Let’s Not Sugarcoat It

Original image via stevendepolo

There’s been a lot of talk swirling around the blogosphere about the authenticity of blogging and how we all only see a curated version of a blogger’s life, not all the real nitty gritty. Whether it’s because we feel we always have to present a positive, shiny face and are afraid of people’s reactions/crossing the TMI line/violating the privacy of our loved ones, the fact is that there are big chunks of our lives that aren’t shared online. It’s a difficult balance to strike. You want to be yourself and connect with readers, but you don’t want to overshare or come off as a whiner.

I know I’m no different in this regard. There are some things that, for me, are too private to share. And some things that aren’t my right to share. And still others that just plain aren’t anyone’s business who isn’t directly involved already. But, at the same time there’s plenty about myself/my life that I just haven’t shared even though there’s no real barrier to doing so. So today I thought I’d lay some of that nitty gritty bare. Some of it is on the serious side, some not so much, but here it is:

  • Dirty dishes are the bane of my existence. I just can’t keep up. There are always dishes in the sink. I don’t know how this happens since we only have two people in the house, but it’s ridiculous.
  • My job as a freelancer is great in lifestyle perks, but pretty sucky on the finances side of things. Even though I have steady work and do get paid what I’m worth, the schedule of when those paychecks arrive is completely random and unpredictable. This results in sometimes having less than $100 in my bank account even though I have a few thousand dollars worth of paychecks out in the nether somewhere. And this is always assuming that clients will pay in a timely manner once invoiced, which is sadly not always the case. It’s incredibly stressful. It is probably the thing that stresses me out most.
  • If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you’ll likely have heard me talk about my mom and sisters, and may be wondering why I never mention my dad. Long story short, he has been dead since I was 16. It was a suicide. It was pretty devastating at the time, but it’s so long ago now it doesn’t bother me too much to talk about it. It generally makes other people uncomfortable to talk about, though, so I usually don’t.
  • I cuss a LOT. I generally keep this out of my writing, but if you know me in real life, you will hear some f-bombs fly if a) I’m driving, b) I screw something up I’m working on, c) I sustain some sort of injury, or d) something incredibly surprising/disappointing/upsetting happens.
  • Ian and I do have fights. Not often, thank goodness, and they are always talked out within one day, but they are always emotionally draining.
  • I love living in Austin/Round Rock, but sometimes I really miss my family. My mom is up in Ohio and my sisters are in South Carolina, so I can’t just up and go visit them at a whim. When my younger sister was in Air Force training, she was down in San Antonio (only an hour+half away) and that was AWESOME. But now she’s far away again, and I don’t really have an idea when I’ll see her next. I just saw my mom last month, which was great, and will get to see her at Thanksgiving, but that much face time is rare.
  • I am kind of a clutter magnet. Clutter producer? Not sure what the correct term is, but suffice it to say my desk, worktable, kitchen table, coffee table, dresser, bathroom counter, etc. are generally pretty clutter-ific. Organized surface areas are not my thing.
  • I was lucky enough to escape having any student loans (hurray full ride scholarship!) but I do have credit card debt, a car loan to pay off (almost done!), and the occasional payment plan for medical expenses (currently, the dentist). I’m slowly working on being debt free (especially the credit cards), but the freelance pay schedule mentioned above can make that difficult. I’ll make progress, and then I’ll hit a dry spell with paychecks, and the progress evaporates because, hey, I need things like groceries and gas in my car. Le sigh.
  • I have a half-dozen stories and a screenplay I’ve started to write and then just let sit there because I get to a certain point and think “blah, is this even any good? or in any way original?” and completely psyche myself out about whether it’s even worth finishing. I am definitely my own worst critic.
  • I probably don’t walk Sienna as often as I should, but she is just a inexhaustible ball of energy and some days I’m just too tired to deal with her pulling me around the neighborhood.
  • Ian and I will have kids eventually (we’ve discussed, and we want to get married first). And I’m excited about that, and we have names picked out and everything. But the actual process of childbirth freaks me out. And it only gets worse the older I get because you hear so much about how it gets harder to have children the older you get. I am going to be 28 next month. So even if Ian proposed like, tomorrow, we’d still have to plan the wedding, get married, and you know, 9 months of pregnancy assuming we conceived immediately, so we’re talking I’ll already be 30 by the time I have kids! At least. The thought is a bit anxiety-making, not going to lie.
  • There are some bloggers I really want to be friends with, but I’m not sure how to take it beyond commenting on their posts and tweeting. I’m awkward when first meeting people and terrible at small talk. And even after I get to know someone, I’m not super talkative in person; I’m much more of a listener. That said, internet chat is my thing. I don’t know why, but I find it so much easier to express myself in writing than I do on the phone or even in person. I think because the delay in online chatting gives me time to think and formulate a coherent response, instead of having to respond immediately on the spot. *shrug* So yeah, I’m on Google Chat most of the day while I’m working. Feel free to chat me up! (or maybe I’ll work up my nerve and message you and just hope I don’t come off like a blog stalker).
  • I am a Mac girl, through and through. The only reason I even have Windows (set up as a virtual drive on my Mac, thank you) is to use MS Money, because I haven’t found a replacement that is up to par. Macs are just so much cleaner!
  • I like shopping probably more than I should.
  • There is no way you will ever get me to give up caffeine/soda, carbs, sugar, romance novels, or my DVR.

