Wednesday, 4 July 2012

List 38: reasons why I am keeping it real

Lately I've been feeling under pressure to have a certain kind of life. That pressure comes entirely from myself, but is the result of reading too many lifestyle and design blogs that seem to showcase bloggers with such beautiful, organised, photogenic lives. I want that. I want the beautifully decorated house showcasing amazing thrifted finds. I want the wardrobe full of vintage clothes, the boyfriend who supports me and takes outfit photos on my behalf, the hugely successful blog with sponsors and affiliates.

But the truth is, I don't have these things. I have a pretty awesome life (and no, that's not me bigging up myself) which I should be so happy with. And I am happy with it. I wake up every day (okay, almost every day) feeling insanely grateful for the fact that I get to run my own business. But I get blog envy. A lot. I compare myself to these other bloggers and wonder why my photos don't look like theirs, why my graphics aren't as punchy as theirs, why I can't do all the things they are doing. Their lives always seem so perfect, and so beautiful, and by comparison mine seems so.... not.

The fact of the matter is that blogs lie. No, that's wrong, they don't lie, they simply bend the truth. Their lives are just as imperfect as mine, they just choose not to show those imperfections. I'm guilty of doing it myself. Sometimes I deliberately won't vent on my blog, because I don't want to seem negative. Or I won't post a photograph because it's not quite right. And, I'll confess, when I posted the photos of my studio I tidied up first. My studio never looks that tidy normally - it's actually a total mess, but who wants to see that, right?

All of this thinking came as a result of an email from a blog reader - in it she asked how I managed to do so many amazing things, and what it was like having such a great life. It shocked me, that someone would think this about me, when I was in fact thinking the same thing about other people! But I think it just shows that everyone feels like this. When I'm reading other people's blogs thinking how perfect their life is, they are probably doing the same thing reading someone else's blog! 
This post is just to say that, I'm real. I want my blog to be beautiful, and inspiring, and fun to read, but I also want it to be real, because I'm real. I choose to only show certain aspects of my life on this blog, because I want it to be a positive place, but that doesn't mean that my life doesn't have its ups and downs like anyone else's. I'm not perfect, not by a very long way. And to show that, I've made a list of reasons why I'm not perfect, or things about me that are real but I wouldn't normally blog about.

1. I eat takeout more than is normal/healthy. Partly because I'm too busy to cook, but partly because it gives me something to look forward to when I've been cooped up indoors all day.

2. I put my business before my friends on a regular basis. The hardest part of working for yourself is balancing time, and I still haven't mastered this, and as a result my friendships have suffered.

3. I am broke. I spend all my time working but all the money I earn goes straight back into my business. This means I have a tiny sum to live on each month, which is part of the reason why I hardly go anywhere.

4. I have adult acne. I've suffered from acne since I was about 13 or 14, but as I grew up it never went away. I'm super self-conscious about it, and it's part of the reason why the only photos of myself I really post are ones taken from a distance on instagram.

5. I can't remember the last time I actually cleaned or hoovered my bedroom or studio. Cleaning comes low down on my list of priorities right now, and as a result I can see dust bunnies everywhere.

6. Since starting my own business I've gained about half a stone. I spend most of my day sat at a desk, eating rubbish, so it's no surprise really.

7. Although I pretend to be rather blase about the whole dating thing, I'm actually scared I will die alone. In order to not worry about it constantly I have developed another persona, one who is driven by success and personal achievement, not the need for a relationship.

So here's to keeping it real and blogging about every aspect of my life, even the bits that aren't perfect.


  1. A great and very honest post Zoe! I too suffer from blog envy, but the posts I love reading and the photos I love to look at are the 'real' ones.

  2. I love you for this! That's so reassuring. These enviable studios and homes all seem so bloody clean and tidy - but of course you'd have a tidy up before you show it to the world!

