the quiet things that nobody sees

(photo from last year in Brooklyn. please take me back!)

what would you do if nobody was ever going to see it?

a little while ago i heard a profound statement that really stuck with me. it's the idea that people only do things if it adds to their story. for example, if someone saw a man in a wheelchair trying to get through a door, the thought that goes through their mind is "am i the kind of person who helps this kind of man in this way?" and if they are, they do it. this in turn leads to adding to and creating their being, or their "story." 

basically, people make decisions based on stories/analogies they create based on experience, what they've seen and what they've done. does that make sense? i'm bad at explaining my thought processes. (the whole idea is from the book "Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions" by Gary Klein, if you're interested) 

so this isn't news. you make emotional decisions every day based on the person you are/want to be/are trying to become, which is awesome because we have unlimited opportunities to be whoever we want to be. 

but i think that social media plays a big part in that as well, blogging included. i feel like i'm constantly seeking out/reading stories that i enjoy but aren't my own. and subconsciously, when i do something, i first think, "is this adding to my story the way i want to create it?" ... or, "is this something so-and-so would do?" and my actions and behaviors reflect my thoughts.

i guess sometimes i have to sit back and think, "if no one would ever see this, would i still post it/do it/dress like this/do my hair this way/decorate my house like this/paint my toes like that?" and i hope that whatever i would do is exactly what i'm doing. so i have two choices: either i accept my life the way it is, moody-sweats-&-4-bowls-of-lucky-charms-mornings and all, and not be embarrassed to share my story, OR i take a hold of my life and make it the way i want it, so if someone were to see a portion of it, it's portraying my story exactly as i hope it would. 

to start, here's a secret: i love to be girly. i love polka dots and stripes, i love the color pink, gold, glitter, diamonds, New York City, brightly colored tights, high heels, doing my hair, bangs, my glasses, photography, all kinds of lipstick and nail polish, fresh flowers, Zooey Deschanel, calligraphy, the color white, thrift shopping, wearing skirts and dresses, washi tape, makeup, cupcakes, hamburgers, traveling, big cities, and graphic design. my dream is to throw a really awesome party that is so creative that pinterest explodes. so i guess you could say i'm a typical blogger. but i'll be the first to admit that i try not to show my interests because i want to stand out and not be a stereotype. "if all the bloggers are into saltwater sandals this summer, i'm totally not buying any because i don't want to be another one of those people."  i want to be "cool and hip" in an original sort of way. but to be for reals, i looooooove all that stuff and it makes me really happy. and i wish i owned a pair of saltwaters. so, really, who cares what other people think? bring on all the cute things! (at least that's the goal here) 

so.. what do you think? do you ever catch yourself acting/thinking like this? what do you do to get out of the habit and love yourself the way you are? 

i'm really very curious :)


  1. this is awesome. i sometime struggle with this whole "identity" thing, because i am really similar to a lot of people! i think that i sometimes come off as being a copycat to some people because i do act & dress the way most people do. i've really had to come to terms with the fact that i'm not all around unique. i'm unique in my own way, but there's nothing wrong with being similar to other people! that's what makes everything great, ya know? i feel like this didn't make a lot of sense, but overall, i just think that i'm okay with liking the things everyone else likes. and also being a little different in my own way. i don't need to be completely different to feel good about myself.

    1. right, like "you're unique, just like everybody else." thanks for your comment! i'm so glad you have it figured out so i can learn from you, haha!

  2. stephanie, i love this post & i these thoughts, they made me self-evaluate. the idea of stories is so interesting, i learned a lot about them in communication--and how we often see our life as a series of stories. people play certain parts, we are the heroine, etc.

    thank you for bringing up the whole originality crisis--we should all be true to ourselves, it doesn't matter if everyone likes what we like, or nobody. in the book 'the persuit of happiness' the author talks about really being honest with ourselves about what we like. do we like something because we WANT to like it? or does it genuinely make us happy? i have cut out a few hobbies because, although the idea was nice, it just wasn't me.

    i try (it's a learning process!) to check myself by stopping and evaluating every once in a while. i ask myself if i'm content and make sure that i'm doing the things that are best for ME and MY life--not what i wish to be, what i see others doing, or what would make my life seem more glamorous. thanks again for your thoughts, im so glad you shared!

    1. thanks for this, babe! i love hearing from you. that's so interesting about the idea that there are certain parts and you play the heroine. I've never thought about it like that, but it's true! i'll have to do that from now on, really stop and evaluate what's best for me regardless of how it's viewed by others.