So, that’s that. Ran a little longer than I planned, but oh well.

Also, Angie tagged me in fun new little meme, so here are my answers for that! You are just getting an overload of me today.

5 Fabulous Moments in My Life

  1. The day I got the call from my first choice college telling me I’d won the full ride scholarship.
  2. Doing a study abroad in Australia.
  3. The day I met Ian.
  4. The day I had my first sale in my Etsy shop that wasn’t to family.
  5. The day Ian and I said I love you for the first time.

5 Things I Love

  1. Ian, my mom, my sisters, and Sienna.
  2. Working from home.
  3. The abundance of sunny days in Austin.
  4. Stories with really well-written characters.
  5. Making things (art, food, stories, what have you.)

5 Things I Hate

  1. People who joke about rape, STDs, suicide, hate crimes, etc. These things are not funny, and acting like they are just compounds the problem.
  2. Idiot drivers. Nothing can make me insta-rage more than idiot drivers who almost kill me. (For the record, I’m a decent driver – no tickets ever, and the only ‘accident’ I’ve been in was when I was 16 and backed into someone in the school parking lot).
  3. Clients who don’t pay in a timely manner. Also, creating an awesome design, having to turn it over to the client for their use, and then seeing them completely wreck it (this is mostly with web designs where they want to manage it themselves but don’t really know how).
  4. The fact that we still have to fight for women to have rights to their own bodies, and homosexuals to have the right to marry the person they love. RIDICULOUS.
  5. People who whose religion as an excuse for judging the lives of others, bigotry, hate and violence.

Kudos if you made it this far. Now, enough about me, tell me something about you!


  1. Oh, I loved this! I know what you mean about projecting a positive image, but in this case, you were just *real* to me, not necessarily negative. I think there’s a huge difference between being authentic and just complaining.

    I also have a problem keeping my space organized. If I’m overwhelmed, that and my health are the first things to go.

    I feel nervous about contacting bloggers, too! I don’t want to seem fake or weird.

    As an additional confession, I have nights where I do… nothing. I just get exhausted from work and school and can’t muster up the energy to do homework, clean, cook…. This always makes me feel like I’m not at all productive enough.

    Whew. I feel good getting this off my chest, haha!

    1. Aw, thank you! That means a lot. 🙂

      Oh man, I have nights like that, too. Usually after a particularly stressful day. It just ends with me in a blob shape on the couch watching some kind of mindless tv. (I went to type ‘blob’ and my fingers auto-typed ‘blog’ – ha!)

  2. This was a gorgeous read. Thanks so much for sharing this stuff. I agree with you that, as a blogger, it can be really hard to decide what things to share. There are some things I don’t talk about because they’re super personal, or simply because I don’t think that anyone would be interested in reading it.

    As for the ‘becoming friends with bloggers’ dilemma. I’ve done this a couple of times. If you can, find a way to direct message them. Send an email or even ask for their address and write them a pen-and-ink letter. I imagine most people would be thrilled to get a message that says, “I think you’re awesome and I think we should be friends”, so you’ve got a good chance of success. I know it’s scary, but often you’ll be rewarded for taking that leap.

