Real Is Better Than Perfect

But it doesn’t get as many Instagram likes.


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There’s lots of talk lately about Instagram and what it encourages: perfectly styled photos, standing on chairs to take a photo of your food and selfies for days. I would say it bothers me 10% of the time.

I jump on Instagram or Bloglovin’ and many of my peers are renovating homes, re-designing every room in the house and somehow all of them have the most amazing natural light. Then I look up from my phone and at our home, the duct tape keeping our AC window units working, the fact that I never have steamed out the creases in our Target curtains or the fact that our kitchen floor always looks dirty and think, “Oh my gosh. When are we going to be able to upgrade this shit!?”

Or there are the days where we eat Chipotle every night for dinner and I see all these beautifully styled (okay…too styled) plates of fresh, CSA meals being prepared by fellow bloggers across the country.

That’s 10% of the time. The rest of the time I’m just submerged deep into The Wonder Jam, side projects, collaborating with my friend across the country, photographing the beautiful people in my life or sleeping. I love how cheap our rent is. I’m proud of how long I can go without doing my hair. I love other people who are down-to-earth + real. I admire those who aren’t using social media.

But I’m all about Instagram as my happy/visual place. I love the perfectly styled photos and the selfies where you feel beautiful. Plus, people can do whatever they want. Less judging! Just know that my feed (or this blog) isn’t my whole life. It’s a small snippet and it’s a space where I see beauty in the life that I’m creating. But damn, my life is usually a mess. And I’m cool with that.


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Comments (45)

  • Haha, this is a great reminder that no one’s perfect, no matter how styled or perfectly lit their instagram photos are :) If I posted a photo of myself right now, people may say, “who is that crazy homeless lady?”

  • I agree with you so much. When I first started using Instagram about a year ago I would see gorgeous feeds, but I would want to share pictures of my real life and thinks that were happening not just staged things. Now I look at those feeds and I am like wow nothing is real and it’s all so fake where is anything natural happening?

    • Totally! My husband shared such interesting things + quirky moments in life and I love it. It’s not “perfect” visually but so much more interesting!!

  • I completely agree. Thanks for acknowledging that. Instagram, Pinterest, and social media only give a tiny snippet into our lives and might give the impression that life is perfect, but its not! I still think its great for visual inspiration but its something we all need to keep in mind especially because “comparison is the thief of joy”.

    • Exactly! I have to step away from it all when I start feeling jealous. Can’t have that in my life!

  • This, absolutely. I feel weird sharing my not-so-perfect life sometimes, but I know that people want to see real. But they also want to see perfection. I think that’s why a lot of people DO go on social media (mainly Instagram and Pinterest). It’s a way to escape their own life, but in no way are we trying to pretend that our lives are perfect. We just…are. And I think people appreciate that.

    • Totally agree. People definitely use it as an escape (I do!) but it’s awesome when people are real and sharing their story…

  • LOVE this – and I completely agree. Instagram is my happy place, but kind of like a Disneyworld. I also always try to guess the number of takes it took to create the perfect selfie. My running guess is approximately 3-4.

    • Haha LOVE that. Instagram is the internet Disney. It takes me like 10 tries with a selfie. I fail so hard haha.

  • I couldn’t agree more. We al stage our lives from time to time for social media and maybe also to make ourselves feel better because we get to hide the mess we call our lives :)

  • For me, of course life is messy (as I type this I’m staring at a not yet assembled dresser I found on craigslist, three suitcases full (exploding with clothes) on the floor because I just moved (… a month ago)), but if you look at my instagram, it appears my life is pulled together. For me it isn’t about appearing ‘perfect’ it is about finding those beautifully perfected moments amidst a chaotic life.

    • I totally agree, Juliette. I love finding the beauty in midst of the chaos. I need that to feel sane!!

  • (also, I feel you on the hair thing, I love when I can go 4 days without having to touch it! hehe)

  • Absolutely love what you’re saying here! sometimes i can feel just the same like geeze… this crappy old stained white countertop in our rental. everyone has pretty kitchens. but then i have to remind myself i can do a few quick little things, always, to make it look nicer if i wanted to, and like you, i love our cheap rent and that it’s allowing us to save up for bigger things. another thing i love about instagram is how i can hone on the little beauty around me and appreciate it, like my sweet kitty sitting by my feet under my desk, rather than the rest of the clutter under there : ).

    • Aw I love this! And your attitude. That’s how I feel. Beauty is always there. But I feel ya with the rental kitchen. We have like ZERO counter space and our cabinets are gross. But I love the little nook in the corner and how I hang my pots and pans up above!

  • Can I just say ‘co-sign’? I kind of love a world where people are sharing their happy, fun things. It certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have issues…we clearly all do…but I’m thrilled to be sharing in the good stuff.

