Friday, February 01, 2008

Blogger Competition

This is a long one-- some thoughts on blogging. I'm not offended if you skip a post with so many words and no pictures. I might.

I was skeptical at first. About this whole blogging thing. Thought there was no way I'd keep it up, and why would people take the time to read it? Missy was my guru and example, and I LOVED her blog... just seemed like an artistic way to write and create, and an easier method of showing pictures to Grandparents. I liked the fact that it would help me keep a record of my kids' lives (Sophia's at the time), and that I'd have this beautiful product as a result. I decided to start one just to have a lovely place like Missy's to keep my thoughts and pictures for myself first. Didn't tell anyone about it. Eventually I told Missy and Sarah and my family, then found dear old friends like Michelle from BYU Hawaii and had this new brilliant way to actually keep in touch. It gave me a way to chat with my brother-in-law Joe (lowdogg) since he blogs, (because really, who calls to chat with their brother-in-law?)

I kept connecting with distant friends, friends I wished I'd had more time to know in college, and then found lots of local friends who also blog... why not get to know everyone a little better? I've realized it's a wonderful way to keep in touch almost daily with people you'd love to stay close to, but can't find a synchronized 5 minutes for a phone call. This way if your 2-year-old starts screaming at you like the world is ending while you're leaving a comment, you break--- and come back later. If you want to tell a story but there's simply not a big enough lull in your day to tell the whole thing at once, you can write it in pieces but people receive it whole. If you want to share just how cute your new, red, Steve Madden flats are, or how crazy-fat your son's wasp-stung lip is, or how beautiful the cherry blossoms are in Spring, or just how great your new house is, or how PERFECT your new baby's rose-bud lips are, you've got visuals. Not the case with the phone.

Having said all that, if you were already a phone friend-- you'd better stay a phone friend. Typing can NEVER replace a warm voice you're used to.

None of that really hit what I wanted to talk about-- but now I've written so much I fear I've lost most of you anyway. (Ever notice how many comments you get on a short post?) But with all the perks of blogging, come some negatives. I've heard more than once that people feel depressed looking at other blogs. All the perfection; the perfect kids, house, vacations, tiny bums, even the perfect challenges-- could it be because we all post our best pictures and moments, so everyone's life seems flawless? Except for the flaws we share for entertainment's sake of course. I know I'm guilty, because I've been accused before. But here's the thing-- it's not false or pretentious, not in my book -- it's a public record of our lives and thoughts... so we focus on the positives. They're REAL-- they're just the positives. I don't want to be responsible for bringing everyone down with too many bad days and complaints, the bulk of those are reserved for my husband, my mom, and sisters. :)

I remember my sis-in-law Brooke, who lives in Seattle, admitting she had to take a break from my blog in the summer because all the sunshine and pools, which she didn't have in her rainy state, bummed her out. Yes- the same sis-in-law who's cool, cloudy weather AND Pilates-trained figure I covet beyond healthy levels. (I know her figure has nothing to do with our sunshine... but it seems appropriate to illustrate my point :)) I'd have killed for rain, and I'm sure I said it in my blog all the time, but I couldn't write ONLY of my hatred of the heat, so I focused on cute pictures of my sweet little girl in a swim suit, pool days, and trips to San Diego.

Summer in the desert pregnant??--- the moments IN the water were pleasant, but the rest of every 120 degree day was miserable. The beauty of the blog??-- It's for more than my eyes, so I focus on the good parts of every day, the parts where Sophie's staring in my eyes and cupping my chin softly (I love this) rather than swatting at my face and screaming at the top of her lungs; the part where Mila lets me sleep at night rather than the moments during the day when I have to carry both crying girls at once, throwing my back out, in order to get Sophia to refrain from throwing the day-ruining tantrum after I tell her I can't hold her; the parts where Ross takes the kids like the perfect husband (that I must say, he really is by all logic), rather than the parts that advertise our possible need to perfect each other’s love language. :)

I focus on the positives for anyone who reads this, but also for me-- what can be bad about something that forces you to count your blessings, to document them in words and pictures, so that when a day feels comprised of ONLY sleep deprivation, mommy-abuse, miscommunication and frustration we can look back at all of things that really do spell happiness--recorded on our blog and splattered all over the internet? :)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm going to assume that everyone whose life looks perfect on blog subscribes to the same theory as I do. That we're all focusing on the blessings in our lives for each other’s sake, our own (and that of our posterity-- if this is indeed the new journal.) Let's just agree to have an unspoken understanding that NO one’s life is perfect, that while being more digitally skilled does equal cuter blog, it does not equal happier life. I feel like it took me a good year of blogging to accept this and limit my envy. (Notice I say limit and not eliminate... still working on it.)

