My Perfectly Unpinstagramable Life

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the perfection myth and instagram

I love Instagram and Pinterest. They’re both great places to be inspired by what other people are doing. I love looking at IG and am constantly amazed by how talented and active the creative community is.

And I don’t mean to complain, but sometimes I’m frustrated with what I see there, and even though it’s embarrassing to admit, some of what I see makes me feel really bad about myself. I can get over the super talented people showing off their stuff, because hey, talent is talent. If God gave you a gift, you should be out there showing it off.

What rubs me the wrong way about the people who make their lives look effortless. Suddenly, I’m not seeing an image of you having your morning tea, I’m seeing a perfectly styled tea tray, complete with a just a few perfectly placed tea leaves sprinkled around the frame, a honeycomb dripping with just the prefect amount of honey so as not to look messy, but to give you the sensory feeling of experiencing honey, soft lighting, and a spotless copy of Kinfolk Magazine, stretching out to the right of the composition, all arranged on a nice woven blanket to add in some color and texture. Because, you know, you’re just having some morning tea.

No, you’re not. No one does that.

We’re all guilty of it. I’m so guilty of it. As creatives in particular, of course we want to make things look good. As a business, making things look good is part of my mission statement. But I think there’s also a danger in this. Now, when I see my tea, a messy mug full of something I probably microwaved and have been resteeping all day sitting in a ring of it’s own excrement, I’m feeling like something is wrong with me. I’m not careful enough, not attentive enough, not detail-oriented enough; shouldn’t a designer’s life be constantly adorable?

No, because it’s just tea. And, it’s my life. I do what I want.

Brene Brown calls it effortless perfection. That feminine ideal that we have that we can do everything better, faster, prettier, more efficiently and more thriftily that everyone else and make it look like it took no effort at all. Be honest, we all want this.

To be fair, a lot of the people I follow socially are designers and stylists. So of course their stuff looks great all the time. But I think there’s a difference in styling and creating because you get joy out of making and operating under perfection-based ideals because you want to look cool. Social media puts a lot of unspoken pressure on us to make everything in our lives rosy and beautiful, and I’m not calling for brutal honesty and negativity 24/7. I’m just putting out to the universe that it’s okay if your life doesn’t look like a spread from Real Simple. Mine sure doesn’t. In fact, I’ve included a photo gallery of some of my finer moments just to make you feel better.

the perfection myth and instagram
That time I definitely didn’t make edible cornbread.
the perfection myth and instagram
The time we were supposed to be at a wedding reception and ended up with this view instead.
the perfection myth and instagram
Looks alright in this picture, but looks are deceiving. The failed piñata cookie attempt of 2012.
the perfection myth and instagram
The time the janitor at my office felt bad for me on Valentine’s Day and gave me a dying rose
the perfection myth and instagram
That’s not poop, it’s chocolate cookie dough.

If your life doesn’t look like it belongs in a magazine, let me know. I have a feeling I’m in good company :  )