posing for life

Fred and Luke sharing breakfast...unaware of the dirt

I am always surprised when I look at the photographs that I put on my blog. They appear so much nicer (my house looks bigger, the furniture nicer, the rugs more plush) than my life really looks. What I have shown to the world is the “cleaned up” version. I always vacuum, straighten up, and generally “arrange” things in the house before I take a photograph; trying to get the nicest looking shot possible…if it is a photograph of me and my arms look fat, I crop them out.  I never questioned this until yesterday because I have never shared so many “snap shots” of my life before writing this blog.

This morning I thought, “I love this photo of Fred and Luke eating breakfast but I can’t crop out the towel on the floor (from the water that Luke had just spilled) or the dust on the radiator, without also “cropping out” the life. Growing up, I was taught that appearances were very important….that how I looked mattered more than was what was going on inside: that somehow, I (we) were flawed and must work at giving the appearance of being ok. But I like seeing “real” pictures of people, I like talking about real things, am not interested in the cleaned up version of my friends. I have to assume that they want this from me too.

p.s. the winner of the  Costa Rican rock was Helen G!

16 thoughts on “posing for life”

  1. Mary,
    I really loved this post. I know what you mean about being raised in a home where apperance meant everything. It’s funny how long it takes to shake that off when you get older. I know I still struggle with it every day. It’s that struggle for impossible perfection that feeds self-doubt and loathing. It took me a long time to even see that I had a problem and was struggling, but once I did it made all the difference. Thanks for always being so real in your posts. Your lovely soul shines through every time you write.

    Happy Easter!


  2. Good old type A behavior – it requires perfection at all times. Something I’ve learned over the years about those messages on cleaning ones house, having plastic on the furniture, having museum like atmosphere to a house — in the grand scheme, just isn’t as important as maybe our mother, grandmother, great aunt would think it is. Just adds to the stress of everyday life. I had a physical therapist speak to my support group about the push to clean fiendishly at certain times of the year just didn’t do any of us any good and made our physical conditions a whole lot worse.

    Too bad we can’t see ourselves like our dog would. Fred and Luke have the right idea about all this.

  3. I looked at the photo and smiled seeing your dog and cat eating side by side out of the same bowl! How often have I heard “fight like cats and dogs.” Then I started reading your blog, and I had to go back and look for the towel and radiator that you mentioned.

    What a wonderful world this will be when we can all learn to sit down together and eat from the same bowl!

  4. Thanks to your post, I just walked past a dusty end-table. I did it with misgivings, but I did it. My fat arms? It’s going to take more work to have me uncover them. Another great post today, Mary. Happy Easter!

    1. I pulled up next to a truck yesterday at the IGA. It had a sticker in the window that said, “Right to Bare Arms” (it might have said, Bear arms?!) and I thought, now we could really put a new spin on that couldn’t we?!…it is going to be a sleeveless summer (once it stops snowing!)…and Happy Easter to you too!

  5. And if others don’t notice the “flaws,” we’ll point them out for them! Love this photo, “is worth a thousand words.” Again, you’re ALWAYS so in touch with the everyday but the profound. Just this wk I stressed because a former coworker was stopping by and my house was a mess. We were on the way to visit a friend who is recovering from surgery and she made sure to point out and apologize for the worn carpet and linoleum. I have grown to love the flaws and imperfections, they are what’s real and lovable.

  6. when I first saw “unaware of the dirt” in your title, I thought you meant they were eating something that had some dirt in it – and they didn’t notice.
    it wasn’t until I read the whole thing that I realized you meant “your” dirt!
    that’s how much it matters
    all I saw were the dog & cat sharing
    I’ll bear arms in a little while ;~} not today burrrrr

  7. Hi Mary,

    I like your photos the way they are. Looks like a real home. Happy Easter,


  8. Mary — I agree completely about letting the rough edges hang out as they are what we are all about too– not just perfection.
    — barbara

  9. We people are so funny ! Actually I was marveling at how clean your animals are and so well brushed! I didn’t even notice the towel on the floor til you mentioned it, let alone dust?
    I have to say – what great animals an inspiring photo.

  10. I’m already impressed by you, Mary… by your kind heart and compassionate soul… dust on the radiator? I don’t see it. I see your beloved fur-friends enjoying a meal together. That’s what I see of your home – friends sharing a meal. What a lovely and loving home you have!


  11. Hi, Mary. I’ve been away for 5 days and found over 300 emails when I turned on my computer this morning. Someday I may share about some of the happenings of these last 5 days but right now I will tell you that my brother-in-law died, quite unexpectedly. Our family was not going to be together for Easter but this called us all together and it was an amazing experience, unlike any Easter I could have ever imagined. So today I am moving in slow motion, three hours away from where I have been, trying to re-enter my life here. Cat Bella is helping me do that.My sister, a very strong and beautiful woman, is in good hands with our other sister and a loving community of support.
    I saw where Helen G. had won the stone and I am wondering if that is me. If so, I am more than delighted and look forward to receiving it. If not, I trust the other Helen G. is over joyed by now.

  12. PS: I love the picture. It reminds me of the beauty of “differences” and how differences need not keep us apart.

    1. Hi Helen, Check your emails from me regarding the rock! (you are the one) Love, mary

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