, re-edited, and re-uploaded the podcast because I feared the ‘hater’ comments (even though I knew they’d be in the middle of the “we care” comments). Then there are the days I’ve said, “eh. Let it be. Maybe it’ll help someone else get through tough times.” Those are the emails and voicemails I cherish.
    But it’s an extra layer of vulnerable, I think, when you have to take pictures. The amount of work that goes into planning and prepping and arriving-setting-up-focusing—and all that in the midst of what you were in the middle of… just amazing.
    Thank you.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh yes! I totally understand. We can have a bunch of nice comments, but that one rotten one just scratches away at our soul, doesn’t it? It’s hard to ignore it sometimes. I think we all have a different sense of vulnerability- for me, hearing my voice makes me very uncomfortable, but seeing a picture (as long as I can select it!) is ok. But when you put your hard work in soul into whatever work you do, it’s very disheartening to be critiqued and bullied.
      I’m so glad you understood and thank you so much for commenting!

  7. Lindy Shopper
    May 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm (2 years ago)

    As a fellow blogger and business owner, I salute you – we look so good on the Internet because we are working our ass off ALL THE TIME.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

      How true that is!! We never stop, do we? Hugs!

  8. Pam Ellen Hudson
    May 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm (2 years ago)

    That’s so true — when my significant other and partner of 12 years died, everyone was shocked he was recovering from addiction (not successfully it turned out) because I could never post about it. It’s so true — social media can make everyone “perfect.” I’m normally very careful of what I post due to that — someone is doing better and someone is always doing worse too — and I try to remain cognizant of that fact.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m so, so sorry for your loss. It’s very important to not judge folks because, like you said, we all have better and worse times. Thank you so much for your comment. *hugs*

  9. Kimberly
    May 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for 1) calling on everyone to be honest with themselves, 2) with others, & 3) following-through so generously in regards to your own life. As you noted, it’s easy to get caught-up in the happy things folks share, which is a really great way to use social media. However, I also believe folks post some of that stuff to remind themselves of those better times, when they need it the most.
    Sincerely,
    Kimberly

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm (2 years ago)

      How true that is, Kimberly! I often use the blog and mer personal projects to keep upbeat and not get tunnel vision when I’m in the middle of something difficult. Plus, it takes us all time to get over the hard things. Sometimes folks just aren’t ready to share. Sometimes they just don’t feel compelled to. But we all have ups and downs, and we should be more aware of how we treat others, because the pictures don’t tell the whole story.
      Thanks for your comment.

  10. Lauren Stowell
    May 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm (2 years ago)

    It took a lot of guts to bare it all, but what an inspiration! I accept your challenge, too. It’s important for people to see the real women behind the shiny blog posts. Of course we curate our own social media. I’m just as guilty as anyone, rejecting 50 photos of myself before settling for the one where I feel I look halfway decent, leaving out the embarrassing parts. It does present a glossiness that makes people think our lives are fantastic, when in reality we’re dealing with stressful stuff too.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your support and your own post, Lauren. I’m definitely in the “reject 50 pictures” club. I’m better about more “real” pictures on my instagram, but I’m just as guilty as everyone else is of wanting to have a pretty, glossy blog that makes me feel accomplished. Sometimes the best photos come out of the worst times, but no one knows but ourselves and our intimate friends and family.
      *hugs* and thanks for being supportive and contributing to the cause.

  11. Mandy Feldgreber
    May 9, 2015 at 2:06 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for your honesty. I often berate myself for not doing a blog about my interests (historic costuming and dancing, vintage clothing, knitting, etc.). People always tell me that I should start an online business. I tell myself “you could have been so successful if you had put time and energy into it, blah blah blah.” The truth is maybe I could have, but your blog entry made me look honestly at myself. I have 2 children with special needs, I home school them more than half the time, and I live in a construction zone because we bought a foreclosure and have been fixing it up for 3 years. I am sooooo lucky that I have a job working from home doing machine knitting for a designer. No, its not my stuff, and no, its not my designs, but does it really need to be? I mean are we only successful because others see us that way, because we put it out there to be seen and commented on? I think for now I will be happy and know that I am fortunate and successful in the things I do even, if no one ever sees them, or buys them. I will sit back and enjoy and support all the bloggers that I think do amazing things, of which you are now one.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:38 pm (2 years ago)

      Wow- with all that’s on your plate, it sounds like you have such an inspirational life! You don’t need a blog or your own business to be an inspiration.
      As far as the work thing- I did work for theaters for a while and having paychecks I could rely on was an extreme blessing.
      <3 Big hugs and thank you so much for your support and sharing a little of your story.

