real


The other day my friend Anne said 'anyone reading your blog who didn't know you would think your life was beautiful and perfect in every way'.

This has troubled me a lot. It has made me ask lots of questions, and not very many of them have found answers.

Why does this bother me? Why does it matter what you, dear reader, think of me? After all, I hardly know you. Most of you, I don't know at all. Yet I don't want to be misrepresented. I don't want you to think I have this perfect life.

But neither do I want to write about the bad times. My bad times are bad, but then so are yours. We all have bad times. I neither crave nor deserve your sympathy for them. Like many of us, part of the reason I blog is to record and remember the good, the inspiring, the beautiful, the lovely. And so, beautiful, lovely and inspiring words and pictures appear here, and represent me to you, and you think, oh, Mouse is lucky, sitting crocheting in her pretty house watching the birds play in the trees outside.

You know of course that this is only a part of the story. But because you are left to guess, you can't see the full picture, and neither would I want you to, because the full picture includes other people whose privacy I respect, and more than that, it includes things I want to forget. We are all instinctively editing, all the time.

But it's dangerous, I think, this narrow view. It can lead to envy and resentment and irrational dislike and poking fun at people. That's not good.

But then again, isn't this just a metaphor for what we do all the time? We offer a part of ourself, almost never the whole, always an edited view. Just going about our daily lives opens ourselves up to misinterpretation. It's a risk we have to take.

So yes, I have ancient apple cores on my desk. I have a horrible mess in the kitchen. I have difficult teenagers and a sleepless granddaughter who lives with us. I am often moody, generally lazy, and I eat too much. But that's enough for now.

48 comments:

acornmoon said...

I can relate to this so well and often wonder if I should write more about the bad times, a recent bereavement, family worries etc. On the one hand I don't want my blog to be too personal and I certainly don't want sympathy, on the other maybe I am giving too rosy a picture?

I guess most people have much the same worries but maybe art lifts us out of the everyday and we all need to escape from time to time.

I find it a genuine pleasure to visit Mouse and her creations so please carry on just the way you are.

TheMadHouse said...

I dont think that everyone lives in a perfect world. If you want to keep bits to yourself then that is fine, if people get upset by it that is there issue, inst it?

Alison said...

This dilemma, of how much to share, is one that I struggle with, as many do who share their writings here in "blogland". I figure that no one has a life that is entirely flowers and birds and crafting, and we each choose what to write about. I write to remember things, and have found that writing encourages me to notice the brightness and beauty more than I did before. In some ways the big question is are you writing more for yourself or for your readers?

Do keep on just as you please.

bad penny said...

Ha This made me laugh - I was commenting on another blog how it can all get a bit "Show and Tell" look what I've done/ aren't I clever ? etc.
I would hate it if anyone read my blog & thought how smug I was - what a wonderful life etc.
Some of my blog friends are living in constant pain, or are caring for a sick partner. Some have been through horrendous experiences but they do not dwell on them. They retain a sense of humour and the blog is an outlet to escape from their troubles.

In saying that though on the odd occassion when I or any of the blogs I regularly follow dip into something personal, there is overwhelming support out there.

I love your blog because it is beautiful.

Gilly said...

What I like about you, and your blog, is that I know for sure that you are also the person you wrute about here!

You see things that are beautiful that others might miss. You are artistic and creative and make beautiful things. You are patient (mostly!) and understanding of other people's problems and faults.

So what your readers see here is one side of you that I am very proud of!

Sue said...

My mum makes me blush!

sue15cat said...

I think if you look beneath the surface of most Blogs you would see life in all it's normality. But we all choose (mostly) to write about the positive things, the things that inspire us and the things that we want to motivate us the most.

Reading my Blog through objective eyes it may look like I live an idylic 'good life', but it takes hard work, many tears and wading through lakes of mud to keep this place going.

So please continue to write exactly what you choose, your words are always inspiring and your pictures beautiful, if we can all dip into the 'niceness' of each others lives and help each other in tough times then Blogging is worthwhile.