    1. Thank you. 🙂 And for the tips.

      I should have included the ‘I don’t think anyone would be interested’ in my lists of non-sharing reasons, because that’s one of them for me, too.

  3. How nice of you to share like that. Well, if you’ve read any part of my blog you’d know that for the most part, I don’t hold much back and will blog just about anything. I feel that if someone makes me feel poopy or bad about myself, then they don’t derserve the privacy of it being kept quiet. I hope that doesn’t sound bad.

    I too can’t seem to keep the dishes clean. There are only 3 in my household now and I don’t know where they come from sometimes! Really!

    I feel the same also about making friends on the internet. I am not a talker, so to say, on the phone and hate when I have to talk on the phone. I’m great via e-mail and internet chat. I am a writer and I probably should showcase a bit of that in my blog. But I’m shy in that respect.

    Thanks for sharing…even the tough stuff. Sometimes it just needs to be said/written. And I wouldn’t worry about someone feeling uncomfortable about an event in your life, it is your life and it is your experience and part of who you are.

    Kim M.

  4. Are we blogger twins or something? I feel like I could have written most of that list.

    I’m so feeling you on bullet point #2 right this very moment. I love my freelancer lifestyle, but the inconsistency of my paychecks really hurts sometimes. I have a whole host of bills I’m behind on right now because the final payment from the last project I worked on hasn’t come in yet… and I have no idea when it’s going to get here. I’m hoping it’s before the end of next week because I’d really like to be the one who pays rent this month because my boyfriend covered it last month. Oh, and in the last month my ass has decided it’s too big for my pants and all of my bras but one have decided to self-destruct and I have no money with which to buy anything. Thank goodness I can work from home and no one can see what I’m wearing!

    I have the same issue with making blogger friends… There are some people that I read and follow that I’d really like to be friends with, but short of comments and Twitter which seem to only spur short lived superficial conversation… I’m not sure how to anymore. Sometimes people email replies, but I feel like that’s so stiff and formal a lot of the time… and I dunno, I’m an IM girl. AIM, GChat, Yahoo, Skype, IRC…. I don’t care. I like me my short real time messages that aren’t restricted to 140 characters, damnit!

    1. Too funny! I often think ‘are we blogger twins?’ when reading some of your posts!

      Re: clothing & budget – you might see if there’s a local clothes swapping group where you are. Easy way to get new-to-you clothing, and if you do it locally it doesn’t even cost the $2 to ship something. I, too, have had my thighs decide they would no longer be constrained by certain pants, and I’ve gotten some great skirts and even a few pants through swapping (though, to be fair, I do most of my swapping online – swap.com).

      Glad I’m not the only one with the how-to-be-friends-with-bloggers issue! Sort of. I’d rather neither of us had the issue, but you know what I mean!

      Thanks so much for stopping by! 😀

  5. Can’t believe that it has taken me so long to get over here. Sheesh! I wanted to have a moment where I could really relax and read your whole list and so first things first… Amanda you and I are soul sisters, I swear!! I know you didn’t number your bullet points but Number #1 made me LOL totally relate to Number 4 and 5, not so much 6- I can’t stand Texas, but I LOVE YOU! Please don’t hate me. Umm…7, 8 relate, relate… 9 I’m working on a children’s book but I think Screenplays are so amazing and I admire whole heartedly anyone who takes a stab at them. 10 girl you have got a WITNESS here! My dogs are happy and I am here with them which makes me feel a lil less guilty, but the walks have not been that consistent for quite some time, or the fetch time either. 11 come talk to me when you do have them, you’ll be fine. I used to have the fear too, and My mom told me people are born everyday Noël you’ll be just fine. It helped. And honestly I think older parents make the best parents because you truly are wiser, and more patient. YOU’ll be great. SO come on already Ian! Number 12- I sure hope we get to meet someday. I really know that we would be just fine with our old movies and caffiene. Number 13- My Maccy is my best friend. “Once you go Mac you never go back” 14 and 15, again soul sisters ! I want to hear more about your time in Australia and I absolutely loved this time with you. I feel I know you so much better now. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Aw, now I really want to sit around watching old movies, drinking tea and talking about babies with you! Thank you so much for commenting, and that’s some great advice from your mom.