If you actually have perfect skin, a perfect marriage, perfect angel-children, and a tiny bum, don't tell me. And let's just all agree to understand that EVERYONE has their things, and enjoy blogging for it's ... positives. :)

28 comments:

Chad said...

Ross told me at our last Regional Merrill Lynch Conference meeting that I have a perfect bum.

Mom said...

Amen, Lillie!!

Lacy said...

Very well said. I think it is a very good habit to be able to pick out the positives when the days seem so full of chaos. Hopefully blogging will help me to establish this habit more completely. So far I just have to leave the computer if I can't think of anything nice to say(:

I know your life is not perfect- but thanks for the reminder!

Jessica said...

beautifully put! I realized a couple years ago that we all have our trade offs no one person really will ever know what your life is like until they walk in your shoes so I try not to compare myself to others or be so envious of what they have. I am content with my most of the time messy house, unperfect body, and mediocre income because at the end of the day you change what you can and are greatful for the rest.

Lindsay & Weston said...

I LOVE your long posts. I look forward to them, actually. Always so well written & a good reminder.

I, too try to focus on the positivies. However, I do have to admit, when I hear that someone else has had a crazy day with the kids or is going through a similar trial as me...it helps me to know that I'm not the only one that is going through it & for some reason, that helps. Does that make any sense?

I, too love that I can see what all of my favorite people are up to. You miss the details when you don't talk to someone daily and so for that, I am sooo grateful for the blog.

Kodi said...

Just so you know, I read it ALL and couldn't agree more! Well put.

The rlmmmmcaress family said...

Spencer W. Kimball quotes:

“I might hope that my children will take from my many journals and write a simple story or biography for me. I would like for my posterity to remember me and to know that I have tried so hard to measure up and to live worthy.”

“Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are ‘made up’ for a public performance. … The truth should be told, but we should not emphasize the negative.”

I don't think there is much to add.

Lauren said...

I 100% agree with you. I loved reading your thoughts on this blogging thing as I have had the same, but could never put them down like you! I think that your life is perfect, so it's good to know that you have struggles like mine. :) It's been fun getting to know more about you and your family as well.

Crazy Lifferths said...

I am glad you said that! I choose to write about the positive because I don't want to misperceived as a person that can only say negative. Because when it comes to being a wife and a mommy, there are going to be days where nothing feels like it is going right, but the positive of ANY day definitely out weighs the negative. So I try to focus on the positive.

The rlmmmmcaress family said...

By the way, is the competition about how perfect we try to appear or writing the longest post without pictures?

S.A.S. said...

Wonderful post Lil, and kudos for saying it. I LOVE this world of checking in, finding, commenting, keeping up... It really has provided a unique interaction with people who, as you so beautifully said, I can't always get 5 minutes in synch with to actually hold that telephone conversation. While I'll never give up on the phone (I mean, not entirely), this has made the interim periods much more bearable. I must say, knowing you in real life - having seen you at many times of day - you're not fooling anyone on the beauty scale. You ARE that beautiful ALL of the time.
xo

Lillie said...

I need to clarify one thing--- I hope I didn't sound like I thought everyone should ONLY share the positives and hide the rest. Sometimes, for sure, we need to share frustrations and challenges and it totally helps. I definitely hope I'm never less than my true self. Mainly I'm reminding myself that when some people's lives DO seem perfect per blog, we shouldn't compare THAT to our imperfect lives. Because they're probably doing the same thing.

Sarie said...

I wrote a post the other day about being emotional during pregnancy... it was quite embarrassing. I saved it as a draft and didn't post it, it's therapuetic enough to just write. I love that you wrote about this, I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels envious looking at other people's blogs.
There is a photo blog I look at that the photographer's husband wrote a post about her on her birthday and it was all about how awesome she was. I carried like NONE of those qualities he talked about and I thought about it for weeks. The obsessing turned into just a desire to be a better person--- so hopefully that will always be the case.
p.s. You're blog is awesome.

Jennifer said...

Lillie you are the sweetest, cutest girl. I love blogging because I feel like I've gotten to know everyone so much better. I loved this post, thanks for addressing this. I think I've realized through blogs that people aren't perfect. I know they always post their best, but once in a while I read about those hard days and it helps me to know that I'm not alone. I also love looking at my own blog, especially when I'm down because it really helps me to remember what's important.

Jenie said...

I loved reading this! You really have a way with words....it was so fun visiting with you the other night and it's been fun getting to know you a little better through your blog, even if I have been eavesdropping. I think you struck a chord with people....look at all of these comments. You can definitely tell, you are loved! Keep taking those beautiful pictures and writing about the wonderful things in your life! I love them!

