15 October 2013

{Reality Check}

I think we're all aware that blogs can be deceiving at times.  As bloggers, we're able to carefully choose which aspects of our lives to share with the world and which parts we'd rather keep private.  Most often, we choose to share only the best parts, the highlight reel so to speak.  And I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing.  I'm certainly guilty of sharing all that is nice in my life and neglecting to share most of what isn't.  


That being said, as a blogger it's also easy to fall into the trap of making life seem as though it's forever full of rainbows and flowers and sunshine.  In fact, sometimes it appears as if our lives are so near perfect, that there's never a single cloud in our sky.  And that's when the ugly comparisons start.  You know, she has the perfect wardrobe or they always seem to travel to the nicest places or my figure will never be what hers is or they seem to have the most amazing relationship.  From thereon forward, it's a slippery slope into negativity.  

I can guarantee that these types of comparisons have entered all of our minds at one time or another.
And I can also guarantee that no single person's life is near perfect.
We all have our ups and downs, our virtues and our vices.
It's just how it is.

The other day I was reading a post by Jay in which she expressed concern over coming across as disingenuous.  That because her blog is so positive, people might see her as inauthentic or superficial.  My first thought was that she certainly does not come across this way.  Jay must be one of the most genuine writers I know.  My second thought was, I wonder how I come across?  And when I really thought about it I realized that this blog is pretty full of rainbows and flowers and sunshine.

So this is my attempt to set the record straight.
  
Believe me when I say that my life isn't near perfect.  
My life is wonderful.  
But, it certainly isn't perfect.

+ Exhibit 1: I feel guilty almost every day for leaving California.  I know my parents wish I never left and I feel terrible that I'm unable to promise them that I'll move back someday.  It's a good possibility.  But, nowhere near a guarantee.  It will depend on about a million different factors, none of which are set in stone except one.  And that is that Jurgen's family will always be here.  A transatlantic relationship means that we'll forever be torn between two countries.  It's both a blessing and a curse.

+ Exhibit 2: I have no idea what I want to do with my life.  In terms of a career, that is.  Here I am studying a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and I'm not even sure what I want to do with the degree once I'm finished.  It's a bit of an uncomfortable place to be in, although I'm sure the qualification will serve me well regardless of where I find myself in the future.  Truth be told, my dream job would include working in international diplomacy, travelling the world, using I-O Psych and somehow also working with animals.  How do I find all of that in a single career?  I think about these sorts of things a lot these days.

Exhibit 3: I gained ten pounds on our month-long road trip through Namibia.  Don't even ask me how.  To top it all off, I'm still about four pounds away from my 'normal' weight.  I've been blessed with a lot of things, but an amazing metabolism definitely isn't one of them. 

+ Exhibit 4: Jurgen will forever be my favorite travel partner.  He's the greatest.  But, that doesn't mean that our relationship is argument free.  After several days straight on a road trip together, we're bound to get irritated.  So when we're on the way home from Lesotho and Jurgen snaps because I'm always on my phone or when I have a melt down in Omaruru because I desperately want to hike to cave paintings and Jurgen is dead set on perusing art galleries instead, these things don't usually make it to the blog.  But know that they happen.  I just consciously choose to share the other 90% of our lives that is truly wonderful.

It's a fine balance, taking care not to over-share, but still maintaining an authentic voice.
And know that the above are just the few examples that I'm comfortable sharing here.
If we were sitting down for coffee I'm sure I could come up with many more.

So, what's your take on it?  Should bloggers share all?  Is there even such a thing as over-sharing?
Bloggers, how do you maintain authenticity without crossing the line?
I'd love to hear your opinion!

Also, I finally created a facebook page for the blog.  You can follow along here

68 comments:

  1. this is one of the best blog posts I've read in a long time, Jenna. It is so easy to think that bloggers have perfect lives because we often forget about what doesn't make the publish cut. Thanks for being open and honest. And encouraging me to do the same.

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    1. Thanks so much Nicole! Your posts always come across as very sincere and honest, yet still positive and uplifting. You give the perfect balance :)

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  2. I'd never really considered this before. I don't share a lot of stuff that I think is too personal, because I don't want to. I occasionally share some stuff about my illness, which never really seems to get much of a response, although that's not why I share it.