  12. Aylwen Gardiner-Garden
    May 9, 2015 at 3:26 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing. I am slowly coming out of a dark patch where I have been for more than two years not believing I can sew anymore and not able to start or finish projects. Living in an Aspergers household can be incredibly painful and there’s not much you can do about it, or about the emotional and mental abuse that you can suffer, sometimes on a daily basis.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh my goodness, I can’t imaging how difficult that must be. I know you make incredible costumes, but it’s sometimes hard to think good of our work when our life situation is difficult. *huge hugs*. I hope you are able to do some creating soon. And don’t be hard on yourself i you don’t finish. There’s many things to learn from just taking on projects- whether or not they actually get completed.

  13. MrsC (Maryanne
    May 9, 2015 at 4:07 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you Lauren. I recently read a quote that included, “Stop comparing your insides with other peoples’ outsides” and isn’t it true! While a blog or online business can be anything you want it to be, it does have fall out I guess. I’ve written and not published several posts about such things because they always seem to be angry diatribes. I am a grumpy old lady after all. Your way is kinder and I will go follow your example.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm (2 years ago)

      That quote is so true! <3 thank you so much for your comment and your support.

  14. aoife24k
    May 9, 2015 at 4:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow, what a honest, and wonderful post. What you have written is amazing. None of us is perfect. Life is never perfect. But by being the best person we can, we get to accomplish some amazing things. You have! Take care, stay strong and be beautiful!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:41 pm (2 years ago)

      How true that is! Thanks for commenting <3

  15. Inger
    May 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve always been inspired by your style and personality, but am now – more than ever – inspired by your humanity and honesty. I’ve sometimes been broadsided by comments from the vintage community and the historical communities I associate with because I’ve always very carefully managed the image I put forward and the aspects of my life I’ve shared with others. I’m amazed that people think they can extrapolate an entire life for a blogger or vintage community participant from just a few images and assume that represents the entirety of their life. I tend to close off personal struggles rather than share them widely (I have friends that cope in quite the opposite manner – neither approach is inherently “wrong”, just different ways of managing as best we can).

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:44 pm (2 years ago)

      “I’m amazed that people think they can extrapolate an entire life for a blogger or vintage community participant from just a few images and assume that represents the entirety of their life” This quote sums it up perfectly. Well said.

      It’s so strange, because in our current time bloggers have become kind of like “celebrities”, where before they were people who would have press agents or be removed from being contacted by people. Now anyone can be a “celebrity”, but I think people forget that most of us who blog are just as human with just as many failing and ups and downs as anyone else in life. The comments and assumptions hurt.

      It’s totally valid to not share publicly and normally I wouldn’t. For some reason I felt compelled to, in order to help people understand. I’m definitely not changing my blogging style. This was sort of a one time thing ;)

  16. Teresa
    May 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! I don’ t actually keep a blog, so I cannot accept the challenge as such, I just wanted to say, that was a really insightful post,, really food for thought. So thank you :-). I also think you look delightful in all the pics. Incredible outfits and such attention to detail! Truly inspirational.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for the comment and support! xo

  17. Anna Worden Bauersmith
    May 9, 2015 at 4:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this.
    I often fell awful about whining on FB and try to separate out my posts. I get mad at myself for not sticking to the happy, cute, light, smart stuff.
    Thank you.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm (2 years ago)

      We all need a safe place to share what’s going on! <3 Thanks so much for your comment and support.

  18. marigoldfairweather
    May 9, 2015 at 6:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Bravo! I can’t meet your challenge by exposing my personal life, but I get it – completely – totally – even down to death and bouts depression… and yet, there is always beauty… with which you inspire… Thank you for being you, and for your work – I’m in awe X

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your comment! No worries, we don’t all need to bear our souls or jeopardize our privacy if we don’t feel called to. I’m thankful you liked the post. Hugs.

