Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Read My Diary.

This fall makes it a grand total of 5 years of blogging for me. And I've been thinking. Pondering. Reminiscing.

Can I be perfectly honest?

50% of my reasons for starting a blog were a mixture of: I love writing/pictures/I was bored.

The other 50%:

Oh. Let me explain.

5 years ago, lots of friends were starting family blogs. Many of your friends' family blogs were a great way to keep up with their goings ons.

And then, there were a couple of your friends, and at first, you couldn't put a finger on it---


perhaps you clicked away from the blog, and you felt a little. . .distaste. Or maybe you began to realize you felt crappy after reading about their family. Or bad about yourself. Whatever the feeling was, it wasn't cool. Not cool at all.

Honestly? The other 50% of starting my new blog was a sort of experiment. I somewhat subconsciously was attempting to see if I could, by specific words, and carefully taken shots of my home and kids, make my life, too, look perfect. Like those other blogs.

You know what I think is funny about the interwebs? But not funny "haha"? It does two really interesting things with loved ones. Put really simply, it makes you love someone more, or love someone less. Sometimes a lot less.

You're so glad you can keep up with so-and-so from high school or your old neighbor or that long lost cousin, 'cause you know without facebook/blogging/email/whatever, you would have lost touch. And you're so glad for the friendship.

And then there's the flipside.

You wish you didn't know so much about your sister in law or your old neighbor or your high school not-so buddy, because facebook/blogging/email/whatever is just ruining them for you.


 
So back to my point. I started my blog to see if I could do what the other annoying bloggy friends were doing: make everything look all rosy and perfect.

(No need to search the archives for cheesy, over the top "We're perfect and we know you want to be just like us!" posts. They're not there. Unless you wanna read my "Christmas Card From Hell".)

This has really been on my mind the last few weeks, 'cause I've been having an identity crisis regarding thee ole bloggity blog. I've talked about it before. I'm sorry to bring it up again. Here's the thing with me, though: my entire life is a big attempt to balance, back and forth. It's part of my mental situation.

So. My identity crisis. Here's my feelings. Nothing more than. . . feelings. I'm surfing the interwebs, reading my blogs, pinning my stuff, and I feel, like not enough.


 
 
Do you ever vacillate between "How come I'm not a popular blogger? How come so-and-so has a million readers and I have 10? Don't I have just as good skills/projects/pictures/writing??"

Or you're at "there are a million other blogs like me. A billion, probably. I have nothing really good to offer. My photography lacks. My projects aren't good enough to blog. My writing is sub par. . . "

I've been back and forth between these two thoughts, but mostly on the second, lately. Comparison really is the thief of joy, is it not?

Months ago, I wrote a "Blog Manifesto". To help clear my head. It was about the time I originally wrote about my "issues". Actually had to read it again for a little clarity. I will give you the Reader's Digest condensed version now:

-I am not a "craft" blog

-I blog 'cause I enjoy it. If I stop enjoying it, I went wrong. Waaay wrong somewhere.

-I don't blog for money (what money?), and I don't blog for followers

-I don't do projects just to be unique and the first person in bloggy land to do them

-My house is decorated in my style, and not necessarily the current blogging trend

-I will never rush a project just so I can blog about it

-I want to write a "story", if you will. Some are stupid stories. Some are sordid. To be perfectly honest with myself, my favorite posts tell a story, somehow. My most hated posts are rushed projects that totally suck to read about.


And finally? I guess what sums all this crap I've been talking about into a nice little package?




-We are not perfect. We are somewhat dysfunctional. And we cannot pretend otherwise. We will just be us.

I'm so glad I could get my head straight again. Thanks a bunch.

48 comments:

Mindy said...

I'm a new follower, and do you know what made me keep reading your blog? Your header. It's the best I've ever seen. So, if you want to compare yourself to other blogs, just know that you have the best header of them all. The end. :)

Mallory said...

Mandi, I don't know how I found you, or how long I've been reading, but I've always enjoyed your blog. I don't read it for decorating inspiration (although you do awesome things) or how-tos (your skill is far beyond mine). I read it because you are hilarious, and you keep it real.

P.S. Thank you for updating your "kids say the darndest things" sidebar so often. I laugh out loud every time I read them.

Shelley D. Hartman said...

I love your blog because you put into writing a lot of my thoughts, so you are not the only one out there that thinks/feels this way. I have to tell you that I am really glad that I am not the only one, even if it is just the two of us. :-)

Rhonda said...

I LOOOOVE your blog, as I told you before.

My blog isn't any better or worse than other "lifestyle" blogs, but I don't have sponsors, i don't keep track of followers, and I rarely get comments. But i LOVE blogging. I love having that outlet.