    I think we all have our own list of things, a bit like yours, and perhaps sharing them will help because then we all know we are not alone. I've spent years wondering about my career (I'm 30 now, and I've somehow just managed to fall into something that might work) and I feel some guilt about the people I left behind so that I could be with Mike (although we're both British, so the belief is that we'll probably both go home one day) It's good to share - you're not alone in any of this, I think you'll find.

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    1. Yes. I think it's important to strike a balance. In general I want my blog to be a positive place and I think that there are a lot of things that should be kept private. Why would I want to relive everyday trials and tribulations on my blog? At the same time, authenticity is important. I want people to know that I'm a real person behind the screen, you know? Thanks for your comment!

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  3. This is a really great post Jenna and thank you for reassuring me. Sometimes things can feel a little muddled between real life and online life and while I really do believe that thinking positive often creates a positive, it's nice to hear that everything isn't roses for everyone all of the time.

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    1. Rest assured... you come across as extremely genuine and sincere on your blog. I think that's why so many people keep coming back for more again and again. Because it's easy to see the real you in your posts. Keep doing what your doing lady!

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  4. I think that once in a while bloggers should share what is going on their lives, but I think for most it's a hard thing to publish their problems on the internet, because let's face it, people judge no matter what. There will always be people that are jealous of you, but there will also be other people who when you publish the not so nice things you are going through, might try to trivialise those as well. So I think it's down to what the blogger feels comfortable sharing. I know that behind every perfect smile, travel photos and perfect wardrobes, that there are problems in that persons life as well and not everything is perfect, so it keeps me grounded.

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    1. So true! I always admire people like Jenni from Story of My Life who are able to be so open on their blogs. It takes a lot of courage to share like that. In the end, I'd have to agree with you. It's all about what the blogger is comfortable sharing.

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  5. what a great post! i agree.. blogging tends to encourage only highlighting the positives. but of course no one's life is PERFECT. we all have our issues and things we're dealing with. i appreciate your honesty and dont worry, you'll figure out what you should do (career-wise) it sounds like you have a lot of options..just make sure whatever it is that it makes you happy :) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Jill! I really appreciate it :) I suppose I'm just in that transitional stage in my life where I'm not too sure where I'm going. I'm sure everything will work out for the best in the end!

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  6. Totally agree. It's hard to strike a balance between rainbows and gray clouds. I find it hard to share some of the tough things in my life because of who I know reads my blog. It's not always the greatest idea to air my dirty laundry and issues with family/friends/military via the interwebs, because, let's face it, people aren't always receptive to internet whinings (and then there's always the judgement...oh the judgement!). I guess the key is to have a healthy smattering of real talk along with all the fun trips and happiness, ya know? We all have crap. Nobody's got everything figured out. Sometimes those things are just hard to write about...but I always appreciate when a blogger is brave enough to share their heart!

    And just so you know, you've definitely got a good balance of both! So, no worries. :) :)

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    1. Ugh, yes! The fact that certain personal friends and family also read my blog make it very difficult to share certain things. For some reason, it's a lot easier to share with complete strangers! And judgement can be cruel. I always appreciate people like Jenni from Story of My Life who are able to be so confident about putting themselves out there. It really takes a lot of courage! Thanks so much for the reassurance... I think you strike the perfect balance too :)

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  7. Jenna, this is is so awesome! And I am totally with you on # 2 and 4. I feel like I'm in an extended quarter-life-crisis, just like all of my late-20s friends. I am always amazed at how lost and floundering my super smart, with-it, ambitious gal pals feel (even though from the outside it seems like they have it all together). It is such a relief to know that I am not alone in the struggle. Figuring out what I want to do with my life is one of the main reasons I started my blog. I knew I wanted to dive into a more creative lifestyle so blogging is a way to access that in a really low stakes way--and maybe one day it will open doors to a more fulfilling career :)

    Since I know people have difference personas in different situations that's kind of how I view blogging. I'm like my blogging voice in real life, but it is also a stylized version of myself. I think this is okay (mostly because of my former writing teacher background--the boring rhetoric side of things). I really feel like if you are comfortable in your blogging space then you are doing something right. If you feel uncomfortable, take a step back, unplug for a few days, and reassess your motivations. And, final thing: Jenna, you are definitely doing things right. I just love your blog!