  19. Ruby
    May 9, 2015 at 6:16 pm (2 years ago)

    I love this….I shall have to take up this challenge as soon as I am able.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks, Ruby! Hugs

  20. AJ
    May 9, 2015 at 6:37 pm (2 years ago)

    This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm (2 years ago)

      <3 Thanks for your support!

  21. Rozy
    May 9, 2015 at 8:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Amen! No one, absolutely no one gets through this life without trials, tribulations, hardships and challenges of one kind or another. I accept your challenge and will post some pictures that tell “the rest of the story,” in my own life. Thank you for such vulnerable sharing. I think you live your life with grace and dignity.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your comment and support. I’m glad you’re going to post to raise awareness, too. And thank you so much for the compliment. I think that living life with grace and dignity is the best compliment I’ve EVER received! :) hugs

  22. Kem
    May 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing this. I have had many talks with friends about social media and how some folks just post all the good stuff and leave out the ups and downs, thinking no one wants to hear that…but that is exactly what people need to hear, that they are not the only ones having problems, that things do not always work out like we want, we are not always healthy, or happy, or have a perfect home life. Life sucks sometimes, and folks need to know that it happens to everyone. I do not dwell on it myself, but always feel better knowing I am in good company. ;)

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for the comment, Kem! I agree, it’s easy to get caught up in the imaginary world of all positive blog posts, but that’s never the way it really is, is it? Hugs.

  23. Lily Porcelaine
    May 9, 2015 at 10:35 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you sooo much for this article :)

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you for your comment and support!

  24. Deborah
    May 9, 2015 at 11:36 pm (2 years ago)

    So sorry all this has been piling up in a row. I’m not there, right now, but I certainly have been. I’ve TMI’d more times than I can count. Good on ya for sharing. I send you many his and a cyber tube your favorite lipstick

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:50 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for your support, Deborah! Luckily, this didn’t just all happen- I just pulled photos that I wouldn’t mind sharing a bit of a back story that happened over a period of time. Thanks for the comment! Hugs.

  25. Miss Magpie's Musings
    May 10, 2015 at 1:01 am (2 years ago)

    What a fabulous, honest and thoughtful post. I’m going through tough times at the moment and mostly I just don’t post on my blog at all. I’m always very honest, (I’m to old and too ugly to pretend to be something I’m not!) my blog is about me warts and all so I spend most of my time there wittering on about stuff I’ve been doing and buying. When I’m very low I don’t want to keep wallowing and I’m not looking for a pity party so I just don’t post, but often like you, I put on my brightest smile and just get on with life. Of course you then run the risk of being considered a hard faced cow! I suppose it is the risk of putting yourself out there on social media.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:51 pm (2 years ago)

      I totally understand. Sometimes it’s just too hard to put it all out there. And sometimes we just don’t need to! I really pray your tough times get better soon. Thank you so much for your comment. Hugs.

  26. Esz (@em_originals)
    May 10, 2015 at 2:24 am (2 years ago)

    Great post Lauren. I’ve never pegged you as the kind of person to be dishonest about your hardships, and while your blog is certainly beautiful you’ve never struck me as one of those bloggers that only shows the bright side of life. So it takes extra courage I think to write a post like this, as I can’t imagine the kind of people who would criticise what you write as merely fluff. But there IS a lot of that out there – and it would behoove us all to be a little more discerning about what we read and contribute to. It only becomes poisonous to compare ourselves to a fictional, fairytale edit of someone elses’ charmed life.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your comment, Esz. I’m really thankful that you say you don’t count my blog as one of those. I try not to be, so it’s encouraging to me to know that it doesn’t come across as perfect.
      “It only becomes poisonous to compare ourselves to a fictional, fairytale edit of someone elses’ charmed life.” What a perfect way to put it!
      Hugs. <3

  27. Julie
    May 10, 2015 at 4:30 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks so much for sharing your humanness. It is easy to mistake bloggers for pretend characters. We do take pictures of ourselves when we think we look good, not when we are slopping around. I don’t take pictures of all the mistakes I made trying to create the one gorgeous yarn I spun, nor do I tell anyone that the lovely pie I photographed was extremely sour;) At the same time, broadcasting our blessings is a wonderful thing and may brighten people’s day. Letting people know that we are more than pictures and words on the computer screen occasionally is necessary too.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Well said! Agree 100%. Hugs and thanks for the comment!

