Sunday, August 26

Reality is relative

It's funny with us fashion, outfit and personal style bloggers. Whatever we class ourselves as, the vast majority of us share a certain reluctance to let the real world know about our self-portrait fuelled hobby.

I am fairly open about Diversions these days. While I don't give out my URL to friends and family unless prompted, most everybody who knows me, knows of Diversions.

My parents are an exception to this, they were my first readers. We live so far apart it's reassuring that they can see what I am up to between phone calls, visual proof that I am doing well. But co-workers, friends and the rest of my family didn't know me to be a blogger until years later. I feared my pastime would appear narcissistic in nature, present me as a vain and vapid shell of a woman.

When I first posted in 2009, I had recently decided not to make my camera my bread earner.. for now. Instead I was going to take an office job and pursue personally meaningful photography projects in my sparetime. Only I didn't pursue any projects at all. I'd stare out my camera of an evening, compelled to pick it up but somehow.. found myself unable.

Really I started the blog as a distraction, a Diversion ;)
I hoped that it would, and it did and still does provide a way to feel closer to my parents, get out into the fresh air more frequently, and a reason to keep snapping photos without the weight of the word "meaningful" hanging over me like a Damocles sword.
Personal style bloggng in particular appealed to me because I do enjoy clothes, but find fashion magazines deeply depressing. Full of beautiful imagery sure, but populated with the heavily manipulated, interchangeable porcelain faces of emaciated, young girls, not quite yet women. Not that I don't find the odd size zero teen beautiful, but if you are here right now I know you enjoy a little bit of variety in that department too :)

Bloggers come in all ages, shapes and sizes. We don't just wear the outfits in our images for five minutes. What readers see is, largely - and I'll get to that later - real.
When it comes to fashion, well darn it, we're a breath of fresh air and a valuable alternative to what's available in the conventional media. And while individually we might not count for much, as a group we're pretty darn influential. I think there's every reason to be proud to be part of this community of free spirits with bulky wardrobes.

And don't get me started on guilt over enjoying fashion in the first place. Everybody has a hobby. Or well, they sure as hell should have. Hobbies don't cure world hunger, but they provide us with a counterbalance to whatever else we've got going on in our lives. The merit is in the pleasure it provides. And that's that.

So, if you haven't yet:
Out there, in the real world, tell a friend about your blog. I am pretty certain you're going to be positively surprised by their reaction.

There is another topic I read about just as often as blogger shame: And that's the notion that bloggers lead perfect little lives. Now, I am dead certain you all know I am no Miss Perfect, but frankly, I never thought any of us were. Perfection is a theoretical concept. Unachievable. And having the unachievable rubbed in your face, presented as if it were in the realm of possibility, well, it's kinda discouraging, just like those magazines I used to buy despite myself.

Well, like I say, I reckon it's obvious I am no Miss Perfect, but I hear a lot of other bloggers speak about the notion. When I started my blog I knew instinctively that I wanted to filter what I share with you guys. In fact, for a long time it was really difficult for me to share personal stories at all. Over time this became easier, but seeing as this blog is available to anyone who cares to read it and is easily found by potential employers and identity thieves alike, I can assure you: I'll carry right on filtering. But that's not the only reason why I pick and choose what I share with you about my life.

From the very beginning it was crucial to me that Diversions be a positive space. Neither did I want to dwell on day to day downers, nor did I want to share them with you guys. Not that I don't think you would be supportive if I ever felt the need, it's just that I want a visit to my blog to be a pleasant experience. So when I write a post after I've had a bad day I take the time to think back and find something positive to write about and more often than not that cheers me up too.

It's a classic case of splitting. This is not necessarily a negative thing but it can provide readers with a skewed view of our lives. For instance, I've got quite a temper, but why tell you guys about inappropriate rages I am not proud of? I considered owning up to a shouting match with an equally aggressive stranger in the bread aisle (he touched every single bagel, the cheeky sod). There clearly were funny elements to the story, but at the time I was just too deeply embarrassed by my choleric tendencies. Stef smash. Another example played out two summers ago, when I as good as stopped posting outfits for a while. I blamed it solely on the miserable weather, but really it was a muscular injury that left me unable to so much as lift my tripod that held me back. Instead I started making miniatures for my doll house and posted about tiny little biscuits and books. The whole affair was enough of a downer as it was, I didn't want to mar my happy spot with tales of it to boot. 
So, I guess it is because I pick and choose what I share myself, that I automatically assume you all do this too. This is why, when my style icons tell me that they are battling social anxiety or confide (to the world at large) that they have the odd stonking row with their other halves, I am not so very surprised.

