Last week I decided to take the plunge and create an Instagram account dedicated to my love of decorating. Putting together rooms brings me great joy, but I realize this isn’t the case for everyone. For some people it is daunting, overwhelming, not practical and completely unnecessary.
And for many it probably falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
I don’t aspire to turn decorating haters into decorating lovers. Not everyone needs to enjoy mixing and matching pieces of furniture and the beauty of colorful fabrics. What I do hope, is to show people that you can make just about anything pretty – if you so desire. I also want people to understand it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to transform a room. A lot of times what you need is already hiding somewhere in your home; it just hasn’t found the right place to maximize its potential.
I have enjoyed posting my pictures on Instagram, but had a moment the other week when I started to question if those pictures, that I had hoped were inspiring, may actually have more of a negative affect than a positive.
I know I want to inspire and encourage, but could these photos actually be doing the opposite?
What happens when we scroll through Instagram and Pinterest and see perfectly decorated homes covered in shiplap and barnwood? (neither of which I have by the way, but a girl can always dream.) What happens when we see kitchen after kitchen adorning incredible backsplashes, amazing lighting and not a dirty dish in site?
How does that affect the lens with which we view our own homes? As we look around, instead of seeing the life and the joy that lives there – do we begin to think, “Yuck! My home will never look like that!”?
Do these pictures of perfectly decorated, well-lit rooms with everything in its proper place, make us think, “I can’t have anyone over. No way. Not until my house is way more clean, a lot more organized and resembles the house in these pictures. Until then, it’s just too embarrassing.”?
In the age of social media, we are bombarded with “perfection” like no generation prior. Consequently, we have to begin the process of learning how to filter what we see. What is truth? Is this how most people live? Or is this merely highlighting this individual’s unique gifts and talents?
Not everyone is an incredible cook creating mouth-watering dishes that look like they could be entered in the next Chopped competition. Nor is everyone the king or queen of organization with the ability to open a closet, or drawer, and find the perfect spot for every item. Not everyone can take an old home in disrepair and turn it into the next picturesque whitewashed farmhouse. Nor is everyone a body builder or a marathon runner.
This is the lens we need to use when scrolling through our feeds. They are a reflection of that person’s unique gifts and talents, not necessarily ours.
How can we celebrate each other’s talents? How can we use our talents to inspire and encourage others without making them feel bad about themselves in the process?
I think part of the answer lies in remembering the beautiful pictures we see are what someone wants us to see. They are a celebration of something that brings that person joy – and it’s okay if we aren’t good at whatever that something is.
We aren’t meant to be good at everything.
In regards to decorating sites, even the most perfect looking kitchen still has dirty dishes in the sink and spaghetti sauce on the backsplash on occasion (or maybe even lots of the time.) Even the most inviting living room complete with roaring fire, impeccable pillows and a perfectly placed throw blanket still has stuff strewn about at one point in time or another. And the tray that is sitting caddy corner on the crisp duvet sporting a cup of coffee, open book and pastry – most definitely is not on that bed on a daily basis.
Home are meant to be lived in. Your space is a reflexion of you and your family. It tells a story about each of the people that live in it. Your home is special because it is your home and it is where your life is unfolding. Living life to the best of your ability with your people each and every day – that is really and truly what matters. Not how much your home resembles the pins on Pinterest or your Instagram feed.
Does this mean I am going to stop my newly created Instagram account? No.
What it does mean is that I am going to try to be mindful. Maybe in addition to showing the pretty stuff in my house, I will throw in a photo of the drawers in my kids rooms? Or the ring around my bathtub that I just can’t seem to get rid of? (On second thought, you probably don’t want to see that.) Or the overstuffed bins piled on top of each other in our garage? I am going to try to sprinkle in some of the not so pretty stuff with the pretty stuff.
I want the pictures in my Instagram feed to be as real as the words I write in my blog posts. Real life is clean and dirty. Messy and put together. It is loud and quiet. Happy and sad. It’s a little bit of everything mixed in one and you never know what you are going to get from one day to the next. It’s an adventure. It’s constantly changing. One day it’s an immaculate table set to feed a house full of guests and the next day it’s spaghettiOs on the kitchen island. It’s a beautifully decorated room and a well worn sofa. And that’s what makes it exciting. And that’s what makes it beautiful.
And that is what I hope to share.