Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reality

The online world is a funny thing. It allows us to put on a front, to pretend to be someone we're not. To only share and gloat about the good things in life ("I just L<3VE Starbucks! My nails are all different colors! Had a great time at the movies tonight! I'm eating tortilla chips and dark chocolate-- I'm so random!") and only hint at the dirty bits if we want attention. Usually this is subconsciously unintentional, but it does shape the way we interact and share our lives online.

I've seen so many blog posts (btw, I haven't kept up with blogs for several weeks, so please don't think I'm talking about you, cause I'm not) that basically say, "Truth is, I want to be me, and not this post-cranking robot anymore! So I'm going to start posting random stuff that makes me happy, because this is, afterall, my blog."
This is great, I'm glad people are realizing that the pride of putting on a front is not healthy. That living to be praised and liked by others can zap all joy from life. I've struggled with being liked and accepted a lot in real life, so I understand that it feels good to be "popular." I also know how it feels to totally not fit in, have a friend, or feel wanted.

You know what? God doesn't call us to be popular. He doesn't give a command, "Go forth and make friends!" He says we will have enemies. He says we will not be popular, for His sake. When we stand for what is right, when we dress in ways or act in ways that aren't exactly normal, we will probably be looked at weirdly. It'll take longer for others to realize that we are just like them. We'll be called goody-two-shoes. We'll be accused of legalism. The list goes on and on. We shouldn't shirk from this.

But, on the other hand, we aren't called to be hermits. God calls us to live in communion, in like-mindedness, of one accord with those in our lives. We need to strive to live in peace and show one another love. When we live in community, in close relationships (think family, church friends, best friends) with other believers, there is much less room for this online "I'm so awesome" front to appear. They see your faults. They know that your life is so much less glamorous than you make it appear on your blog.Your little sister writes, "You need to make your bed" on your facebook timeline.

I met a couple readers of my blog last week in Iowa. I came away from my conversations with those folks wondering, "Am I a totally different person online? Am I real?" And yes, even, "Do they like me in person as much as they like me online?"

Shirt: Thrift store, taken in
Tank: JCPenny's
Skirt: Made by me
Flip flops: Old Navy
Earrings: Walmart

I'm so thankful to have my close friends and neighbors reading my blog. I know that if I post an outfit I totally wouldn't wear in real life, they'll call me out on it. My standards can't change just because it is pictures and not real life. I've walked into my pastor's house late at night and been greeted with, "Where'd your belt go that you were wearing on your blog this morning?" :P My friends are so sweet to comment in person about something they saw "on the blog." It makes me feel less like I'm living two different lives. :)

My hope has always been to be real to y'all. To not appear perfect, holier-than-thou, or I-have-it-all-together. I'm not, I don't. I want to bring y'all along on this crazy journey called life and encourage you while I'm at it. Like you're one of my sisters, doing stuff together-- dressing in each other's clothes, driving down the road yelling out our favorite songs, getting grease on our skirts. Preaching doesn't change lives as much as a living example. I'm human, but I serve an awesome God, who will use my fallibleness for His glory, I hope.

However, I know y'all don't come to my fashion blog to see my dirty laundry. It's not the place of this blog to confess that I yelled at my siblings when they dumped cheddar cheese all over the floor a minute ago. My hope is to encourage by real-life, practical example that modesty, femininity, and fun are not just heady, heart concepts, but ways of life. They can be effortless expressions of His work in your life.

Thanks for watching this little train of thought go past.  I guess it was sparked by me sitting in the movie theater last night with a headache, dirty feet, and stuffy nose, waiting for The Avengers to start. I was introduced to Johanna (HI!), a blog reader, sitting three seats down, and realized... everything looks so much cooler online (queue Brad Paisley song). Y'all can't tell by my body language when I have a headache through pictures. You can't see me miserably rubbing my eyes when the lawnmower goes past. You can't tell that I turned to the left for these pictures because I had tractor grease on the right side of my skirt. I'm always so humbled by your sweet comments, and I apparently felt led to make sure y'all know I have freckles and acne and bug bites all over me. ;) :D


How do y'all deal with the online/real life gap? Thanks for staying with me while I figure it out. :)

