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Thursday
May032012

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

So it started like this:

Do you happen to remember the link I posted to this article by Jess Constable last Friday? Well Friday afternoon over on twitter, all it took was one tweet from Erin followed immediately by Nichole, before suddenly a flood of bloggers raised their virtual hands to say that "Yes, they too were concerned / frustrated / flummoxed about the vast cavern between true reality and the presentation of "reality" on blogs." That twitter conversation quickly morphed into a challenge spurned on by another post of Jess' where she shared "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You." And so today, in lovely little spaces around the web, a handful of brave and authentic bloggers will be adding their voice to what I hope will become a beautiful chorus of honesty and transparency around blogland (yes, lovely readers...you are invited to be a part of this challenge too). I have shared links to their blogs here, and I hope that you will take the time to visit them today or in the coming weeks and encourage and support their openness. This type of authenticity is the sort of things that makes your knees wobble and your "publish post" finger shake. I know because if you read on, you'll get to see a few of the things I've been "afraid" to tell you. And even though I've only just begun to put words to this page, my nerves are already setting in. I'm pretty sure that by that time I reach the end, I'll be having some serious thoughts about deleting the whole thing.

Participating bloggers - Round 1:

Design for Mankind | Little Brown Pen | Beautiful Hello | Curating Style | Sweet Fine Day | The Jealous Curator | Happy Days | Sage & Berries | Really Handmade | Peck Life | Satsuma Press | Rena Tom | For the Easily Distracted | The Hemborg Wife | Vitamini Handmade | Courtney Khail Stationery and Design | Meg in Progress | Dando Photography Blog | Widdershins22 | Alison Citron | Pink Moon Daily | Just Pretty Things | From China Village | Tea with Me | The Darling Ewe | Not Your Average Ordinary | The Electric Typewriter | Elleby Design | Parsimonia {Secondhand With Style} | Life as an Artistpreneur | Hello Cupcake | Dellie | The A & B Stories | Pretty Little Things | Feistyelle | Nib & Zed | Well and Cheaply | I Ripple. I Dance. | Whitfield Awesome Blog | Foxtrot Press | Dry As Toast | The List of Now | Apple Blue | For the Love of | Four Flights of Fancy | Miss Modish | Snapshots & Secrets | Dirty Laundry | Bubby & Bean | Penelope's Press | Little Nostalgia | Vale Design | Pikaland | Fleurishing | Print Pretty | Vespa Tales | Hazel & Agnes | Amanda's Musings | Mo' Funk Designs | Ordinary Mommy | Camp 1899 | In Honor of Design | Liberty's Yarn | Love, Life & Pictures | Stacey Winters | Owl in the Rain | Living Life Creatively | Emma Elizabeth Clease | I Live in Vacouver Now | British Cream Tea | Maquette | Little Paper Trees | Change is Necessary for Growth | Practically Perfect | Lovely Indeed | Radiant Republic | Teacher Goes Back to School | Acute Designs | This Little Street | The Proper Pinwheel | Kellee Rich | Gluten Free Travelette | Benbrie House | Sierra BB | Lost in Cheeseland | Going Home to Roost | Creative Soul in Motion | Quietly Fabulous | L'elephant Rose | The Anna Delores Blog | Some the Wiser | JRebecca Style | I Saw You Dancing | Wolfie and the Sneak | Threadbare Supply Co. | Lemonwood and Honey | Lolalina | This Texan Wife | C'est ma Vie |

TIATTY - Round 2 (list found at Mimi + Meg):

Coco + Kelley / Court & Hudson / Sacramento Street / My Cup of Te / Crystal Gentilello / MIMI+MEG / The Decorista / Modern Eve / Apartment 34 / Design Blahg / Vmac & Cheese / Miles to Style / Life in a Venti Cup  / The Zhush / Radiant Republic / Savvy Home / The Doctor's Closet / Design Manifest / Because It's Awesome / {extra}ordinary wonders / Sparkling Footsteps / Hitha On The Go / Note To Self / So Much To Smile About / Blogstar / The Goods Design / Style & Pepper / Small Shop Studio  / Long Distance Loving / Maggie Rose Blog / The City Girl In Me / The Best Laid Plans / Concrete Jungle DC / Food Fashion Fitness / East Coast Chic

TIATTY - Round 3 (organized by Lights & Letters)

