Lauren of Wearing History just blogged about perfection and blogging.
It’s interesting timing, because I already had a blog post about perfection, reality, and blogging sitting half-finished in my drafts folder. Every once in a while I pull it out, add a bit more to it, tweak it, and think about publishing it, and don’t. So I guess now is the time.
I haven’t published it, because it’s not just about blogging, reality, and presenting the idea of perfection: it’s also about privacy. Even talking (well, writing) about privacy is more revealing than I generally like to be.
You see, despite the fact that there are thousands of photographs on the internet of me that I voluntarily put there, and despite the fact that there are hundreds of blog posts about me, that I voluntarily wrote and published, I am an extremely private person. I can count the people who know my biggest worries and secrets (the sort of things that Lauren blogged about) on one hand. I don’t share, and I don’t talk.
I’ve chosen to blog: to attempt to entertain, educate, and share my world. But what I blog about is my choice, and how I present it, and how much I reveal, is my choice.
Because my life isn’t just me, and your life isn’t just you.
If I am extremely private, Mr D is an intensely private person. I’ve chosen to combat the lack of privacy in the modern world by making sure that everything there is out there about me has been pretty much written by me, Mr D has managed to make sure that (other than my blog) he doesn’t exist on the internet.
And Mr D is a huge part of my life. So anything that is going on in my life, that is also going on in his, has to be discussed and agreed upon in terms of sharing.
And he’s not the only one – family stuff happens, and it’s not just my story. And I do things with my friends, and it’s not just my story.
Part of the reason I blog about Felicity so much is that she’s a cat – she doesn’t get the same rights a human does. Felicity has the right to love and food and shelter and medicine, but not to privacy.
Even for the things that are just my story, I’ve chosen not to tell lots of them, because this blog isn’t about them. It’s about sewing, and history, and fashion, about New Zealand, and Hawaii, and Felicity.
It is also about me, but it’s an edited version of my life: a version that lets me keep the things I want to keep, and that doesn’t distract from the things that I want to teach and tell.
In order tell the stories I want to tell, and to balance life and privacy, the parts in my blog about me are always truthful in spirit, if not always technically truthful: I might say I went somewhere on Saturday, when it was Sunday. Or I might say I went for a drive and took pictures, when it was a walk to take pictures. Or I might say I went for a walk, when it was a drive.
However, I have always tried to make this blog honest, and to be quite frank about sharing my mistakes and imperfections. I’ve got no use for the costuming blogs that just show photos of the perfectly finished frock they made, and don’t tell you how they got there, or the mistakes they made. They are pretty to look at, but there is nothing to learn from them, and you just end up feeling inadequate. The really interesting, motivational costuming blogs teach, and let you learn from their mistakes. Those are the kind of bloggers I find inspirational, and the kind of blogger I aspire to be.
So I’ve never hesitated to share my mistakes. To admit when something completely isn’t historically accurate, because I read something wrong, or made a guess that a bit more logical thinking would have shown was wrong. To share my sewing errors, as well as successes, as well as the things that just don’t work for me. To tell you when certain items took a lot of effort and made me want to tear my hair out – because that’s a natural part of sewing for most of us. To post posts where it’s clear my floor isn’t swept, and there are piles of fabric everywhere, and my frocks aren’t ironed. To share my sewing room, even when it is anything but tidy and glamourous. To post photos of me grubby and un-made up three days into a hike, and totally made up and still looking anything but flawless. To post pictures of frocks even when I forgot the right undergarments, so they don’t fit properly at all. To mention that zips break before photoshoots, and other ones are done in freezing cold weather, and sometimes I have to safety pin models in. To fess up to the occasional megrims, and to apologise when they overtake the blog. To admit when I was wrong, and that I don’t get everything right.
And beyond mistakes, I’ve made it pretty clear that I prefer reality to perfection.
But I don’t think that not being perfect means I have to share my whole life. I respect Lauren for being willing to be so honest about what she’s gone through, and I think it’s important that the bigger issues of life get talked about, but it’s just not my style.
I don’t think most of my personal moments would make my blog any more interesting, and I don’t think they would be helpful to you. And sharing them certainly wouldn’t be helpful to me – when things are going on, the last think I need is everyone knowing about it and asking about it. So I’ll continue showing you me as I am – as much as I can without infringing on anyone else’s life, and I’ll continue to be real, but no more. I’m pretty sure that even private, I’m pretty obviously imperfect!