  28. PinhouseP
    May 10, 2015 at 4:36 am (2 years ago)

    You are such a beautiful person, and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm (2 years ago)

      Aww! <3 Hugs! Thank you!!

  29. Stephanie
    May 10, 2015 at 5:48 am (2 years ago)

    -hug- It’s so easy to get caught up in how fabulous someone else’s life appears online. We’re all selective on what we put out there whether on a blog or just facebook. There have been weeks and weeks these past few months where the only time I got dressed up vintage was to take photos for the blog so I’d have something to post about. If you just look at my blog it’s all palm trees and clothes and happily ever after in Florida, but it’s more like the bird’s been to the vet twice in two months and I don’t have a job and sometimes I really don’t feel like vintage or sewing.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh, hon, I didn’t realize the birdies weren’t doing so well. I’m so sorry. *hugs*. Heck, there will be an entire month where I mostly am a slob in jeans and sweat pants and don’t dress vintage at all. I’m so much cooler online. Miss you. Hugs.

      • Stephanie
        May 12, 2015 at 5:48 pm (2 years ago)

        No, you are completely awesome in person too! I miss you loads.

  30. Lucky Lucy
    May 10, 2015 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

    What a timely post. Having lived much longer than most of your readers it seems, (Ha) my life experiences are somewhat different but I totally agree it is easy to get caught up in the negatives of this media as well as the overwhelming positives. I will accept the challenge on my blog. I am essentially a quilter but have followed your blog almost from the beginning because it is so interesting. Take care all, motivated by jealousy those negative comments are a sad commentary of our society. Envy has no place in the life of an artist because it is an evolving skill no matter what creative media one decides to pursue. (sewtopia.blogspot.com)

    • Lucky Lucy
      May 10, 2015 at 10:36 am (2 years ago)

      I’m back. I did start writing my post and had to stop. With every photo and comment I noticed that my reflections are all about my losses, all big ones. I have nothing to add to advance the cause except for one thought. Do the best you can, be as honest as you can with your posts and your work and everybody else can eat grass!

      • Lauren
        May 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm (2 years ago)

        *huge hugs* It’s ok. Sometimes we need time to lick our wounds and heal in our own way. Thank you so much for weighing in on this topic with your thoughtful comments. I agree, do your best and let everyone else eat grass! haha. Hugs.

  31. PepperReed
    May 10, 2015 at 6:16 am (2 years ago)

    *Amen!* <3 <3 <3 the work you do and the positivity you bring, even when life is less than rosy.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm (2 years ago)

      Hugs! And thank you! That means a ton to me :)

  32. J. Leia Lima
    May 10, 2015 at 7:40 am (2 years ago)

    Lauren, you are such an inspiration. You continuously amaze me!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh dear! I’m nothing special. Truly. But I’m blessed by your sweet comment! *hugs*

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Hugs. Thank you so much for contributing to the effort and posting in your own blog. It’s hard to do, but sometimes we need to and there’s a sort of relief with being open. I’m thankful for your comment, your support, and your blog post. Lots of hugs!

  33. Liz
    May 10, 2015 at 10:23 am (2 years ago)

    Wow, so inspiring and spot on! All of us could be nicer to ourselves and others, and you’re so right that we never know the whole truth behind a photograph. Thank you!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you for you sweet comment and support! <3

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your support and for sharing your own struggles in your blog post. <3

  34. sewsable
    May 10, 2015 at 5:23 pm (2 years ago)

    My blog is a reflection of real life, there are snippets of the health issues I’m currently facing and the challenges that having children who are not neurotypical pose. I do this partly as I’ve noticed that many blogs are all the good things and none of the bad and I’m aware that it is not a full picture of their lives.
    I admire many of the pretty blogs, but at the same time I’m glad mine is a reflection of me and not just the nice things I make. If I’m going to comment on a blog it’s always something positive, if I can’t think of anything nice then I say nothing, just as you generally do in real life.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm (2 years ago)

      <3 Thank you so much for giving me insight into how you do your blog. You are so right that there's always good and bad in life, and it's wonderful that you're willing to share both with your readers.
      If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all- it's so true! Wish more people remembered it. <3

