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Pinterest Envy

A few scant weeks ago, one of my oldest friends sent me an invitation to Pinterest, which I am now convinced is a tool of Satan. At the time, I had heard of enough people being on it, and figured that *gasp!* I was missing out on a trend, so I signed on. And my life hasn’t been the same since. In that, I now waste more time than ever before, especially at work. And here I thought Facebook was the ultimate time-suck. Please. FB ain’t got nothin’ on Pinterest. (And for those of you who don’t know, Pinterest is just where a lot of women (and a few dudes, mainly the artsy types, and metrosexuals like my ex who is of course on there infrequently posting hipster shit) post pictures of things they want or like or ideas they have. It’s that simple.)

The truth is, Pinterest is awesome. And addicting. The problem with it is, you are literally overloaded with ideas. It’s like what would happen if your brain actually worked all the time. (Ditto with I warn you: Don’t go there, unless you plan on being there for several hours, are prepared to plan your menu for the next 612 days, and won’t be happy until your ass is a size 32.)

(yeah, that’s a Jack and Coke slushie. you’re welcome.)

Which brings me to my quandary. I have a mad case of the wants, and Pinterest only exacerbates that. You find yourself having simultaneous NEEDS: you want to cook THAT chicken parmesan casserole in THIS gourmet kitchen wearing THOSE shoes while making THESE homemade toys for your kids (I don’t even have any fucking kids!) while your hair LOOKS just like that model’s in the picture, all while it snows outside and your doting husband is wandering around doing ingenuous home improvement projects all before he slips that PERFECT rose gold bracelet on your wrist to say thanks for just being your wonderful, sparkling self, and then offers an inspirational Bible quote.

(bullshit. but bullshit I want.)

Pinterest makes me realize what kind of person I will never be. It’s like a horrible extension of Facebook, where people routinely post the most dazzling facts and pictures of their lives. I mean, think about it: wouldn’t Facebook be a lot more palatable if people posted pictures of their post-baby cellulite and shot video of their fights with their husbands over his wandering eye? It would for me. It’d make the fucking thing a lot more human, at least for my schadenfreude-loving ass.

Pinterest just reminds me of what I am not, who I am not, and what I will never have because I lack money, a husband, kids and a great body. And good hair. And an organized, persistent spirit.

Sometimes I think I don’t have kids because I truly would be a horrible mother, and yes, Pinterest has brought this idea to my forefront. And now the reason I think I would be a horrible mother is because their nurseries wouldn’t be painted with some elaborate stencil, and I wouldn’t make my own laundry detergent, and I don’t have clever birthday party ideas, I’m not going to spend hours making Harry Potter cake balls, and I don’t make toys out of empty coffee cans. I’m creative, yes, but Christ on a cracker! I would have to wander off to the land of Bad Motherhood if Pinterest is any gauge of quality.

I’m also convinced that there are a lot of pro-ana girls on there, since there appears to be an abundance of pins featuring ridonkulously thin women in exercise clothing, Victoria Secret models with captions like, “Do you think a VS model would skip her workout today?” and then twenty some-odd comments from chimers-in below it that say, “No!!!! Glad u posted this. It’s gr8.” Whereas I have a category that features pictures of women I aspire to look/be like: Adele, Crystal Renn, Tina Fey, Christina Hendricks. Seriously, I love to be a size 10/12 for all eternity. My ass is never going to look like Jillian Michaels. And that’s okay. (I guess.)

So I stay away from the Thinspiration Bitches, whose pencil-sized throats I’d love to strangle while force-feeding them one of the cupcakes I just posted a picture of. (I post a lot of really decadent recipes. Like, A LOT.) Part of me thinks I could learn from them, that I myself could use some inspiration and goal-setting, especially since I want to get FORTHEREALZ about losing weight in 2012. But there’s only so much rah-rah I can take. And it takes more than a picture for me.

