Social media and transparency. Let’s talk about it. Shall we? But before we get into all of that, let me first share the happy-go-lucky lifestyle fluff.
Yesterday I was living the homesteader’s dream. It was a peculiar day of storm clouds and sunshine, rainbows and country air perfumed with the sweet citrus scent of magnolias in full bloom. The heavens above were torn between a desire to break loose, drown the earth, bring rage to the rivers and roar to the sea. Or to simply stay silent and pour rays of warm sunshine onto the growing vegetation below.
It happens like this every year, weird weather ushers in the beginning of those long summer days. Yet for some reason, it always feels a bit surprising. I know it’s coming. But as summer truly settles in, I find myself pondering when exactly the lime green tender sprouts of spring transitioned to lush forest floors and the world around us became devoured by tangled vines cloaked in dancing leaves. It’s a phenomenon. Yet at the same time, not at all.
We ventured down to the coops early in the morning to peek in on our 4 broody Bantam hens, patiently sitting on a stack of 20+ eggs for many days on end. My heart split wide open when I laid eyes on a few softly tweeting, fuzzy baby chicks cozied up beneath their Mama’s protective wings. The mother hens growled at me, tucking their babies tightly beneath them. Clearly they wished to enjoy their new little brood in peace. I honored their pleas for privacy. After all, I know that feeling of new Motherlove and the desire for comfort and connect during those first days of baby bliss.
I spent hours day dreaming of moments just like this long before we moved to the country to begin our hobby farm life. My visions of birthdays on the homestead have actually become a reality. It feels good.
We tossed new bedding into the run for all of our meat birds. We filled up their waterers and fed them icy cold watermelon rinds and table scraps from last night’s dinner. They are ready for harvest. The perfect size, actually. It makes for a dirty, long and difficult day. It’s hard work and it’s emotionally taxing. Simply put, it’s not easy to take the life of any creature. Especially those you’ve cared for and talked to and watched grow before your very eyes. And let’s face it, it shouldn’t be easy. This is a way of living that causes my yogi friends to question my character and my non-yogi friends to question my sanity. But for me, it’s as primal as my engrained sense of knowing that it’s best to leave the Bantam hens alone in their Motherlove magic. It’s the cycle of life. I believe that. And I try to carry that belief system with humility and grace, despite the outside noise it often provokes from the world around me. My freezer will soon be stocked with nutritious sustenance for my family, raised right here, by my own hand, before my own eyes. To me, that is a worthy endeavor.
We headed down to the garden and harvested our first batch of green beans, dug up a few small potatoes and cut scallion bunches for last night’s dinner. We admired the tomatoes fattening up on the vine and the cucumbers, zucchini and cabbage growing larger with each passing day. On our walk back to the house, I cut some flowers and collected all of the fresh eggs for our breakfast.
Gardens, eggs, flowers, roosters, hens, baby chicks and accomplishments. Proud accomplishments. Mind’s eye born into reality, right here via perpetual day dreaming, hard work and love. It all looks just as wonderful as it sounds. And for that reason, I gathered all of my treasures together – my eggs and potatoes, green beans and flowers. I lovingly set them up in a colorful, proud display on my countertop and captured a charming collection of homegrown goodness in one delightful snapshot.
Then, I felt silly.
Why? Why did I feel compelled to take time out of my day to admire this (albeit lovely) display with the intentions of sharing it with all of you? Not everyone does this sort of thing. But I do.
So, what makes any of us feel a desire to take bits and pieces of our day and offer it up to the world at large? Better yet, why didn’t I feel compelled to share a photo of our clogged toilet last week? Why don’t I pop into the girl’s bedrooms and snap a pic of the 10-mile-high mountain of dirty laundry in their closets? Why do I only tend to share the goodness, the pretty, the accomplishments?
I had to sit with this contemplation for a while last night. I had to ask myself if I’m sharing beautiful glimpses into my world because my ego is hungry or because of the sheer joy I feel inside my heart. If I’m being honest with all of you, with myself… I suppose it’s a bit of both.
