On Imperfection

I may have touched on a nerve with my last post. It seems there are those among you who find yourselves dejected by the throngs of lovely blogs in your readers. Some commenters wrote of feeling inadequate when comparing their lives to the pretty pictures all around them and rather than becoming inspired (which I truly believe to be the intention of the vast majority of the authors of such blogs) they feel paralyzed. (Note: that particular word may be my own personal interpretation.)

A few commenters wrote in defense of Martha Stewart and the role she has played in the resurgence of hand-crafting in our culture. It does seem clear that Ms. Stewart's media empire has helped popularize the concept of making things in a culture that previously reserved such pastimes for Amish women and grandmothers. (Some years ago, after investing as much money as I ever had in anything other than my home, and working countless hours away from my family, I'll never forget the sting of a comment from a twenty-something friend of a friend, when I told her that I owned a knitting shop: she said, in all sincerity, 'that's so cute'.)

Still others wrote of Ms. Stewart's impeccable design sense and the inspiration they draw from it. And I'll add here that I especially like the recipes in Everyday Food (a Martha Stewart publication). But the vast majority of the comments were of relief. Relief that they weren't the only one feeling such pressure to be perfect.

I realize that many of us who blog in public take part in furthering these ideals by posting only the lovely. For me, blogging is a very useful exercise in being mindful. It's not in my nature to stop and smell the pumpkin bread—I have to make a conscious effort to pause and be grateful. My natural inclination is to look at what's wrong and feel what's uncomfortable. (It's not a part of myself that I like.) And since beginning to look at my days as a series of moments and writing about them, feeling thankful and seeing the lovely has become much more organic, and for this I am very grateful.

So I find myself torn between the desire to capture the best of my moments and continue blogging in this vein, and a desire to be more authentic. It is in this spirit that I'm launching a new series that I'm thinking of calling 'less-than-perfect' but I'm open to suggestions. I'd love if you played along and posted photos of finding beauty in the midst of your day. If there is enough interest I'll put up a page linking to your sites and it's my guess that we'll come through the process feeling less pressure to be perfect—at least, I hope so.