I’m not picture perfect. Not even close. Those who know me best would be more than happy to tell you that, but I’m more concerned about those who might be reading this blog that don’t know me best. I’m thinking about those people who stop by and see beautiful pictures – guess what, they are staged – and yummy recipes, and immaculate homes, and maybe when they see those pictures, they leave feeling like they don’t have their act together. I know I’ve felt that way. Actually, I’ve felt that way a lot recently and it doesn’t feel good at all. I definitely don’t want anyone feeling that way on account of me and hopefully by the end of this post, you never will.
Three weeks ago, I launched this business and at the same time I started a business instagram account. Within a week’s time I felt completely defeated. I was scrolling through beautiful news feeds of beautiful people living beautiful lives – designers and creatives and gorgeous skinny moms who wear perfect outfits all the time, not Yeti hats and workout clothes all day like I do. I started listening to that little unwelcome voice in my head that was telling me I wasn’t good enough; that I will never get to where I want to go; that it was pointless to even start because I’m way too far behind; THAT I SHOULD JUST GIVE UP AND QUIT.
I was falling into the comparison trap. You know, where you compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel – or even worse, 500 to 1,000 different people’s highlight reels – that they post on social media. Suddenly, I found myself feeling discouraged, defeated, and completely worthless.
I know better. One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Read it again. “Comparison is the THIEF of joy.” Comparison LITERALLY steals our joy from us. I know that quote. I generally don’t ever struggle with jealousy or comparison, but boy oh boy, when I started this business I was hit with it full force as I was immersed in a world of design and beauty and highlight reels.
Here’s the deal. We are living in a world that makes not struggling with the comparison trap REALLY DIFFICULT. Every time we pick up a phone, there is a different app – twitter, periscope, snapchat, blogs, instagram, and many, many more – just waiting to make us feel inadequate and worthless if we will let them. With the flick of a thumb, we are inundated with pictures of gorgeous people living seemingly perfect lives and it’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap… Look at Suzy. She gets to travel all the time. She’s in France right now. My life stinks. I never get to go anywhere. Jennifer just had three babies and she’s already back to her pre pregnancy weight. I’m an overweight loser. I still need to lose 20 pounds and my baby is seven years old. Oh, well, there’s Heather again. She’s in the news for winning another work award. I can’t even get dressed for the day. I suck.
The comparison trap. It just downright stinks. It steals our joy. It makes us feel sad and defeated and discouraged and worthless.
So here’s the deal. I got to thinking about my blog and how I post pretty pictures a lot. Guess what, I’m a photographer you guys. I can take a pretty picture and so, that’s what I do. I’m no dummy and that’s what I have to do and need to do for my career. But I also want to be real with you guys. I want to share some true life, non highlight reel pictures with you. No, I’m not going to post messy true life pictures over on my @ccandmikecreative instagram account because I need to keep it clean and looking nice for business purposes; but over here on the blog…I can do whatever I want. And what I want to do, is show you my real, uncut, unedited, uncensored life, so that when you see pictures like this of my bedroom, you will know the truth.
TRUTH: I’m just trying to sell that buffalo print and it took 30 minutes for me to get my bedroom that picked up. I had to wait for perfect lighting and I kept yelling at my kids to get out of my room and leave me alone while I took the picture. Mom fail.
TRUTH: THIS is what my bedroom normally looks like. Dirty, covered with laundry, and not picture perfect. I’m terrible at laundry. Like, I’m absolutely terrible at it and I’m a huge baby about it. I will let it go for a week without doing it, then I will start a load and have to rewash the same load in the washing machine five times. No that’s not a joke. I don’t iron. I’m pretty sure my kids go to school in wrinkled clothes on the regular. I just really, really STINK at laundry.
TRUTH: I’m unbelievably scatterbrained and disorganized. No seriously, I’m talking it’s out of control terrible. I forget things. I can’t be counted on to remember anything. I don’t have my kid’s sports schedules written down and my husband keeps track of them and just tells me on that day what we have that night. I drop the ball on the regular. Case in point…here is a text chain from yesterday where I got a reminder for a dentist appointment for Emmy while I was at the gym in the middle of my workout. Clearly I flipped the freak out. I asked Michael to drop everything and grab Emmy and take her to the dentist, only to then realize the reminder was for next week. Oh yes and Shot was a type-o because clearly what I was trying to say there was Darn it.
TRUTH: Here’s what my microwave currently looks like. No, it’s not supposed to be yellow. I tried to cook something and forgot about it then 25 minutes later our entire house was filled with smoke. We thought we were going to have to call the Jenks Fire Department then go have our lungs checked for smoke inhalation because it was so bad. I ruined our $700 microwave and it still smells like smoke and is permanently yellow even though we have doused it in vinegar and tried every other cleaning solution.