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    1. I suppose it's partly a generational thing. Gen Y's are spending more time finding themselves without rushing into a career, but I feel like South Africa hasn't caught onto this trend yet. Everyone our age here has already been working in a set line of work for several years... many are already starting to have kids! Most of my friends in the States aren't even close to getting married. It's strange how the cultures vary.

      I love the way you think of personas and blogging... and you're so right! The importance is in whether you feel comfortable with your blog and what you're sharing. When either of those two fall away, I agree that it's time to reassess!

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  8. Great post! I think bloggers definitely should NOT share everything! I choose not to share the fights and ugly scenes not to pretend to the world that my life is perfect but because I respect the loved ones whom I had those fights with. I may be fine with laying it all out there, but they may not be! It's a lesson that I learned the hard way.

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    1. As a personal preference, I agree with you that bloggers should be hesitant in sharing everything on their blogs. Not only out of respect for those close to them {which I agree is hugely important!}, but also because I find it a bit off putting. Very rarely I come across a blogger that seems to use their blog as a platform to share absolutely everything that bothers them about everyone in their life and I always immediately click the unfollow button. There's a difference between being open and authentic and laying it all out there.

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  9. It really looks like you and I are on the same wave length today! It really is nice to step back, take a look, and try to find the right balance. Xx

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    1. I thought the same exact thing when I read your post today! Great minds think alike ;)

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  10. i really enjoyed this post even though i NEVER thought you came off 'fake' or disingenuous. there are actually bloggers that i think are this way, and i no longer read their blogs...but you were never, ever one of them. nor was jay.

    people think that when you live in another country that you're living the dream and you're a rockstar. i know that is how my friends perceive my life. but what they dont really realize is that the same problems arise, just on different soil. and based on how that country handles things, or even visas, it can be even worse. especially when you encounter the unfamiliar. i know for me personally, these past 6 months have perhaps been the worst of my life. blogging or commenting on blogs wasnt even an option. and if i gave someone the impression that there was nothing wrong in my life via the internet, it is because that was my only channel of positivity!

    keep blogging and being you! if we didnt enjoy it or think you werent being real, we wouldnt all continue to read ;)

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    1. Thanks Megan.

      Hoping things turn around for you soon and happy to hear that the 'net remained a source of positivity for you.

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    2. Thanks so much for the reassurance! And like Jay, you're one of the more authentic travel bloggers I know. If you don't enjoy a city or country, you're quick to say so on your blog and I appreciate it. I never feel like you're trying to be overly positive just for the sake of it.

      In terms of living an idealised overseas life, if people we're only able to count the number of times I've left home affairs in tears they'd think otherwise! It has it's benefits, but it also has it's difficulties. Couldn't agree with you more on this one. I'm sorry to hear that the last six months have been rough... I hope things start looking up very soon! I'm always just an email away... and as an expat there's a good chance that I'll be able to relate. Misery loves company ;)

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  11. I am trying to decide if I want to share something that isn't positive and inspiring. I think it's important to be open and share all aspects. And if you want to be dark and depressing all the time then so be it. Rather be honest than obsessed with only showing the "good side".
    People choose whether they want to read a post or not, I guess

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    1. Aw Claudz, I know you recently went through a hard time. I wish I could reach through the computer and give you a hug even though I don't know the details. If you're comfortable sharing I think you should go for it! A lot of others might be going through the same thing or have gone through something similar in the past and you guys could act as a support system for one another. While I suppose it's ultimately up to the blogger, I tend to agree with you in that I appreciate honesty and openness in blogs. It's nice to really get to know the blogger behind the screen.

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  12. Can we be real life friends? Because you're great.

