Pinterest: I quit.
This started out as a Facebook status update (that I had the good sense not to post):
“Dude, I don’t know what caused my adversarial relationship with Pinterest, BUT: all of the “engagement announcement” and “Wedding announcement” and “baby announcement” ideas out there pretty much make me want to be obnoxiously contrary and not PUBLICIZE A DARN THING about any of my upcoming “life events.” Seriously — the exhibitionist attitude about staging and choreographing your life: it GETS MY FLIPPING IRE UP. And this is from me, who spends all day on the web. “
But it’s a larger sort of irk than that — it’s gone so far as to inspire me NOT to include photos of Mr Wonderful and me on our wedding invitation, it’s inspired me NOT to create baby announcements when the time comes (friends and family are the only folks who need to know, and they’ll know because I invite them to meet the little bundle of joy when I’m GOOD AND READY), inspired me to become MUCH more protected of the way I share info about my life (said the blogger who posts pictures of her living room. Right. I’m making a point. Semantics.).
Here’s the thing: people were no less happy, friends no less thrilled for one another, family no less in the loop, our clothes no less cute, our damn smokey eye makeup no less pretty back in the days BEFORE we realized we were supposed to ORCHESTRATE our entire life as though we’re living it on someone else’s computer screen, for someone else’s ENTERTAINMENT.
It’s worse than being self-conscious and doing a little photo-editing of a vacation picture before sharing it with that select group of randoms you went to college with a decade ago, it’s a complete suspension of INTIMACY, in favor of crafting a series of images and presentations about yourself with the express intent to IMPRESS other people, people cruising through the important moments of your life on their iPhones while in the slow line at the grocery store.
We’ve voluntarily become our own tabloid, publishing ourselves in series of images of increasing IN-AUTHENTICITY, living in an eerily future-obsessed void that doesn’t include any direct plans or goals or achievable mileposts, just a series of fantasy images we’re waiting for the perfect moment to document, Photoshop, and distribute to a choreography-hungry network of vague acquaintances we’re DESPERATE to impress.
I”m not alone, there are plenty of other folks out there who have (like me), deactivated their accounts. This sort of rambling, stream of consciousness account of PinteRage (heh.) pretty well nailed what I was thinking. Here, let’s excerpt her slightly more emotional reason for shutting herself off from the most negatively aspirational phenomenon of the year:
This morning at Women’s Bible Study, we were talking about how we should be grateful for what we have and realize how blessed we are. The author of the book study we’re going through briefly wrote about her short obsession with Pinterest and how she had to deactivate her account because all of the pinning she was doing was causing her to be super unhappy with her life. She was pinning pictures of things she’ll never afford and places she’ll never go and getting consumed by greed and dissatisfaction with her life.
I was like, WOAH.
I never ever even thought about it like that! I’m a pinner with the best of them. I pin tutorials, outfits, hairstyles, decorations, toddler activities and games, meals, etc. etc. I’ve always looked at Pinterest as a classroom. I’ve learned SO much because of it and become a pretty awesome cook and crafter and mom. I’ve found articles that have challenged me and uplifted me and frustrated me. I’ve learned so much about photography and business and blogging. I’ve never thought of Pinterest as a negative thing.
And then it hit me.
I DO get unsatisfied with things because of what I’ve seen on stupid pins. When I look at my house, I’m embarrassed because we can’t afford to decorate it the way I would like. I go to the store and see things that I’ve seen on blogs and get really frustrated because I can’t buy them. I struggle and try to justify buying it only to realize that I can’t spend the money and then I get angry. Not disappointed. ANGRY. Flat out TICKED OFF. I get mad at the world. I snap at my husband. I clean like a mad woman hoping to uncover some sort of hidden gem that will solve the drabness of my cozy little home that I love most days.