Anyway, my point is, Pinterest reminds me of how ideal other women’s lives are, and I’m very much in the throes of “the grass is greener” syndrome. You could argue that I just don’t appreciate a goddamned thing, and that wouldn’t be entirely off. I just feel like other people’s perfection is in my face all the time – Facebook, Pinterest, magazines, online sources – and I’m being constantly reminded of what I am not. And may never be. And what kinds of houses I will never live in, looks I will never pull off and a life I might not get to lead.

For some, as with the pro-ana stuff, it may be inspiring and motivating. It’s depressing for me. Why isn’t there a methed-out trailer park trick with 4 kids (she only knows the location of her youngest 3) posting snippets of her life on Pinterest? Here’s me with my belly shirt on! Made it myself! Or, How to con your pharmacist out of Sudafed: Top 10 tricks! Or, How not washing your hair for 10 days will let you make the chicest chignon!


Of course, I kid, but that chick is noticeably absent from Pinterest (and only just now making a splash on Facebook.) And such absences make me and my imperfect ass feel conspicuous.

I’ve got to shake this. (And giving up Pinterest and social media is not an option. DEAR GOD! WOMAN, ARE YOU CRAZED?) One thing I would like to start moving toward in 2012 is not giving a red hot shit about other people’s lives. I’ve got to stop coveting what other people have and live more by the mantra about being willing to let go of living the life we have planned so we can live the life that is waiting for us. There’s something nice about that sentiment, comforting. And also really lazy. But mainly, I like it.

I must stand firm in ridding myself of the notion that I’m a freak because I’m still childless and unmarried, and not living in a house with a picket fence and driving a Range Rover and sitting in front of a fire at night, as snow gently drifts to the ground, while gathering around a table and playing Scrabble and eating popcorn with my family while wearing designer jeans in a size 6 with my long, perfectly mussed hair in a low side pony. FUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKK. Even typing that made me wistful.

And I need to get out of that envious mode of thinking because a) it’s counterproductive as hell. I mean, really, it gets me nowhere. If it motivated me to bring those things into my life, or make changes, then that would be one thing. Instead, for me, it’s just destructive thinking. B) I know people who really have drawn the shit end of the stick in life. Who seriously have undergone some shit that would have destroyed my ass. And I’m almost positive that they’re not crawling out from said sorrow and pain by wringing their hands and acting like jealous hussies at every turn. (They also are probably not spending 3 hours a day on Pinterest perusing articles about how to make a magnetic bulletin board out of an old cookie sheet and spray paint.)

I think so, so much of life is about acceptance. When I look back on my mistakes and epic fails, many of them came about because I couldn’t accept certain things: that so-and-so didn’t love me; that, in fact, I wasn’t old enough to handle that situation; that I can’t drink an entire bottle of tequila and be “buzzed”; that I am never going to be a size 4 with blonde hair and blue eyes, though God knows I tried with hydrogen peroxide and aqua blue contacts in high school – and consequently ended up looking like a chubby Barbie zombie. (But I was pretty cute back then, to be fair, chubby or not.)

But I think there’s a fine line between acceptance and resigning yourself, and you have to know which is which. And that, my friends, might be one of those lifelong journeys, and one I will, of course, blog about here until you bitches start throwing shit at the screen because you’re so tired of hearing it.

Do any of you guys struggle with envy and coveting what others have, be it creativity, sex appeal, money, lifestyle or opportunity?

12 responses »

  1. I am a pinterest fanatic! I have done a couple things that I pinned from that site. Not too much though.

    I can see where you’re going with the “perfect hair, perfect life”. I will never ever be chick with perfect hair and legs that go on for miles. My legs got me to a stubby 5’1″,I FAILED cosmetology, and sport a squishy mom tummy as shown above.

    But I see pinterest as inspiration. If I want that awesome hair style I will practice and practice until I perfect the fuck out of it. I can only control so much so I might as well worry about what I can actually control

    And those thinspiration pinners? There is nothing inspiring! They are kind of like the person who saw absolutely nothing to love about herself and got so many plastic surgeries that she looked like a different person. They have some sort of mental disorder that completely makes them see something different. They see a chick who is made up of bones and skin and think “hey I want to be that”. They are trying to be the type who passes out from not eating.

