The Death of Curating

img_8224

It’s been a good break.

The truth is I didn’t know what to do here anymore. After ten years of blogging (most of which has been filed away into the “view privately” portion of this site), I wanted a fresh start. I could not figure out what that fresh start looked like, so I took a break.

Ya’ll. Breaks are good for the soul.

There once was a time when blogging about my daily life, five days a week, was very fulfilling. There was also a time when I slathered on about six different layers of makeup every morning without fail, obsessed about wearing the perfect outfits, spent hours figuring out the best way to photograph my newly painted kitchen, and did my very best to paint the sunniest picture possible over emotional landscapes that resembled Chernobyl.

I’m done with all that curating. I’d like to say I got wise, but in reality I just got so very, very tired.

Here’s the thing. Writing memoirs and blog posts is like presenting a curated version of yourself to the world. But it’s a hard tight rope to walk. Eventually that version of yourself can become so curated that it feels untrue. There came a point in my life a few years ago where I felt less like myself and more like a prop on a stage that I didn’t choose.

Curating an image isn’t a lie, it’s just skillful editing. And we all do that because who in the world wants to be the crazy lady who is asked “how are you doing” and responds by shouting “NOT GOOD I HAD TO PLUNGE THE TOILET THIS MORNING AND SOMETHING SPLASHED BACK IN MY EYE AND THEN I YELLED AT MY HUSBAND AND I ALSO FORGOT TO WEAR DEODORANT.” But since editing ourselves, or curating, is the socially responsible thing to do sometimes, you respond, “I’m doing okay, a little tired.”

But when I was blogging or writing my book there were gaping omissions like “Yes, I’m spending this entire weekend in flea markets and spray painting things because I love it, but also because I’m trying desperately to make my life look good on the outside even thought it resembles a shit heap of emotional carnage on the inside.”

You know. Uncomfortable truths like that.

And the truth is, life is a whole different bag of chips these days. I’m not so good at being a prop. I’m not so good at curating things (or myself) for others entertainment or happiness or comfort.

“Why, Liz,” you might say. “What a grump you’ve become.”

Maybe. But I’m a non-curated grump.

I’m not a prop in someone else’s life.

I’m me. And I’m surrounded by people who are okay with that.

I don’t think that any of this makes me unique. So many women get to this place after spending their 20’s and 30’s doing and being what other people expect and ignoring their own inner voices.  But we get older and we wonder what would happen if we did the jobs we really want. We get older and we say what we think instead of what someone wants to hear because the cost of their disapproval is less damaging than the cost to our souls when we shut up and sit down and stifle Edith (Archie Bunker fans, hello out there).

We get older and we want to know God, not a religion. We watch the years tick by and realize there’s not an unlimited number of them so we better get moving with that book, or that tattoo, or that therapy, or that hair style that looks a little crazy but requires no straightening what-so-ever because we’re losing YEARS OF OUR LIVES TRYING TO MAKE OUR HAIR INTO SOMETHING IT’S NOT (hello symbolism with a hammer).

The truth is, the reason I started blogging was because I was desperate for connection. I was lonely and stuck. I filled my life with writing, blogging, taking pictures, flea market rehabbing furniture, writing some more, and sharing it all here. And this miraculous thing happened. People commented. I made friends. And suddenly my life didn’t seem so empty and lonely any more. Being online, like this, making friends, being inspired, made me feel like I mattered. It also made me feel okay about all that was wrong and dank on the inside, because this curated blog-me had found approval.

In the past couple of years I’ve done a lot of growing. I changed. I didn’t feel like I needed blogging in the same way anymore.  I was no longer looking to other people to tell me I was okay. I no longer felt the need to post curated pictures of my life and curated posts about who I was as  means of reaching out into the world for approval or love.

But I do miss the connection. Connection is always good when you’re a writer who spends a good portion of your days by yourself. Having connection and a tribe is the thing you can’t really live without in life.

