Scrapping Real Life … Or Is It?

I was part of an interesting conversation the other day that got me thinking a little bit about “real life” scrapbooking.

A gal mentioned that she wasn’t able to get a particular scrapbook layout done because it would have first required her to spend hours cleaning her office. You see, she wanted that perfect photo to go with the scrapbook page … the one that showed her home the way she wanted others to see it.

The rest of us chuckled a bit and the discussion evolved into the varying degrees to which each of us was willing to “air our dirty laundry” through our scrapbooking. We all agreed that real life scrapbooking entails sharing both the good and the bad … we just have differing degrees to which we are willing to reveal the less flattering parts of ourselves through our layouts, blogs and other avenues of sharing.

The conversation was interesting, but I had more or less forgotten about it until this afternoon when I came upon this scene in my living room …

A Glimpse of Real Life

My first thought, of course, was “Ugh. Great time to be without a functioning vacuum cleaner.” And then like many faithful everyday scrappers, my next step was to grab the camera & snap this photo. After all, this is a pretty realistic documentation of my daughter’s recent fascination with scissors.

I wouldn’t think twice about scrapping – and sharing – this photo. To me, that’s what documenting the “real” life of my family is all about.

But then it hit me.

If I had company coming to visit, there is no way I’d want them to see this room in this state. Rather than snapping a photo, I’d be frantically figuring out a way to get this room spic-and-span in order to present a more acceptable home environment before my guests arrived.

I’m willing to bet … in fact, I’m absolutely positive … that I’m not the only one out there that wants others to see their home looking its best, even if “best” isn’t a very accurate depiction of “normal.” Yet I and others like me claim to place a priority on being authentic.

There’s something wrong with this picture.

It’s human nature to want to make a good impression on others. But I think many of us also have a deep yearning to reveal and be accepted as our true selves, without putting on that somewhat false front. I could reason that I make the effort to clean for company because I want my guests to feel comfortable and that my house is clean as often as it is messy, so it isn’t like going to this effort is entirely out of character. But it made me wonder why it’s so easy to share that less than “perfect” part of ourselves in some cases, but not in others.

Think about it … how many times have you had a professional portrait taken without first taking time to primp?

So what do YOU think? How much “real” is TOO much when it comes to sharing with others? Does what you reveal through your scrapbooking or your photos align with what you share in “real life”? Which is the “real” you … the one captured in an everyday candid shot or the one cleaned up for the portrait?

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Comments

  1. Chloé says:

    Oh, great question. To me, both this pic and the top clean and organized one are both real, but at different times and under different circumstances. I’ve also scrapped hideous pix of my kitchen (keeping up with dishes is not my strength, to say it gently) but to document how I’m trying to get better at keeping it in order. Real life isn’t all black or all white, and our scrapbook can’t be either! Scrapbooking to me is more an illustrated journal than a beautiful work of art, I’m more interested in the stories than the visual aspect of it, and scrapping my struggles to do the dishes on time, with it’s successes and setbacks, is part of the stories I want to tell. That being said, I wouldn’t show my kitchen in such a bad state to my guests, but I don’t want to expose my whole life to them. I wouldn’t like to show some very personal layouts, even to my friends, for example!

  2. Chloé says:

    Oh, great question. To me, both this pic and the top clean and organized one are both real, but at different times and under different circumstances. I’ve also scrapped hideous pix of my kitchen (keeping up with dishes is not my strength, to say it gently) but to document how I’m trying to get better at keeping it in order. Real life isn’t all black or all white, and our scrapbook can’t be either! Scrapbooking to me is more an illustrated journal than a beautiful work of art, I’m more interested in the stories than the visual aspect of it, and scrapping my struggles to do the dishes on time, with it’s successes and setbacks, is part of the stories I want to tell. That being said, I wouldn’t show my kitchen in such a bad state to my guests, but I don’t want to expose my whole life to them. I wouldn’t like to show some very personal layouts, even to my friends, for example!

  3. Cindi says:

    This is so true. I have no problem taking pictures of my messes, but I don’t feel all that comfortable sharing them unless I have an alternate “clean” photo to show both sides. However, sometimes I feel pressure from home magazines to have an immaculate house. It’d be great to see how real people live, too, and that’s why I appreciate when other people share their “real life” photos and layouts – makes me feel like I’m in good company!

  4. Cindi says:

    This is so true. I have no problem taking pictures of my messes, but I don’t feel all that comfortable sharing them unless I have an alternate “clean” photo to show both sides. However, sometimes I feel pressure from home magazines to have an immaculate house. It’d be great to see how real people live, too, and that’s why I appreciate when other people share their “real life” photos and layouts – makes me feel like I’m in good company!

  5. Laura T. says:

    I just giggled when I saw this picture. I actually did a layout about the daily site in my living room … posted on my blog within my layouts if you want to check it out. The title of my layout was “daily site.”

  6. Laura T. says:

    I just giggled when I saw this picture. I actually did a layout about the daily site in my living room … posted on my blog within my layouts if you want to check it out. The title of my layout was “daily site.”

  7. Patsy says:

    Okay Kristin — you’re on. I just posted my response to our chat on Monday and to today’s blog post (a layout in the gallery called “Real Life – Procrastination.”)

    http://logyourmemory.com/photopost623/showphoto.php?photo=9934&title=reallife-procrastination-web&cat=500

    I like what Chloe said: “both are real — at different times and under different circumstances.” She is right on.

