To Be Real and Authentic

Monday, November 18, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that my friend, Amy, and I are hosting a photo challenge this month titled “Keeping It Real November”.  It stemmed from a picture she posted on IG last month of her kitchen counter covered in school papers.  And I loved it.  I instantly felt the pressure of being perfect, doing perfect, and portraying perfect melt away.  I was reminded of this post.  And thus, Keeping It Real November was born.

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I can’t say whether the photo challenge has been a success or not, how do you measure that?  Success wise?  Amy and I weren’t doing it to gain more followers or become IG famous, because we surely aren’t.  And my account is private, which kind of defeats the purpose of these things, right?  We did it because Amy and I like being real.  We like being authentic.  And maybe we were hoping to connect with other mothers from the internets whose homes look as messy as ours.  Maybe we wanted to shout out into the abyss of pinterest-perfect homes and see if anyone answered back.

There’s something to be said about being real and authentic.  My most popular posts are the ones in which I’m putting myself out there and saying, “Guess what?  This life?  Its hard and messy.  Sometimes I don’t want to do it anymore.  And sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.”  Now I could assume that women read those posts to make themselves feel better about their own lives, and hey, I don’t blame them.  I’d probably do the same.  But if the emails and texts I get are any indication, there’s a lot more women out there saying, “Thank you!  I get it.  And this post makes me feel less alone.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the beautiful homes and the delicious food images are needed!  They’re great motivation for decorating, cleaning, and creating.  We all need those outlets for ourselves. 

But please do us a favor and post about some of the real in your life too.  I need to know that in the dark of night, you also have moments of doubt and fear; that you wonder if you’re doing this thing called life correctly.  I want to know if you get take-out for the fourth time this week because you’re not in the mood to cook, or if you spend three days in a row in your yoga pants and t-shirt.  I want to know what makes YOU tick.  Not the public “you” that is portrayed in social media and on your blog.  I already know the public “you” has a gorgeous home, a to-do-die-for wardrobe, and sous-chef like skills.  But that’s just the outside...  What are you not good at?  What do you wish you could do better?  In the middle of the night, when its just you, what are you lying awake thinking about?

Its scary being real.  It calls for a vulnerability that can maybe, possibly be used to find a weakness.  But I can relate to the weaknesses much better than I can relate to the perfect.  And I know a lot of other women who feel the same…  I loved this comment on yesterday’s Keeping It Real November picture.

shawnadovetail - This has been one of my favorite posts so far. I'm under this silent shame that my kids rooms are messy and cluttered and not 'photo worthy' but this is where life happens. I love seeing other moms bare it all, being real, being messy, being honest about the 95% rather than the 5% that is 'photo worthy'. Thank you for doing this challenge. It sounds so simple but it has already meant so much to me #ihaveenoughidoenoughiamenough #lengthycommentersunite

That is why we did it.  Because yes, the homes are pretty, the outfits are gorgeous, and the little ones obedient, but then there’s the rest of us and we want to feel less alone.  Mamas, repeat after Shawna.  You have enough.  You do enough.  You are enough.  And guess what, you’re not alone! 

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

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Sarah
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8:09 PM delete

remember my messy counter blog post from a year or two ago? I totally get it and love your post Jenn:).

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Tracy
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9:12 PM delete

I love this! It's nice to know that I'm not the only blogger that falls short of a picture perfect life.

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Christine
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2:23 PM delete

Love this! If I was on IG I'd be joining in!

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Brigitte
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2:32 PM delete

My house is a mess... A complete freaking mess. I did half the dishes today, and that was all, and now I am getting some coffee. Life is crazy. Thanks for your post :) p.s. you don't even want to see my counter...or my computer table...trust me :)

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