Are we doing harm?

This is a scary post to make since it’s so personal and I’m genuinely worried I’ll hurt some dear dear blogging friends but it’s been swirling in my brain for months. I’ve spoken a bit on here about having a severe health issue that we spent 11 months to finally find a diagnose and to combat the boredom and depression I started actively posting to this blog. Then came IG and it has been a lifesaver for me, I’ve met some amazing women and developed genuine friendships with many of them. They and the rest of our creative community helped me push through depression more than once by encouraging me, just from their own talents, to create as well. However, IG has contributed to my depression and feelings of inadequacy as well. There have been multiple times I view someone’s party and immediately pick mine apart, the dejected feeling I get when I submit things I’m so proud of and put hours into only to be rejected, the number game….oh the number game! It’s hard not getting sucked into all this and I’ve been wondering…are we (the party community) contributing to the problem?

How many have you had the experience of someone complimenting your talent of putting tablescapes together, having an eye for interior design, crafting or creating a killer party only to have to followed up with how bad it makes them feel? That our talents make them insecure. I used to laugh uncomfortably and try deflecting it but more and more I wonder if it’s not my talent for parties that has women feeling insecure but rather that I remove all the mistakes from my narratives. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done a party set up and ripped it down because I couldn’t get the balance correctly. I’ve thrown things out because they look less than perfect. I never talk about how hard it is to ALWAYS be thinking about my next content and feel the need to create just to keep up with everyone else’s feeds and gain those followers baby! Hands up in the air if you’ve ever swept everything on your kitchen island to the side so you could highlight those “freshly baked” cookies, milk bottle with that adorned straw and anchored with the perfect confetti mix that guarantees a huge rack up of likes and new followers? What about getting those holiday decorations up super early to look like you’re so on the ball but the containers for those decorations sit in the corner for another 2 weeks? Who else leaves their party set ups for days at a time because you’re just to tired to take it all down? Who else is drowning in rainbows of napkins, striped straws, extra favors from your last 12 parties, and so many cake stands you could open a bakery?!?!  Why aren’t we showing those things to our readers? Why aren’t we sharing our baking fails, our less than stellar backdrops, the crafts that end up looking like a kid’s school project, how much time and money it is to do a party from concept to completion, our frustrations at really how hard it is, even though we really love it. I don’t know about you but it’s exhausting and I’m a small account, I truly don’t know how the bigger accounts do it. It’s begun making me feel bad when I have people tell me I seem like I have the perfect life, that I’ve got it so together, because my party account is full of treats, favors, crafts, tablescapes and parties that make it seem like I’ve got a revolving door of guests. It’s a lie and it’s harming women’s self worth letting them put their reality up against my very curated account.

It’s terrifying to remove that “Perfect Life” filter though, it takes vulnerability and you risk losing what you’ve worked so hard for and what your followers have come to expect from you. Followers, it’s exhilarating….having hundreds, lots of you having thousands, of people that value your creative thoughts and work enough to follow and seeing those followers steadily grow makes you feel incredible validation that you’re talented and doing good work. But why do we need their validation? I know so many of us started our craft and party blogs because we genuinely LOVE doing these things and blogging about it just seemed like a nature fit but there wasn’t pressure then. Go through your account and see how it’s changed. I’m not talking about the kind of organic evolution as you grow in talent and naturally your work rises to the bar you continue putting an inch higher. No, it’s the artificially evolution of our accounts to photographing certain things in a certain way because that gets the attention. I know mine has as I’ve honed in on what is more likely to get featured or repinned. I know several of us feel frustrated with the confinement right now in the party community, that there are some themes that are in and they’ll get the features every single time. So we do the popular parties, even the ones that are so saturated throughout the community, rather than the ones we really want to do because they get the features, likes and followers which get us sponsorships, collaborations and ad work. I feel like the party community is one of the last untouched parts of how toxic social media has become but it’s slowly trending that way. By only showing the perfection in our lives, rather than sprinkle in the horror that our prop closets are (I KNOW some of you guys store your props under beds too! haha) or that your rotten dog thought your custom cake was for his very own cake smash session, we deserve the same criticism that’s happening so strongly right now in the fashion blogging community. Why do we care so much about other people’s opinions? In reality, all this focusing on getting those likes, followers and sponsorships is us selling ourselves, our talent and our passion.

Obviously, I’m frustrated with social media in general. I’ve been in a huge creative slump and I’m worried I’ll upset a lot of my blogger friends with this post but I can’t fake it anymore. I recently had a woman (very nicely and apologetically) tell me that she loved my feed but had to unfollow me because I made her feel so insecure. That my feed highlighted that she doesn’t have many friends and how lucky I am to have so many friends to entertain so often with all my parties and dinner parties. It shattered me. I cried while I grasped that I’ve been damaging women by selling a lie. My life is so far from perfect, I feel stuck in the rat race just like you, I regularly feel inadequate up against SO many of my blogger friend’s talents, I, too, feel like there are so many women who have it all together. And here’s my secret…not all of these parties and tablescapes are real. Many are 100% staged and the only people that attend it are me and my 3 yr old. This blog started just as a space for me to flex my creativity and somewhere along the way it’s been steadily losing the original reasoning. I only wanted it to inspire others the way so many have inspired me and I’m so heartbroken that it has caused even one person to feel like they’re not good enough. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the blog or my lilysage ig account right now. I don’t know if this blog will still have the same kind of content and I’ll be more upfront which things are staged. I don’t know if I’ll start sprinkling in more of my fails. I don’t know if I’ll start incorporating more lifestyle content that talks about my REAL life, the one that shows some days I stay in my husband’s bathrobe the whole day, the one that regularly talks about leaving laundry in the dryer because I ABHOR laundry, the real me that talks about how this past year has been the worst year of my entire life, the real me that talks about trying to find pieces joy to cut threw the soul crushing depression and anxiety developed from the result of last year. The only thing I know will happen with this blog and my social media accounts is they will be more honest and if that costs me followers, collaborations and sponsors that’ll be ok. I recently read a quote that’s been playing over and over in my mind. “Imperfection is a form of Freedom” Anh Ngo I don’t want to be a slave to this smoke and mirrors life. I’m ready for freedom.