And finally, I give you my car. WOW, after seeing this pic I am rethinking this entire blog post because man, this is straight up embarrassing. But you know what, I committed to showing you guys some real life, not from my highlight reel pics, so I’m just going for it. I’m going to leave this right here and just let it speak for itself. TRUTH: This is what my car looks like right now.
So now you’ve seen some real life pictures and you know that I’m a hot mess – disorganized, chaotic and crazy. Here’s a couple other choice CC stories for you just in case you aren’t believing me after these pictures…
One time, I ordered 150 Christmas card pictures with my own name misspelled. And I didn’t even realize it until my friend Kenna called me and said, “Um, Carissa, did you realize you misspelled your own name on your Christmas cards?”
I have wrecked the last three cars I have owned. Two times I backed into something, even though my car has backup cameras that beep at you when you’re about to hit something. My last car, I left it in drive when I went into Quik Trip to get a coffee before an early morning session. I came out and saw some crazy person’s car had rolled into the QT gas pumps and was all smashed up. Yep, you guessed it. That crazy person was me. I was literally on the phone with my friend and said, “Oh my gosh! Someone’s car hit the gas pumps!!!” Then I realized it was mine.
Two days ago I showed up to a newborn session with not one, but TWO dead batteries. Awesome.
Yep, I’m a hot mess and guess what, my life isn’t perfect either. I’ve been through pain. As I get more and more courageous with my writing, maybe I’ll share more of my journey with you guys. But for now, just trust me, I’ve been through pain. I have struggles as well and I want to be candid and share those with you guys from time to time too, not just share beautiful pictures of my highlight reel only. I want to be real with you guys.
Yes, you will see pretty pictures of my house on this blog. But now when you do, I hope you’ll remember the picture above where it’s covered in laundry. That is what it most likely looks like at all times. You might even notice, when you see pictures on my blog, that my house is big and beautiful and looks perfect (in the pics I post). Yes. It is big. This is something I’ve spent years struggling with and feeling guilty and self conscious about. Now I don’t care and you know why? Because I know the reality. I know what you don’t see in the pretty pictures. You don’t see me 5 months pregnant, cleaning bricks and lumber off our first ever job site and picking up cups filled with human feces. Yep, that happened. You won’t see that I lived in a two bedroom apartment and my baby slept in a pack n play in a bathroom for three months. You won’t see that time when we built our first house together, and I literally thought we were going to get divorced because we fought so much. You won’t see that we lived in three different places in 2015. You won’t see that my kids are constantly asking if Daddy is going to sell our house and they’ll have to move again. So yes, I live in a pretty house. You’re going to see pretty pictures of it. But make sure when you do, you remember that it’s just a highlight reel and that the true life behind it, isn’t always so pretty.
You will see pictures of my marriage. Yes, we are high school sweethearts. Yes, we have a beautiful love story, or at least I think we do, but no, we do not have the perfect marriage. When you see pictures of us, know that we have fought harder than I’ve ever fought for anything in my life to have the marriage that we do. Know that we have gone to counseling, three or four different rounds of it. Know that one time, when our marriage was in a really terrible spot, we packed up and flew to Colorado Springs and did a weekend long marriage intensive. Know that when we got back we worked our butts off for 6 months on the principles we learned, trying to apply them to our marriage and get out of the huge rut we were in. Know that we fight. Know that we have doubts. Know that we’ve struggled but facing those struggles together, have only made us stronger.
You will see beautiful pictures of food on my blog. You might even hop on over to the Food section and see recipe after recipe of beautiful food. TRUTH: I think I’ve only cooked 1 homemade meal for my family in the past two weeks because I’ve been so overwhelmed with trying to juggle everything.
You might see pictures like this of our travels and adventures. We have fun. It’s awesome. We also get in fights and want to kill each other at times when we are sharing a small space for two weeks straight. Just keeping it real.
So there you go. I hope that clears some things up. If you’re going to play the comparison game, you’re going to want to set your standards a lot higher than me; because I’m just an incredibly flawed, hot disorganized mess who just so happens to be able to take a pretty picture and write a witty line.
I hope from now on when you look at my blog posts or maybe even my instagram posts if you follow me over there (@ccandmikecreative), that you will know that it’s just my highlight reel. There is a behind the scenes. There is ALWAYS a behind the scenes. And remembering that there is a behind the scenes just might help us all from falling into the pit of despair that is the comparison trap.
What is my goal in writing this? To be really open and honest and candid with everyone. To let everyone know that my life isn’t perfect just because I can take a pretty picture and I live in a big house. But most of all, so that next time you are scrolling through the internet or social media and you feel yourself starting to fall into the comparison trap, you will maybe stop. Stop and remember the picture of my yellow microwave or my car that looks like a bomb just exploded. Stop and remember that the highlight reel isn’t real life.
Stop. Don’t let the comparison trap steal your joy. Life’s way to short y’all.