Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why I Could Never Be a Professional Blogger.

I think if I got PAID for blogging, I could be self-disciplined enough to treat it like a job, and blog regularly. I enjoy writing, and when push comes to shove, I'm generally good about following through and completing tasks.

I'd love to get paid to write about my interests. What a fun thought.

Except for that whole "brand" thing. And except for that whole "consistency" thing. Since having this personal blog, I've changed//evolved ((I can't really say which word is more appropriate)) so much. I was living by myself, enjoying vegan cooking. Fast-forward a few years to this morning, when I ate four pieces of bacon. Since getting pregnant and having a baby, I've rediscovered a truth. Bacon is delicious. If I were to think about how it got to my plate, I wouldn't eat it. But I've realized I can selectively block things out of my head. Maybe it's a coping mechanism I've developed. Maybe it's the "ignorance is bliss" thing. But I'm goin' with it for now. And I'm not making any promises about the future! If a particular PETA video showed up in my Facebook mini-feed, there's a good chance I'd drop meat again. Ahh! Here's hoping not.

I also cared a great deal about the Michael Vick//President Obama controversy in 2010, and now, I'm more interested in child-rearing.

I've written about everything from stages of religious development to cynical thoughts about Christianity, and before too long, I'll be writing about Lilah's baptism, in a Methodist church.

I'm not calling myself out. I'm admitting to//commending myself for ((I can't really say which words are more appropriate)) my ability to grow and change without clinging onto a "brand" that I created for myself ((without even knowing it)) 3 years ago.

The downside to social media, be it Twitter//Instagram//Facebook//Tumblr//Pinterest, and probably 10 more sites I'm unaware of but will soon be a part of...is that we make our mark, and define our identity, in a place that exists forever. Many professional bloggers literally brand themselves, which is definitely more aesthetically pleasing when browsing online, but for me, would be self-limiting years down the road. Even the TITLE of this blog, "Coffee. Camera. Kombucha. Keyboard." is ridiculous. I drink kombucha maybe once a month now. I have remained loyal to my first-love, coffee, however, and don't ever picture a day where I stray from her. I definitely take more pictures with my iPhone than my Canon. It's so much easier. And I can edit from my fingertips! But "Afterlight" and "Instagram" didn't exist when I started this blog. And who knows what will exist down the road. I've thought about changing the title....but to what? What will I still care about 5 years from now?

When a professional social-media-ite creates a brand, (s)he creates a following. And that following usually can be described as a particular stereotype. There are foodies, hipsters, local-music lovers, granola moms, make-up/product junkies, reality-show enthusiasts. The different followers online are as different as the lunch tables in the high school cafeteria. The problem with having a branded online presence, is you have decidedly picked your "table" to eat at, so-to-speak, without feeling free to sit with a different crowd from time to time. If a well-known organic food eating blogger posted an Instagram pic of a McDouble, it would have to be captioned with something describing guilt//shame. Forget that. I'm not going to be ashamed of who I am just because it might stray from a typical post. I'm going to embrace who I am, which is different depending on the day and my mood. I am a Gemini! I have two different personalities and it would be WAY too difficult for me to hang onto one twin for an extended period of time. I go back and forth, and I like it that way.

For the consistent folks out there, branding is a smart idea. It increases followers and page views, and their posts are predictable. Followers can recommend the site to like-minded friends and know that the posts that follow will be of interest. I actually really like following some people ((over half, I've never met)) BECAUSE I know they'll be consistent, and fulfill an element I'm seeking. I love the following users on Instagram: @JoyProuty , @Christine_Simplybloom , @HannahQueen , @MamaWatters ...just to name a few! And I would never direct THIS post toward people LIKE them. They've got it going on, and they inspire me in my feed. I wouldn't WANT them to change the brand//style they've created. They've MASTERED consistency. More power to them. It's just not in the cards for me.

I'm just not that predictable. I love Dior skincare products, but I don't do my hair or nails. I like pedicures. I love Manolo Blahnik, but I would rather wear flip flops or Uggs. I'll rock leather seats, but I won't wear fur. I love rap music, but I'm a feminist. I admire the way some moms consistently make their baby's food...and I have tried it...but I appreciate convenience. I don't mind paying extra for convenience. Whether it's pre-made baby food, or fast-food ((I love Chick-Fil-A, which is a conundrum in and of itself, since I support gay marriage. But dangit, those nuggets are just too tasty. I'm sorry.)). I won't eat lamb//ribs//veal but I'll get down on a burger and bacon. I'm consistently inconsistent. I'm not predictable. Ok, maybe even that's a lie, because I am totally going to be home, bathing my baby around 7:30 PM every night. You can count on it. But within the "motherhood" arena, I don't think I really fit into a group. I love my days at home. But I love working. I buy organic baby food. But I don't always make it myself. I breastfeed. I also give formula. I buy regular diapers, and I don't feel bad about it. I think more than "granola" mom or "OCD" mom, I'm a "convenience and a whole lotta love" kind of mom.

Perhaps the most liberating aspect of this post, is admitting my inconsistencies, and showing vulnerability by doing so. I am so sick of the perfect posts. Like everybody is so put together all the time? Yeah right! ((I'm not referring to the aforementioned users, by the way! To clarify!! Definitely not picking a battle here!)) I'm tempted to start taking pictures of my house at it's messiest, just to prove that my house isn't always clean. And to post pictures when I wake up to show that it actually requires a little bit of effort to look decent. The worst are the photos that people take of themselves, made-up, with captions insinuating that they just naturally look that good. Or a perfectly clean house of a mom with 3 kids under the age of 6. Unless there is a maid ((who never makes it into the Instagram feed)), I'm not buyin' it. Speaking of maid, I'd love one. But can't afford one. But I wouldn't be ashamed if I could.

I saw this Tumblr account yesterday of "Selfies at Funerals." OMG. Why do people...wait, are these actually PEOPLE? Because they seem like possessed weirdos. Why do people insist on taking their own photo, at a FUNERAL no-less, and subjecting it to the online presence for "likes"????? Are we THAT desperate as a species for validation?! On some level, I can understand wanting attention and love on a day that is hard emotionally. That's when face-to-face contact really matters! That's when the friends and family show up at your door with food. And you love on them, hug them, and spend actual REAL time with them to help ease the pain. Posting a photo of yourself at a funeral hoping people will reach out to send their condolences ((along with a compliment on the #ootd or #messyhairdontcare)) is a half-ass way to be a human.

Kind of went off on a tangent there...but I can totally do that, because I'm not being consistent today.

Back to the topic. I couldn't be a professional blogger. I have a very wide range of friends...Republicans, Democrats. Christians, Atheists. Pretty girls, and hippy girls that resent pretty girls. And I don't think I really fall into any one category. So somebody would always disagree with some post, or be offended, or think it's a joke. I admittedly act one way around some friends, and another way around other friends. Is that really a rarity these days??? Because I thought everybody did that. Of course I keep my political mouth shut around my Republican friends...why bother? And of course I don't brag about the meat consumption to my vegetarian friends. I avoid topics that don't pertain to my face-to-face friends when they don't care, or disagree. I think that used to be called "know your audience," before there WAS in fact, an online audience.

So, online audience...be it one person, or a thousand...the only thing I think you can expect from me, is that I'll consistently be inconsistent. But I'll generally be happy, loving my family and friends, and seeking spiritual truth, whatever that might be. And occasionally, I'll blog about it.