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 P.S. Because I do live in the real world and this week has been crazy and only promises to get crazier, I'm skipping the Q&A post that was due this week and hopefully I'll have another one ready by next Monday or Tuesday. :)


23 comments :

  1. cute outfit and hair! I think you do a pretty good job of being real online!!!!! I also think it is great that you are going to post random stuff that makes you happy! You are real encouragement that real life, practical, modesty and feminity can be a way of life! You encourage me that regularly wearing skirts on a farm and looking cute can be done! Please pray for our family tomorrow! I can't tell you why, just pray!
    Love, Katie

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    1. Well, actually, that random stuff thing was in quotes saying that that's what people say-- I'm not actually going to start doing that because this is a *fashion* blog, not a "Olivia's spill time" blog. :)
      I'll be praying for y'all and I'll try to reply to your emails soon. :) <3

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    2. my bad. didn't see that. Thanks for praying!!!!!
      Love, Katie

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  2. Thanks so much for reminding us to be ourselves.... I am guilty of putting up that fake front from time to time worried that maybe people won't like reading my blog if I am just myself... I needed that encouragement! :) I love your blog! And yes... right now I realized that I have not brushed my frizzy hair once today, but have kept it in a braid all day long... lol...

    Becca

    rebeccahowsleyphotography.blogspot.com

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  3. You're so sweet, Olivia! And this post was right on. It's very true that we all, to some extent, put on a front that we want others to see online.

    And I have to be honest, because I know you'll take it the right way. When I first saw you last week, I was intimidated by your beauty and was hesitant to approach you. So I was very glad when you sat with us over dinner and broke down my first impression (I mean, you're still beautiful, but you get what I mean). :) I think we are all different in writing and appearance than we are on closer acquaintance, and it's so important to be real to others and honest when we have normal, everyday faults and shortcomings. :)

    Thank you for your refreshing posts!

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    1. Aw, Jennifer! You're sweet. And you're right- we are all different in different forms. Sometimes this can be a good thing, and sometimes a bad thing. :P I always thought I would like you in person, but my suspicions were definitely confirmed! I didn't know you had a blog until this comment, and I just spent some time perusing it... you're even more charming online than you are in person! (take that the right way, please... ;)) *grin*
      Here's to being real, happy people! :D Thanks for the comment. :)

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  4. You are just the sweetest. I show my daughter - who is 8 - your blog so she can see how to dress like a young lady. You are such a good role model for younger girls. Thank you for your posts!

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  5. I have been noticing those posts, as well. I'm glad that so many people are realizing this and I hope that they won't forget.
    My mom reads my blog so that helps me because one time I posted about needing to spend less time on the computer. A few days later, she said to me after I had been on the computer for almost two hours, "I read on your blog that you want to cut down on your computer time." Reality check! I'm so grateful for moments like those. But you're right - there are differences between being real and dumping dirty laundry.
    Thank you for how honest you are!

    Blessings,
    Emily.

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  6. Hi Olivia,
    Just wanted to drop a note and thank you for this post. It's so hard sometimes to just be ourselves around others, to show that we truly are real people with real lives and real problems. I run into this at church a lot, because people often think that our family "has it all together" --- several kids; well behaved, polite, helpful, etc. --- but they don't realize that we aren't always on our "best behavior."
    You're a great girl, so pretty too, and I just love your blogs! They are my absolute favorites!
    Katherine

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  7. Excellent post, Olivia! I so enjoy reading your blog. :) It's always been a priority for me to act online as I would in person. There has to be a balance--good things, not so good things, all with the mindset of encouraging others. Something I feel like I sound negative--but really, I just want to share my heart, give wisdom, and gain wisdom. I've met such nice ppls through blogging!

    But anyway. Being oneself is SO important. It's awful meeting an online friend irl, and they are totally different from what you imagined. That has happened to me. ie--someone who is really outgoing online, but really very quiet [in person.] Or vice versa. You get the idea. o.O

    Anyway. It's not all about cotton-candy and cute puppy dogs. . .it's easy to hide behind a computer screen.

    Keep up the good work!

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  8. So true! This is a great reminder for bloggers--I need to remember this.

