Whitewashing your life, or why I blog

Blogging: An exercise in vanity. Source: Flickr user Ana Santos.

It seems that, to be a Cool Lady Blogger, one must be very skilled at presenting a thoroughly beautiful and flawless portrait of one’s life. Essentially, you must be a good storyteller. My biggest beef with the scads of Cool Lady Bloggers is the continuous presentation of this perfect, shiny life, as I’ve written about before. I get so weary with the immaculately dressed moms, the beribboned babies, the glowing white kitchens, and the Anthropologie-inspired explosion of twee crafts.

I self-righteously thought I was above this life-whitewashing trend of bloggers–until I had a recent conversation with Jonathan. It was a long and good conversation and I’m glad we had it. He carefully pointed out that my keeping a blog is keeping me from honesty and vulnerability. In many respects, this is true. I need to keep the blogger’s mentality of life whitewashing out of my real friendships and I deeply appreciated his reminder.

I understand that, for the most part, one does not keep a blog to be vulnerable and intimate. After all, the whole of the Interwebs can read anything you write. I am probably not going to tell you about what made me cry today, Internet. But there is a certain virtue to carefully cultivated honesty. If you’re a popular blogger, honesty about the grittiness of your real life unfortunately opens you up to the hoardes of Totally Insane and Mean Anonymous Commenters. But that’s the risk you run when you say anything about anything on the democratic forum that is the Internet. Honesty and willingness to suffer the slings and arrows of the crazies is why I think people keep coming back to Dooce. Heather Armstrong told the World Wide Web about suffering through postpartum depression. She didn’t have to do that, but she created a lot of credibility, trust, and sympathy with that decision. Today, she supports her family with her blog. Millions of people have watched her daughters grow up through her website. It is perhaps a false intimacy that is created–the feeling that I know this family–but isn’t that what the Internet is for? False intimacy?

Either way, my conversation with Jonathan made me think a lot about why I blog in the first place. I never have a good answer when someone asks me this question. I feel kind of defensive when I try to explain it, and I should, since a blog is nothing more than a concentrated exercise in pure vanity and narcissism.

Here’s my best shot at an answer: I like to write. I have been writing since I was a child. From the age of seven onward, I have been keeping scads of personal diaries, notebooks, and prayer journals. No one reads these life records except me. But I’ve realized that I write best when I think someone else might read it. Since I’m not a journalist anymore or anything remotely close to a novelist, a blog is my main creative outlet, as sad as that may be. Even if no one is actually reading it (like my dog blog, for instance. As I confessed to Jonathan, I’m writing to myself there and I am OK with that), the illusion of an audience makes me a better writer. So, that’s why I blog. It’s not noble. But at least it’s kind of honest.

Monday Snax

Family ladies
It's unreasonable that our grandmothers look better than we do.
Lucy and Loretta
Coolest grandmothers ever.

Coming back from Davidson is always so hard; I just want to stay forever. Mom said she’d write me a note to send to my employer: “Abby has a headache. She can’t come back to work for another week.” I wish! We had a beautiful, sunny, and happy weekend with the family, celebrating with the grandmothers and celebrating the end of Lent with an absurd amount of chocolate-raspberry cake and Peeps. Just as expected. More photos on Flickr.

That said, here are your snax with day-old Peeps:

Goin’ to the Chapel! DANIELLE AND LOGAN ARE FINALLY ENGAGED!! (Gallimaufry of a Girl)

Still Lagging: Women’s Earnings in America. Even though they’re not exactly new, these statistics always depress me. Particularly now that we have more female college graduates in the work force than male! What is going on, Patriarchy? Where is thy death? (Mint)

Night Pruning. Cate has such a beautiful home and baby and just look at her perfect appropriation of nature! I got to hang out in her verdant cottage with her baby on Wednesday night and it was lovely; hoping to do it again soon! (The Charlotte)

Hello, My Pretty. Grace used to make this face when she was doing something naughty, like zipping up the family rabbit in a purse or trying to snatch Sam out of his crib. (Awkward Family Photos)

Word Portraits by John Sokol. Now this is a cool idea: Portraits of authors using their own words. (Le Projet d’Amour)

What If Corporate Logos Were Honest? Imagining big companies displaying their true slogans. (Flavorwire)

J.P. Toad’s. That’s so disgusting. Who thinks of these things? Actually. I know some people in Carrboro who would probably try to sell this at the farmers’ market. (Regretsy)

A Lesson in Posing, Religious Observance Begs Sabbatical. The Man Repeller makes fun of the numerous poses that Cool Lady Bloggers adopt when modeling stuff from their own wardrobes. (The Man Repeller)

Bingley Takes a Bath. You know I’m not a cat person, but I love this. (Fat Cat Orange Studios)

A Birthday. This looks like the absolute perfect day. So peaceful! So elegant! (Sweet Fine Day)

Vladimir Nabokov’s Drawings of Butterflies. Yep, still fascinated with anything I can find about Nabokov and his butterflies. These are quite lovely. (Flavorwire)

Mikhail Gherman and Karen Walker at Home. Hipsters to the max, but they look like they’re having SO much fun at their house! And Karen Walker is amazing looking. (The Selby)