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Getting Real on the Internet

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If we are friends on Facebook, I owe you an apology of sorts. A few weeks ago, the night of Christmas Eve, I posted the following on Facebook. Accept my apology now, I’ll make my excuses in a bit. So along with this picture of my three boys dressed in matching blue Oxford shirts and suit jackets, all smiling adorably in front of the tree, this is what I posted:

3 Boys Xmas

“We’ve had our Christmas miracle! Managed to get the boys to do a video to mail Grandma in Arizona that included trumpet, violin and harmonica solos, the first EVER recording of the Rolstad boys SINGING, and they even got dressed up! Alleluia!”

It was probably three days before I reflected on that post and realized how COMPLETELY over-the-top nauseating it may have read to some. Trumpet solos? Seriously? It could easily be interpreted as just another polished-for-the-interwebs overly shiny and somewhat fake post that we find ourselves hating when done by others.

Social media posts like that can make us feel bad about ourselves, make us hate our lame vacations to the Sock Museum, hate our spouses for not buying us diamond-encrusted cars for Christmas, and even tempt us into embellishing our own posts to compete with the virtual Jones’.

But here’s the deal. We also need to remember to give each other grace, because I truly didn’t realize how overly precious that post could sound when I wrote it because here’s what my Facebook friends didn’t know:

1. on the other side of the camera? I was getting over the flu, generally cranky and phlegmy. I was gross.

2. My boys had been wearing their footie pajamas until I made them do this video. Even though it was like 3 in the afternoon. OK, it was later than that.

3. They were all wearing jeans with those suit jackets. Two of them were wearing visibly dirty jeans.

4. They were all barefoot.

5. None of them were initially too excited about being pulled away from TV shows and computer games. (I had the flu, ok? Mama has to do what mama has to do when mama has the flu and there are three of you.* We had a very electronically intensive Christmas break. Oh, well.) The oldest visibly pouted through much of the video.

6. All of those instrumental solos? Well. Said eldest somehow managed to look grumpy while playing his trumpet, the violin solo was a simple scale, and the harmonica solos were two songs completely made up by the 7-year-old, who does not know how to play the harmonica. (They did sound the same every time he played his “songs”, amazingly.)

7. Video of them singing was a big deal. I have not had the glorious experiences of friends who put their precious wee ones in the church kids’ choir, and beamed with pride as they performed for their church family. My youngest two flatly refused to participate after absorbing the misery caused to their oldest brother. He wouldn’t sing in choir practices because he “didn’t know the songs” (hey, perfectionist introvert child I do not get – hello? that’s how you LEARN the song???) He finished one of his only performances sitting on the floor in silent protest, as everyone around him stood and sang. He had begun the performance with a full minute of shooting death rays at my head from his eyes and making violent chopping motions at me with his hands. In front of everyone. He was 5. The three have not ever sang together, really, until this Christmas Eve afternoon.

See? It really was a miracle. A messy, imperfect, disorganized miracle. But in my virally induced state, I didn’t think to make the context clear, so it could have been perceived like a pretentious braggy mama post. Well, anyone who knows my family very well probably assumed at least 4 of the 7  points above, so they knew, but if you didn’t know me well…..I wouldn’t blame you for rolling your eyes.

So while I don’t normally jump on a bandwagon created by a corporate entity, I thought it was perfect timing to do this post today. One of my favorite magazines, Real Simple, has declared this week to be Get Real on the Internet Week. It’s all about “down with fakebooking”, and up with sharing more of who we really, authentically are with each other. Those who want to sign up get fun challenges all week, including today’s challenge: “Meals can’t always be gourmet. Show off your botched dinner, junk food, or sad sandwich.”

I’m taking a different tack, however. Partly as penance for my potentially pretentious post (nothing more fun than some good ol’ alliteration), and partly because I need to GET ON TOP OF THE CLUTTER ALREADY, I’m going to post one “before” photo of a different horrible and horribly true spot in my house every day this week. The following day I will have hopefully cleaned it up and can show you the “after” picture. Before and after pictures are fun, right? Hopefully, the public pressure of sharing my mess will help motivate me to clean it up, one trouble spot at a time.