Blogging is a great means to encourage yourself to view even spells of bad luck as opportunities, to put things in perspective and reinforce your positive outlook. But don't let that fool you that there's all that's to them. To us. We're not magazine spreads. We're the girls taking or directing hundreds of photos of ourselves. Of which we choose five. Reality is relative. But we're as close as fashion gets.

Please share your two cents about blogger shame and filtering with me - I'd love to hear your experiences and opinions regarding these subjects and I know you all have something to say about this one :)

sweater: etsy (CapriciousTraveler)
bow: present
bracelets: etsy (vozclothingandart)
skirt: etsy (CovetedVintage)
clogs: online store

*I hid a couple of marks on my fingers with my partner in crime photoshop.
Those nails were chipped in the blink of an eye..


  1. oranges_and_applesAugust 26, 2012

    it took me a while, but I liberally hand out business cards with my blog name on, should it come up.

    It always slightly confuses me when people assume bloggers are 'perfect'. I just assume that they edit lots. I do think it's a difficult balance between privacy and sharing enough to be meaningful. I definitely prefer to read blogs where people share stories from their life, but I'm also selective in what I talk about myself.

  2. This is really great Stef and I pretty much agree with you. Although I'm much newer to this, before I started, I promised myself I wouldn't write about anything overly personal, overly upsetting or anything at all about my day job. I've stuck to it- but I do find it hard. I really want to vent, but figure people won't be that interested in all the sad stuff.

  3. creaturetype.comAugust 26, 2012

    This is a beautiful post, Stef! Thanks for sharing. I've really enjoyed getting to know you a bit through your blog and really agree with what you say here--particularly the part about style bloggers presenting a refreshing and increasingly important point of view in the fashion world. Even if some people may find it hard to believe, fashion/style bloggers really are gradually changing the landscape of the fashion world. I'm hoping it continues to encourage brands to offer more variety in sizes, etc.

  4. I believe we all filter--I know that I do and like you, I believe others do as well. I don't even bother to read those blogs though where so little is presented of imperfection. To me, they are boring. I know I've been intrigued by your miniatures, your photography, your unique style, among many other things. How's that studio coming along?

  5. Mandy at missindieblog.comAugust 27, 2012

    I really appreciate this post. I agree with everything you've said. I definitely filter what I share because I want to put my best foot forward, so to speak. I also want to be able to look back someday and remember all of the good things. I do like to share some real life things too though because I don't want to come across as fake or anything. It's kind of a've really got to find a good balance.

  6. This is a great post - I'm constantly surprised when people take blogs at face value; they do it to mine sometimes and I thought I was being pretty clear about going, "I'm not perfect," but apparently not. Of course mine's filtered - I don't tell many people about it, but a lot of my friends read it/know about it and I work on the assumption that anybody else could find it at any time, so I'm not going to write anything which jeopardises my career or would hurt a friend.

    I also started mine as a way of prompting me to take more photographs and sit down and write more... I'm so glad to have something in my life which *does* push me to be creative.

  7. I remember many times people telling me to not share my own life on my blog, and to make another blog for those things. I have a bunch of blogs with different subjects, but I pretty much now make my fashion blog a combination blog of everything now. I don't care. I like being me. I think you like being you too. The whole social anxiety would be easily heightened when everyone around the world has access to reading your things and have different cultures and upbringings and ideals. It is really upsetting how people can sometimes be.. It truly bothers me a lot too when people make it seem like their lives are perfect in the blogging world instead of making the note of where they fail. I get really bothered by the "perfection" and faultlessness that people try to make themselves come across. I am a pretty open person. I really don't filter and I have a hard time going to overly photoshopped girls' blogs who don't seem real. I always loved how real you seemed. It is funny, I post links to my blogs all the time on facebook (to 600 people I know in person. . .I have a big family and my parents and church have lots of people) and all my best friends read it too. If there was something off, I'm sure they'd tell me and I'd be open to the correction.

    I liked what you said about a shouting match with a stranger in a store. So many people these days are very much like that on the internet. It is really sad!!!