  • You know, I honestly don’t think it’s possible for creatives to have a “neat” workspace. I thrive in my creative mess at times, haha! I love all the pictures of beautifully styled things, and when I take them and step back, I see the mess where it came from and smile. I love it! (Note: Until I have to clean it…)

    Happy Monday!

  • I sometimes can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of visualizing someone taking a photo standing on a chair of their table. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but that’s going a bit overkill. When I’m in the middle of a meal I think I’d be totally rude to say, hold up! No one touch your food. Everyone prop your sunglasses perfectly. I need to stand on a chair and take an instagram.

    I’m 100% sure people would look at me like I’m nuts, and rightly so. I think when the composition of your Instagram photos starts to conflict with your actual LIFE…that’s when you have a problem ;)


    • LOL! So true. I thought about putting up fun graphics or photos with the text, “My food got cold because of this photo” or something like that.

  • Ha, my bed literally looks exactly like that right now, except with three dogs and two cats on it. Sometimes social media makes me with I was more ‘together’ – that I was the kind of person who made the bed and put on makeup every day, but if I did that, i wouldn’t have time to be making all sorts of amazing things with you!

    • EXACTLY!! xoxo I love that – I usually look at the pile of clothes near my bed and think, “Hey if I had put all of these away and ironed…I wouldn’t have had time to collaborate, cook or read!”

  • Hahahaa this is all so true.. My bed generally resembles the first photo but yeh if I was to share it on Instagram I’d definitely give it a tidy first. Ohhh the things we do for likes.. I’ve seen people in cafes trying so hard to get fancy shots of their food, way too funny!

    • It’s one of the funnier things to observe. I’m sure I’m guilty of it too. Although I’m usually sort of embarrassed and snap something out of focus.

  • Haha agreed! You and I have the same bedspread and I thought, man I should probably make my bed but that’s the way we think sometimes when we see other things on Instagram. It’s important to make note that no one is capturing or sharing their entire lives via social media which is awesome. I love knowing what small snippets people choose to share with me and it makes me more excited to get to know them more! :) Also, there’s totally no limit on the amount of nights you can have Chipotle for dinner, just saying. ;)

    • Haha yep and the one day I took a photo of my bed made it was because our cleaning lady did it and she only comes once a month :D Also, yes to your Chipotle comment. soooo gooood.

  • This x100! So many people believe instagram stylized photos to be someone’s real life and to me, that’s just crazy. We are all guilty of these photos, but it’s always good to remind people to come back to Earth.

  • I love this post! While I do style pictures for instagram or my blog, it truly is a VERY small snippet of my life. My real life looks like dust, too much crap on our kitchen table, baby spit up, and unwashed and unbrushed hair. Hollaaaa.

  • Ali – I’m super late to this post, but it’s so funny that I read it today as I went out to a used bookstore with my family, and while I was there I took a photo from above of all the isles. After we got home I went to edit + post, and thought, “This is too ugly to share.” What a thought. Granted, it really wasn’t that great of a photo, but who really cares?

    I found myself caught up in the perfect styling of photos, most with white backgrounds a few months back and realized it’s just silly. I felt frustrated when I wanted to share a photo that didn’t “fit” with my feed, and I decided to just screw it! I’ve gotten back to sharing more personal images – even if they aren’t “perfect”. Instagram has always been one of the spaces I’ve always shared a more personal look into my life ( I think it’s that way for most of us ), and there’s no use in so strictly curating it. I still “style” some images; I’d like to say that’s because of a mild case of OCD.

    Anyway – here’s to more REAL and less perfect!

    • That is SO me. I deal with this too. I love instagram accounts that are beautiful but I also love ones that tell REAL stories. Totally feel ya and am trying to do the same.

  • This is a real and beautiful description of the place I am at with Instagram, as well. Glad to see there are others out there than feel and do the same.

  • This is so true! I laught about hashtag #liveauthentic, which isn’t authentic at all. If you live authentic, you don’t need any hashtag at all!

  • (A little late to the party. You must get this all the time, where someone discovers your posts months after the posting of said post.)

    I love your honesty. I took a selfie the other day as I switched to a cold-weather hat and put it up on Instagram with a funny caption. Everyone else seems to do it and enjoys it, why can’t I? Well, I’ll tell you why. I couldn’t leave it there. I couldn’t stomach waiting for the Likes to come, or, really, NOT to come. I deleted it 10 minutes later. I can post illustrations I’ve done, life photos, and it doesn’t bother me. A full-on selfie, and I can’t stand it. Unless it was Halloween.

    I need to be much less judgey of myself and stop hiding.

    • It’s okay. I’m always late the party. Literally I’m always late or I just become interested in something like Harry Potter 2094 years later.

      Anyways – I feel ya. It’s hard putting yourself out there. Sometimes it’s a selfie. Sometimes it’s work we create. Sometimes it’s blogging. But you shouldn’t judge yourself. Everyone secretly loves selfies.

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