Friday, 3 July 2020

Truth? Or Fiction?

I was thinking about favourite bloggers from years gone by this morning - who is still about and who has faded away. Some leave, then return (Sue from Smaller & Simpler Life - you!)  others seem to disappear for ages then you discover that they’ve been blogging again for ages, you just hadn’t found them - Tracey AKA Fostermummy! Others have been about seemingly forever but still manage to keep it new and fresh (MeanQueen). Then there are those who simply disappear completely - anyone know what happened to Saving For Travel? I miss her blog, with her clever ways of saving to enable visiting fabulous destinations! Less missed, certainly by me, is another well known blogger who closed down her blog allegedly after being trolled - but certainly after she had herself treated another member of the blogging community in a truly appalling way. Prior to that she had pretty much entirely re-written her back-story, and my (and others) suspicion is that she actually chose to close down before she was called out - in the background of “all things money saving” but hiding in plain sight were brand new cars, luxury hotel stays and countless other contradictions. And this is the thing with blogging - and I guess to an extent any form of social media - you can choose to lie, to dress your life up as something it is not, but the chances are that people are going to be smarter than you give them credit for, and they WILL suss you out. I remember on one occasion after I had done “Frugal February” when we were working to pay off the mortgage - we’d cut things to the bone, lived from the cupboards, made our food shops cash-neutral, opted not to spend on going out, etc, and ended the month on a tiny spend. Shortly after a friend was asking me about it and after chatting on the subject for a while she gave me a conspiratorial smile and said “so go on then, how much did you REALLY spend?” - unable to believe that it was not all a front to look good on the blog, she was convinced we had to have made the whole thing up, in essence. I’m not sure if she was pleased or disillusioned when I explained that no - if you see it on the blog, then it’s true, I refuse to gild the lily to make life look “more perfect” to outsiders!

It is no coincidence that the blogs I’ve always enjoyed the most are also those - I believe anyway - that play things pretty straight. I think that Tracey has commented before that she refuses to curate her life to fit what people might expect. It’s not just blogs either - Instagram is a prime example of an environment where. People,  an portray their lives as absolutely perfect - no burned toast, split seams, petty arguments over the housework or favourite novels dropped into the bath for our favourite influencers - all is shiny and perfect, every photograph oh so carefully staged, never a hair out of place or a dirty plate left in view in their perfect loft apartments. Do we think they really live like that? Hell no - at least not if we have even half a foot still on solid ground, but of course that’s the thing - they rely on those who have been sucked in to perpetuate the myth , and for every one person who DOES believe that is how those lives really are, there is the potential for that follower to find themselves feeling that if their life is not that perfect, they have somehow failed. In fact of course what they are measuring their full unedited life against are the edited highlights of someone else’s. The “best bits” only - the perfect healthy dinners, the immaculately made up, posed photos, the fitness routine that frankly, even during lockdown, most of us would simply not have had time to maintain!

Next time you are looking at an Instagram account, or reading a blog, and you find yourself feeling a sense of it all being “too good to be true” then perhaps consider that in fact maybe it IS too good to be true - that you are only seeing the bits of someone that they choose to show you, but in fact, when the shutter isn’t clicking, their life may well be much the same as yours - after all we do all have to load the dishwasher, empty the washing machine, and get the shopping in - that stuff just doesn’t make riveting viewing on social media! Start considering it to be only half the story - with the other half, that they choose to keep quiet, being FAR less glamorous!

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