I have a problem.
A Pinterest problem.
I start looking at Pinterest for a few minutes before I go to bed and the next thing I know, it’s 4am and I have stumbled onto photos of abandoned houses that are actually haunted; ironically I went on Pinterest to find a recipe. Now I have no dinner for tomorrow and I’m afraid to turn out the lights.
Pinterest (for those of you who have been living under a rock) is an online bulletin board of sorts where you can find images and websites and categorize them to keep them organized so that you can refer back to them later. People can “follow” you, like on Twitter, and you can “like” things like on Facebook. It is social media, but it’s not social media at the same time. People can comment on pins or re-pin them on their own boards if they like them. You can create boards and encourage group contributions. For example, you could create a group board called “Purrrrfect Kitties” for cat lovers to commonly share their love of all things feline…if that’s your idea of a good time.
For me, Pinterest is like having my imagination in a tangible form. I have ideas for my Dream House, My Perfect Kitchen, Gift Giving, Treehouses, Abandoned Buildings (yes, I really have a weird thing for abandoned houses), Puppy Care….the list goes on. I have food boards for dinner ideas, allergen-free food, cocktails and appetizers, one pot meals and healthy desserts.
I have two secret humor boards. That’s right; you can make a secret board for you and only those you invite. Anyone can follow you on Pinterest; you may not want everyone to know that you enjoy the “History of Rap” video and the musings of Drunk History. This way, you can be as uncensored as you please and enjoy your dirty jokes without scrutiny. There’s nothing better to cheer up a friend than sending her a risque Ryan Gosling meme via Pinterest. It’s just a great way to start a morning.
You can truly learn a lot about a person from looking at their Pinterest Boards. For example, you may look at mine and notice that I am the parent AND teacher of the year who exercises fanatically while sipping well made cocktails, cooking a gourmet meal, completing a DIY project (and writing a book about it), and simultaneously grooming my dog at home to save money. You would also note that while doing all of these amazing things, I am perfectly dressed with chic, volumized hair and very white teeth created with a quick 5-minute at home whitening that really works.
Except…maybe not. Pinterest reflects my interests for sure, but a quick glance will tell you that it is more of an inspirational/aspirational situation and not a direct reflection of reality.
While Pinterest is an amazing way to gather ideas and information, it can also make me feel like an underachieving loser sometimes. I did not make a wreath for my child’s teacher out of crayons for teacher appreciation week. I got her a gift card to Total Wine. I did not have a unicorn themed birthday party for my daughter with handmade paper mache unicorn party favors for each guest. We had cake that I bought from Kroger. I failed to create adorable lunches with the faces on the food (I still don’t understand that) for my kids to show them my love. I ordered take out instead of making a month’s worth of meals on a Sunday afternoon using coupons and chicken stock.
Pinterest can make me need things that I didn’t even know I wanted and hate things that I thought I liked. It can create a sense of dissatisfaction and ugly perfectionism if allowed to. Why can’t I do it all, when everywhere I look on Pinterest people are doing it all and putting a monogram on it! Things can get ugly fast if I let them.
As long as I pretend that the perfect woman with the perfect house on my “Dream Homes” board has a closet like Monica’s on Friends, then I can enjoy Pinterest for what it’s meant to be; a way to pretend that I can “have it all”. The before and after photos are photoshopped, the Quinoa birthday cake tastes like…quinoa. The way to keep a perfectly clean house takes longer than 15 minutes a day.
I may not be what my Pinterest pages say that I am, but I am happy with my messy house, slightly less than perfect wardrobe and sometimes healthy dinners. The reality is, myself and my life are already everything we need to be….but it sure is fun to look.