  35. bauhausfrau
    May 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm (2 years ago)

    You’re a brave and kind person. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a hard year. I tend to be a private person, and I also feel the need to protect the privacy of my family, so I rarely post anything personal on my costume blog. But there is still a little costuming community on LJ who often blog about the harder parts of life, myself included. Hugs <3

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, bauhausfrau! I agree- we all have a different level of privacy we need to maintain. This is not a normal thing, but I’m thankful for my close friends who let me rant about things elsewhere. We all need our safe place. *hugs*

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:04 pm (2 years ago)

      *hugs* Thank you so much for sharing some of your story!

  36. jenrosbrugh
    May 10, 2015 at 6:38 pm (2 years ago)

    Love you Lauren! :-)

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Love you, too!

  37. valarielynn
    May 10, 2015 at 7:28 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve always thought you were wonderful from the first time I met you, and I love you just the way you are.
    Val

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, Valarie! I think you’re wonderful as you are, too. Big hugs!

  38. Breanna
    May 10, 2015 at 8:35 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for this post and your exposure in this way. What you did can make anyone feel vulnerable, but you are in fact very brave. Your words touched me. I may take on your challenge. Thank you for your message and your honesty.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your support, Breanna!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Isis. Big hugs and lots of love.

  39. Beky
    May 10, 2015 at 11:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much Lauren, what a perfect blog post. Outstanding.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, Beky! <3

  40. Tasha @ By Gum, By Golly
    May 11, 2015 at 7:01 am (2 years ago)

    I so understand this on so many levels. I have a weird relationship to social media. Sometimes I just want to pull away from it and blogging completely. Especially bad in the last several months, I’ve started to feel pangs of worry any time I share something that I made off the cuff or with no knitting pattern or a tweak to a sewing pattern, or a craft people don’t do because I get people nicely asking, but sometimes literally demanding or not asking nicely about wanting me to release it as a pattern or share a tutorial. Sometimes with a sad or wistful remark about why I don’t do it or begging me to, or they don’t have the time to create things like that, or wish they knew how, or something else that they probably think is flattering to me but it’s draining and makes me feel like crap. I have a full-time career, a life, a home to keep up, other crafts I like to do, travel… I feel happy and thankful for what I have. I don’t do my online pursuits as a business, I’m not willing to pay myself pennies per hour to knit someone a vintage sweater, I’m not going to sew on commission either, I’m probably never going to release sweater knitting patterns (knitting one for your size isn’t the same as grading 12 or so!!), etc, etc. I feel like these are things I frequently have to clarify when sometimes I just want to say “Can’t I just make things with no strings attached and show them off because I’m proud of them and it makes me feel happy? And when I want to share more insider info about something, it’ll be because I have the time, desire, and energy to?”

    You DO have a small business and I respect you so much for that and what you’ve been accomplishing, and everything that life throws at you in relationship to it. Big hugs to you for sharing so much of your soul in this post and really making us all reflect. I read this last night and it was still resonating with me this morning. xoxo

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm (2 years ago)

      Ugh, I totally get this. For a while I wasn’t sewing or crafting myself anything because I was tired of getting people asking for me to release a pattern or do something else business related. I just wanted to do something for fun! Because I wanted to! It’s hard enough to have a business that so closely resembles my hobby and not suffer from burn out. I know that they think it’s flattering, but it often times isn’t. It’s all in the way they say it, too. If someone said “wow, if you did this as a pattern someday I’d buy it.” it’s nicer than saying “I need this as a pattern when can I buy it?”. Heck, I’ve even had comments from people asking to buy vintage things or other random things I’ve posted that were never for sale in the first place! Just ’cause I sell things, doesn’t mean my entire life is up for negotiation and purchasing. People can be quite bold.

      Anyways. Yes, I totally understand. I think we need freedom to create without pressure. And sometimes it’s hard, especially if you struggle with being a people pleaser.

      *hugs* and thanks so much for your supportive comment!

  41. Kate O'Mara
    May 11, 2015 at 7:49 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks for this. x

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:11 pm (2 years ago)

      <3

  42. sewfrancie
    May 11, 2015 at 9:00 am (2 years ago)

    This is such an inspirational post. I applaud your honesty and bravery for sharing these very private moments with us.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much for your supportive comment!