    This frustrates me ALL THE TIME. I love participating in this community and sharing my experience with a blog. Doing so adds a little worthwhile extra to my life, and it's fun--focusing on the good stuff, the parts of my life that make me happiest; both for my own enjoyment and for (hopefully) the enjoyment. But, you're right. My life extends beyond my blog's pixels. It's messy, not always photogenic, and definitely not "a Parisian dream." Sometimes, I feel guilty for potentially appearing like I have things figured out or like I know what I'm doing. Then again, sometimes I have these long-winded narratives on the blog, too, to come to terms with the pressures of perception myself. Is this yet another thing we have to find a balance between? Probably. Just like the rest of real life, it's a work in progress.

    As for your examples:

    Leaving home is one of the hardest things in the whole wide world. You have nothing to feel guilty about, yet I know exactly how you feel.

    Finding a fulfilling career is at the top of my intention list, too, yet I couldn't possibly tell you the title that I want my next job to be. I tend to be comforted by conversations with those much farther along in their inspiring careers though. Doing so, tends to reveal how uniquely careers evolve and hardly ever "according to plan". As long as your studies light a passion within you, I bet you're right on track :)

    Bah, metabolism.

    As you very well know, I don't have a picture-perfect relationship to show in the first place, but I think people perceive argument-less bonds both on and offline. We like to idealize love. Thankfully, there's lovely people like you to reveal the welcome challenges in it.

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    1. Yes! We totally can be real life friends, I would love that! If I'm ever in Paris you'll be the first person I make plans with :) Rest assured that you never come across as fake or overly optimistic. I think you offer the perfect balance of the two on your blog. I always appreciate how open you are about your love // hate relationship with Paris. Expat life is wonderful, but it certainly isn't easy. Thanks for all of the encouragement... my favorite is your response to #3... "bah, metabolism." Ha, I love it!

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  13. This is a great post and I totally agree. I am often torn between sharing and not sharing because I feel like if I post about something negative, I am complaining. Like, I hate my job but most people who read my blog wouldn't know that because I don't talk about it because I feel like I'd be complaining and that I should be thankful that I even have a job in this economy. It is difficult to find balance in the blogging world. But I also think that sharing some things makes will maybe bring about a connection with bloggers who are going through the same thing. It's definitely a balancing act. I think you and Jay both do a good job of balancing :)

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    1. I totally feel your pain! It's so difficult to decide what to share and what to keep behind closed doors. On the one hand I think sharing our trials and tribulations creates a genuine community of support, but like you said it's definitely about a balancing act. I've had jobs I hate in the past and it's difficult to ignore since it makes up such a huge portion of your life, so I know where you're coming from. Thanks for the reassurance! I try to keep it positive around here for the most part, but I'd never want to come across as insincere or inauthentic.

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  14. Linked over from Twitter. This is a great post! I appreciate your honesty. It's hard to balance being real with not being super depressing, but it sounds like you've got a good mix :)

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    1. So true! Balance is key :) Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it!

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  15. Your absolutely right with this post. But I kind of enjoy reading the 'good' cause let's be honest, no one's life is 'perfect'. I definitely have a lot of up's and downs, and I never post them, cause I don't want people to read my blog and end up leaving down.. or sad. So i'll stick to the happy posts! But I do enjoy yours, your real, and I thank you for that.
    And ps. four pounds is nothing! I literally gained 20 lbs, no one told me I was over weight and I didn't feel it. When I reached 150 lbs, I thought what went wrong??? I'm FAT for my age, ahhhh! So I got fit, ate right, and lost the weight, now I laugh when I gain 5 lbs. That's nothing!
    xo
    Just when you thought

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    1. To be honest, I mostly enjoy reading the good too! And I try to keep it that way around here. In the future, the parts that I share on my blog are the ones that I want to remember :) That being said, I think there is such a thing as going "overboard" with positivity. And I don't want to come across as fake or insincere. Thanks for the encouragement on these last 5 lbs! I just can't seem to shake them ;)

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  16. This post is great, I also agree. I think it's sometimes hard to keep a balance but I think that bloggers should try to. Having a blog is one of the greatest ways to document your life. For me, my posts about great things and happy times are some of my favorites. But some of the toughest ones to write are the ones I've learned the most from.