So I’m back. I haven’t missed the curating, but I have missed my online tribe. I’m still here. I want to write about writing and books. I want to write about what happens after we die, and if we have to go to church to be connected to God, and what it takes to be a truly creative person. JUST KIDDING. I’m not qualified to write about any of that (although every now and then I might try). But in all honesty you’ll probably have to be satisfied with a review on the latest romance book I inhaled while sitting on park bench while Jane drew chalk pictures of our family “if we all had three heads.” (true story)

But the carefully curated days are over. The days of walking on eggshells are over and I may or may not offend people with my true thoughts and my true self. But I’m okay with that. And I’m okay if you throw your authentic self at me and it’s a lot and it’s uncomfortable… because I would rather have real connections with people than have overly perfumed scented fake smoke blown up my skirt.

Not that I wear skirts anymore. I’m officially in the yoga pants camp.

But curated prettiness, in my house, on this blog, in my life, with my hair or face are not acceptable to me anymore. Seeking the authentic, and the real, no matter how ugly or offensive or discomforting… is the only way I know how to live now.

And for those of you who have so sweetly checked in and asked, I’m okay. I’m better than okay, I’m growing and changing and remembering who I want to be and become. It has been a spiritual transformation that I lay directly at the feet of the mighty and incomprehensible powerful being who lives in the sky.

In the words of the great George Harrision, “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say, it’s alright.”

 

Advertisements

59 Comments

  1. angelle elfer says:

    I’ve followed on and off for years, I don’t remember how I even ran across your blog in the first place. Still checking in though. I’m not one to comment often but this post in particular resonates with me. It’s nice to know someone around my age is having similar thought and feelings about many of the same things.Thank you for putting yourself out there and connecting.

    Like

  2. Joy says:

    I envy that you are at a place in your life that I am only getting to now at the age of 64. Too many wasted years trying to please everyone in fear of losing them. As a result I lost myself.

    Like

    • lizharrell3 says:

      All my love and cyber hugs to you Joy. I know we have an age difference, but we also have a lot in common in that pit-in-the-stomach feeling of “I lost so many years.” But I choose to focus on the spin side, which is…I’m not curating anymore. The light changed at the traffic light of our lives, it’s green, we see that we have to move forward, and change is happening. Truthfully, I believe that is a blessing that so many people spend an entire life without, entire lives spent curating and dismissing our true selves and never knowing who we really are. And at any age, to realize this, to have that knowledge, is a truly sacred blessing. I’m thrilled that you are at this place now, no matter your age. You do you now.

      Like

  3. Rondell Konat says:

    I’m so very glad you are back, I’ve missed you and your writing! But I must confess I did love your decorating posts…don’t forget you are good at it and always loved your style!

    I started following your blog before I even started blogging I think since 2007, but like you it was something I loved…in the beginning after years went by it became a chore to even think of a what I would do for a post to be typed! I think my thing was that I let comparison get me down and also what some demanded of you…DON’T USE SMALL PRINT TO HARD TO READ…IF YOUR PICTURES AREN’T GOOD QUALITY DON’T JOIN THIS BLOG PARTY of course she worded it differently but that’s what I got from it, what about the ones who couldn’t afford a fancy camera? Just things like thLt! I haven’t blogged since last January and just today I was thinking about getting back into it even before I read your post so I’m going to read your post again and think real hard about it!

    I agree with you about Our Savior I have more of a relationship with him more now then ever,I can’t believe He wants this for our country!

    :
    Love Rondell

    Like

  4. Shannon says:

    I’m a little late catching up however am very grateful to hear from you again. This post hit home to me in so many ways. As I go through my own personal struggles in life, marriage, and kids it’s so good to see how well you are doing. It’s very overwhelming having come to a realization that what I thought was “normal”, “real”, and “happy” in life was really just a big façade on my part. I feel like I can learn so much from you and I can’t think you enough for being as open as you are about life and your thoughts.

    Like

  5. eknance81 says:

    Wow! One, I’m so happy you’re back blogging! I’ve been a reader for who knows how long.

    Your post has really hit me hard since i have also had that realization! Thank you for sharing!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: