The Real {online} Me

In my little corner of the online world, I want to be real — but that doesn’t mean sharing EVERY little thing. I share more personal things about my family than many bloggers do, but there’s simply no reason to share the nittiest of the grittiest. It would violate the trust of those closest to me, and that is NOT okay. I won’t candy-coat my life, but I will make a point of celebrating the good rather than focusing on the bad.

Real JamieThanks to my husband, this photo is lit very well and I look pretty good — but to be a “finished” image (I’m a photographer, remember!?), I would’ve edited it further. So this is not the no-makeup real me, but it is the un-retouched me.

A dear friend of mine has decided to step back a bit from blogging, and part of her reason is that she doesn’t want to present a different self online than she is real life. And that’s complicated, because while she’s totally real in what she does share, she’s not willing to compromise herself or her family relationships in sharing some things that frankly aren’t anyone else’s business (my words; not hers). On the flip side, though, these other offline things greatly affect who she is — which leads her to the feeling that she isn’t sharing her whole, real self.

In most of the online social media world (blogs, facebook, etc), folks tend to share only the best of what’s happening. That’s important to remember, because it’s very easy to see those things and think those people live spectacularly amazing lives; and that can lead to thinking our own lives pale in comparison.

Here’s the thing: this is blogland. Live-streaming cams from bird nests are one thing, but a blog is not intended for that kind of view into anyone’s life. You can’t actually LIVE a life if you’re spending most of your time blogging about it. My friend’s main goal in stepping back from her online life is to allow time for her offline life. She is at a very different life stage than I am, and is far more accomplished in the blogging world than I am, but when she explained these things, much of it resonated with me.

Keeping a balance is hard. As far as what I share online, and in how I schedule/manage my time, I have to make a point of being intentional about keeping my offline life a priority. Not just because I blog; life can easily get off-balance even for those who spend zero time online. Part of the challenge is that there’s no set formula, because as life changes — by seasons of life or sometimes even day to day — the specifics vary.

I appreciate each and every one of you willing to join me on my journey here, and I promise to keep on being real. But please remember: although this is the real me, it will never be my whole life, or my whole self. It can’t be, and it shouldn’t be.