  43. Rowenna
    May 11, 2015 at 9:25 am (2 years ago)

    Beautiful in your honesty.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, Rowenna!

  44. Denise
    May 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm (2 years ago)

    My blog post is up. Thank you for the reminder that none of us are perfect and you never know what someone else is going through. It made me realize how much of the good stuff I hid along with the bad, because in my case I just didn’t post at all because it “wasn’t good enough” compared to the bloggers I look up to. It’s a good thing to recognize moving forward.
    http://romanticrecollections.com/2015/05/the-myth-of-perfection/

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:13 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing so much of your story with us, Denise. I’m thankful you chose to take part in this. And for what it’s worth, I can see no flaw in those amazing dresses you posted. We’re always our own worst critics. They look amazing to me! <3

  45. Gina White
    May 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm (2 years ago)

    You rock Lauren! I think it is so important for bloggers to be transparent especially when it comes to new costumers. They look at the polished pictures and smiling faces, never knowing that there were tears, sweat, swearing, blood and hours of seam ripping while making the dress that has been written about. They need that to encourage them in their own sewing adventure. I also appreciate you being transparent in the emotions that were happening during the taking of the photos. I had never thought of sharing those before, only the feelings about the project itself! Thank you for the challenge.

    Here’s my contribution!!

    http://beauty4ashes7.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-wearing-history-challenge-on.html

    Blessings to you my friend!!

    g

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm (2 years ago)

      I agree, Gina! I used to be afraid that people would see me as unprofessional if I showed those things. Now I just don’t care, because none of us is perfect and we all make mistakes! We all need seam rippers!
      <3 and hugs. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

  46. Mi
    May 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

    What a great insightful post. It also reminds me and inspires me to comment on posts, it’s so easy to read and appreciate peoples’ blogs but forget to *tell* them that, and you never know when that’s exactly what someone needs to hear.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Mi! As a blog author, I can tell you that comments really do make a world of difference! Sometimes it’s hard to write blogs or we get writer’s block, so it’s always so rewarding to know people actually read the things we share. *hugs*

  47. Evie
    May 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm (2 years ago)

    Such important things to keep in mind.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm (2 years ago)

      Hugs!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with us, Christine. You have been through such hard times. It’s hard to talk about, but it’s so inspiring to hear that someone made it through such incredible life challenges and still is able to create. Hugs and love.

  48. Gillian
    May 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this post! Very eloquently said, and something people really need to hear. It is so important to be real, but even more important to be positive with the knowledge everyone is simply doing the best they can. Loved your follow up post even more than this (if that’s possible!). Life really is good, and all of us our blessed, in different ways.

    Shared this on my tumblr (the micro blog of my regular blog). Thanks for the conversation!

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your comments and support, Gillian. <3

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with us!

  49. Angela
    May 11, 2015 at 10:35 pm (2 years ago)

    Cheers Lauren, and indeed everyone here, for their honesty. I work as a costumed interpreter for museums, but there isn’t enough trade, so my main job remains festival management which pretty much devours my every waking hour. I use my fb account as a platform to promote my services as a freelancer, but for every pic posted of an outing to an historical event the human price is not visible. It consists of me having to work early mornings till 1 am at night to be able to get away in the first place, to a point where my personal „battery“ is depleted over months on end, and often not even getting paid for it. Alas, I lack the talent, time and energy to learn to sew, and earning the money to get one of the brilliant costumers out there to do stuff for me is the better option. As I want visitors to my profile to get curious about my services, there’s not point in broadcasting details of a mind-numbing daily commute, my flat that is in a state, or my ever present fear that the authenticity-focused re-enacment crowd will tear me to bits any second – rather than mentoring like-minded history enthusiasts. So contrary to common belief, my life (which is fulfilled, blessed and beautiful, it has to be said) is not one never ending, glam holiday. Now remains the challenge for me to abandon the equally unjustified, unbecomingly jealous notion other bloggers‘ lives are…

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:18 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh, how true this is! It always seems so much more glamourous when you just show up to the event instead of lugging all the gear there, looking presentable, and then being “on” for the public all day. We did a few antique shows and it was HARD (and me being an introvert didn’t help my energy level)! Thanks for sharing some of your story! Hugs.