  2. Nobody’s life is as perfect as it seems on Facebook or pinterest. People only post what they want the world to see, and yes, it is easy to imagine that those people’s entire existences are just like that one instant in time and to envy that. But it’s a fantasy world. I struggle with that envy as well. I imagine that I am failing as a wife and mother because I don’t have my home decorated like this or that, cook gourmet meals all the time and have Max speaking three languages by now. Hell. My life looks nothing like that, so one of my goals for 2012 is to not compare myself or my life to others as well and just be real. It’s hard because we are so bombarded by the fantasies. But it’s fun so long as I can keep it separate in my head :)

  3. Thank you so much for writing this post. I laughed out loud at the image of the methed out trailer park chick pinning pics from her life. Seriously, if only people like that did, the rest of us wouldn’t be so quick to feel inadequate. I finally get what Pinterest is and why people I know are so obsessed with it. I signed up because of an invite after listening to a couple friends rave about it. Then I couldn’t figure out what the whole point of the website was or how to use it. Then I got super freaked out when I had several people “follow” me and I still had no idea what I was doing or what the point of it was.

    Envy, it’s a bitch.

  4. Hah, you’ll notice my own Pinterest “fitness” board is almost absent of “body inspiration” pictures. That’s because I know I’ll never look like those bitches, though I’m built smallish. 6 pack abs? HAH. I usually repin the “get up and GO!” stupidly inspirational quotes and actual workout ideas. I will browse the fitness section for motivation to get off my ass, though. I’m susceptible to stupid Nike ads.

    And I’m a bad Pinterest mom too. I don’t even HAVE a board for “Cool stuff to do with kids!!!!!” (despite the number of kids I have, I don’t consider myself a “kid person”) and I hate even browsing that shit. Want to know what I do with my kids? Dress them, feed them, talk to them, hug them a lot, watch TV with them. I rarely even play with them (I do watch them play with each other sometimes). I LIVE with my kids. They can learn by living, not by homemade “Activity boards”. (Oh yeah, and they learn from preschool. I’m not a teacher and I don’t pretend to be.)

    My own mom joined Pinterest the other day and called me up to tell me to follow her so I could see all the cool stuff to do with kids and I was like, yeah, YOU come down here. That’s grandmother stuff to do and preschool teacher stuff, not working mom stuff.

    I don’t make cake pops. I have better things to do with my time than make food look pretty. Like oh, browse Pinterest and fantasize about my dream house.

  5. I had to cut out the food boards on Pinterest because they were killing me. It’s bad enough I want to do a million crafts. I don’t really have fashion stuff either, I don’t need to activate the crappy “gee I wish I looked like that” lobe anymore than I already do. And here’s how terrible my hair is: (from my blog). Hair is huge into making a woman pretty so yeah, that’s out. Forget the hair boards. Follow me on Pinterest if you want: I’m spleeness:

    This post made me laugh my ass off. Yeah, I hate that online isn’t real. It’s good for egos, in one way, because it’s like a scrapbook of the better parts of life, but I don’t really need a comparison fail marker all up in my grill. My 2012 resolution is to avoid the things that make me feel crappy (a topic for a post maybe). I don’t know how but will give it a try.

  6. I don’t often comment, but I feel a lot of the things you say quite accutely, and have been thinking about commenting for some time.

    Heather in the comments is totally right when she says that people only post what they want you to see – most people’s lives have all sorts of train-wrecky shit going on that they cover with a thin veneer of sophistication and hide behind closed doors – you can think that everyone except you has a perfect life, but you’d be wrong – they’ve all got their own skeletons and issues that the don’t want anyone to know about – hence the uber perfect online image.