Sue xx

Crafty Green Poet said...

I can relate too and would repeat acornmoon's comment. Your blog looks beautiful and inspiring and although balance is good you wouldn't want to weigh things down too much. You make an ancient apple core seem really beautiful by the way...

Gigibird said...

Does Ann look at many blogs?
All blogs are edited - no one is going to show photos of dirty washing.
No one is going to read a blog that is full of reality….
Why do we all buy Country Living – its fantasy…
Your blog is very inspiring Sue – you don’t need to tell us your life isn’t perfect….if it was you’d be too busy with no time to blog.

Lyn said...

so so true mouse. I have a side I show friends an different side I show my family or my work colleagues, never a whole to anyone-well maybe the cat!
Love
Lyn
xxx

Bobo Bun said...

Questions that I think many of us have asked ourselves at times as we continue to blog. Each picture I take is as edited as the words I choose to write. Like you I have sometimes wondered if people will get the wrong impression of me through my blog, hating to think I may appear smug or living an idyll. I don't stay with that thought for long though as I write it as a reflection of all that is positive and creative in my life. I live the crap bits when they happen, I certainly don't need to share them publicly or keep them suspended in virtual world.

Your words, images and thoughts are inspiring. I read your posts as a relfection of an insightful and interesting woman who has lived a real life.

writingsoutherly said...

Hello Mouse, I won't say don't worry because I love the way you think things through. Just keep on as you do, and I will read & watch with interest and pleasure.

Jackie said...

I am just glad to know about the apple cores. But I love to read your blog and don't mind one bit if its just edited highlights. They are HIGH lights. Do go on...
I went to Grasmere today and didn't take my camera..there is a little shop called 'mouse'. It made me think of you.

Karen L R said...

on sunday, as a friend and i were sitting by the fire, she told me "your blog is just so "perfect"". i was kind of taken aback. she meant no harm, but it poked me. then i realized that what i am doing with my blog is trying to give people a place to REST. what a revelation that was! and my friend said, "yes! that's exactly it!"

that's not a bad thing.

be who you are, "mousenotebook"!

Becca said...

Hi Mouse,
I love to visit your blog, because it is inspiring and beautiful, not because I think you're perfect. If I've had a bad day at work, I want to come home and blog and read about positive things and share with my fellow bloggers. It's how I relax, and it makes me appreciate the simple things.

Frances said...

sue, once again, it looks as if your eloquence has encouraged many of us who read your posts to share a bit of our own feelings about blogs.

Editing our lives totally out of out posts ... that would leave something a bit hollow. It might be decorative and jolly and fun, but still a bit hollow.

I've always thought that your posts have juggled this balancing act quite well. Lots of your posts ask deep questions about the creative process and how mere mortals can continue to return to that process. I think that you've always also given us lots of ways to reflect on all facets of our brief stays on this globe.

Thank you, dear Sue. You've also reminded me tonight that it's been quite a while since I have eaten an apple.

xo

Claire said...

Your life is just that, your life. You share what you wish too and that's your choice, it's your blog.
The unpleasant and unhappy moments make us appreciate even more all the good things.
I had to smile reading about some of your personality traits, why not be open and let people know a little bit more. I too can be moody, not very orgainzed and therefore waste alot of time and eat more than I should.It's all the little pieces that make up the complete picture of who we are. If you filled your blog with 'messy kitchen" photos I would still visit as a day isn't quite complete without popping by to see what you are up to.

Lorenza said...

hello lovely Sue!! It is a lovely humble post but I wouldn't see in a negative light a comment like your friend's... I got into reading blogs and writing my own when I was rather ill, because I wanted something to take my mind off things, because I was longing to find inspiration :) to show me that there are other ways...

...many blogs like yours have inspired me to spend more time creatively, to try new things I had no done before, to take time to notice the little things in life that mark the change of time.