Becky Freestone said...

i am so glad you aren't the only one that occasionally envies others "perfect lives". whenever you are feeling that way, just read mine and you will feel much better. faaaarrrr from perfect or even glamorous. i think it's good that we are all sharing the highlights of our lives on our blogs. i think that's a great way to look at it. i loved your perspective on the whole blog competition.

Rebecca said...

Lillie--what an articulate and well thought-out post. It prompted a two-hour conversation with the Levite yesterday. The bottom line for us being that of course people have hardships. If we accept that as a matter of course, then we can just get past it and actually start to focus on the positive. And that seems like a happier way to live life anyway. Anyway, my thoughts are incomplete, that comment section probably not the place to lay them down, but I'm trying to say that I really liked this post and it made me think.

Lowdogg said...

Your post was so depressing.
Geez!

I'm always flattered by the mention of my blog. You have about 17x's as many commenters as me.

And I am somewhat disappointed by the comments to this post. 17 comments and I am the only one to mention how awesome Chad's comment is? That comment made me laugh out loud. There needs to be more interplay between the commenters. Where is that Jess Kiding chick? She was fun to have around (hah).
I don't know this Chad, but I like him. Ross needs to answer to this.

Good post Lillie.

Carrie said...

Very well put! I totally agree with you!! I hope that you check out blurb.com and bind your blog into an actual book! I am going to try to do one every year that I do a blog...such a great way to journal and with pictures! :) I LOVE pictures!!

Brandon or Michelle. said...

i agree with low dogg...chad's comment was so hilarious...and YOU my friend are fantastic, as shown in this great post. So real, so awesome, and even better because you really ARE someone who often looks like you're experiencing the PERFECT life online...glad to know you're awesome enough to admit that even you have not so perfect moments. I'm in love. :) and ps...comment numbers don't lie. you ARE enviable in your number of admirers, near and far.

AMY AND MIKEY said...

I want to tell you something funny lizzie said to me once about your blog, but I won't say it here. nothing bad- just funny. It has to do with this topic. I do this alot. I read people's blogs- especially concerning husbands, since I'm in the no kids stage- and I read people saying "I love my husband so much, we got to spend all day together, he is so perfect, he is the hottest man alive" blablba- and I begin to feel like everyone else really does have perfect husbands, and that mike and I are crazy, or I'm a bad wife because I don't think those things 24-7. BUT- I know you focus on teh positive, and I knwo you're not perfect. But, can I just say this: you have 20 comments on your post. HOLY COW. you have so many friends. And like you said, it was a long post, and 20 people read it and commented....people REALLY love you. And I get the impression that people love you and don't get jealous because they love you so much. I'm so happy Lizzie has you in her life.

Meg said...

I found your blog around a year ago and I love reading it (I hope you don't mind...). The reason why I keep coming back to it is because you make me excited to be a mom. I can tell that you love your little darling girls and that you try hard to have fun with them and make life exciting. That's what it's really about right? So thanks for letting me peer into your world, and I'm glad that people like you have chosen to share the good things in their lives... it reminds us all to focus on the good I think. Thanks for sharing...

Chauna said...

Thanks for that! I loved it and it really explains (and reveals) that it is so obvious when I'm having a bad day/week/couple of weeks, because that is when I don't blog! I guess the rule.."If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" was really taught to me well!

And I just want you to know that even though your blog is down right perfect, I know you are not because there was one stray hair stuck to your sweater when I sat behind you in church on Sunday!!

alliehoopes said...

Wow....I linked to you but didn't comment. Love it. I always eat it up when people don't seem perfect....and strangely enough, I don't like them less afterwards.

e said...

came to your blog through allie...
just have to say AMEN!

I also think your friend (or is she a sister in law or sister?!?) Missy is in my ward. she's new, so she may not even know/remember me!

thanks for a great post. -elizabeth in san clemente

Kym said...

holy cow, lillie...25 comments! I'd say you have some readers out there..short post or not!! I did read it ALL & I swear that sometimes you seem to write what is in my head. I mean we both LOVE fresh & easy & go all the time & we both don't live perfect lives! Could we be more alike? :)

Brooke said...

wow! impressive...it is so funny to me that most everyone echoes your thoughts yet we all generally feel we are alone in the way we think. i love the honesty and love you. so glad i can claim you as a relative! you are such a breath of fresh air to so many people....you are truly finding your place in this world as a mom and wife.

Katie said...

you are a poet.. i love you Lillie! I have to admit, I sometimes do get depressed looking at other blogs... thought it was just me. thanks for making me feel normal.
you've inspired me to post a brutally honest, 'not the perfect life' post. thanks...