I do hope to start selling a few ads, simply to pay for the hosting - only because I always forget to pay it and my blog ends up down until I have the extra money to pay it. haha!

Rhonda said...

I LOOOOVE your blog, as I told you before.

My blog isn't any better or worse than other "lifestyle" blogs, but I don't have sponsors, i don't keep track of followers, and I rarely get comments. But i LOVE blogging. I love having that outlet.

I do hope to start selling a few ads, simply to pay for the hosting - only because I always forget to pay it and my blog ends up down until I have the extra money to pay it. haha!

Rhonda said...

I LOOOOVE your blog, as I told you before.

My blog isn't any better or worse than other "lifestyle" blogs, but I don't have sponsors, i don't keep track of followers, and I rarely get comments. But i LOVE blogging. I love having that outlet.

I do hope to start selling a few ads, simply to pay for the hosting - only because I always forget to pay it and my blog ends up down until I have the extra money to pay it. haha!

Rhonda said...

I LOOOOVE your blog, as I told you before.

My blog isn't any better or worse than other "lifestyle" blogs, but I don't have sponsors, i don't keep track of followers, and I rarely get comments. But i LOVE blogging. I love having that outlet.

I do hope to start selling a few ads, simply to pay for the hosting - only because I always forget to pay it and my blog ends up down until I have the extra money to pay it. haha!

Sarakenobi said...

I just love you and I love reading about everything that you do to your house and your little bits about the kids! You have a great sense of humor and sometimes I like to think that we would be awesome friends. *stalk*

Debbie Gisle said...

Funny. On my family blog I wrote a snipit about this (sorta) as well. We had a pumpkin patch adventure (nightmare). I blogged the "blog" version and then reality. How can people not realize that reality is so much more entertaining to read and brings a smile to my face re-reading a year later. I'll take our terrible reality over a blogrific one any day of the week. :D Love your blog (one of those pathetic moments where I say out loud to myself, "If she knew me, we'd be best friends."

Chiemi said...

I like reading your blog because it makes me feel like I am reading the blog of a real person. I don't blog for fame or fortune, I blog because I like to go back and read about the funny things my kids have said and it makes ME feel fulfilled. I am constantly reading snippets from your blog to my husband and telling him that I could totally be friends with you in real life. :)

Kimbo West said...

woman.

let me 'splain...
no there is too much.
let me sum up....

i have found very few blogs that i read for the humor only (don't get me wrong...your projects are amazeballs and i'm going to take a bob villa class so i can run some heavy duty machinery like you) but i read you cause i love you. i giggle. i wish i would have thought of your punch lines first. i try to figure out movie quotes. i love how you aren't in denial about having a perfect family. i hate perfect people. i spit at them. i love that you post nip sticker pictures and a dookie in the tub and the crying baby posts. love love love. i also went through the "blogger depression" where you just don't feel as good as other bloggers. (i also spit at them.) i don't know where i'm going with this...just the fact that i think everyone goes through it. but i will tell you what. i get giddy when i see you in my bloglovin. and i will literally hunt you down if you quit blogging...not like hunt you down to hang out and eat chocolate (but that would be fun) but like the trenchcoat and mustache kind of hunt you down. machete style.

Trish said...

I don't blog - I am inherently lazy- but I read 5-8 blogs regularly. Yours is a blog I go to every day. You are real. You are funny. And Damn girl, you are handy! You never make me fel bad about the dishes that might be in my sink (possibly left over from the night before - possibly) and you always have something interesting going on. In short, you are the kind of person I wish lived next door and I could run to Home Depot with!!

Suesan Kennard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suesan Kennard said...

I follow hundreds of blogs and when life was so crazy and I couldn't keep up with all of them, yours was one of only about 6 blogs I bothered to read. The rest went unread for a very long time. I love reading your posts and you know I'm one of your biggest fans. :D

Keep keeping it real and you. It's the very best combination.

Hayley said...

Amen sister

Jessica said...

I've been reading your blog for over a year and if I had to pinpoint just when I fell in love with your blog it was when I found out that you named your powertools.....Severus was one. Oh the other was hilarious but it escapes me now.

Janet said...

Just have to say that I love your blog (it's a favorite) and look forward to reading each of your posts. Thanks for sharing your amazing DIY and writing talent with us! :)

Cindy said...

Mandi,

I've never made a comment (I read, pin & share, not comment...) but I get your blog on my RSS feed and honestly check to see if you've posted anything new before reading other "craft and food" blogs I subscribe to. Your writing style speaks to my heart! I have 2 boys (well 3 if ya count the hubs), very little time, and grandiose dreams of a stylish home. Someday, I will have a finished basement made of molding too! Your music room appears in my dreams. My husband is trying to thwart my plans for everything you put in my head! Please don't stop making me laugh with your outcries of honesty - or I'm gonna have to break up with you, via comment :-p

Carla said...