My ego wants to show off the talents of my husband and the hard work he invests in growing our flower gardens and designing our landscapes. My ego wants to put on display the hard work I’ve invested into my successful vegetable garden and my scrumptious dinner concoctions and our gleeful children happily cheesing for the camera. Simply put…
My ego is proud. But so is my heart.
And perhaps my ego is a little hungry from time to time. So, what? Pretty sure that’s called being human. The deeper I allowed myself to sink into this contemplation, the more clarity I gained. Sometimes we feel like poop. Highlighting those things that are working in our life, those things that are good, those things that bring us joy… Well, it makes us feel less poopy. And maybe it does feed our ego, but it also boosts our spirits and serves as a reminder that there’s always goodness in our existence.
I realized last night that it’s not as much about the kind feedback or positive praise I receive when I share a nice photo of a good part of my day. Sure, those responses feel really wonderful. They bring a smile to my heart, they make me feel connected to faraway friends and they certainly help to boost my pride a bit. But what really fuels my desire to create a lovely little photo montage of my gardens or my kids, an inspiring meal or a gorgeous moment at our homestead is the simple fact that it’s easy for me to capture those moments. It’s what I love. It’s what brings me joy. It’s what invites peace into my daily life. These are the blinks in time that I most adore. These are the humans, the happenings and the goodness that I want to document and to share for me. The pictures, the stories I choose to share are snapshots of the very things I want to remember when I’m too old and too tired to tackle all of these wonderful and exciting, dirty and painful, soulful and heartbreaking endeavors anymore.
But there’s more. There’s an ulterior motive on my part.
You see, I genuinely want to inspire you – my friends, my family, my readers. I want all of you who read this to live your best life. Whatever that looks like! In spite of the crap, the mile-high laundry, the jerky people at work, the loss and hurt that is inevitable and out of our control in this life.
Okay. So probably your best life doesn’t include slaughtering and plucking poultry. (Maybe it does. I don’t know.) Probably your best life also includes dirty dishes and arguments with your family members, splitting headaches and clogged toilets. Probably you don’t feel compelled to share all of those moments either. But it does help to know we all have them.
We all have splendor and we all have sucky-ness.
I’m opening up about all of this because it has been weighing on me. I want to live my life with intention, with purpose and with authenticity. I want a healthy ego. Not a hungry ego. (I do believe there’s a difference.) I don’t ever want anyone who follows my blog or my social media presence to think that everything is just hunky-dory-delicious in my little world all of the time. And I certainly hope I don’t portray such a fictitious image of my lifestyle.
I want to be transparent. I want to be real.
Just know that tonight my children ate bagel bites for dinner. I didn’t make the bagels with my own blend of ancient grains and homegrown yeast starter. I didn’t slather them with my own garden harvest tomato sauce. I didn’t sprinkle them with mozzarella that I personally stretched and slaved over in my country kitchen. And I didn’t top them with deliciously thick pepperoni slices made from the meat of locally grown and slaughtered, pasture-raised, antibiotic-free hogs. It boils down to a spontaneous buy in the frozen food section at the grocery store about three months ago. They were mostly freezer burnt, yet my son happily devoured them, said it was “the best dinner he has had in forever” and proceeded to inform me that I should start buying them every time we go to the grocery store. Suffice to say, these will not become a staple on our grocery list. But do I have regrets about what I served my child for dinner? Well, it’s not my proudest momming moment friends. But Nope. No regrets. It’s just life sometimes.
Yes. I often post photos of real-food deliciousness on my social media accounts. I do it for no reason other than the fact that I’m darn proud of the recipes I create and I’m darn proud of the real food we grow in our garden. I’m also proud of the time and the love I pour into the meals I prepare for my family. I love to cook and I want to share the inspiration with my friends, both online and in real, everyday life around my dinner table. It brings me joy!
But don’t believe for one single moment that there aren’t days when I throw in the towel and say, “there’s leftovers in the fridge, fend for yourselves hungry people!” Or in this case…
“Here’s a batch of mostly freezer burnt chemicals that resemble hockey pucks because I popped them in the oven an hour ago and completely forgot about them while cleaning up the partially digested mole that the dog barfed up on the garage floor.” I thought about sharing a picture of the meteorite bagel bites and the mole remnants. But…
You know me, I mainly like to share the bliss.