I used to have a blog that became quite popular. It was all about home decor, diy projects, a great life, a great family life. It painted the perfect picture. Then I took it down. One, because I was beginning to feel like a fraud, my life was not perfect. (Hello, no one’s life is perfect and now scrolling through all the feeds of perfectness I want to scream. But that’s another story for another day.) And two, there was a little encounter with a reader that freaked out my son. That moment made me realize the day where I could post about my family and all the beautification projects of our home had passed.
We were visiting my “chicago mom” in, duh, Chicago. The first two nights we stayed in an hotel room before spending the weekend at her condo, and it was at that hotel the encounter occurred. The four of us had stepped into an elevator, heading out to meet old friends for dinner in the city. It stopped on another floor and in stepped a woman. Upon seeing my son something jogged in her memory, she looked again at him and the rest of us before her eyes returned to me. “Are you Loren of (unnamed old blog)?” I was a little surprised, but certainly flattered. “Well yes, I am!” “Hi, I’m a huge fan of your blog! I recognized (name of son) and then realized it was you!” Okay, she recognized my son before she recognized me. I’ve taken the “use your family to build your brand” thing a bit far apparently. We spoke for the duration of the brief ride. Her: She had been reading for years, loved all my design work, so inspiring. She was in town for business from Kansas, how random to run into us in the midwest, being we’re from the west coast. Me: Okay, great to meet you, thanks for reading! Have a good trip!
Then my son had his reaction. “Okay mom, that was creepy. She recognized my face. MY face. That’s kinda scary. Maybe you shouldn’t post pictures of me. Will you promise not to post any more photos of me?” “Absolutely. Wow, that’s really weird. I’m sorry. Yes, I’ll do that.” And then the thought process began, what good does it do to stop posting photos when there are already a zillion out there? Of him, of my daughter, of our home. Sure you’ve been careful to not identify the location, but sheesh, if someone really wanted to find out exactly where we lived it would NOT BE THAT HARD! It wasn’t long afterwards I changed the settings of the entire blog to private and that was that. It was hard to let several years of devotion, hard work, growth and reward go, but it was the right decision. That was a few years ago and with the perspective of time I can still say it was the right decision.
Plus, ugh, what a relief to stop having to put out that perfect life crap day after day. That’s exhausting stuff, with a price to pay.