Jill at Terra Savvy | Erica at The Elbow | Jen at Taking Off the Mask | Kate at Modern Home Modern Baby | Laura at My So Called Sensory Life | Monique at Razing Mayhem | Caroline at Salsa Pie | Leslie at Life In Every Limb | Tammie at Tam.Me | Melanie at Inward Facing Girl | Amy at Old Sweet Song | Michelle at Early Mama | Jen at Jen Epting | Leslie at Lights and Letters  | Sarah at SAWK Photography

But for now, I am encouraged and honored to be a part of this beautiful community of bloggers who are willing to make themselves vulnerable in an effort to make the bigger blogging community a better place. Here goes…

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You:

I like to think of myself as being transparent and genuine on my blog, but regardless, over the years I've struggled with how much of the behind the scenes nitty-gritty side of life I should share. I have walked outside of my comfort zone a few time, but the majority of the time I have always erred on the side of posting beauty and inspiration, instead of delving into the struggles or challenges I've faced for fear that negativity could quickly consume this space (not from you guys…but from me). I do have a huge propensity to get sucked down into pits of depression and because of this have made a conscious choice to focus on light-hearted subjects and beauty as a daily reminder to myself to always seek that side of life.

However as time has gone on, and with the ever-expanding roster of blogs that are out there showcasing pretty thing after pretty thing, I've come to realize that all this beauty can actually have the opposite effect. The always-nice that we see on constant display everywhere we look (from blogs to magazines, etc) becomes frustrating because it doesn't really look like how our life looks, right? Instead of visiting a blog and feeling inspired, we quite often leave feeling less than, and like our life can never really match up to what we see. As a long-time contributor to this trend of pretty-everything I should know better, but even I get sucked up in feeling like other bloggers are more successful, have better wardrobes, perfectly behaved children, gourmet meals pre-made weeks in advance…they host fabulous parties with every last detail glittered and festooned to perfection, take lavish vacations, sign book deals in their sleep and pose for photo shoots in their immaculately clean designer-decorated homes. Please can I at least get a raised hand if you're feeling me on this.

The truth that we probably know deep down somewhere is that in nearly every instance we are only seeing a tiny groomed portrayal of life. I know this because that's what I show you on my blog too (I'm calling myself out on that front). I haven't tried to be deceptive (I doubt other bloggers have either), but I think it's human nature to want to shine the best light upon ourselves, and I confess to being afraid of showing you the mundane and ordinary sides of life (I also question how interesting a conversation on unfolded laundry can really be). Ultimately I don't think it's inherently wrong or dishonest to show that side, but it is not the full story. And now sitting here and thinking that any of you may have visited this space at some point in time, seen a pretty post or feature and because of it felt anything less than lighthearted or inspired afterwards, makes my heart heavy.

The more and more conversations I have with other bloggers and readers of blogs, the more sure I become of the fact that we are all just a little bit sick of all this perfection. So today I want to begin to shine a light on the other 80% of life. The not so pretty parts, but oh so real parts because I too am a little bit exhausted from the cloud of expectation that I often feel like I'm living under (self-imposed no doubt—but there none the less).

Before I leap out into the abyss though, I want to tell you the reason why I've been holding back from sharing any of this. This challenge is called "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" for a reason. This is nerve-wracking stuff! Other than worrying that I'll type all this out only to realize that I've created a Wizard of Oz moment where suddenly everyone realizes with shock, that this oh-so-ordinary woman is the person behind the curtain blog, and perhaps not quite so glamorous or fabulous after all. But also because I never ever want to sound ungrateful for this space or the life that I have. I love being a blogger! It has it's challenges like anything in life, but I know that I'm blessed to get to do something that I'm passionate about every day. Not for one second would I want it to seem that I don't appreciate it beyond measure. Okay…now that we've covered that, we're good to go! Oh and P.S. You may want to grab a cup of tea or coffee and cozy up...'cause things are about to get wordy.

So the real life truth that I'd like to share today is that while I am fortunate enough to have a blog that brings in an income (again, so, so grateful), I am in no way rolling in "it" ("it" being the proverbial pile of cash that legend might have us believing that bloggers have). The nitty-gritty is that some months have been so tight that I've worried about making my rent payment or even buying groceries...a handful of times it's gotten scary enough that I've had panic attacks daily just trying to think of how I'll make it through. Just admitting that out loud is rather humiliating. Things have gotten steadily more and more stable as time has gone on (thankfully), but I would not be sitting in the position that I am as a full-time blogger if my family hadn't been willing or able to help me through some financial struggles over the years so that I could continue to work on making Creature Comforts everything that I want for it to be. They have believed in this blog as much as I have which means the world to me.