I look at pictures of gorgeous women in stylish clothes and feel sorry for myself because my clothing budget for the year wouldn’t even afford one of their shoes. I throw out clothes and then say, “Oh no. I got rid of all my clothes. I gave them to charity. Now I have to buy more. Darn…” And then I spend money that of course we’ve budgeted, but to buy clothes that really, I could do without. It’s shameful.
There are dangers to websites like Pinterest. If you’re not careful, it can lead to extreme dissatisfaction with your life. Which is unnecessary and poisonous. I’m ashamed of myself. I have more than a lot of people. I am incredibly, sufficiently blessed. I can’t believe that I’ve let myself be so….disgustingly human. How can I get jealous of other people when my life is so full? How can I be unsatisfied with the way my house looks when the people inside of it are my constant source of overwhelming joy? The things in my house aren’t fancy or impressive or trendy or cute. That bothers me a lot more than it should.
And, from an Evelina Barry post:
“OMG!!! did you find this on Pinterest?” Nope, actually found it on thebeautydepartment.com or other wonderful original content website/blog. What bugs me is people referencing Pinterest as the original source of where they found the content from. Nobody would ever say they found something on google images; then why say they found it on Pinterest? Giving proper credit is very important. Pinterest doesn’t own any of its content, therefore it shouldn’t be credited as a primary source.
Ditto that. Apparently there are a handful of us feeling silly for performing an “I hate Pinterest” Google image search, but we’re not flying completely solo.
And can I yell about something else?
I can buy my own damn nail polish colors without the help of some hand model holding the “hot winter Essie color” with a fancy manicure and perfect cuticles, thanks. I found polish colors I liked just fine BEFORE seeing the same blogger shot of fingers holding a polish bottle around every corner.
And for all of those shots of barely dressed girls with crazy-awesome abs pinned every 25 seconds: are we really spending any MORE time in the gym because we found some disordered eater’s Tumblr site that’s gone viral? Bet not.
Therefore: I shut down my account, confident in the fact that some combination of Google searching and MY OWN EFFING CREATIVITY will keep me from missing out on the next amazing way to make a Halloween-themed wreath or some fancy-pants homemade soap.
Also: when it’s time to walk down the aisle, or time to announce the bun in our oven, or time to document the birth of the baby, or time to buy some new art for the walls (YES, buy — I’m going to BUY some art, not convert a bed sheet and some Elmer’s glue into an amazing relief-map of the world), I’ll do it without the self-conscious sense that I should be making a larger PRODUCTION out of my life.
My life is not a production, its milestones not meant to be rolled out like a film premier, and its special moments need not be lived, breathed, arranged, visualized, or planned in a way that will photograph well for those special strangers on the internet.
And my damn nails will be just fine.
Snap out of it.
It’s okay to admit that we cook brownies from a pre-made mix.
It’s okay to have sloppy makeup.
It’s okay to have a disorganized pantry.
It’s okay not to know that our friends are mutilating their old sweaters to wear over (under, instead of) their boots.
It’s OKAY to just give birth to the child and make sure your mom has her phone handy, because we’re not going to need to splice pictures of our pregnancy test and the birth and our anniversary and our funeral together in a nice, tidy, postcard that gets framed and hung over our bed.
It’s okay to just skip the gym and not face a barrage of images of sweaty girls in booty shorts on the computer in the morning making us feel worse than our belly bloat already does on its own.
It’s okay to buy the sale laundry soap every now and then.
It’s okay to wear what you wore last winter. No sewing machine necessary. No absconding the husband’s polo to make into a peppy ballgown using just a pair of scissors and some sparkle yarn.
It’s okay to have a messy bathroom counter.
It’s okay to dress your kid in hand-me-downs.
It’s okay to eat a container of yogurt for breakfast instead of some crazy mason-jar oatmeal slop involving chia seeds and Nutella and raspberries you grew in your own back yard.
You get the idea.
Wouldn’t hurt for us to stop over-thinking the way we’re presenting/producing/choreographing/photographing/decorating our lives to people who don’t really give a flying Pop Tart anyway.