I've probably read 100's of popular blogs, and yours is one of only a handful I still read. You're hilarious. I'm impressed with your skills (photography, building stuff, creativity, etc). Oh and the sponsorships on other blogs are super annoying.

Thanks for doing what you do, and doing it so well. I may just be one reader, but... you make my day.

Michãel said...

I think you have way more than 10 readers! I count myself as one who loves your stuff. You are definitely one of my-- no, no, probably my favorite blog that I read. And it's not cause you're perfect. It's cause you're real. Being talented and funny are bonuses. I appreciate the time and effort you put in on your blog. Thanks for you!

Rebecca D said...

I completely know the feeling... AND I have 10% of the followers you do! To me you ARE a big time blogger, so it makes me feel so much better about myself that it's not just me... I have gone through some kind of blogger crisis lately and decided the same things for the most part... My #1 bloggy rule these days is to "keep it real" and I ask myself if I am before I hit publish... There are enough perfect Suzy homemakers in these here bloggy realms and maybe they are that perfect... It gives me something to aspire to... But for me and my little corner of the web, perfection is not the order of the day. I am honored to have you as a bloggy friend... Don't EVER change!

stephaniegiese said...

You are my favorite favorite of all my favorites because you are so honest & real and yet hysterical. You tell it like it is without being crass or offensive and you are uber talented. I appreciate that you share the reality of your life with four kids and that everything is not always Pinterest perfect, but you knock out some AMAZING projects. Those swings you just made? Amazeballs. I immediately emailed my husband and told him that we must recreate them on the property we just bought for our next house. And yes, your header is in fact the best one in all of Blogland. Also, my blog is teeny tiny and you are totally 100% a big time blogger in my eyes.

Lauras Crafty Life said...

It is posts like this one that make me love your blog even more. I love my teeny tiny little blog. But I do sometimes catch myself comparing it to other (much larger) blogs. Same thing with Pinterest. There are so many cute, beautiful, lovely, creative projects that I would love to do. But, seriously, I don't have that kind of time or money. I have a 5 and 2 year old. It isn't going to happen. But, then I feel bad I don't have this magazine worthy home to share. Comparison seriously IS the thief of joy. Thanks for this post and keeping it real! :)

Mel said...

You hit the nail on the head, just be you, because you rock! I blog, many of my projects suck, and no I'm not being unkind to myself, but I'm me, I started this blog thing to see if it would motivate me. I'm not "super cute" ( words I've banned in my blog, I don't have perfect children, and as for popularity, I simply don't care. The few readers who have jumped on board., make my day. So be you, be happy with it, and give yourself a break!

pogonip said...

You have a wonderful, unique, funny style that I just love. I always look forward to your next post. You're perfect just the way you are!

Mommybreath said...

Oh, Mandi.
I have been reading your mess (said lovingly with a smirk) for almost as long as I have been blogging- a crappy two years. As if you needed another stalker, I love your posts. You are bright and witty and... well, the Princess Bride is my favorite movie. You are doing a great job. Really. I blog for me. It isn't worth it if you don't. You include us in your life so well that I am convinced, in real life, we would be friends. Our kiddos would wreak havok together, our dudes would scratch their heads and eye roll us, and we would frantically eat raw cookie dough unashamed.
If only I could talk the hubbs into saw lessons. ;)

Michelle@Somedaycrafts said...

You are totally a big blogger and even better than many huge bloggers. You're not full of yourself. I like you!

Kerrye said...

I love your blog. Your humor, your perspective on family photos, decorating, and your dad. Movie quotes, old recipe books, bad window boxes, overcrowded gardens, and your love of giant ordinary household objects. I also like that you are cool, but seem to not know it. That is kinda cool.

Jen said...

This is why I love you and your blog! You're so REAL and GENUINE!! Oh, and you have THE BEST sense of humor and writing style EVER!!! It would be a sad, sad day if you ever stopped. Just sayin'.

WhettenWild said...

That is what makes your blog fun to read! That and you are a fantastic writer!

Fizz said...

lets just get something CRYSTAL clear. I really do love your blog, you make me belly laugh (something I do not do) because your internet voice is so danm funny. I wish we could be real life friends because that would be super cool but i'm blatantly not!
Big love to you xxx

The Miller Five said...

Amen sister! I love the humor and honesty in your blogs. I've never met you, but you are totally someone I can relate to. Keep up the good work!

Rachel Morrill said...