There are moments in which I feel so fed up with it all, work, life, etc... and I retreat to my blogland to feel better, to put everything into perspective and tell myself 'what a silly person I have been' ;)

In my blog I write a bit about everything, mostly about me, but I too don't like to delve too much into the negative things... those on blogland have the risk to sound too self-centered. When instead I can talk about the 'bad' things because I think someone else may benefit from it then I do that.. but otherwise it's nice to know that perhaps a little of what I write may inspire or be simply fun to read for someone else who just maybe had a pretty crap day and wants a little 'pick-me-up'...

I love your blog, don't go and change :D Hugs! L xxx

Kristine said...

Apple cores or not - I do enjoy visiting your blog (and I don't mind if your kitchen is messy. Mine always is but I don't let on either).

elsy said...

just keep on doing what youre doing.....life can be tough enough, we all know that, blogging is a form of escapism for me, but whats wrong with that!

rossichka said...

Dear Sue, I don't want to know "the full picture" of your life (nor of anybody's else). I visit your blog, because I like what you create with your hands and soul and I love reading your thoughts! Of course you reveal yourself more or less. The same with us. Once the blog is created,the curtain is opened! But you have the freedom to choose what to show... I myself hesitated a long before starting my blog. I'm a person who doesn't love to share his intimate world, even with his family. But still it happens from time to time. That's why I chose the title "Out of the shell". There'll always be people who will envy and talk about you, about me - not only in the blogging space but in our everyday life. What can we do?... I think what connects us - so many people at different age, from different countries, is the necessity to find persons, although completely strangers, that we feel close; to share with them our discoveries of beauty and the interesting pieces of art we make.
So, again you provoked us for a discussion and you can feel, I hope, the positive enrgy that flies with the comments...Thank you!

Menopausal musing said...

I personally have NEVER thought that you lived in a perfect world... Indeed, the first time I put a comment on your blog was after you had posted re a holiday. You had added words at the end that went along the lines of: "don't think it was all perfect, I had terrible PMT!".....
The honesty in the words had me roaring with laughter. I lurk and look at your blog and have serious envy... your colour sense, your thoughts........ If there is one thing that I feel connects all the blogs I read, then it is the thread of creativity.... and I am glad to be able to have lived in this era.

alice c said...

I write regularly about my family and I decided before I started that I would restrict what I published on my blog. I think of each post as a tiny, focused spotlight on a subject of my choice. However, people who have been reading for a long time will have seen different areas illuminated and be able to build up a bigger picture - still restricted but with a sense of perspective.

ljw said...

I'm with Becca - and everyone else who's posted a comment on your latest posting. As you know, I've only just discovered this blogsite and already I love it for it's reflective musings on life in general and what inspires you. I've had a frantic day at work, and nothing has given me greater pleasure today than to sit down and unwind by seeing the latest posting and everyone's comments to it. Don't change what you do, you seem to be making a lot of people happy.

caireen said...

I think a lot is about 'inspiration' (which is being visited by spir-it - I visit blogs to be inspired, because when it catches that little spark in you, it is like lighting tinder, and before you know it you are in a creative place of your own. Your desire to share these moments is just trying to keep the fire of beauty alive in the world. It's nothing to feel bad about - although yes, I too have that debate and sometimes don't post at all! (gosh that all just fell from my fingers!)

LG said...

Life is what you make of it, and dwelling on the dark and sad will make one dark and sad. Having said that empathy and understanding goes a long way...and no one's life is full of roses...the rich and the famous might have rich and famous but I wouldn't want their lives thank you...My own with my wonderful hubbie and kids is good enough for me...keep blogging. We'd be poorer without you

elizabethm said...

