Indiana/Elsewhere while Indiana is elsewhere

Let's get real here, okay? (Jokes. It's always been real here, amiright?).

I haven't blogged since October, yet I just led a talk at Alt Summit providing the influencers' POV in the blogger / brand relationship panel. And I'm getting ready to lead a talk with TOMS at SXSW on the same topic. On top of that, I head up a pretty freaking awesome conference aimed at bloggers and business owners

The irony is not lost on me.

I just... *shrug* don't understand (style and mom) bloggers these days. I feel like the old, unhip lady in the room when I say this, but I just don't get it anymore. Do you know how many women I met at Alt who literally hire professional photographers on a bi-weekly or weekly basis to take photos of their outfits and families? These aren't, you know, bloggers on the Cupcakes and Cashmere upper echelon of blogging... these were emergent bloggers who have yet to step over the threshold of "professional / making a living blogging" bloggers. And these women would say things like, "The photographer is only $100 an hour and can shoot four or five outfits in an hour." or "The photographer comes over after the kids are fresh from naps and we set up a sweet scene where we're playing or eating a cute meal or something." 

If this were just one woman saying this to me, fine, but nope. Nope. I met oodles of these women, and I just sat there, dumbstruck. Who are we? What have we become? 

What in the world? What the what?!

I really don't understand when and why and how and WHY this is the "norm". And I just can't keep up in this race or even try to dance to that beat. For me, blogging has been about sharing my stories and my life with others; I simply don't have the time or energy to make my entire life a set in a photoshoot. It's great that some women do have time for that and want to elevate their personal blogs to that level, but you guys, I barely have time to shower, let alone prep my life for a weekly or bi-weekly professional photoshoot with outfit changes, you know? 

I have a lot of girlfriends (not bloggers) who can't do Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest any more because it makes them feel inadequate as mothers, wives, and humans, in general. I try to tell them that this fa├žade, this thing that bloggers do to paint themselves as having time to home school, make elaborate crafts, make every dinner from scratch, and dress like a perfectly put together magazine editorial is a carefully crafted narrative. No one is going to blog the laundry that's been sitting on the dining room table for days or the guilt that comes with serving their kids yogurt and breakfast cereal for dinner. The internet often gets the best versions of ourselves, with the dirt and mess and serious drama pushed just out of the camera's frame. 

For months now, ever since I've moved to Georgia, I've been chiding myself for not doing better: For not being a better blogger and housekeeper and mother and wife by being able to balance it all. I keep going over Work + Life + Balance advice I've heard over the years, and finally I've just come to realize that life is not about balancing it all. 

Life, for me, is better this way: When I feel that my load is too heavy, I stop trying to balance it all. When I'm trying to balance it all, I'm making very little progress on all things, and the burden feels too heavy. But when I can put things down and prioritize the things that are the most important to me, I feel like my sanity is saved. 

So, my blog has been set down. For now. I have to run at Texas Style Council really hard for the next six weeks and focus all my free time into making my final TxSC the best its ever been. (And have you seen the schedule? It's pretty incredible). 

I have a new project I'd like to launch after TxSC and I'd like to revamp this personal blog with the same vigor with which I'm dedicated to TxSC right now. I feel like I've gingerly set Indiana/Elsewhere down on the sidewalk to lighten my load, but I've given her a big hug, looked her square in the eye, and said, "I'm coming back for you. I will be back for you. You believe me, don't you?"

And when I come back, I will not have a professional photographer following me around everywhere.

In the meantime, I'm still cracking jokes on Twitter and documenting my three ham cakes on Instagram. I miss you. I'm coming back for you. I will be back for you. You believe me, don't you?