A Staged Life.

This is the story of how I fell for the fiction.

I was minding my own business a couple of months ago, probably trying to find reviews on something I’d just bought, when I was hit over the head by The Truths.

Can you handle them?

If so…

Truth #1 is that the world portrayed in style blogs and Pinterest doesn’t exist. Those carefree poses in perfect outfits… they last just long enough for the photo shoot, and then the t-shirts and jeans come back out and the makeup comes off. It’s a staged life, really. Do the bloggers ever get to be real, or do they have to be walking Photoshop all the time?

Truth #2 is that bloggers are paid to sell. It’s their job to create a frenzy for a dress or shoe that we really don’t need. Just click that link to give them the money! (No really, don’t click their links. It gives them all the monies even when they don’t disclose that bit of information. Or, click if you want to. But be informed about what the clicking does!) They are given very expensive items to showcase on their blogs. Or lots of inexpensive items. Or, if they’ve really made it, a collaboration! As long as they showcase! And sell those same items to unsuspecting clickers! And wear those items for at least 60 seconds while glee-faux-ly prancing down the street! Some bloggers then sell the things that they got for free. What else are they going to do? They can’t possibly be photographed in the same things again! And who knows if they actually even like what they got for free.

I’ve always loved to shop, but over the past 3-4 years, the problem had become a different animal. It was all related to the truths above. When I first started following style blogs, I wanted to be like the bloggers. I wanted to look impeccable, and it ached to know that I couldn’t dress that way daily. I tried to find ways to incorporate the types of things I was “supposed” to be wearing to be current, but I still couldn’t manage it. I really thought I just needed a bigger budget, more clothes, more shoes.

But, I also needed somewhere to go. And a nightlife. And a passport. Or something. I needed to have something significant to do so that I could look the part. I had nothing… just some at-home part-time work, errands, and school things with my kids.

I was missing the life that accompanies the style blog “look.”

This summer, I came to the conclusion that even the blogger “life” is not really true at all. It’s all a stage. It’s a timestamp of supposed perfection.

I am an intelligent person, but I did exactly what I was supposed to do: I got caught up in the facade. I really believed that I had to have the “must-have” things of the season. The things the bloggers “lusted after” would complete my wardrobe. Oxblood skinnies. Chunky scarves. A mustard sweater. I’m ashamed to admit that I was “dying for” the ubiquitous studded shoes, though they would have at most zero wears in my lifetime. But I needed them in my closet!

If I didn’t like the way something looked on the blogger or model, I just had to adjust my eyes to the look. Eventually I’d come around and like the style. So, I started purchasing things that I thought looked unflattering. I bought a pair of heels so that I could start training my feet to accept the pain. You have to wear heels with jeans, right? (Nevermind that I’ve never, not once, seen that combination in real life.)

While I used to shop for fun, I started to feel like I was on an impossible mission that would never be finished. But I had to do it! I was so close to finding exactly what I needed.


Exactly what my computer screen was telling me I needed.

There are tons of women who have fallen the same way. Maybe those with shopaholic tendencies are worse off, but I bet some women started to become shopaholics thanks to blogs and Pinterest. I hope they are able to catch themselves and stop now.

This doesn’t only affect women. I’ve been researching a typically-male item on a dominantly-male forum. They use the word “obsessed” just as much as the female bloggers. There was a thread talking about how much purchasing that type of item had increased significantly as a result of that particular forum, how budgets were constantly blown, and how wives/girlfriends/significant others had to be placated so that they can continue to buy/sell/flip more of those items.

I’ve missed too much being caught up in this world. I’ve wanted to get back to reading good fiction, but spend all my free time reading harmful and dangerous material: style and fashion blogs. My 8-year-old has unexpectedly become an avid reader and I want to catch up with him. We’re going to read a book together soon. I want to get caught up in the world of well-written fiction, not shopping-inducing fakery.

Stuck at a Red Light.

I made it through the month of June without buying or shopping for clothes! The buying/spending part wasn’t nearly as difficult as the not-shopping part. I really do love trying new things on. But what am I after? What is the point of trying on new things? I already know that I don’t want all that extra clothing in my closet.

The other day, I was stopped at a red light behind a truck. It had a gigantic picture of the perfect sandwich on it. The (whole wheat, presumably) bread looked thick, rich, and soft, and the layers of sliced meat were curled at the edges just so. I wanted to eat it! And I don’t even really enjoy deli sandwiches. It made me want to buy that bread, even though my husband has been making our delicious, wholesome bread from scratch for the past three years. It made me think of how everyone wants their sandwiches to look just like that, and to taste as good as that one looked.

The ad team must’ve worked hard on getting the bread and meat (if they were indeed edible) to look just right. To look like something everyone would want.

…juuuuuust like they do for clothing ads.

When I see an outfit that I like, what I really want is to look just like that person in those clothes. I want to feel the way they look. Mysterious, happy, ethereal…

Yes, I was staring at that ham sandwich thinking of being ethereal, which reminded me of an article I read a long time ago that I remembered being very deep, explaining the flaws of the so-called ethereal woman. I just found the article, and it’s by the very funny Mindy Kaling! It’s true, though. Every time I think of actually being the way that most models look, I think of that description.

I don’t want to be floaty and unreal.

I don’t want to be anyone else. But I do want to be a better version of myself. Clothing is not going to help with that. I can write this a thousand times, but my brain never seems to get it. I just have to think of the sandwich!