Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Really Real

If I told you that this blog sky rocketed from 175 page views per day to well over 3, 000 on Monday, would you lose your mind and accrue an onset heart condition as I have? Shine a light on me and I become even more neurotic than I already am. I like editing more than I like writing. I prefer taking the picture vs. being in the photograph.

All of a sudden, thousands of people are reading this blog and I don't know what to write about. I mean, that's what I wanted: to get some readers, make some dough and be able to take care of my 1.5 year-old instead of paying someone else to do it (that's NOT a bad thing if that's how you roll, but I'm neurotic, remember?).

Right around the time I started this blog, I watched the movie The Joneses (2009). It's the story of four people who are hired to pose as a family in an affluent American community. They are perfectly beautiful and supplied with the latest gadgets, cars, clothes and home design products. The idea is that their neighbors will want what they have because they're flawlessly, blissfully happy and successful. In the story, and I think in real life, it actually works. People buy all this crap that's being marketed to them so they will feel better about themselves. Spoiler alert: At the end of the movie, one family buys so much of what the Joneses have passively aggressively sold them that they go bankrupt, lose everything and the husband commits suicide. Sounds creepily familiar, right? Hello, American economy, Wall Street and mortgage crisis.

The movie made me think about the loads of blogs I'd been reading (to get a feel for what people want before I began mine). So many of the successful ones are like internet reality shows. They're displaying a lifestyle. They pimp products and beautiful photographs of themselves, their family members and their well-decorated homes. They're willowy women who wear everything you see in magazines and seemingly have enough money to buy all of it. They care for anywhere between 1 and 3 children and they still have time to craft, run a business and seemingly look smashing all the time. And all of that is wonderful and fun to read/see, however, it's just not me or what my life looks like.

I spent too many years trying to be willowy and perfect and directly from the pages of some magazine. But my dear people, what you see on most of those pages isn't real (I'm suggesting that magazine pages aren't real, not blog pages). A lot of the magazine women are hungry. And bored. And so young. And they don't look in real life the way they do in print. Their skin, bodies, hair and clothing are all Photoshopped. I know because I used to work in the production department of a beauty and fashion magazine and was one of the people who helped mark their to-be-fixed flaws with a red Sharpie.

As this blog hopefully continues to grow, I promise myself and the world that I will never publish products, pictures or ideas that are not real, accessible or don't make sense. I will only display items that I can afford and am honestly considering or using. I will only show photographs that genuinely depict our "mixed up" life.

And that life, so far, is an absolute trip. It includes, but is not limited to, a multiracial makeup, a rented two-bedroom apartment in Southern California (practically unheard of in these parts, where it's go house or go somewhere else), limited air conditioning in one of the hottest areas of L.A., bad carpet and wood paneling, one income and a tight budget, virtually no help with childcare, a mother and a wife of "advanced maternal age," who hates cooking, isn't crafty OR willowy, and has the mouth of a sailor. And hopefully, that quirky reality is just as interesting as the more glamorous kind.

I'm keeping it real. Really real. Because life is too f*cking short to spend it trying to be someone you're not.

Image by Minga


Leslie said...

Wow, congrats on your readership!! That's awesome. I think it's because of your easy writing style and basic topics. (No disjointed rambling from you, which bugs me.) Blogs really are a lot like reality tv: we get a glimpse of total strangers life, and we're fascinated by it. And most often it's the life of the rich that are most intersting; the travels, the latest and the greatest.
But I'm not willowy or rich anymore either. But here's to hoping that people keep reading my blog too :)

Laura Mauk said...

I wanted to write a quick addendum/clarification to this post. I in no way meant to imply that any of the successful bloggers out there aren't real or depicting their lives honestly. I think they probably are. What I was trying to say was the movie The Joneses made me think about these bloggers in terms of people who read their posts and aspire, but maybe don't have what they have or live a very different kind of lifestyle.

I'm just trying to display the idea that it's okay to be different, have your own style, economic level, ideas, experience, etc...and that it'd be great if we could all be happy with who we are instead of beating ourselves up or trying to look/be like our neighbors.

So my goal in this blog is stay grounded about who we (my family) are, flaws and all, and hope that it's still interesting enough to read. And never, ever would I want anyone out there to read it and think that their life is any less beautiful than ours might seem.

That's all.

Tamara said...

You summed it up! I think the 'real' is what I love about your blog...I think that's why I'm living in a far away land...To get away from all the fakeness! I have never been happier...I don't need a big house, nice car or all those 'things' I used to need! I certainly don't need debt...I love my simple Frenchy life! It took me a long time to learn that I don't need all those things, but just quality of life and happiness! Done!


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