    In midst of the life-envy, when I'm failing to achieve all that I want, when the balance has swung away, whether it's from or towards health/ making/ seeing friends/ cleaning or cooking. I tend to think about a line from Victoria Wood's dinnerladies
    "For a woman with a full sex life she does an awful lot of tapestries".

    Or I think of Corey in Empire records... and comfort myself that if someone appears to have it all together they're probably heavily medicated. It helps me anyway.

    Thank you again. I shall keep on envying you, but as a lower setting.

  3. I actually love you, I should tell you more...

    The truth is also that you don't really want those things either - they would be nice sure, but they wouldn't make everything that much better. If you didn't read so many blogs about them, would you really want them? (perhaps apart from the supportive boyfriend but I can't imagine Thomas ever being happy taking photos of me lol, I'm lucky if I get one haha)

    It's so easy to look at what others appear to have and to make assumptions that they are 100% happy - it happens at work, with friends, everywhere - but you never truly know so I like to think that really everyone is the same - we all have things that brighten our days, and we all have things that we worry about, we all have to watch the pennies, we all feel insecure about an aspect of how we look...

    Anyway, longest comment ever :) but definitely agreed with keeping it real even if I don't always seem to share every aspect of my life.

  4. So refreshing to read Zoe! It's so true, everyone's lives are up and down and no one is perfect. I much prefer to read about he struggles people have had and how they overcome them, because it inspires me to do the same and find better ways of enjoying every day life. I think it's good to have things to aspire to, but sometimes the illusion of perfection in the lives of others can be a bit too much to bear.

    Despite your insecurities and imperfections, I can assure you that you come across to everyone as an honest, warm, loving and very real person. Even though i don't know you too well, you are one of the kindest and sweetest people I've met. Keep doing what you're doing, it's wonderful. Lots of love xx

  5. You're so right!!
    Thank you for such an honest blog post!

  6. Aghhh, this is all so true!! Great post. Looking forward to seeing you at the weekend xx

  7. So, so true. I get massive blog envy and then I feel down and start to over analyse everything! Its so refreshing to read that other people feel the same way, thank you! x

  8. I think even though I know in my head (because I do the same) that the blog is not a true reflection of someone's life you do sometimes wish that your life was more like some 'bigger' bloggers who get lovely free stuff and get to blog for a living. Although I think most of them blog alongside other businesses so are probably busy and exhausted.

    Nice to think that someone would think my life was "perfect".

  9. Thanks for sharing! So liberating to read your own thoughts put in to words by someone else. Who doesn't suffer from blog envy!!

  10. I love this post, it's so down to earth and real, it does make a nice change. I often feel the same way about my blog life and as a fellow freelancer working from home a lot of the points at home apply to me too.


  11. I love the post. You have time to tell us all this and make us feel better about ourselves. You're doing a great job. And you're not alone about the envy part or the imperfect part. :)

  12. This is such a great post that we can ALL relate too. Honestly I often feel the same when I read beautiful blogs, and that's sad because instead of feeling inspired to create I end up wanted to crawl back into bed!! But I guess like you said the point is that NO persons life is perfect, some people have just made an art of representing the good bits, and we should appreciate that as we all need a bit more pretty in our lives.
    Keep up the good work and know that I love my Ladybird Likes butterfly necklace so much I wear it most days:)
    Jess x

  13. I love this list, not because you're feeling that way (that sucks, obviously) but because these are things that we ALL relate to. I try to remember that I started a blog for me, not to gain readers (which is lucky, eh? hehe) so I can write what I like. It's my space. But I think sometimes it is good to try and focus on the positives - though completely neglecting worries never helps anyone! Not that I'm one for neglecting worries, more obsessing over them... every minute of the day. And sometimes at night in my dreams. I'm normal...
    Cleaning is great, but other things are way greater. Everyone knows that unless you're super organised or OCD, creativity doesn't always engender tidiness. Definitely don't feel guilty for that! I most relate to the relationship one, I guess. Even having never actually been single, really, I still worry that I'll end up alone. But the truth is that we never have to be alone, there'll always be someone out there to love us. :) Ah wow, sorry for the long comment, but I loved seeing a 'real' post amongst the perfect studios, babies, husbands and lives of the rest.

  14. another pefect post zoe, it's so easy to not think about whats not in shot when your looking at one of those super amasing blogs isn't it? I think ive been suffering from it all month...we've had loads of repeat orders and all ive found myself thinking is 'so and so has lots more than us or so and so is more professional than us'
    Really enjoyed reading this one, thank you for making me feel better!

  15. I know exactly how you feel with practically everything! It took me a long time to build up courage to do what I do right now. In school I always thought I was going to always be alone because up until after college, I never had a boyfriend. Every guy that I was ever interested in never liked me back and I always felt so ugly. And even the boyfriend I have now is all the way on the other side of the United States. But I count my blessings that even though there is a great distance separating us, I know good things come to those who wait.

    I have also just started in blogging and trying to get my own store going. But I've been too scared so my store is still sitting empty. I have all this stuff made but I just can't seem to do anything with them. Sometimes I feel like bloggers that I follow have such an amazing life and have way more opportunities than I do. I don't even get to go out often. It's a big deal when I do get to go somewhere (I feel like a dog sometimes). And no matter what I do, I just can't seem to get actual followers on my blog even though I do everything I can to make it interesting. I mean, I admitted today that I do only reviews on my blog because my life is so boring. I don't travel, I don't go out, and I'm dying to become a full Lolita. I tried a photoshoot for the first time recently and I see I get views but not a single comment.

    I eat a ton of junk food. Sweets are my weakness Dx My room is always messy! And I feel like my job tries to keep me away from real design work and I'm only supposed to follow the design my coworker puts together - like I'm not good enough. I've never felt I had a talent. I still don't know what I'm best at.

    But despite all that, I still do have a few friends though I hardly get to see them. But I know they're there for me and they would like to hang out with me more. My guy still supports me even though I drive him crazy with Lolita lol. There must be something I'm doing not too bad.

    So I believe the same for you. You're a beautiful person, inside and out. I love your blog, photos and your store. And things may seem difficult and it might be a long time before you get to where you want to be. But the key is to take baby steps. And even if your friendships are damaged because you're trying to get your life together just remember "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter." In fact, they would support you in any way they can. Surround yourself with positivity. And nobody is perfect at time management, but you'll find something that works for you. You won't be alone - there is someone for everyone. I truly believe that.

    Even if eyes are rolled or a sigh is drawn out, all you can do is be you. ♥

    ~ Kieli ~

  16. I bet this was really liberating for you?! A very inspiring post :)
    I often think about writing posts that give a bit more of a real incite into what it's actually like trying to get ahead in a creative career. It's a difficult one though, cos like you said, I always think it's best to be positive. Expressing negativity to potential clients always stops me.
    It's like I'd love to post about how hard it is to stay liking creating stuff, when you are always struggling for money. Friends are always like 'man that's so cool' but now all I can think is that I envy them with their steady incomes and co-workers to talk to (working on your own drives you mental right?!) I think we should all set up a live video studio so we can all have company!

    Brave you :) xxx

  17. This is such a great post. I actually prefer blogs that take a slightly sarcastic/ irreverent tone, rather than being all 'oh my life is just so perfect, isn't it so amazing'. I mean, I still enjoy the 'perfect life' ones, but too much of them sometimes makes me feel a bit sick – like I've stuffed myself with too much sugar!

    Also, I think that being focused on personal achievements and success is WAY healthier than being focused on finding a relationship. It's just a much better way to live your life!

  18. Hello! I just got round to reading Mollie Makes issue 39 and got to the 'does competition kill creativity' article and you sounded so refreshing and friendly that I had to come and find you! I NEEDED to read this today (even though it was years ago now, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference) and your list at the end made me laugh a lot. If you ever want to do a guest post/interview on my blog please do get hold of me, I love how you write and am your new biggest fan !! Sofie @ Sewfie xx


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