Tuesday, July 10, 2012

swimming up to my ears in social media

 The way I blog and interact in social media can really be a little obsessive, you could even call it... bi-polar. One week I'm posting multiple stories a day, sharing 50 pictures on instagram, and even socializing on facebook. Then it all gets old to me and I forget about the blog for several weeks, maybe check my notifications on facebook occasionally, and post a couple pictures so that no one asks if I've died.  I can't explain why I can't seem to get a healthy, consistent balance like blog once a week or something- no, I will blog for 2 weeks straight then take 2 months off. You can enjoy some pictures from the pool a few days ago and skip or read the unrelated text.
I do enjoy being able to stay in touch with people I wouldn't be able to interact with otherwise {hello. If you're on IG you know I'm completely obsessed}, but I also get frustrated by a lot of the aspects of social media. People acting like it's a competition. People blatantly copying things you do or say and taking it for their own. The people who don't say one kind word about anything I've shared who then want something from me.
There's something I want to confess now. Sometimes I hate pinterest- and it's not because I'm jealous of all the wonderful things other people are doing- it's because I'm mad everyone else can do them now too... (oh woops, do I sound like a brat and a half? Let me explain...) I'm not saying I've always known how to do everything on that wonderful site, I see new ideas on there all the time- some similar to things I've done, some much better versions than my own. But have you noticed how almost nothing seems original anymore? It's like everyone's "special" dinners and crafts and home decor are all slowly turning into the same thing.
Here's the thing- I don't have one special talent that I'm especially gifted at. You know how most people have at least one thing that they really excel at? Whether it's basketball, singing, the violin, etc- most people choose something they really love and are good at, practice it for years, and become gifted at it. It becomes a part of them and they earn a label, like: "I'm a dancer.
But what do I do? I'm certainly no athlete, PE was always my least favorite time of day. I was the child who during a soccer game made dandelion nests and chased my shadow while avoiding the ball at all costs. The child who developed a stomach ache every time we had to play dodge ball and begged the teacher to let me sit out.
So I wasn't into sports- I took dance. I wanted to be a ballerina and auditioned to be a little gingerbread girl in the nutcracker. I still remember watching the little girls who could do back handsprings and wondering how they learned such amazing things. I remember my mom carrying me out from the audition and crying on her shoulder when I didn't make the cut.
Then I followed a cycle of wanting to try everything and while partially enjoying many things I could stick with nothing. It may have been a combination of feeling inadequate and  being curious about what else was out there. I painted. I played the piano. I wanted to be a singer but no one in my family was theatrical like that- I hesitantly took voice lessons and joined the choir, but never auditioned for a musical (though I envied any girl I ever saw take the stage). I wanted to be a cheerleader, but never took tumbling. I wanted to be a dancer, but never learned how to do an arabesque pirouette.
I have always loved being creative and being artistic, even though I've had a hard time figuring out how to channel it.
What do I do really? I do love taking pictures. I've been a scrapbooker since I was in elementary school. Don't let your kids start that early, they'll just cut all their pictures into odd shapes with decorative edge scissors. I've been quilting since Jr. High, I love piecing a quilt together even though it sometimes takes me years to get around to actually finishing the quilting on it. After the girls were born I started making headbands for them, I wish I'd had that skill before I got married- I could have made my veil a lot cuter...
I have always loved to cook- since I was little. I still can't define my strength as one thing- I'm not a chef or the worlds best seamstress, but I have always loved the homemaking skills, even when it wasn't cool to. I guess even though I shouldn't feel this way, sometimes I feel like my best strength has been diminished because it is now trendy and easy to have all of those skills- no need to grow up spending all your years acquiring them, going to college learning about ikebana and hard ball stage for my profession (I graduated in home economics from BYU before nursing school)
Instead, when I make something cool the first question someone asks me is "oh, did you find this tutorial on pinterest?". Unless the particular craft/skill/recipe happened to be something I did indeed find on pinterest I just say "no" and my blood boils a little as I think about how there is no worth or appreciation for my own skill. my own creativity. my own original idea. Now, someone else has had a similar or better idea and its on pinterest- and now mine isn't so cool. And the "dancer" isn't just a dancer but a dancer who can bake perfect rolls and make a quilt and paint furniture and do everything I can do- except I still can't do a pirouette.
So there you have it, I'm not as accomplished as I ought to be. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. Oh wait...that was just a quote from Taken. Just kidding. What I do have is a set of skills that you have too, even though they don't make me special I still love to cook- to attempt an authentic foreign meal. I love to bake a delicious dessert. I love to pull a quilt out of the dryer for the very first time when it crinkles up and shows off all the stitch work. I guess I just need to get over the fact that some people may not be as in awe of my rolls because they found similar/specialer ones on pinterest. That's okay. You eat your rolls, I'll eat mine. Heck, I'll eat yours too. I like rolls. I'm sure they all taste good just the same. After all, it's a pinterest world we're living in.