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    1. It's definitely an art to find the right balance in terms of sharing without over-sharing. And it's so true, I usually love to keep it upbeat and positive around here, but sometimes I learn the most in writing the most difficult posts. It's like you read my mind ;)

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  17. Such a fantastic post! It's so true that as bloggers, our worlds sometimes seem "too good to be true." But we're all just living our lives and like you said, negatives do happen. There is so much I don't share on my blog, not because I'm trying to hide it but because, like you said, some things are private and that's ok. But on the flip side, I think it is important for us to approach some of the negatives in an honest way too, it's important for our readers to see both sides and judge us accordingly. Lovely post!

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more on the belief that some things should remain private for the simple reason that we would like them to remain private. Some people think that because you have a blog you have an obligation to share all and I couldn't disagree more with that notion. BUT there are other bloggers (very few) who go overboard in trying to make life seem picture perfect and I also find that to be a bit superficial... I always find that you have a great balance on your blog. In the end I suppose it's to each his own.

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  18. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with this as a blogger! It's hard when family/coworkers/etc also read the blog and influence what you write. I feel like I can be so much more honest with strangers than my own friends. It's weird like that. Especially when you're living an expat lifestyle-people look at you and think your life is one big, exotic, chance of a lifetime vacation when oftentimes it's mundane, frustrating, and sometimes downright lonely. I think you're doing a great job striking a balance. And from the looks of your comments, looks like you've got lots of support! :)

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    1. You definitely aren't the only one! And I definitely agree that it's much more difficult to write openly about certain subjects knowing that family and friends are reading. I initially only gave my link to my parents, and I still try to keep it quite separate from my personal facebook. But over time a lot of personal friends have started following in some way or another. While expat life has its ups it can also be frustrating and lonely, as you said. As bloggers maybe we have a role to play in creating awareness surrounding the whole picture of expat life? Thank you for your response and the encouragement. I appreciate it!

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  19. Your honesty is so refreshing. Often people don't want to admit flaws. I think most people are deathly afraid of admitting that their relationship isn't perfect and don't realise that arguments (and compromise) are an essential part of relationships. I'm so glad that you describe your life as wonderful because it shows that you are enjoying life and embracing the dips that it inevitably involves.

    Love from a local blogger

    Arum Lilea

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    1. Thanks Leanne! It's so nice to hear from a local blogger. As much as we like to pretend that relationships don't entail conflict... I agree that they do and that it's actually necessary to learn and grow from one another. Life may not be perfect, but it is certainly wonderful :)

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  20. Funny how I had a little talk with my blogger self today and wondered what line it is we are supposed to walk between people wanting to read and see happiness and positivity and being genuine and real about who we really are. I have yet to find my identity as a blogger and believe that it makes this issue that much more difficult. I am glad you feel you can be truthful about your life but I am sure no one expects it to be ponies puking rainbows at all times. Exhibit 1 and 3 could describe my life. The guilt is indescribable at time and others it is more bearable, but it never leaves completely. There will never be a time when I don't feel torn and as if I am disappointing someone in one or the other country. I also always wondered how eating very little and absolutely selective and healthy on my trip through Namibia has gotten me that extra set of chub?

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    1. Oh my gosh... I'm so glad to hear that you also found it impossible to maintain weight in Namibia! What is it about that country?! One minute I fit into my jeans and the next minute not, haha! I think feeling guilty is just part of being an expat... especially when the spouse is from the expat country. It's as though we'll never be able to make everyone happy since Jurgen's family with always be in SA and mine will always be in California. Thus is life. At least we have other expats for support.

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  21. Oh my oh my Jenna... this post was powerful and honest, and I loved it. You are so incredibly on point here, esp on 1,2 and 4. I feel guilt about leaving home nearly everday... I know that I am missing so much, I also know that we may never move back to the UK. I landed in my current job after the move to the UK, but my heart isn't really in it...and I am not sure where to go next or what do tackle next. Which is tough, for sure. And as for #4, whew... those moments happen to me and Neal all the time and I opt away from sharing about them... we are not perfect, our lives our not perfect, but sometimes I don't need to share all of our imperfections with the world.

    Excellent post lady!!

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    1. It's so nice to know that I'm not alone in feeling guilty as an expat... or in not knowing where I'm going with my career... or in my little relationship squabbles for that matter :) I agree that there's definitely a difference between being authentic and sharing every tidbit of life on your blog. I tend more towards the positive side, but I suppose in the end it's up to the blogger and what they are comfortable with.