If not, it will at least give you the chance to feel better about yourself, looking at what a bad housekeeper I am. (Warning – if you are a true neatnik, you should probably avert your eyes. My disorganized mess may give you hives or something.)

Ready for picture one? In the interest of  getting real, being authentic and motivating myself, here it comes………………I call this:

The Dumping Spot Next to the Sink

Why does this spot ALWAYS look like this? Such a small spot, SO MUCH crap.

Why does this spot ALWAYS look like this? Such a small spot, SO MUCH crap.

OK, Interwebs, we’re getting real. Tomorrow, the “after” version of this spot, and a new spot to make you shake your  head and wonder how I can be such a mess. See you tomorrow!

Oh, and want to join me in my quest? Go for it! Share your spots in the comments, or tell me how you’re being real on the Internet!

*Ha! I wrote a funny poem! If I was artsy, I would design a cute word graphic out of this and post it on Facebook, or maybe needlepoint it onto a pillow and then Pin it on Pinterest…..oh, wait.

16 responses »

  1. I don’t think you either fakebook or bragbook. You give a full description of life–if anything, you tell stories at your expense more than is probably needed.
    It is a fine line to walk. I’m likely on the wrong side of it more than I should be.

    Here’s my realbook of the day–I just went to 4 hours of belly dance classes and my body feels as if it had been run over by a truck. And right now I’m eating cheese. Just cheese.

    • But what a beautiful day when you can get a fabulous workout and then eat CHEESE. Cheese is a magical, royal food. I could never, ever, ever give it up. Enjoy the cheese! And thanks for the comment!

  2. I guess sometimes Tara we need to fake it to get along in our day. Oh boy if I showed images of us on FB which is rare any given day, they would be minuscule moments of madness lol. I love your dumping station…we all have one and when it gets down to real life we all have messy moments, my blog is usually about the inspiration I can scrape out of the bottom of the barrel after a challenging day. We as mamma’s gotta do whats right for our own in the end…loved your post. I have let the kids loose on mine..its a crazy life!

    • Miniscule moments of madness – what a great turn of phrase. That’s a good day for us, I think, we usually fall between mega moments of madness and a mediocre medium of madness. Thanks for the comment, and keep doin’ what’s right, mama!

  3. I saw the post on FB and thought, “Awwww.” Now if you only ever posted posts like that I might have been nauseous, but you don’t. It never even crossed my mind to roll my eyes or be nauseous.

    My now 18 year old son liked kid’s choir as much as yours did. I think he still has PTSD flashbacks.

  4. Pingback: Getting Real and Getting Uncluttered, day 2 | Tara Talks Too Much

  5. Love this! I’ve made an instagram project out of being real on the internet…I post pictures of the disasters in my home with four little kids.

  6. beckycastlemiller

    This is great! Love the cat collar. I made an Instagram project out of being real on the internet. All the crazy disasters in my home with four little kids and two cats.

  7. You had me at decluttering project 😉

    • I know, I know! You are my minimalist inspiration. I think it’s who I want to be, who I would most enjoy being, but it’s having the discipline to get there from here…..

      • It’s a lifelong process (but not in an ominous, oppressive sense). Actually, doing a project like you’re doing – with some friends, and sharing before and after pictures – was one of my main motivators/starting points for becoming a serious minimalist. It was so satisfying and addicting that I just had to continue! Paper clutter is still my arch nemesis, and flat surfaces are the silent, insidious enemy!

      • Well, Rosie, I’m definitely committed to it, but I do think I’ll need more sparkly things at the end to feel good about it. 🙂 But I’m having fun, and the commitment in my head to post about it has made it actually happen! Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. Pingback: Getting Real and Getting Uncluttered, day 3 | Tara Talks Too Much

  9. Pingback: Getting Real and Getting Uncluttered, day 4 | Tara Talks Too Much

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