    I know you’re pretty reluctant to try giving up social media etc, but I can tell you from my own experience that I am able to be a lot more forgiving of myself and loving of myself since I gave up “girly” magazines (I’m not sure what they’re called in the US – I’m in NZ, and they were things like “Cosmopolitan” and “Women’s Day” etc) but I basically stopped reading and/or buying any magazine that was full of celebrities and “helpful hints” on how to improve your life. (It saves you lots of money too – not that I bought that many). Even if I’m in a waiting room I’ll try to find a National Geographic or something like that, rather than sinking back into that fetid stew that is the contents of “women’s” magazines. In NZ lots of doctor’s offices no longer offer those kinds of magazines any more, due to the general acceptance of how damaging they are, and how totally removed from reality they are.

    Taking a book everywhere helps too. I’m not sure if you’re that big on reading, but if you are, some of the books that helped me are “Being Fat is Not a Sin” By Shelley Bovey, “Largely Happy” by Lynda Finn, “The Body Snatchers: How The Media Shapes Women” by Cyndi Tebbel and also “Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control” byJeannette Dewyze & Allan Mallinger.

    I’ve not had a completely analogous situation to you, but I was pretty fucked up for a time, with incredibly low self esteem, convinced that I was fat and ugly (as an NZ size 10-12) and in all sorts of counter-productive relationships. I also suffered from clinical depression for a number of years, and although I am no longer medicated, it’s a looming spectre that I have to be wary of.

    I made a conscious effort to sort my shit out quite a bit earlier in my life than you – I had the luxury of being at University doing an Arts Degree, which also allowed me plenty of time to work on my issues (not to mention discounted counselling). Plus I had lots of support from my dad (not my mum – she thinks “all you need to do to deal with the bad stuff is make your head go all black-and-white-and-fuzzy like the TV when it’s not tuned properly”) But it’s still work every day not to get trapped into a negative self-talk loop and mess with my head again. And I still had to have lots of counselling and do lots of work on my self esteem etc before I could comit properly to my current partner. And despite all the work I’ve done I still have trust issues, body issues and employment issues.

    You’d probably look at my life and hate me and think I couldn’t possibly have anything to complain about, because I’m 30, married with a two year old, and another baby on the way, I’m a stay at home mum and we live in our own home. And I guess in contrast to lots of people I am incredibly lucky, and I feel that way too, and try to remind myself as often as possible of that fact. But there’s some not so great shit too – like having a husband who’s idea of marriage is modelled on the 1950’s, not having a particularly wonderful sex life (in part because of being sexually assaulted when I was 13) and struggling to have a reasonable relationship with my mother. Not to mention the fact that my father (who was one of my best friends) died while I was at University, that I have recently moved towns and don’t have any friends in the new town yet, and that I have all sorts of dietry issues that make eating a totally irritating experience for me and everyone around me. (And I fucking love food. But can’t eat any dairy or caffeine – and this has nothing to do with being pregnant, it’s just because I totally overdosed my body on it and now my system can’t handle it any more – fucking awesome).

    So I’m actually jealous of you – because you actually managed to figure out what you want to do with your life, career-wise, AND YOU’RE DOING IT. I never got that – just a fucking expensive degree and a string of bull-shit make-me-want-to-stab-my-eyes-out-with-blunt-pencils administration jobs. And you have phenomenal sex with someone who is really into you – whatever the status of your relationship. I’d quite like to know what amazing sex is like, but as I say, there are all sorts of things stopping me. And you can eat all sorts of things. Yeah okay, some of them make you put on weight, but shit – you can eat chocolate and cheese, and don’t have to fucking scrutinise labels of EVERYTHING so you don’t get crook accidentally. And you can go out to a restaurant and order a meal without annoying the fuck out of your waiter/waitress and all your dining companions because you have to ask all these boring fucking questions so you don’t get sick. And you can go into any restaurant and know that there will be stuff you can eat – not so much here in NZ. (We’re pretty good at Gluten Free, but everything else makes people here spazz out a bit – particularly because we’ve got a really dairy-heavy culture).