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  22. it's such a hard balance and one that i am still trying to find. i got an email a while back saying that i had the 'perfect life' and i cringed. i don't want to come across that way at all because as all expats know well, it's not always a glamorous lifestyle. i just choose to highlight the positives and holidays that we take. for several reasons like not worrying family back home, not offending those in the country i choose to call home for now because i'm frustrated with the culture, and quite frankly, most of the time i just don't know how to put how i feel into words. i think being honest about experiences is important and i think that you do an amazing job at it!

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    1. May I just say, expat to expat, I completely agree with your post. It can be so hard - cos you know how lucky you are to be enjoying a new lifestyle, but you also miss what is home and it can be looked upon as negative if you comment on things that are different in the new place! It is a hard balance to get right :)

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    2. I also struggle to find the right balance... but you're one of the ones that actually gave me the courage to write this post. I think you're very open on your blog in a genuine and sincere way. I loved your post on body image and also on how you and the hubs survive travel as a couple. It's so refreshing :) But it is true that as an expat what we share is filtered on a whole new level. I hadn't even consciously thought about the fact that I sometimes censor my posts so as not to worry those at home in the States. Too true!

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  23. Great post! I like that my blog provides me with an avenue to be positive, even when I am stressed or down. I won't let myself post anything that doesn't make me happy writing it : )

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    1. I like your perspective :) By choosing to post positive content, I don't think it ever necessarily leads to inauthenticity. I suppose that's only when the blogger takes it to the level that they are actually lying about their life to over-glamourise it. I also tend to post about the positives, as those are the things I'm going to want to look back on later.

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    2. Thanks, I agree that it doesn't have to be fake if its positive. Putting a positive image out there kind of makes me more positive. Keep up the great work with your blog!

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  24. Hi Jenna,

    Powerful post! First of all, let me say that we don't want you to experience any more guilt....you have blossomed more than we ever dreamed possible and Africa is a large part of that! Although we would love to be part of your daily life, we are prouder than you will ever know of all that you have independently acheived and of the life you are living. Although you may not be perfect as we all are not in the human sense, God arranged a perfect placement when he gave you to us to be our daughter :-)

    Secondly, do not worry too much about where He takes you in the future. You have laid amazing groundwork for your qualifications and experiences with your hard work and dedication. The future is bound to find you!

    You will always be the girl of our dreams!

    Love you,
    Mom

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    1. Thanks Mom.... you make me blush ;) xxx

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  25. i think there's a big difference in bloggers completely lying about their life and choosing to share mostly the good. i personally want to blog about and remember the good stuff and what kind of world would we make this if everyone was just blogging about all the crap they had to deal with or their 5 year old screaming most of the day. part of what i love about blog world is remembering to see the good in the little things and not letting the little bad things ruin the day or moment.

    but at the same time flat out lying about your life is so not ok with me and i know, personally, bloggers who are straight up lying about their life on their blog. its just sad.

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    1. There's definitely a HUGE difference between choosing to share what's positive and blatantly lying to over glamourise your life. I've only seen that a couple times and it's definitely a put-off. I also tend to share the highlights of my life because those are what I'm going to want to remember in the years to come :) I think you offer a very balanced approach on your blog though. You've been very open about homesickness abroad and job struggles in coming back and I find it so refreshing :) Keep doing your thing lady!

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  26. Goon on you for putting it all out there!
    I for one don't have a problem with sharing the negative but tend not to because I think that nobody wants to read a Debby downer post. But then during those times that I've just had to put it out there because I was going through something that I couldn't ignore, I ended up getting so much love and support from the blogging community. So after this last time, I made a vow to myself to be more honest about how I'm really feeling about things, because life is far from perfect and sometimes I think people like knowing that they aren't alone in that :)

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    1. And that should have said 'good' on you, not 'goon'. Face meet palm.

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    2. I think it's amazing how supportive the blogging community is! On the few occasions that I have really put it out there I've also always been shocked by the wonderful response I get. You're another blogger who I really admire for being authentic. I feel like I'm really getting to know YOU when I read your blog... if you know what I mean :) I really admire it when bloggers have the courage to be open and honest about their struggles or frustrations in real life.