Alicia said...

I know it makes me totally stalkerish to comment right after you posted, but I'm laying on the couch, sick, and am entertaining myself by surfing the internet. I love this post! I like being connected with you on various social media platforms because it's fun to see what you're up to, and between our four kids, two husbands with busy schedules, and all the demands of life it seems like it's sometimes hard for us to actually get together in person. So it's nice to keep in touch!

I kind of feel the same way about Pinterest... I always felt like I was adventurous and into trying new recipes/projects, and now suddenly everyone is. And everything is becoming the same... everyone has the same talents and does everything the same way. There's no room for originality.

I do have to say, the homemaking skills that you have are not your only talents, or the only things that make you special. You are graceful and gracious, you are funny and clever, you are adventurous and curious. You are great at taking someone else's ideas and making them your own (let's think back to the easter baskets...). While Pinterest makes it possible for everyone to create identical projects, you still have the talent and skill to make your projects stand out and be original. (And speaking of, we need to get together for a crafting day soon! Let's come up with a fun idea!)

Alicia said...

Oh, and your comment about scrapbooking made me laugh, because I started in 8th grade, and totally cut all my pictures into weird shapes. Thank goodness I have a negative scanner now and can have perfect copies of all those pictures!

kristen kathleen said...

I have to concur with Alicia even though I've never met her - your talents go deep. I say that because I know a tiny bit of your family background and while I was growing up I often heard my parents mention the strength/unity/love of the Lewis family. =) And while others may find ways to duplicate your photographs, bake your sweets and awesome ethnic foods, or make a similar quilt - there is no way they can copy your passion for life and living, or the way you treat and relate to other people. I hope that made sense. And finally (I realize you are not fishing for compliments or looking for pity in writing this post, but I want to say this anyway), I think I speak for everyone who reads your blog when I say that everything you write about has the Katie Hagen stamp of originality and pizazz - and it's awesome.

Katy Martin said...

I know what you mean, but they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery! You must just have awesome ideas!

Katie Hagen said...

i never know how to reply to ppl on blogs..i doubt you'll see this, but alicia & kristen i really appreciated the truthful reminder that our outward talents aren't everything. as silly and obvious as it sounds i guess even adults (or at least me) sometimes need the reminder that it's whats inside that counts. :) i hope i didn't subconsciously write this fishing for compliments, but you both made my day!

AbbyS. said...

Perfect post. Are you in my head? Because I feel the same way.

Allison Boothe said...

haha. Katie, I absolutely adore this post. I totally feel the same way. Except I'm way less gifted then you are, so it's even worse. Imagine how those of us feel who can't make really good rolls, even from pinterest!? Life could be worse. I think you are incccccredibly talented. You are totally wrong to think that everyone can do the things you pull off so ridiculously easily and attractively. It definitely does take a lifetime of practice to be as good at certain things as you.
I miss you!


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