  3. Oh man, yes I do struggle with this! I question my glasses all the time. I like them, but I don't know whether guys think I'm prettier without them. It's a battle ha ha. I caught the guy I've liked most in my life looking at me a way I really liked without the glasses. Then I think does he ever look at me like that when I'm wearing my glasses, but I lose peripheral vision in them ha ha. It's a dilemma;) I wore contacts as much as I could when I was around him because I wanted him to think I was pretty. When it comes down to it I do love my glasses! They don't fold up inside my eye;)
    Then analyzing my photography... there is very many photographers and it's hard to decide what photographers are Good. Real good. Am I into the sun bursts like so many photographers? I don't like the sun bursts that lose the detail. So many things to think about!
    Great post!

    1. ahh it's so true about the photography thing! like is it really good? do i like it because i think other people think it's good, or do i really like it? is this my style, or is it a style i want to do because other people seem drawn to it? such a crisis! thanks for bringing that up & commenting. it's so interesting to hear different ideas!

  4. ugh i know what you mean! in relation to blogging, i feel like a lot of people only post content they think will get them to where they want to be. like they want to the next rockstar diaries or something ya know? but yeah i feel like if you are blogging, you should be doing it as something that you want to do. like as a way to release your emotions or document, or whatever. not just as a way to get popular. but yeah, i know what you mean with everything else. it's always nice when someone posts on social media about how something didn't go the way they wanted it to, because it's like, "oh, you're being real and not trying to portray your life in a way it isn't."

    and also, i feel like a lot of times people talk and talk and talk about what they want out of life, without ever really doing anything to get there. it's like they think if they just say it out loud enough times then it will happen, when really it just takes action.

    but anyways, i really liked this post. you're very articulate! i couldn't have explained this nearly as well as you did, but i know exactly what you're talking about! one of ghandi's ten fundamentals for changing the world is "be congruent, be authentic, be your true self" and i think that's something that's hard for all of us. when i first read it i was like, "well duh" but now it's something i consciously think about with each decision i make. it's easy to get into a pattern of doing things that other people want you to do, but it's better (even though it's harder) to get into the pattern of doing things for yourself, and letting yourself get to the potential that you believe you hold.

    anyways. you can probably tell i've wanted to talk to someone about this for a while, haha. thanks for posting!

    the little diary.

    1. "it's like they think if they just say it out loud enough times then it will happen, when really it just takes action." <<<< that right there. i feel like it's pinterest. like if i pin enough cute clothes, i'll have a cute wardrobe. when you should probably go and buy/curate your clothes to get the results. etc. etc. you know! of course you do.

      it's so hard to be your "true self" when it's so complicated. it's like relient k and their song chapstick, "i don't want to be perceived the way i am, i just want to be perceived the way i am" like i don't want people to see the real me, but i want people to see the real me that is perfect and awesome, but still me. at least that's how i see it.

      we should talk more about this.

  5. No one wants to be TOO trendy, but we all secretly love the trends! haha. I love looking at blogs where they photograph their "picture perfect" homes. I always think to myself, "How do they keep their house so clean all the time??" and "How do they have such perfect lighting in their house?" I've tried to make similar posts on my blog, but I've accepted that my house will always be messy and a little cluttered, so I try to focus on my strengths in blogging, instead. You know what I mean?? haha. Basically, it's useless to try and copy other bloggers.
    And I feel the same way about instagram, I think. I envy people who take at least one insta photo a day. I guess it makes me feel like their life is more worthy of documentation, and if I don't post more photos, that means my life is DULL. hahaha. Which is not true! Social media makes people think silly things.

    1. we're all hipsters, right? haha!

      it's soooo useless to try and copy other bloggers. but it's really what we want. and i always think, "there's no reason I can't be like so and so and do things like they do." but realistically, that's not me for reasons x y and z.

      instagram is probably the worst, i agree with you! i'm like, "how do they have so many interesting/fun/pretty things to do and take photos of??" haha! and your life is not dull, neither is mine, neither is anyone else's. boo social media!

  6. I try very hard to figure out WHY I am doing something. If something is trendy, it doesn't mean I can't like it too, but it does bother me when the only reason I like it is BECAUSE it is trendy.

    A couple months ago, I unfollowed everyone on my Facebook that tries to make it seem like they have picture-perfect lives. They don't. But it seem like everything they do is related to creating this facade.

    I don't know why I'm saying. But I do like what you wrote. Yup.

    1. true, because the reason it's trendy is probably because it's great. so do i love it because everyone else does, or is it genuinely something i love? it's so hard to decide sometimes!

      facebook is hard. it's so easy to want to only share the things that are good, for numerous reasons, be that because we're in a culture that is always like, "focus on the good! always be positive" when in reality there is just as much down as there is up in our lives. and isn't all of it beautiful? it's too bad that social media gives us this idea that everything should be perfect and sun shiney. YEP haha