Interesting Sue. I share your sense that blogging can invade other people's privacy so I am careful about what I write and selective in what I talk about. If that means my blog is only ever positive there is perhaps a dishonesty in that, but I hope people who read my blog respect my reasons as I respect yours.
I eat too much too and am sitting next to an apple core which hasn't quite made it to the bin!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mouse,
Don't appologise to anyone! Share as much or as little as you are comfortable with, it is obvious you are very respectful of others, if only the same could be said for everyone. Artistic and sensitive people tend to take critisism too much to heart. Please be proud of your blog and your editing, it is inspiring, subtle and beautiful. Don't make yourself out to be less than you are :)
I have had similar issues with friends who couldn't really handle me being me, shining too bright, getting too much attention for their liking. I wasted so many years trying to blend in with the wallpaper to please them, but I have stopped. "To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man," as Sheakespeare said.

Affectionatley,
Beatrice

A Time to Dance said...

I agree .... We often present this perfect life ...... But I have found that this is why blogs have such a healing quality for the author..... And. It is because of this that I started to blog..... Having just lost mine I feel very lost and very sad..... It's quote a desolate place and all your insecurities come out to play..... I had a lot of followers some were lovely friends and now I am finding it so hard to find them again..... As for judging bloggers I agree.... People can judge and place people on pedestals or worse..... Thank you for always making me think.......

Ashbee said...

I read your blog because you set the tone just right...sometimes it's obvious life isn't going so smoothly but I respect the fact that you don't pour out your misery. It gives you extra dignity, I think.

There are blogs that are incredibly 'wonderful' and we all know that life isn't as great as it's being painted in those - yours feels genuine so please don't change it. Share what you feel comfortable sharing, don't go further than that! We can tell what's true and what's false!

helen said...

I'd like to echo what everyone else has already written here.

I love reading your blog because you always have something thoughtful and interesting to say, and you post beautiful pictures. I don't think you have to share more, or less, and as for sounding smug - I laughed when I read that - believe me, you never never never seem smug, no matter how lovely your crocheting or sketching or embroidery. In fact you seem rather a humble person.

I'd also agree that most people now are quite skilful at reading blogs and know that they present aspects of people's lives, not the whole. And why should they?

My word verification is 'inruf' which somehow seems appropriate given the topic...

Phyllis said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this subject. I am one who has struggled more times than not in my lifetime and am guilty of thinking that some other bloggers must have life so peachy and sweet. Even though I know that isn't really true, I sometimes feel resentment toward them.

I mostly blog about crafts, gardening and the nicer aspects of my life and enjoy reading others' blogs that have inspiring pictures and creations. Creating is what makes me happy and brings peace to my heart and probably to so many others.

While I find it very interesting to read "true stories", I prefer to spend my "spare" time doing things that feed my soul. I'm sure it's the same with you and a lot of us other bloggers.

tea and cake said...

I think you should blog just what YOU want to - it's your space, after all!
We all have to edit stuff - personally, I don't identify anyone, especially using photos of my family - this is my space, and I donn't want to infringe on their privacy.
But, I do tend to write 'warts and all' about my life, not wanting praise or sympathy. If someone reads it, and then wants to comment, that's okay, and if not, then that's their perogative as well.
I wonder if Ann's comment says more about her than you. Keep doing what you're doing, it's lovely.

Chrissie said...

I love your blog, whatever you choose to write about. You are not trying to delude yourself or deceive others and you are entitled to protect your privacy.

Greasyming said...

there is so much bad stuff in the world today, yes I know that on the other side of the computer life goes on in reality, but it is so uplifting to read the good parts of ones life, it makes me look for the good things in my life and yes to foget what is not good...thanks for highlighting the positives in your life

Ruth said...

Maybe all blogs should have a health warning like a packet of cigarettes.
"Reading inspirational blogs can cause you to belive that other people live perfect lives". This is something we do get a hint of tme to time when bloggers apologise for not posting for a day/week/month whatever, due to family life etc.
Unfortunately it is when we are low ourselves that we assume that all is well with everyone else and if we are not careful the green-eyed monster can sit at our untidy kitchen table with us.
We must enjoy the achievements and delights of others whilst remembering that we don't know the full story.

