Let's Talk About This Crazy World of Social Media
Last week I received an email that was the first email I’d ever received of its kind. Truth be told in the almost 4 years of blogging at 204 Park I feel like I’ve been very lucky. I get so many sweet emails and DMs and messages from people with encouraging words and positive feedback and aside from a few not so great comments here and there, the response to 204 Park has always been a good one.
This particular email wasn’t even necessarily negativebut it did make me stop and think a bit about this crazy world of social media that we live in. This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time and have actually been meaning to write about for a while so if anything, the email was a timely reminder from the universe to speak on this subject that I already feel strongly about. if you know me personally, chances are we’ve talked about it on more than one occasion: Real Life vs Instagram Life.
Oh the joys of social media, hey? A quick scroll through Instagram or a couple of minutes on Pinterest can either leave you feeling fulfilled and inspired or it can create an all encompassing feeling of inadequacy and FOMO and all the negative feels that we ALL experience all the time thanks to our collective constant posting to every social site available.
In this particular email a reader of 204 Park stated that she would no longer be able to read my blog because of my unattainable lifestyle and the feelings of inadequacy she was left with after reading it. Instead of leaving my site feeling inspired or informed she left feeling worse about herself which is awful. But I get it - I’ve definitely been there many times thanks to social media, and I’m sure a lot of you have too.
I touched on it a bit on this post but sometimes I struggle with how much to share or not to share with 204 Park. Terrible things happen in the world all of the time and trust me do I ever have opinions about them and lots happens in my life that’s far from perfect but, from day one I made a choice to make 204 Park a happy place. My pretty, happy corner of the internet that’s meant to make you smile, maybe teach you something new or inspire you to take bits and pieces of what I share that I love and maybe incorporate them into your own life too.
That being said my life is SO far from perfect! Haha Trust me - or ask James, he’ll tell you how not perfect things get sometimes. On any given day if you came over my house would likely be in some state of disarray - at no point since we’ve moved in has every room been fully clean and completely decorated. Between my blog props and pieces to shoot and my design samples and all of the packaging and paperwork that accompanies them there’s always a bit of a mess somewhere in our home. So with that in mind, you better believe that if I’m shooting photos of a particular room or space that I’m going to make sure that it looks awesome because I figure you guys don’t want to see a photo of my living room with dirty dishes on the coffee table and our toss cushions thrown on the floor! #reallife That being said our home is our sanctuary and we take pride in making sure that our home is decorated nicely. Everyone has different values and a well styled home that's a happy beautiful place for me to relax in is one of mine. I love the stance that Grey And Scout took when defending her own 'picture perfect' instagram feed. A beautiful home is important to me so while it's not always as totally tidy as it looks when I share it on Instagram, it is always styled and decorated that way because that's important to me.
With my work and in my life I get a lot of help and I have incredibly understanding friends and family. I work looooong days basically every day and my schedule can be a bit tough to work around for my friends and family. My days are usually busy, stressful and totally exhilarating. I freaking love my job and truth be told, I’ve always worked like a bit of a maniac. My job is definitely very cool and not a day goes by that I don’t stop and think at some moment “I can’t believe I get to do this as a job”. But like all ‘dream jobs’, mine is not without its struggles.
The truth is if you watched my insta stories last week you’d probably think my week was awesome. You’d have seen photoshoots and trips to a corn maze and pumpkin patch, coffee dates and a few peeks at some of the fun stops in my day. What you didn’t see is that I was fighting a nasty cold, had a severe allergic reaction after being outdoors all day and you wouldn’t know that I’m currently in the middle of an incredibly stressful financial battle with a client that will have a huge impact on me personally if things don’t go my way. Those along with the otherunglamorous parts of my day happen all the time. Truthfully I do make an effort to occasionally share these moments but in reality I don’t have time to stop and document most of my day for my Insta Stories because I’m usually running around from one stop to the next. What I don’t always share and talk about is that James works almost as much on 204 Park as I do. Without his support I could not do this. And when he’s not helping with the site, he’s picking up the slack that I’m dropping when it comes to cooking and cleaning at home because I’m working my buns off because I love what I do but working for yourself is a never ending job.
I totally understand the pressures from other blogs and social media. I have to work hard every day to minimize the comparison struggle that comes with looking at so many picture perfect moments. And I don’t write today’s post for sympathy or pity but I’m writing it to let you know that if you scroll through social media feeling like your life is not enough know that you're not alone but also, please try to think about it differently.
I get it, not everyone is going to go all out throwing a picturesque outdoor picnic or go outside and throw leaves in the air like a goofy exaggeration of a fall loving maniac, or take the time to perfectly pair a charcuterie board with the best wine, but I do know from you guys that when you see elements of one of my posts that do inspire you, you recreate them. Nothing makes me happier than when I get an email or a message from someone who’s made a DIY I shared or cooked a recipe I love or bought a piece of furniture that I’ve talked about. It’s the reason I do what I do.
This blog is meant to inspire. My hope is when you visit that you feel happy. If you visit and you feel like you’re not enough or that your life isn’t as ‘perfect’ as mine please know that’s most definitely not the case. Behind this blog I have so many struggles of my own (trust me!). There are tears and tough days and issues that I deal with just like we all do but it’s been my deliberate choice not to share most of those.
My feed and my blog are my pretty happy places that I consider to be a ‘highlight reel’. As an interior designer I’ve always been drawn to ‘pretty things’ and my love for all things beautiful is the reason I started this blog in the first place. If you’d asked me when I was younger what I wanted to do, I’d have told you I’d love to be a magazine editor or stylist, pulling together pretty images and working to create inspiring beautiful spaces. Full disclosure: before settling on the name 204 Park my first idea for a blog name was ‘All Things Pretty” (Bah, reading it now just makes me cringe so am I ever glad that didn’t end up being the name! haha) so that just goes to show how deliberate my intentions for this online space were right from the get-go.
So remember when you’re scrolling online and seeing curated images of seemingly unattainable outfits or room decor or meals that behind that perfect photo, someone has worked their butt off to clear the space for it, make sure the lighting is just right and then styled it juuuust so for the perfect IG worthy shot that’s required now if you want to be taken seriously as a professional. Behind those beautiful cupcakes is a real person going through real life and day to day struggles just like the rest of us. For some of us, social media is a business that we work hard to share only the most beautiful and happy moments and with the knowledge that life isn't always that picture perfect I think that's okay, don't you?