    I don’t do FaceBook anymore because I got into all kinds of shit with my in-laws (mostly because they can’t read properly and thought I’d been rude when in actualy fact they took things out of context) and because I want to protect my children’s privacy, as well as my own. And I have a lot more life because of this. I also can see that Pinterest would be super time-sucking, so am staying the fuck away from that, no matter how enticing it seems. (I also don’t do twitter because I just don’t have a fucking clue, and can’t be bothered). Maybe instead of giving social media up entirely, you could try taking a break from it for a week or two? Read a book/ play with Butters/go for a walk/watch a movie instead??

    When I was working in a shitty office, I used to hate having to socialise with my cunty co-workers, or be interrupted and prevented from having my full break, so I’d go for a walk at lunchtime, and find somewhere like a park to eat my lunch and read my book. Sometimes I’d even walk at morning and afternoon tea. If it rained I took an umbrella and a plastic bag to sit on, and would go and find a sheltered doorway to sit in – church steps are quite good. I probably looked a bit odd/like a hobo but I lost fuck loads of weight without even trying by doing this. (I should mention I FUCKING LOATHE exercise, and won’t do it unless it’s disguised as something else. Gyms make me break out in hives – fucking torture chambers. My Dr recommended I get a dog so I’d be forced to walk, I’m so fucking anti-exercise).

    So there’s my really long and convoluted comment. I suspect it’s much harder to “unplug” from all the damaging imagery and messages in the USA. We don’t have nearly the amount of “reality tv” that you guys do (I also don’t watch that much TV – sometimes not even the news because it’s too fucking depressing) or the amount of social conditioning crap floating around – so it might be really hard to step out of the shit-stream and start taking care of you. I hope that some of what I’ve said is helpful or at the very least mildly diverting to read.

    Finally I’d like to say that the picture of your bosom/cleavage that you posted on your birthday was actually really tasteful, and a LONG fucking way from being “too much on display”. Give yourself some mad props for having a totally gorgeous, and tastefully displayed cleavage. I’d fucking love to hang out with you in similar attire – we’d cause traffic accidents! (Also, aint nothing wrong with cardigans and clothes that suit you – and you’re quite right to insist that wearing a tent does no-one any favours. Fuck “fashion” – be comfortable and call it “classic” or “individual” style).

    Take care. And give Butters a pat (my dog Meg and my cat Misty send you tail-waggings and purrs).

  7. Lindsey–

    If I was a mom, I’d want to be like you. I love that you’re real & don’t pretend to be something you’re not. I think you rock.

    CJ– I also hate having to socialize with people at work. This is why I work with children. (I teach Kindergarten.) Children don’t bullshit. They’re real; they’re honest; they make me laugh and cry and love me regardless. Adults are a pain the ass to deal with, for the most part.

    J– you know my issues. You know I have a lot of the same issues you do. I actually didn’t know about Pinterest. I don’t care at all about it after reading your post. It sounds like something I should stay away from. But, I am reading, and I care, and Christ, I wish we lived closer to each other.


  8. Hi, if anyone is on here, I’d love to get an invite. Looks interesting.

  9. CJ, thanks for reading my blog and for such a thoughtful, honest response. It really means a lot to have readers like you. xoxo

  10. Hey Jen. If you have a FB page, I’d pitch out a request on your wall. I bet someone will bite on that in a minute and send you an invite! :)

  11. Okay, now I feel like I need to see what the heck Pinterest is about, stat. This post gave me Pinterest envy!

    And I’m convinced that ALL women do the envy thing… except of course for those model-thin gorgeous bitches with perfect hair and killer cheekbones. Although they may envy us normal folk our cookies.

    (from a constant reader, seldom commenter)

  12. I can’t look at the hair pins on pinterst. My hair is not long and beautiful. it’s short and dry. And So much of that “up-cycled”crap on pinterest is like wtf? why does ANYONE need a tiny bed in an altoid can? NO ONE NEEDS THAT.

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