I’ve realized that I rarely use my blog as an outlet for my opinion. That’s because over the years I’ve desired to be a peacemaker, be able to see all sides of something, and even if my opinion differs I don’t tend to make it known as the only opinion. But seriously people, we’ve got a problem on our hands in this country. I am not talking about the dangerous politics zone, but rather the more poisonous disease of being like everyone else. I remember the first time I tried to be like everyone else was in elementary school. I went to a private school because the public schools in our area were terrible. My family was not one of great means, and when the most popular girl befriended me the trade-off was that she and everyone else in that school expected you to wear Espirit and Benetton and every other trendy brand of the era. We crimped our hair and wore side ponytails. But what I really learned in error was that to be liked I had to be like everyone else. This went against the very essence of my personality because I liked to be unique. Those years I look back on with disgust and breathe a huge sigh of relief that I was released from that when my family moved and I went to a much less catty public school. There was serious damage done and so one of my greatest hopes for my children is that they learn it is okay to be themselves at an early age. It’s already started for my son who is only 6 and came home from school begging me for “tie shoes.” This went on for weeks until I cured him of it by telling him in order to get tie shoes he first needed to put his Velcro sneakers on properly without help, instead of the usual lazy way of shoving your foot in without undoing the Velcro. End discussion about needing tie shoes for sure! Never mind the fact that they don’t make tie shoes in his size in very many brands.
Fast forward to what I consider a pivotal year in my life, where I am about to turn 40 and most of the time don’t really care what other people think anymore. There is this idea now that bothers me. Where for example all the cool moms have to run out and buy white kitchens with farmhouse sinks and actually your whole house has to white. Dare you like color, you can throw a few accents into the white on white, but not too much. Scroll through home design on Instagram and all you see is farmhouse style this and that, when less than 1% of these people actually live in a farmhouse. And seriously, have you ever had an all white anything? Remember that white shirt you loved until you spilled something on it the first time you wore it? Well your house is only all white for 5 minutes if you really live in it, too. Our first apartment after we were married had an all white bathroom which no amount of scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush and Kaboom could ever keep white. And one piece of hair on the floor and your tile looked awful. It was a lost cause and the very reason that when we redid our bathroom in our own home, I chose a biscuit toilet and sink so that they would hide dirt. Best decision for sure.
Throw caution to the wind and decorate with what speaks to you, not “everyone” else on Instagram. And then there is my beloved Joanna, whom I feel like I could sit down and have a cup of coffee with and carry on an easy conversation as if we were besties in real life. I love her presence, her ability to be noble, and most of all her desire to use her business to help others. But truth be told, I don’t need to be Joanna, and you don’t need to either. Be yourself. Don’t go buy whatever she just put into the latest Fixer Upper just because she put it in there. If you like it, yes go buy it, by all means. I admit I want to make my own pilgrimage to Texas. But don’t fall into the trap of desperately trying to have a home like everyone else’s….or what you think everyone else’s home looks like.
Instead, my advice on home decorating, and life itself, is to find what reflects and speaks to you. Don’t care if your best friend hates it or thinks it’s tacky. It’s your life, your house, your chance to reflect who you are to the world. We were all created differently, that’s what makes us beautiful, and yet so many times we fall into the pattern of trying to be like everyone else. And dare I go on. This mentality IS seeping into politics where whatever your opinion is, now some feel the right to tell everyone else they must have the same opinion about everything, right or wrong.
Don’t go buy a reproduction dough bowl. If you’re going for that vintage look, go buy the real deal. My love of all many things old is probably genetic. And for me it’s about having a piece of my family’s past that makes me love old things. The stories behind them make a normal every day object have meaning and value. When I get out my grandmother’s strawberry tablecloth, I’m immediately back sitting at her table as a child. Most people are knocking down all of their walls for an open concept, and me I am standing my ground on practicality and keeping my dining room wall. Why? One because I like having an actual dining room, and two because practically speaking in my small house I would lose a lot of space if we knocked it down. Our plan instead is to go back in time and add a built-in that looks original and gives us much more storage for a room that is actually my office, our dining room, and often a play area as well. For the love of everything, just be yourself. Simple words, but not so simple to live by. I don’t want our world to be full of cloned me. I want our world to be a beautiful compilation of everyone being themselves. Yes, that means sometimes we might disagree. Sometimes I will really not like what a friend says. Sometimes people won’t get me. But I have one life given to be by God. One chance to find my purpose and fulfill it, and by golly I will never do this by painting my whole house white, sticking a Magnolia wreath on the front door, and agreeing with everything you say. You are the only person that can be You, now go do it!