Putting oneself out there on the internet is both wonderful and awful. The wonderful aspects are constant exposure to new ideas and connecting with like-minded people who I otherwise may never meet in real life. Both help me live a more creative and intentional life. The inspiring women I’ve met through Instagram and my website serve as a sounding board for all things motherhood, the business of blogging, and how to juggle careers in healthcare on top of everything else. The awful aspects are judgmental or assuming remarks from people who really don’t know me. (Yes, I wore workout clothes to the dentist! Yes, I am grateful for my children even though I said I am exhausted!) I get it, Instagram makes things look fab and rosy. It is the nature of a visual world filled with beautiful images. I also fall prey to the shiny lives of those I follow who seem to truly have it all despite knowing that no one has it all. One blogger I follow put it perfectly when she said “These [Instagram] squares are drops of water in the ocean that is our life.”
“I choose to showcase the things that I do because it is my way of making the most out of a difficult phase of life.”
The reality is I am not going to share the depths of certain issues I experience that eat me up daily, like estranged and draining familial relationships or the loss of friendships. Doing so would obviously not be respectful to those people. I also cannot share the difficult patients I work with or trying students I teach. There are laws against that! What is important to remember is that nobody’s life is perfect; We are all fighting our own fight. I choose to put a portion of myself out there because the connection I feel to others in doing so is more important than the naysayers. I choose to showcase the things that I do because it is my way of making the most out of a difficult phase of life. I choose to emphasize things that bring me joy in order to distract from the sadness I feel after a difficult day, either working with sick children, just living in Alaska, or needing a break from parenting a highly emotional, very challenging toddler. These past 3 years have been impossibly difficult for me through the death of my dad, postpartum depression that nearly swallowed me whole, a brush with thyroid cancer, living in Alaska, the loss of our beloved dogs, losing friendships that I thought would last forever, and navigating an entirely new life in motherhood. (Ugh does that sound like a country song? Good thing Nate still has his truck.) My life is not perfect. I struggle every day. I know few people who could withstand the culmination of these events without some sort of outlet. This blog is my outlet.
“Outfits, my favorite local bakery, and bits of motherhood do not represent the depths of my soul.”
The point of this is not to garner pity. Really. It’s to encourage certain people to shift gears and consider a different way of thinking. Outfits, date nights, recipes, my favorite local bakery, and bits of motherhood may seem trivial. I get it, they can be at times compared to the huge, big, horrible things happening in this country and this world. However to assume these bits of life represent the depths of my soul is simply ignorant. I do know the true ache of watching helplessly as someone you love loses their life. I understand the helplessness of working with children who have terminal illnesses or debilitating disabilities. I work to serve the impoverished and vulnerable while the government attempts to take their services away. I have felt the deep, painful burn of lifelong friendships lost. My husband and I argue. (Side note: did you know parents often report statistically significantly lower levels of happiness?) My children misbehave. I struggle with my weight and appearance. I am isolated from my family. My life is not perfect.
“I am doing it to show my daughters that a happy life is not accidentally stumbled upon.”
But, it is beautiful and I am so blessed to live this life. It is a messy, chaotic life filled with very high highs and very low lows. It has taken twists and turns that I never saw coming. This, as in pearls on a string and the social media channels necessary to sustain this website, is my attempt to make the most of it. I do not always enjoy living in Alaska, so I find small businesses here that I love in order to focus on the good and embed myself in the community because making these connections makes me feel at home. I miss my old life in Maryland every single day. I miss my friends and family outside of Alaska every single day. Writing pearls on a string and connecting with people on Instagram is my way to see the silver lining. It is how I am surviving this phase in my life. So, yes, sharing a sale on booties or complaining about a lack of sleep seems superficial. But remember– I am doing this for me. (I love that you are reading this, too.) I am doing it to show my daughters that a happy life is not accidentally stumbled upon, it is cultivated with intention and hard work to see the beauty in the struggle. The struggle is part of the story. And part of the struggle is finding coping mechanisms.
“A mother should never feel badly about creatively building a work/life balance that she desires.”
Now after spending time working full-time out of the house, I am more driven to create a business in which I can spend as much time as possible at home with my daughters. pearls on a string is a fun hobby but it is also a way to pay my student loan bills (hopefully, one day…). I do not feel badly about that nor should any mother feel badly about creatively building a work/life balance that she desires.
So. This is how I make the most of it. I am trying to turn lemons into lemonade.
And it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Also kindness never goes out of style:) Thank you for reading!