Bridging The Gap Between Reality and The Internet: My Story

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This past Saturday, we went apple picking and spent the entire day at the farm.

Yesterday, when B was off school for Columbus Day, we made homemade apple sauce from some of the apples.  This sounds like a pretty cute moment that you probably would have thought was Instagram worthy enough to show up in my feed – Right? Wrong. Why? Because quite frankly, we made the applesauce in the morning, I hadn’t showered yet, B was in his underwear, and there was a spot on my stove top from last night’s pasta dinner – things I didn’t want the world to see.

So, when I opened up my Facebook app yesterday morning and found the article from the New York Post, “Our Double Lives: Dark Realities Behind ‘Perfect’ Online Profiles,” I had a complete “I can relate” moment. While the story of Kiersten Rickenbach Cerveny is tragic, and not my story, the article as a whole pointed out the web of lies (or intentional omissions) that we sometimes put out there while sharing on the web – photoshopping moments or flaws away so that we appear to be our most perfect selves in our online profiles.

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This picture was taken on Sunday in Central Park, where we attended an interactive scavenger hunt for Branden. It’s unedited, and all I did was add my everpresent watermark, because people will steal your shit. But if you know me and follow along with my blog, you can see where I’m able to point out my flaws and will post a blurry picture if it gets my point across (hello, have you seen my post about beauty hacks?) – I’m not perfect and don’t ever pretend to be.

But I will say this, there was a point about a year ago where I would buy props to get the perfect white background for product shots, worked like mad towards staging the perfect photos, and would go nuts about what Branden was wearing so that he wasn’t repeating the same outfit over and over. I then started thinking to myself, “Umm…won’t my mom friends – both real and online – understand that B is 7 and wants to wear what he wants to wear?” Yes, yes they will.

Thus, I took a step back and decided to scale back and focus a little bit more on experiencing things with my family instead of trying to capture every moment on camera. It was almost like letting go of an addiction that was taking over – I knew it wasn’t healthy for me.

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Taking things to another level, the NYC blogging scene is no joke, and these beautiful images often become a competition that is so fierce and complicated that I can’t even begin to let you all in. Beautiful images of you in your perfect life, with your perfect clothes, and your perfect family can mean the difference between getting a paying gig or not. Or worse,  the bloggers that we bump shoulders with at all the events we must attend to connect with brands to hopefully take our blog to a higher reach, well yes, these bloggers are our competition. It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted.

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This picture? It was actually captured by my husband without me even asking; he saw a pretty moment and wanted to capture it (don’t worry, I have some fun plaid looks to go up on the blog next week!). Perhaps it was out of routine, as he is often my photographer when I need him to be, but in this particular moment he just stopped and asked me to pose for him – which was really nice. No staging, just an opportunity to capture a moment in our real life.

But this is a problem that goes way too far for some, and their cycle of negativity can’t be undone. There are people who are killing themselves because they can’t live up to the facade that they have put out there or they simply can’t stop trying to keep up with, or get ahead of, those around them. I admit 100%, I get sad sometimes too whenever I see friends and family doing something fun that I’m not, or seeing a fashion blogger styled way better than I can ever strive for. Then the competitor within ourselves begins fussing and sometimes doesn’t stop. We have to work as a community to stress the message of letting perfect go, instead of working towards unattainable perfection that will burn you out and those around you.

So what can we all learn from this? Take time to focus on what’s really important. The greatest and most cherished memories are going to be what is carried with you in your heart – as corny as that sounds. For me, I try to take a time-out on the weekends, capturing photos whenever the mood strikes not when duty calls, and it feels natural. Yes, natural. Because those special moments are going to pass me by so quickly and are more important than any Facebook like will ever be.

Fashionably Yours,

Allison

Comments

  1. This post is amazing and SO spot on. It seems like society as a whole is all about portraying only the most perfect images and parts of ourselves on social media, but bloggers do manage to take things to a whole new level with the competition. Great reminder to just focus on what’s truly important!!

    • Allison Cooper says:

      Totally Xenia! We gotta focus on what’s really important in life – which is difficult sometimes whenever your job depends on how many likes you are getting.

  2. i love your site! And I think you actually have a really good balance between the real life and the Internet life. Don’t change!

  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I’m just going to say it – NYC bloggers have a really bad rep here in Boston. I honestly don’t know anyone from NYC and I would never talk bad about anyone (well, unless they gave me good reason to), but there is a group of bloggers here that I see regularly and they are ALWAYS talking badly about NYC bloggers. I don’t get why people are like that. I could probably ask them why they talk so badly, but honestly, I don’t don’t have time to get mixed up in drama. Plus, it’s not fair because there are 2 sides to every story. I am just passing it on because your post made me think immediately of that group of bloggers who talk trash.

    • Allison Cooper says:

      I believe it a million times over Robin! It’s very cut throat here, in fact – I have a friend who just moved away after moving here TO BLOG and left just as quickly because of the competition. It’s not as pretty as it looks. I know who my true friends are and try to stay out of the drama as much as possible and only attend events if I’m being paid to be there – otherwise you bet I’m spending time with my family! Thanks for your insight!

  4. I feel like this is so true and might only get worse, especially with younger generations. Thanks for being so brave to do something against this trend!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that the blogging community is acting this way. Here in Central Fl it’s not like that. We help eachother, however there are always going to be ones to spoil anything. Just keep doing what you’re doing!

  6. This is a really sweet post and a very important topic. There doesn’t seem to be as much competition where I am but I do find myself spending an insane amount of time perfecting photos.

  7. I much prefer real over staged and perfect. Take recipes for example. I think my recipes look real, not magazine gorgeous. I know when I see food that looks perfect I often think “gee I can’t make that”. My other pics, they’re real too. Good for you for being real!

  8. It can be overwhelming trying to be “perfect.” It sounds like you’ve found the best balance!

  9. SO true! Finding the right balance is key to not burning out but its not easy especially in the NY blogging scene. I know first hand because up until I had Joseph I was between florida and NY all the time for fashiongrail.

  10. I think it is really sad that people get so obsessed with FB and social media, it’s much like a magazine and that’s fine. I am glad you found balance in your life!

  11. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to look good on the outside. My 2 year old is getting into wanting to choose her own outfits, and she totally loves mixing patterns… not my favorite fashion statement… and then wearing her squeaky shoes with ev-er-y thing! 😀 Sometimes when I’m taking pictures of the week to share with her grandparents, I can just hear them talking about how unkempt she looks (despite my having brushed her hair 4 or 5 times just this morning.) But, boy is she worth the craziness!

  12. I can totally relate to what you share here and have to say it’s something I fight as best I can. I think what makes us relatable to our readers is our flaws, our humanity… I try to be as real as I can and though I often cringe when I post photos of my workouts for example on my Instagram, sweaty and disheveled, I feel it’s important to just BE. Food photos are where I take a little more time because presentation makes such a difference and being that I am French… well I like things to look god and taste good 🙂

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