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  9. I love you sista. (With all you dirty laundry... probably because you wash both yours and mine. :-P) You have a gift for putting you thoughts into words dear. I love reading your inkling-posts, they encourage me so much 'cuz even though we live in the same house, you don't exactly walk around spouting your ruminations as eloquently as you do online. :-)

    ~Your Sister Emma

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  10. I have been thinking about this and was very encouraged by this post :) Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I loved this post Olivia! My dear friend Rose pretty much only posts on my blog now, I just post when I can, but I try not to stray too much from my real self on my blog. I am just as feisty and opinionated in real life as I am on my blog. Maybe a bit more toned down when I first meet you though. ;)

    Keep up the great work. You are a blessing to all of us and you sure do inspire me to wear skirts more often!! :)

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  12. Awesome post Olivia! So true. I don't really have an online life, but I sometimes struggle with trying to fit in by wearing the right clothes, or saying the right thing. I always have to remind myself that God doesn't judge us by our clothes, and we shouldn't be trying to get other peoples attention by trying to be "perfect".

    Abby

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  13. Olivia,

    I have immensely enjoyed your blog ever since I found it a few weeks ago! I have been regularly blogging since 2009, so I have definitely grappled with the question of transparency, reality, and privacy online. Of course, the internet is very entertainment-driven, and therefore--just like T.V., novels, and movies--is a suspension of reality. But when that suspension of reality unites with someone's reality, you end up with a very strange dichotomy that can range from something as dishonest as reality television to something as disgustingly honest as bathroom events (twitter, anyone?).

    Of course, I think neither you nor I view our blogs as solely "entertainment," but as mission-fields, social networking mediums, and means of expression. And though we strive to be real and honest, we have to protect our privacy to an extent and also have the benefit of practicing what our Mamas drilled into us all our lives: thinking before we speak. ;-) In the real world, you get me straight and unfiltered: ums, clothing wrinkles, offenses, and all. In the virtual world, you (usually) get me as I try to be in reality--no ums, and Lord-willing, fewer wrinkles and offenses. Praise God for the opportunity to pause (and get a second opinion) before pressing "publish"!

    I look forward to getting to know you and your online reality, and am excited that, even if our paths never cross in real life, we will meet and embrace in heaven.

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  14. This is really, really good. I often protray myself online as someone I'm not. So thank you so much for this :) I have never met you in real life, so I am not sure whether or not you are different on the blogger world, but I am pretty sure you are the same =D

    ~Molly~
    mollyslittlecorner.blogspot.com

    P.S. It's OK to yell at your siblings for spilling chese on the floor... I yelled at my brother yesterday for doing my morning chore... Which, now as I look at that, I should have been thankful...

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing! You really got my brain rolling! :) It made me stop and really think about this. Very inspirational! :)Love how you made your skirt!

    Check out my blog http://fashionableinspirations.blogspot.com/

    ~Primrose >.<

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  16. I love that outfit and I have a question, how did you do the hem and pockets on your skirt, I know you said you don't really use a pattern, so how'd you do it?

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    1. The hem I folded under 1/2" then again 1.5", wore it for 8 months, and then let the hem out. :D The pockets I have a tute for here: http://workingwitheagerhands.blogspot.com/2011/07/denim-skirt-pockets-tutorial.html

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  17. Aghhh, I know what you mean. I'm afraid that a lot of times I much more introverted in real life... And on the internet I tend to be more !!friendly!! or something. ;) I think the way I am on the internet is "real", but until I know people better in real life, it doesn't tend to show.

    You were a little quieter when I met you then I had imagined, but not where I was turned off or thought that you were acting fake online. :) Thanks for your thoughts and honesty; it's a good topic to remind myself of. =)

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  18. Ya, i agree that we should live in one acord, but remember that when paul said that he was talking about other believers. If we really stand for the cross we will not be popular.

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  19. This is a wonderful post, Olivia. Thank you so much for sharing :)!

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Fresh Modesty is fashion blog which encourages girls to "Dress outside your box, but inside His Book!" I allow anonymous comments so those without accounts can comment, but I would really appreciate it if you would identify yourself by some form of a name. :) Thank you for taking the time to comment!