Gina said...

I've popped over here from Alice's blog and had to say how wonderfully you have written about this edited version of our lives. We all have mess, and tantrums and things that go horribly wrong but it is wonderful to escape and read about the beautiful and happy things in other people's lives. Hope to come back and read more about your "perfect" life now that I've discovered you!

Monica said...

just found you via Alice.... and I too agree with everything you say.. The same comment has been said to me and it made me very angry.

I never blog to achieve 'realism' who wants to hear about my screaming kids and dusty floor? I choose to blog about the nice things and as a direct consequence blogging helps me notices all that's nice and happy. Of which there is a lot.

So there. Let's carry one. For ourselves.

kathe said...

So beautifully put. This reminds me of something I struggle with in therapy, (I mean, if we are going to expose ourselves, I'm game), the therapist is one dimensional. I want to know where her kids go to school, her favorite food, what makes her tick...but I can't. I take what she offers.

It is understood, we share the good, and most of us would make delightful therapists! This is my first visit here, I have much delight to catch up on!

Heloise said...

I so enjoy reading your blog. It was particularly interesting to read this post as it is something that I have been thinking about recently. Life is full of ups and downs. To me being positive is the best way to go through life even in hard times.

Poetikat said...

"We are all instinctively editing, all the time."

This is so true.

One day at a time, right?

Kat

Anonymous said...

Remember when you went away for a week or so and you said you were grumpy cause you had PMS? That was sweet and so human.

vicki said...

Sue - I so admire your honesty and know that you are heartfelt in all that you do and write. I think we all know that we each have our own struggles. Just because you do not talk about them does not mean that they are not there. I love to blog, and I think that - for me - blogging is way of letting me focus on the things that I love most about my life and offers me the ability to share that with others. You are wonderful, you are creative, you are human. We all know that. You have a beautiful and inspirational blog. I have learned so very much from you. As a new blogger youhave given me so much inspiration---

Vicki

greenolive said...

a lovely post

Poetikat said...

Thanks for your e-mail reply, Mouse. I will be following you from now on. Please stop by my blogs (found in my profile). Invisible Keepsakes is my hub.

Kat

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

oh how i laugh!

thank you for saying all this but i think you are right....your blog is not a blog about the mundane and the ordinary. It's a blog with beauty woven through it and that's why I pop in.

Your blog....makes me get up and do the stuff i usually only think about doing.

I am not entirely certain that hearing about your teenagers/ apple cores/ washing up would have the same effect.

I mean, I have my own teenager and mess!

So keep doing what you do, please? Continue bringing beauty onto our screens.

Linda said...

I think it depends on what you've set your blog up to be. I'm sure there are lots of personal diaries out there... I choose not to read those... I read blogs that are positive and show me pretty things and what people are making. We all have a private life.... our blogs just don't reflect it too often...

BumbleVee said...

I'm always surprised to find that people don't remember to read between the lines a bit .... or that they think they can become instant friends with people they've never seen, met or know at all..... we could be axe murderers on the other end of a blog, but it never enters their minds....

I find the fawning as annoying as the sympathy, pity and instant "love" provided by many bloggers.... I've decided they must be a pretty lonely bunch of women with not much happening in their lives... I almost gag when I see the fawning over well knowns in the blogosphere...such as Ree the Pioneer Woman....


I'm with you....why dwell on the sad or unhappy aspects ... it's just a blog after all. Sometimes it is just to toss out a thought or two ...or say, here is how I did something if we are into crafts or cooking and baking.... it is supposed to be fun. I actually delete blogs from my blogroll if they become dismal or morose when they were not that in the first place....I don't need any more of that. Just turn on the news or read a paper ... plenty of unhappiness there.... who needs to read it in blogs? I want to follow the fun, the beautiful...the great photos.... the funny or crazy .... the pet blogs too.... I just want some holiday type interlude in my day I guess.....