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  27. Hi Jenna. Great post! I use my blog to talk about all aspects of my life. I hope that overall it is a positive and fun showcase of my life, but I want readers to see everything. Sometimes life is not all sunshine and roses and perhaps an issue I am having/handling helps a person not to feel alone.
    None of my friends or family know about this blog-which does help me to remain true when writing.
    I think at the end of the day, the writer should feel comfortable with what she/he has written.

    Anyway, loved the post!

    Xx

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    1. Yes, I definitely appreciate it when bloggers are willing to share the more difficult aspects of their life alongside all the positives. I'm still trying to achieve the right balance on my blog and suppose it's sort of a work in progress in terms of what should be shared and what should be kept private. It definitely helps when friends and family don't have access, I wish I had done that from the beginning with my blog sometimes. Thanks for your comment!

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  28. Thank you for your honesty and I absolutely agree with you on this!! Any publication is edited, whether it be a blog or book. And edits are done in a certain fashion so as to give an intended impression. Thus it's hard for a total honest picture to be portrayed of anyone's life online ( in my opinion). I used to share photos from here in Thailand on my personal Facebook account and I had friends from LONG time ago ( like middle school) write envious comments, as they assumed we were wealthy or something from staying at nice hotels, when in reality they are cheaper that US motels during low season. I eventually stopped posting photos on there that could be taken the wrong way by people I had friended who may not know us very well. But at the end of the day, the only thing that is important I guess is who we blog for, and why. If it's mostly for ourselves then it has more honesty than if it's for an audience.

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    1. Yes, I think you make a good point. Regardless of whether you're trying to be positive, negative, or neutral I suppose we all consciously or subconsciously sensor our writing to create a specific impression. I suppose that message should just reflect some aspect of real life whether it be the good or the bad, and I suppose that balance is up to each and every blogger. I also rarely post to my personal facebook anymore because I feel like the close friends that I still keep in touch with are already aware of my expat life (good and bad) through skype, emails, etc.

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  29. I loved this post, Jenna! I always try to post the positive, pretty things in my life, but I also think it's important to be honest and share the struggles, too. We're all human!

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  30. I get what you're saying, but at the same time, I wouldn't WANT to read a blog that was full of negativity, you know what I mean? I love the way you wrote this post to show that your life isn't perfect without coming off as whiny or negative, but that's not a skill a lot of bloggers have. In general, I want to hear about the good in your life and celebrate with you - I don't want to hear about all the things that go wrong! But I think this post was important to write and I love the way you wrote it. :)

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  31. I definitely struggle with this and a lot of times I think I leave out the hard stuff because the difficult things in my life usually involve other people and I don't feel right sharing it. My relationship and hten break up were never really a part of my blog, despite them being a huge part of my life, but it was something I always wanted to write about because it was part of my expat Germany (although didnt' move here for him, but anyway). I totally get you. I also have NO idea what I'm doing with my life. I have two bachelor's degrees and work at a pub for pete's sake.

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  32. I think there's this sense amongst bloggers of "well, no one wants to listen to me complain" and you try to keep from putting out too much negativity, or not even negativity but just mundane things, because too much of that and people stop reading. But it's good to throw them in there to show that we're human and that expat life is just like normal life, for the most part. It's all about the balance, I think :)

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  33. Wow - I love this post. Very powerful and real.

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  34. A really good post Jen. In a way this is what has put me off the blogging world in that there is an essence of being fake. Guess one just has to find those blogs that are genuine and that do share a little bit from both sides of their world. That being said, oversharing is definitely a no no...privacy after all is a truly valuable and diminishing concept in our world of ever present social media.

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  35. I just found your blog (and this post!) but I think it is so true! At the same time though, I feel like this is the same as many forms of social media. People (myself included) just don't tend to post about the negative things in life. Like you, I love to travel with my husband but sometimes we are completely opposite travelers- and you can bet that gets left out of my posts. I think part of that (for me at least) is when I travel, I tend to have wonderful experiences and view traveling as a whole- so if as a whole it is wonderful, I don't feel a need to mention the down times.

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)