The Death of Curating

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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.”

 

59 thoughts on “The Death of Curating

  1. I think I had a premonition that you would be back😊I thought of you the other day and checked to see if there was anything new. Well here you are! I really enjoy reading your blog and have missed it. Wishing the best for you and your family 😘

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  2. So happy you’re back and you’re happy and you’re you. I love your wit and the way you tell stories, especially Jane stories. 🙂 I look forward to hearing your voice in my life again.

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  3. How lovely to see you pop up in my feed! Glad you’re back at it and I look forward to whatever you feel like sharing. I like your writing; whatever it may be about.

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  4. You certainly have been through a lot of change in the past few years. I guess when we get over that mid-30s hump we really do realize that we’re too tired to curate. That it isn’t really necessary or desired. That the days are growing shorter and maybe we really should get on with being happy.

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  5. I am so glad you are doing so well, Liz. I enjoy your authentic voice. To me, you have always been this way, in your writing. Your photos first drew me in, and then your writing made me stay. I’m looking forward to more. Your opinion and funny way of stating it make me laugh. Kathi

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  6. You have to know I am still your biggest fan. I love you! Life has a funny way of showing us that every one has something. There are no perfect people or families. Welcome back! You are very talented and have a gift.

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  7. Glad to read this. But I love watching your transformation on social media. I haven’t thought a second about why you aren’t blogging… because the happiness shining in your eyes and in the eyes of your little family is wonderful. Your photos always make me smile. 😀

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  8. Liz, I have been a long time reader/follower of your blog. And I lonely have one thing to say: “Liz you are my hero … Bravo!!”

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  9. I have sorely missed your authentic voice. I, too, had wondered if you would ever post any more and actually looked the other day. You are a wonderful writer, and I don’t care if you don’t do any of those “old” blog things any more. (I rarely do either.) You have so eloquently said many of the things I have been fairly careful not to say on my blog, “curating” myself as you put it. People say they like my blog because I tell it like it is, but you always inspire me to say it better.

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  10. So glad you’re back & thanks for always sharing from your heart! I’m looking forward to whatever you feel like throwing at us. You truly are a beautiful soul! (((Hugs)))

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  11. So great to see you back. I missed your brilliant writing. Glad to hear you are doing well. How is that handsome hubby and beautiful little girl doing?
    A true fan of your writing… yes I have your book
    SueZK

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  12. As one of your followers/friends/community from way, way back you should know that I’ll continue to follow you… curated or not. Preferably not! Besides, pieces of the non-curated you have always peeked through your writing and those are some of my favorites. Im glad you’re back and look forward to reading. Now, get busy – I’d like to “see” fall in New York through you!!

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  13. What a joy to see a post from you! Like getting a letter from a long-lost friend. As to seeking more authenticity, I say You go, sister! It’s the best. xoxo

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  14. I will always part of your online tribe. Your blog has always been one of my favorites, curated or otherwise. I’ve always been drawn to your wit and sense of style, how you wrestle with your faith like I do, and your creativity. I think pieces of the real you came through even during some of your hardest years because those are the pieces I remember connecting to the most. Reading blogs for all of these years now, I feel like I’ve grown and stretched right along with you. I remember back in ye olden days of blogging where I would blog just to blog – for comments and attention. I thought I was a big deal when I got to double-digits. And it got exhausting because I had to leave all these other comments just to get comments? Haha, remember how exhausting that was?! You have invited me to consider the curating factor though – what I omit and leave out in my writing or social media. Who wants to hear about a lonely, friendless Netflix addict with a vodka before bed addiction after a year horrific illness because she now suffers from insomnia, who is mothering the most difficult three year old on the planet?! That kind of feels like my non-curated self in a nutshell! But, I love seeing you so happy and full of joy and I look forward to how your writing changes with that. The non-curated you has joy, and I love that so so very much.

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  15. This post is so refreshing & honest & I love everything about it. I’ve been following you for a long time & it’s so nice to have you back. Just as you are.

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  16. I’m loving the no curating trend: Glennon Doyle Melton telling the hard truths and asking us to have real conversations, Alicia Keys and no make up – be ourselves, Liz and the yoga pants… I’m in!

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  17. I’ve really missed your awesome stories and amazing writing – so glad you are back (and yes I am one of the “checked your blog alot” people just hoping you’d be back. Your writing makes me laugh and cry, thank you for being you and sharing with us however much you want.

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  18. Your blog was one of the first I ve ever followed and it wasn’t terribly long until you moved on to new chapters. I’ve bought and read your book and appreciated even some of your other Arkansas blogger friends. I think you have an original voice and being someone from an artistic family, I think you’ve honed a unique voice and have a singular way of reaching a wide variety of readers who will appreciate the richness of your viewpoint… The fact that you’ve moved to NYC is fascinating and a must be a rich trove of experience…. Experience that gives you a comfortable armchair from which to paint words…. I’ve never had a feed but always checked a saved link and glad I did. Good to hear you feel like you want to share again.

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  19. I never gave up..I have been checking back every couple of weeks. I don’t blog but I have followed you for years! Not in a creepy stalker way….but in a you always make me think and I so love your writing kind of way. You have been missed and I for one am so excited to see what the future brings for you in NYC!!!

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  20. You are beautiful, and real, and true, and I have always loved your blog. Here’s the thing…curated crap aside…you found me at a time when I was losing my sister….and you shared with me, albeit briefly, your experience losing your friend…and that was not curated. It is so wonderfully refreshing to watch you grow and shed the old meticulously kept skin. You’re a butterfly sweet Liz. Write…write truth and whatever the hell you want to write. Honored to be part of your online tribe.

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  21. OMG YES!!!!!! Love this and love you. And I too am trying to make a future with a little less curating and a little more realism. Slow going for me. But a goal nonetheless. ❤

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  22. I love that you are back and you are real. . .I will be real too. I have gotten married to a man who encourages me beyond anything I have known. . .it has been two months and I have put on 15 lbs of jiggly fat. . .right around my middle. . .and although I am not happy as a clam about that. . .I have accepted it for now and have told myself “it is going to be alright!”. . .to read your writings will be a delight! #welcomeback xo

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  23. Welcome back! Blogging should be fun and real and I think that’s where you have arrived. I heavily curate my blog for many reasons but I still enjoy doing it.

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  24. Authenticity. Trust. Peace. (My 3 words to live by for 2016. And forever.) At 47, there is NO time in my life for anything less. The last 2 years of my life have been the hardest ever. But God. His light has shown through all of the cracks. Your words encouraged me today. Thank you. Am very glad you’re back.

    Blessings,
    Amy

    P.S. The world could use a lot more Ediths. 🙂

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