I also want to be open about the kind of lifestyle I live...to shatter any of the myths about design & style bloggers that are floating around out there (or at least any that might apply to me). Firstly, in order to pursue this blogging dream of mine I've had to choose to put aside things like regular shopping trips, I rarely get my hair colored (right now I have 3" roots), and I never splurge on mani-pedis or other such things. When I do shop for myself a couple times a year, it's for essentials—usually one or two nice-ish quality items that will last instead of 10 that will quickly fall apart, and it's usually spurned on by necessity...like when a once-in-a-lifetime trip to NYC throws me into a panicked state realizing that my two pairs of jeans and stack of t-shirts won't fit the bill. This in no way makes me a "special case" but you can see that it's not really all that glamorous...and perhaps different than what you could easily imagine my life to be in light of the content that I share in this space. Sometimes I feel like I've painted myself into a corner because all the pretty posts don't reveal any of the behind the scenes struggles. Yes, I blog about beautiful fashion and home goods all the time, but that doesn't mean that I own them…it means that I love them or feel inspired in some way by them.

Another thing that I've just got to get out there while I'm at it, is that I really have no special home decorating skills to speak of...or the budget to decorate with even if I did. My house is small, in a safe neighborhood, and I have a few nice corners inside it that don't hurt my eyes to look at them, but overall it's pretty run of the mill. I've had to politely turn down home tour requests (so embarrassing) because there's really not a whole lot to see. My one and only "big" home purchase I've made, ever, was last year for a couch from West Elm (It's one of the only new pieces of furniture I've ever owned). A lot of this frugality stems from the fact that I don't have a single credit card (just a debit card that is connected to my bank account). This means that anything that I want or need, I have to save up the money for. Even though this complicates life, I am so grateful because it also means that I don't have a mountain of debt hanging over me. The flip side of this of course, is that unexpected expenses like a broken car or health problem can really be a major stress. Attending a conference like Alt Summit nearly knocks me off my feet (the first year I had to get help to make it happen), but I do it because I know it's worth it. On top of that I feel like it's doubly challenging because there is an assumption out there that money must be no object to me as a blogger. Maybe for some bloggers it isn't…and whoever you are, I would love to know your secret, but my reality is that most months I am just grateful that I paid my bills and was able to provide a safe and relatively comfortable life for my daughter.

So yes, I have a simple life without many wordily fineries, but I think it's a beautiful life. I only realized just recently though that blogging has begun to make me doubt what I have, and the way I live. I mean, shouldn't I have a magazine-feature-worthy house that would make others envious, or walk around in only the latest and greatest fashion styles? I look at other blogs and think: yes…I have it all wrong, sign me up for a handful of credit cards and let's start "living right," but then I come to my senses and realize that what needs to change is this space…the only space online that is truly mine.

From here on out I want to work harder to reflect to you the person who I am beyond just the beautiful things that I love and am inspired by. I want to remember to be proud of where I am today, the way I am caring for my daughter, the hurdles I've overcome to get to where I am today, and how hard I work every day to achieve my dreams, etc.. It is so easy to forgot when you're caught up inside a whirlwind of comparison and expectation. A big part of that change starts here today with me acknowledging these things out loud. Moving forward, I am planning on incorporate more of my ordinary everyday life here on Creature Comforts. I started yesterday by moving all the post from my personal blog over here into my regular content. I came to realize that I was hiding it away in it's own space for the wrong reasons. I hope this will be a welcome change and that you will enjoy coming along on this journey with me. Of course there will still be plenty of moodboards and favorite finds, diy projects, etc…the things that inspire me will remain a big part of Creature Comforts. I will just be adding more of me into this space here along with it.

If you made it through all of that, wow! You are awesome. Thank you so much or being here today and showing your support. I appreciate it more than I can say! Please don't forget to visit the other blogs (listed above) who so bravely agreed to take on this challenge today. I hope that you'll go on an adventure around blogland today that leaves you feeling truly inspired. And finally I want to also encourage any of you who have maybe thought of writing your own "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" post, to just do it! You will feel loads lighter after doing so, and you never know the good that will come from being brave, until you do it! xo Ez

P.S. You are more than welcome to take the button that I created for this challenge (above), and use it on your own blog (no need to credit or ask).

In summary:

So...

 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy from thegreatdivorce, via twitter (via Sarah) | Be True to Who you Are by Kal Barteski (via Arianna)

References (5)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (381)

Thank you for sharing, Ez! I am raising my hand super high right now! :) Excited to read more about your personal life over here!

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

This is beautiful and wonderful and somehow captures everything I wanted to write but couldn't articulate. Thank you for letting me be a part of this project with you! :)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily @ Peck Life

Thanks for starting this up. I am so moved by all of these wonderful bloggers sharing their hearts and minds today, it's unbelievable.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Hi, Love your post! I have to admit I haven't posted, well for a long time on my blog. I don't have a ton of followers so I've always felt I could just let it all hang out and be truly myself. That being said, here is a perfect example of me being me, which I would love to see more people do. You are right, there is to much fluff and loveliness out there in the blogisphere. http://tabbysquawks.blogspot.com/2010/06/im-not-crazy-really.html

Much Love,
Jodi

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

darling ez. you are such an encouragement. tight budgets and simple living? they can be beautiful. YOU are beautiful. i always need to hear that roosevelt quote, amen!
your gracious spirit and willing courage inspires me. press on, girl! xo

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhannah singer

I love your honesty and bravery. I've always enjoyed your blog and do so even more because of your genuine personality. It really shows.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCathie

thanks for sharing all of this, ez! i agree with everything you said- sometimes it's hard to remember that what we of people's lives online is really just a small slice of their reality. in the end, we are all just people, trying to do what we love.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjulia

Beautifully written.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMer

AMEN! I want to hug you right now. You did an amazing job of expressing what I'm sure everyone else is feeling. WAY TO GO, EZ!

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Wow, thank you so much for sharing these things! It's so nice to see a blogger that struggles with almost the exact same things I do (hello no credit cards and a tiny, but great, home) and I admire how honest you are about everything! Sometimes it's nice to have a reality check among all the pretty things us bloggers see on a daily basis so I really appreciate everything you wrote today.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

here, here to real life.

Props to you and those who embrace the thought. I, too, have recognized the romantic veil blogging often layers, though, it occurs to me that most readers are savvy and smart enough to know that just as the news is rarely the news, the web is often a web of.... :)

Nonetheless, clarity and truth are always welcome. I've often shared mine in my own adaptation, "behind-the-scenes. Keepin' it real. Because every blog has a behind-the-scenes."

thanks for inspiring!
- d.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter{plum}

Beautiful, Ez. I really enjoyed reading it.

I sat in front of a blank word doc forever trying to write a longer post for today, and couldn't articulate it properly or coherently. Part of it was because I am so over scheduled right now (a big fear in and of itself!) and it made it all the more annoying. I will finish my long post one day. ;)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternichole

really beautiful post!! I think you should do a home tour JUST for that reasons you stated above...it might be run of the mill, but the corners are quite beautiful to you and you create a beautiful blog out of a 'normal' home -- I think that is pretty inspiring.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Renea

Ez, this is such an honest post and I love that you started this movement. It's reassuring to all bloggers I think, that the ones we look up to have real lives to deal with too. Thank you for sharing :)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRanu

Hi,
Thank you so so very much for this post. Your life {your real life} sounds so very similar to mine, and I appreciate your willingness to draw back the curtain and share with all of us. What a gift. There have been many days when I have felt so inadequate compared to the lives I have read across the blogging world.

My house is messy most of the time, I usually have a dish or two in the sink. The bathroom could always use a quick scrub. I don't change the sheets as often as I should. I have wall space that is still empty a year after I have moved in. My wardrobe consists of mostly black & grey because then I don't have to worry about matching clean clothes. Sometimes I eat grilled cheese for dinner (2 nights in a row) because that's all I have in the fridge.

We could all do with a little more honesty - with ourselves most of us.
Thanks again for breaking the seal.
XO,
Carrie
lifestylefiles blog

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! My hand is raised super high right now. I've almost stopped blogging because I've felt that I'm just not "good enough" to keep up, that my life isn't "perfect" enough. I even stopped reading some blogs because everytime I read them I felt worse. I know that it's 90% of my insecurites talking, but seeing all this highly styled perfection starts to feel icky (like a photoshopped magazine cover) it gets in your head. I'm so glad you all are doing this! By the way your blog is one I always look to for inspiration - love what you do!

THANK YOU for this honesty, it makes me like you even more - and can you see my hand raised from up here in Toronto Canada? Cheers =)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Saucier

Awesome post, well done Ez! :)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnneke

Yahoo! Love you and your bravery!
I have to admit I do get so-so tired of every ones "perfect" life. So many times I just skim through all the blogs I read because I cannot, for one more day get bombarded by beautiful things I will never have....I want to be happy and content and grateful for what I do have. now.
Do you know how many times I have wondered about your life?...I have a lot. I have read your blog since 2009 I think...when you posted the story about your failed marriage,(on your other blog) I connected to you. Not saying it should all be heavy like that but I really like blogs that show the whole picture.
Anyways...blah blah....Love this new movement towards being authentic:)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPati

Thanks so much for this! Feel so much better about myself! Was worried that I was the only one getting "down" when I went online.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Rock on, sister. Thanks so much for this post. xoxo

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

brave woman! bravo! i enjoyed reading this dose of real-ness so much. it's always refreshing to hear these things from the people we admire... and can now more closely relate to.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraubry.

great post, and oh so good to hear. real, true, honest beauty is found in posts like this. :)

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah@boxwood

Brilliant, Ez. I so appreciate everything that you shared here. And those quotes at the end are perfect. It's so refreshing to have a conversation about deeper feelings and the stuff going on behind the blog as it's all too easy to get caught up in all the material "stuff." Thanks for putting this together. Now let's keep the conversation going. Maybe a weekly check in? Blog one thing from our week that we were afraid to share with our readers? The dirty dishes, unpaid bills, my unwashed hair? Just a thought.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEstelle

What a lovely post Ez!! Thank you. I love your blog, it makes me happy.

I want to put in my 2 cents about 'realness' -- I have heard this topic over and over time and again and I have to say, maybe I'm a weirdo, but I LOVE PRETTY. Pretty things make me happy, even if I don't own them. I still like to SEE them.

Like, right now, I am sitting right next to my laundry basket, with underwear and bras sitting right on top. Not super attractive. To my left are the breakfast dishes that have not been cleaned yet and which are rapidly congealing into something very hard to clean. So you know what? I love to come online and see ..... not my laundry pile! All these folks who say it makes them feel badly to see the 'perfection' -- well I guess I never bought into anyone's life being perfection, so if someone shows me something nice and sweet to look at, I always come away inspired usually -- it doesn't make me turn away and feel bummed about myself.

(maybe I am too convinced of my inner awesome and revel in my own laziness. I see crafts and I just smile. I know I'm not gonna do them. And that's ok!)

My point? I embrace the lovely and I applaud anyone who share bits and pieces of themselves online, in whatever way they choose. Thank you for your beautiful space. I always come away inspired.

This was amazing. Thank you so much for sharing- I can't even begin to tell you how nice it is to hear that I'm not the only blogger with a "secret", not-perfect existence behind the photos and writing. It's comforting.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Ez, just fantastic. Although I did not expect any less from you. I am very much looking forward to the new journey you and Creature Comforts are about to embark on.

I just know it is going to be great.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeg Conley

Thank you for being brave and honest! It is refreshing. I do sometimes get frustrated with all of the total loveliness on the internet that does get a little out of control at times.Thank you for being real, and being willing to offer the more ordinary. And I will also try to be more honest with my own readers!

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAriana

As you know, I can totally relate. I think it's easy for those of us trying to balance full-time jobs, blogging, and other things (family, friends, volunteer work, etc.) to point to full-time bloggers and say, "Hah! They have it so easy!" But it's anything but the truth. Entrepreneurship of any form is scary, nervewracking, financially worrisome at times, and risky. Thank you so much for reminding us of this. Those of us who work full-time still have the safety net of a job with benefits, a consistent amount of pay, and regular hours. It's a very helpful reminder.

Also, in regard to your point about collections of pretty items that you highlight on Creature Comforts, I agree wholeheartedly. As someone who blogs primarily about preppy style, a lot of what I post is materialistic round-ups of things I like and would love to buy. It fits well with my readership, but by and large I can't afford to be buying all the things I blog about! I try to emphasize and promote values like saving up for big ticket items and owning items that will last a lifetime.

Thanks so much for collecting of all us for this challenge, Ez.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Thank you for your honesty! It's a beautiful and difficult thing to be so open about your struggles! Also, thank you for organizing this "challenge".

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHello Cupcake

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