      Re: Texas – have you been to Austin? Because it’s totally the non-Texas part of Texas, haha. And the better for it, I believe.

      I did do a mini-post about my time in Australia awhile back, you can find it here.

      What is your children’s book about?

  6. And yet another post of yours that I love! I was just talking to another blogger about where to draw that line in what to talk about. I get tired of the blogs that are always “picture perfect” when we know things aren’t perfect. You can be a joyous person who loves every bit of life and have struggles, so I say let’s share those struggles. I’m a VERY open and public person. I don’t avoid topics like religion and politics just because it makes other people uncomfortable and if you’re on Google+ you’ll see my thoughts there. I haven’t talked about some of those things on my blog because there just isn’t a place for it. If it fits in with what I talked about then I’ll fit it in, but as of now it doesn’t and I don’t see it fitting in, in the future. However, I do want to show the struggles the inner battles on my blog- that life is not perfect. I do worry that if people knew just how different my views are on a lot of things I may just not have any readership.

    I too curse quite often but decided that because many people find it “unprofessional” I won’t include it on my blog. I have one topic that I avoid, like you to about your father, and it was a miscarriage I had. I’m not bothered by it and am honestly glad it happened to me but don’t mention it because people automatically get “oh I’m so sorry” and then I have to say why are you sorry or don’t be sorry and then it gets old. I’m bored with that conversation.

    I’m with you on student loans but girl, don’t put it on luck for not having them. It’s not luck to not have student loans. It’s hard work. You worked hard to get scholarships. I too never took out a student loan and I hate when people say to me, oh your so lucky as if they didn’t have a choice or that my college was just paid off by some little fairy. I joined the military to pay for school. I busted ass to earn that GI Bill. That covered my Bachelors though I also applied for many scholarships and got all that I applied for. Then my GI Bill (or what they are now calling the Post 9/11 bill) dried up. So I covered my Master’s with money I saved up. So in no way was it luck and don’t ever let anyone tell you that!

    I understand your #1 in the things I hate section. I do make an exception for that. If they are just regular people doing that then it’s not funny. However, if I’m tuning in to Ricky Gervais or any other standup comedian then I know that as a comedian they can’t have bounds (and I don’t think they should) and that what they joke about is not necessarily their opinion on it. It’s just to lighten the mood and make people laugh. So I respect that and don’t get offended by it but if it’s just your average Joe mocking those things then I take offense. I love your #5 on your things I hate. I am right there with ya! In fact I was following a blog and on election day she made a post. I was skipping those post but somehow ended up reading it. She started off talking about supporting Mitt Romney. I am NOT of fan of him but I accepted the fact that there are people who voted for him. However, she dug a hole for me. She talked about why she voted for him and her primary reason she voted for him is because she’s a religious person and absolutely does not support same-sex marriage and went on to talk about how it’s despicable that it’s even a topic we are covering and how she believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman. That is one of those lines for me that when crossed I leave. So I stopped following.

    Anyway, great post Amanda, as usual!

    1. It’s always a little nerve-wracking posting something like this, because it’s uncertain how people are going to receive it. But all of the responses have been awesome, yours included. Makes me less iffy about opening up again in the future. 🙂

      I know exactly what you mean about being bored with that “I’m so sorry” conversation on certain topics. Ditto.

      Thank you for your supportive words re:no student loans, and I hear what you’re saying. A large chunk of getting the scholarship was indeed hard work on my part, but there was still an element of luck to it as well. I couldn’t apply directly for it, but had to be nominated, and then there was a non-academic essay and a board of people picked who got it. I’m guessing the other candidates who were nominated were just as hard-working, so that’s why I say I was lucky. I got myself to that certain point, but beyond that it wasn’t in my control. Hard work can create circumstances where you’re more likely to get advantageous things, but anything fortuitous that happens that is outside of your direct control I consider to be subject, at least somewhat, to luck. Just my two cents. 🙂

      1. I hear ya! I’m not going to lie it’s nerve-wracking for me too but more and more I’m totally fine with it, whatever the outcome.

        I was actually thinking of writing a post on luck. I’m not a fan of nor a believer in it. I love the phrase: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” 🙂