  50. Cori
    May 12, 2015 at 12:51 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this post. This entire topic has been weighing heavily on me of late. I hardly ever blog anymore due to my health, but I do “Instagram post” often. I will try and take up this challenge though, and do a blog post. You are an inspiration to me always! Thank you again for sharing this.
    -xoxo, CoriLynn

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm (2 years ago)

      <3 and hugs. I pray your health starts to improve soon!

  51. CarmencitaB
    May 12, 2015 at 1:36 am (2 years ago)

    This is a very good conversation and I’m glad you opened it. A pretty picture doesn’t tell the whole story. Thank you.

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you for your comment!

  52. Cathy Hay
    May 12, 2015 at 3:16 am (2 years ago)

    Excellent. In a quiet moment I will accept your challenge, but for now, simply this: Why does my period, with all the attendant pain and discomfort and wish to curl up in pjs and sleep, so often coincide with Costume College?

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm (2 years ago)

      That is SO TRUE! Why is that??

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing and helping people gain awareness. <3

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with us! Love and hugs.

  53. Charlotte Boyer
    May 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm (2 years ago)

    Amazing! Thank you so much for your post. You said everything so perfectly, and I love the “best foot forward” part the most! So perfect! Just because we put in a lot of effort to make photoshoot look good, that doesn’t mean our lives look that perfect!

    I think I may have to talk to my sisters about doing the post you challenged us to do :)

    xo!
    -Charlotte

    • Lauren
      May 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your supportive comment, Charlotte! It’s so true that we put a lot of effort into taking photos. It doesn’t mean our lives look like that at all! As I type I’m wearing modern jeans, a tee shirt that’s probably a size too small, and a ponytail. Far from glamorous and vintage!
      <3 and many blessings to you and your sisters.

  54. Natalie
    May 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Bless you, we love what you create and i find it really inspiring that you do push past the anxiety, depression, problems to do what you are passionate about. I have my own issues with anxiety and depression and im really just over how fear has stopped me from doing the stuff i love. Yeah we all want that fabulous life but perfection is just an illusion and we have to be mindful of the fact that sometimes it can be part of someones “brand” to look like (x) but tonnes of work go into making (x) happen. Thank you

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm (2 years ago)

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, Natalie! You’re right, too, about the “brand,” thing. Even if they don’t sell a product, blogs kind kind of be like a brand, can’t they? It’s hard to just go and DO when you’re suffering from anxiety and depression, but we can get there little by little! Big hugs.

  55. Kirsten
    May 13, 2015 at 11:24 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings! its always scary to open up to others, so I hope you are filled with love and blessings. I know, I need to take a lesson or two from you today! And its my first time on your blog…your work looks amazing!Love from South Africa xx

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2015 at 4:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Kirsten! Many blessings and love to you, too!

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh, gosh. I relate so much to so many of these things! I think your work is incredible and thank you so much for sharing!

  56. Bonita Vear (@bjvear)
    May 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm (2 years ago)

    Lauren, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a long time because you often post with an openness and honesty that has really resonated with me. When you share about your faith, your life and what’s going on behind the scenes ~ I just want to let you know that I appreciate that. It helps me to be able to examine some of the things I’m experiencing or thinking about more objectively, and in a way, makes me feel like I’m not the only one out there who thinks like that.

    This post is another important topic, and one that really does need to be addressed, so thank you for sharing and for the challenge. I took it up and posted my response: Really Picture Perfect?

    Thank you again, ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm (2 years ago)

      I absolutely love your post! Not only are your photos so beautiful, but you’re so down to earth and honest with the behind the scenes! I related to many of these. Why is it that there always has to be a photo creep? And the so bright you can barely keep your eyes open- I’m totally guilty of that one, too.
      LOVE the animated one :)

  57. Lucy Sawyer
    May 26, 2015 at 5:21 am (2 years ago)

    Brilliant post. So refreshing. I’m more impressed with you, not less, after reading about the real background to these photos.

  58. Christine
    June 28, 2015 at 9:32 am (2 years ago)

    Your real commentary makes the pictures and outfits even MORE wonderful.