I have a family blog (pretty much just for letting the grandparents and aunts and uncles see what we're up to without having to email them all individually), and on the side I have links to some of my favorite crafty/home decor/diy type blogs. I just counted - there are 17. I used to read all pretty regularly, until I produced baby #4 a year and a half ago. Since then it's been hit or miss with most of them, but I have ALWAYS read yours every time you update. I can't say that about any of the other 16. You have a great balance of doing amazing projects and NOT making your life seem perfect. It makes me feel better that somebody else has issues like mine!

momof2under3 said...

Mandi, youre a doer that's why we like you! You see a great idea, you do it. You get a great idea, you go after it! You don't just think "wow a kiddie carnival would be cool." You print out tickets, build games and buy candy. You have sucky days, so do all of us, but you have them with style and you don't let them get in the way of your doing! That's a pretty big accomplishment. Thanks for sharing, I'm glad I'm not the only mom who will admit that her kids aren't always perfect cherubs! LT

Missi said...

I love your site because you are you! I come to your site every time I sit down at the computer because you are a breath of fresh air. I have told all my friends about your blog and they have all thanked me for introducing you to them. We all love you because you are you! If the other sites bother you... QUIT reading them. We are all too busy to purposely torture ourselves by reading things that make us feel bad. I think that is why we like you...you help us all know we are our own kind of normal...and that is OK!

Happily at Home said...

Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. When I don't have much time to spend online, your blog is one of the three that I go to.

I love your blog for all the reasons you listed in the Reader's Digest version of Blog Manifesto. Those things are what make your blog amazing. There are many fake blogs out there, that only post perfectness and pose photographs for perfection instead of just showing us what it really is. I prefer your blog over any of those! And your awesome sense of humor only adds to the realness.

Thank you for sharing your life and projects, even when everything isn't perfect.

Libby said...

I started reading all the comments but I have homework waiting for me to quit procrastinating from (??). You have many supporters.
I read your blog because you are real and not because you 'follow' me either! We have the same configuration of kids, 3 boys then a girl. I like reliving those years, they rocked.
After reading your post I'm going to have to officially revamp my blog to reflect me-it will be all over the place, just like me.
Thanks and keep up the good work. And keep being Mandi.

Robbin Thomas said...

Mandi, I LOVE your blog! I love your projects and your stories about your family. I don't comment much so maybe that's something I need to change. Please don't stop, I look forward to each post.
Robbin

Christina H said...

Thank you for being you and for being real. Your blog is refreshing, funny, and inspirational.

Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy said...

"I love you just they way you arrrrrrree" do just what your doing, on your schedule, your projects, big, small, crazy, awesome, etc... just be YOU! (and come to a GNO so we can meet in real life!- oh or come to Baby Boy's birthday party at my house so we can meet, it's almost all my favorite bloggers coming to party with me!

Erin said...

I just stumbled upon your blog via pinterest ( a pin I really liked of a gallery wall!) and read this post. I felt like you wrote this post for me. Tthis is exactly the reason I just took a few months off from blogging to reassess why I do it. I came up with the same list you have here- it's really a way for me to express myself. I don't care if I have followers (although I do get caught up in that at time because I can't help but compare to other bloggers). I don't do it for money, and I certainly am not cutting edge. So thanks for putting out there what I've been thinking for some time. I'm not "perfect" nor do I aspire to make people think I am and I'm OK with it!

Udygirl said...

Wow! I just love your blogs. You say everything so well.

Lisa at Shine Your Light said...

Keep doing your thing girl. I love that you are so authentic - there is no one else in the whole wide world like Mandi Tremayne!!!!!

Jennifer Leigh said...

I rarely comment but I just had to tell you that I love your blog. It is the only blog that I check daily to see if there is a new post. I just know we'd be bff in real life. :)

Elisa said...

I just found your blog. I loved this post. I have been blogging forever. For me. For family that lives far away. I agree with every single thing you said. I am just a mom, running a biz on the side, trying to keep it all together. It's all good.

The best blogs are the non-sell-outs like yours. The rest have been ditched from my list.

Amanda said...

Like many of your followers, I read you because you are hilarious. I am not a woodworking wonder like you are and there is no way in heck I could even attempt half the projects you whip up. But I will keep reading you because you are entertaining and real. Keep it up!

Keeping it Real said...

My favorite thing about your blog is how REAL you are! I am so so so tired of everyone putting only their best foot forward and it causing others to feel insufficient. Thank you for just being you!

Ashlee said...

I never leave comments. But I appreciate so much your ability to be real. I feel better after reading because it reminds me that being me is enough. That I don't have to keep up with everyone else, even though sometimes that seems the goal. Thank you for being so you. And you are great. :)