    Who knows — my office just MIGHT be next … or not … hee hee hee

  8. Patsy says:

    Okay Kristin — you’re on. I just posted my response to our chat on Monday and to today’s blog post (a layout in the gallery called “Real Life – Procrastination.”)

    http://logyourmemory.com/photopost623/showphoto.php?photo=9934&title=reallife-procrastination-web&cat=500

    I like what Chloe said: “both are real — at different times and under different circumstances.” She is right on.

    Who knows — my office just MIGHT be next … or not … hee hee hee

  9. Dawn says:

    Great post! and oh so true! You and Patsy have both inspired me to take photos of my dining and bedroom and get that scrapped. I moved in February and there are still boxes sitting in these rooms that need to be unpacked and put away, lol. But this is who I am, the procrastinator, the one who wants certain things to put all the stuff inside those boxes into. I also may scrap another page as a little add on to the one I scrapped about what my house would be like if money were no object. My walls are plain and boring, and I have very little out and about that is me. Another part of myself that is real, the actual fear of purchasing things and decorating my home the way I would like it to be. Yeah, and I think I will blog about this, as I am kinda getting off the subject, lol.

  10. Dawn says:

    Great post! and oh so true! You and Patsy have both inspired me to take photos of my dining and bedroom and get that scrapped. I moved in February and there are still boxes sitting in these rooms that need to be unpacked and put away, lol. But this is who I am, the procrastinator, the one who wants certain things to put all the stuff inside those boxes into. I also may scrap another page as a little add on to the one I scrapped about what my house would be like if money were no object. My walls are plain and boring, and I have very little out and about that is me. Another part of myself that is real, the actual fear of purchasing things and decorating my home the way I would like it to be. Yeah, and I think I will blog about this, as I am kinda getting off the subject, lol.

  11. Patsy says:

    Alright girls — consider yourself challenged to a “THROWDOWN” as per Bobby Flay on the Food Network. Let’s see your layouts about your own “less-than-perfect” real life everyday spaces.

    We can have a lot of fun with this one and also possibly learn some lessons!

    Any non-messies in the group need not show off your super clean, highly organized, non-cluttered spaces.

  12. Patsy says:

    Alright girls — consider yourself challenged to a “THROWDOWN” as per Bobby Flay on the Food Network. Let’s see your layouts about your own “less-than-perfect” real life everyday spaces.

    We can have a lot of fun with this one and also possibly learn some lessons!

    Any non-messies in the group need not show off your super clean, highly organized, non-cluttered spaces.

  13. noell says:

    I think there’s another layer here: You are lucky to have a fun story about how your mess came about — a good excuse. What about when your house is just generally unkempt because, as much as you WANT a nice home, your time and effort mostly goes elsewhere? That’s me. We are not very good at keeping up with the house.

    I think that is harder to do: show the house as it really normally is when your “really normal” is a mess. Your house pictured above is obviously beautiful, and despite the crazy amounts of paper scraps everywhere, you can tell you’re really good about keeping it nice in general! 🙂

    Me? Not so much…

  14. noell says:

    I think there’s another layer here: You are lucky to have a fun story about how your mess came about — a good excuse. What about when your house is just generally unkempt because, as much as you WANT a nice home, your time and effort mostly goes elsewhere? That’s me. We are not very good at keeping up with the house.

    I think that is harder to do: show the house as it really normally is when your “really normal” is a mess. Your house pictured above is obviously beautiful, and despite the crazy amounts of paper scraps everywhere, you can tell you’re really good about keeping it nice in general! 🙂

    Me? Not so much…

  15. ava-j says:

    hi kristen! i suppose we all want to show the better parts of our lives…it just takes more self-confidence and a huge dose of self-worth to show the not so pretty parts. and a bigger sense of humor to weather the resulting ribbing and teasing! 🙂
    your photo took me back to MY childhood, when we’d make “towers” and “rafts” with the sofa cushions! bugged my mum no end, LOL!

  16. ava-j says:

    hi kristen! i suppose we all want to show the better parts of our lives…it just takes more self-confidence and a huge dose of self-worth to show the not so pretty parts. and a bigger sense of humor to weather the resulting ribbing and teasing! 🙂
    your photo took me back to MY childhood, when we’d make “towers” and “rafts” with the sofa cushions! bugged my mum no end, LOL!

  17. Patsy says:

    Maybe we need to look at “real” in a new way.

    When I get up in the morning with crumbled hair, no make-up and pad around the house in my pjs — that’s real.
    When I shower, put on make-up, and dress to either pad around the house or go out — that’s real also.

    When my guest room bed is piled with clothes (that’s where I fold clothes since my washer & dryer are in a closet in the hallway) and they are left folded there for days without being put away and ironing is stored in a basket on the floor — that’s real.
    When I clear the bed, put away the folded clothes, empty the laundry basket and freshen up for guests — that’s real also.

    When my favorite lounge chair is surrounded on every side on the floor and table by books, bible, study guides, and newspapers waiting to be clipped — that’s real and often.
    When I clear the floor, put the books on shelves or return to library and clip the items of interest and place in a folder so that the room looks less cluttered — that’s real also.

    Real is who we are — different times, different ways, different circumstances.

    Ohhhh … I think I feel another scrapbook layout coming one. How about you?

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