There’s this saying. You’ve all heard it a million times before… “Ignorance is Bliss”. Yes, sometimes being ignorant can be rather amazing. Lacking knowledge of the troubles of this world can in some ways be amazing. And honestly even necessary. Ever scroll through Facebook and wish you could unread something? Un-see an image? Anytime there’s anything terrible that involves a child, I can’t shake it. For days. There’s obviously a certain amount necessary to understand the changes the world needs right now. To be that change. Yet when it comes to social media, I’ve found that we lose that ignorance. And I’m pretty sure that it’s making us all feel the same…
Social media. The spring board of my business. The traffic driver for my blog. And really the entire reason I’m on the best career path I’ve been on in my life so far. The wonderful, amazing and oh so terrible social media.
With over 100k fans between Facebook and Instagram as well as nearing 250k blog readers a month, Addison’s Wonderland is considered a “social influencer”. I am a social influencer. That still seems so bizarre to me. So much so that I think that had completely slipped my mind. Forgot that anyone would look at my feed and think that my home was “perfect”. Forgot that anyone would look at my feed and think that “my hair was amazing”. Forgot that anyone would look at my feed and think that “I had it all”.
And then one day it hit me that I was in a rut. Loving blogging, yes. Loving my path, yes. Loving the fact that people were loving my work, absolutely. Yet I couldn’t shake this feeling that the confidence and inspiration that had poured over me for some time now was being drained. The endless ideas, the waterfall of creativity and the desire to re-design everything in sight was being sucked out of me. I couldn’t figure it out. It had started to happen so fast. And as I picked up my phone one day and clicked on Instagram I saw an image. Several images. And as I scrolled through and “stalked” several feeds it hit me. The one thing that I’ve never let myself feel had crept up on me. That one emotion that satan uses to destroy this world has taken hold of me. Envy.
Yet, I didn’t feel envious. I wasn’t depressed or sad or down or jealous or hateful. I am not sure that is even the correct word. It was just enough of this awful emotion to make me feel lost. Like wow, her white and gray and gold and gorgeous home is stunning. It’s so neutral and amazing and everyone loves it. Like wow, her thigh gap is the size of my entire leg and my legs will absolutely never ever in a million years look like that. Like wow, her skin is flawless and glowing and breathtaking. Like wow, her kids look like movie stars and her home is immaculate and I’m sure she’s room mom too. She just has to be.
So I stopped looking at my feed. I continued posting because that’s what I do but I stopped scrolling through my feed for some time. A week, a couple of weeks, I can’t even remember. And then I got this email. I get a lot of emails. A lot of the nicest, most encouraging thoughtful and honestly incredible emails I’ve ever read. I always let Mark read them and every single time I say “it amazes me that people take time from their lives to email a complete stranger the most wonderful things in the world”. Like wow. Just WOW.
Then I got THE email. The most complimentary e-mail I had ever received. I don’t know why it hit me harder than others. But it did. And halfway through that email I thought… I may be that person. I just might me. And I don’t want to be. Not one single bit. There’s a million and a half “influencers” on social media. Most with hundreds of thousands more followers than me, most with houses that cost millions more. Most with gorgeous bodies and amazing skin. But I still might be that person to just one person. And I absolutely refuse to be.
That feed that you scroll through and think her house is perfect. That feed that you scroll through and think she has it all. I don’t want to be that person. I’m not that person. That’s exactly why it never occurred to me. I was ignorant.
When I look at my own feed, I see the truth. I see the toys thrown behind the sofa. I see the pile of stuff in the corner that when cropped just right, completely disappears. I see the mirror turned exactly right so that the light shines perfectly and my skin glows. I see the marker on the sofa, the crunched Cheerios on the floor, the piles and piles of paperwork on the breakfast room table. But in that one image it all looks perfect. And although I saw my own truth, ignorance swept over me at every feed other than my own. As if mine was a “lie” yet theirs was the “truth”.
We all think that 1200 x 1200 square tells it all. Tells a story of perfection. And although we all know the truth, deep down we do, ignorance clouds over us and we think that square tells it all. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t. At all.
You see, everyone has a focus in life. One or two or maybe a few. Mine is my family, my girls and my design career. Everything else I just fit it in whenever I can. I once heard that you should focus on what you’re good at and get help with all of the rest. So I do. I have help with my girls while I’m working and help with laundry and my hubby loves to cook. I have never been room mom, never made cupcakes from scratch for their class parties, never ran a marathon. I focus on what I love. My focus as a blogger and designer is that 1200 x 1200 square. It’s creating a work of art in that square that showcases my very best. It’s creating an ethereal feeling that showcases my wonderland. It’s all a story. A story to inspire. A story to encourage. A story to make you smile. To make you dream. To make you want to be creative. To use color. To play with pattern. And to create a home you love.
And I can almost guarantee you that we are all the same in that way. All of us “influencers”. All of us that make a living in this crazy new way. All of us that create and tell our story. We crop, we edit, we accentuate and we post exactly the way we want it to be. To tell our story and show our strengths and hide all of our flaws. So next time you click that social media app or log onto our blogs, just remember that we are focusing on our strengths and not on our flaws.
XOXO, Brittany Hayes