In Defense of the #HumanBlogger: Why it's okay to not always be okay.

So. I'm a happy-go-lucky celebrations and home decor blogger/enthusiast... Who hasn't been feeling happy lately, and therefore hasn't blogged.

And every day that I feel a tiny bit better, I'm completely turned off by the idea of returning to a space where it's like everything is sunshine and lollipops. A space that remains untouched by the awful real life stuff that's been surrounding me offline. The robotic, nonhuman online persona that pretends everything is roses and perpetuates a fakeness I really don't have the patience for lately. So, it's been a vicious cycle of not blogging.


While I've been busily freaking out about reality and where blogging fits into that, I started thinking about why I started reading blogs in the first place. The main reason? To read real people talking about real experiences. Blogs weren't some over-edited and faceless website with tons of information but no soul. Blogs were written by humans, for humans.

But. If we are constantly showing only "after" pictures, and talking about only the recipes that worked, and sharing details of our lives only from the good days....are we not basically rejecting that humanity? Aren't we then just as soulless as the SEO driven style websites that I traded in for blogs?

I decided I would take a chance here. Be real. Maybe try to make that realness a habit.

So here's the story.

A friend of mine passed away. It's all I've been able to think about. It has caused both lags and heavy spurts of some of the behaviours I typically blog about, because the things I share with the world are things that are fundamental to me being me. After a week of crying everyday, cooking elaborate meals and finishing crafty projects helped me regain control. But, again... I didn't want to blog about it. I was afraid to even talk about it. The only thing worse than the guilt of trying to feel better about the whole situation was the idea of coming here and pretending it had never happened.

The days before my friend died I was actually on the ball (for once) with this whole blogging thing. I had two scheduled posts for the week, and a few tweets scheduled. I realized quickly that despite my Twitter being the last thing on my mind, it was going on business as usual. I hated knowing that my online presence seemed unaffected, but understood the value in it. I didn't want to scare people away.

Yesterday I read an inspirational blog post by Stetted Blog (here) which unexpectedly pulled my heart strings. The post itself is about a Black Forest Cake recipe (pictured above), but describes the baking process as a type of therapy. The blogger seems hesitant to go into too much detail, and titles the post "Black Forest Cake", which (intentional or not) avoids drawing attention to the rest. There is mention of a fear that readers would run for the hills if she talked too openly about her emotions on a food blog, including experiences with depression/anxiety. From title to comments, the whole post broke my heart a little (even the recipe... I'm guessing emotional cherry smashing makes for extra delicious cake). 

I'm proud of that blogger for opening up even a little bit about something so real, when it is clearly not easy. I'm annoyed with the world for making real people (who happen to blog, run a business, or have some sort of online reputation) feel that they have to hide their humanity.

My day job is in mental health. I'm a heavily moderated stigma buster. I very rarely speak out against things that bother me here, because I prefer to stay shiny and happy online.

But I'm not in the mood. And frankly, if we encourage this expectation that bloggers leave their turmoil at the door, then we are assholes. Yup. We're basically sending our favourite people down a path towards poor mental health (or worse) because we only want to hear the "good stuff". As if finding out that the cherries being smashed to deal with stress makes them any less sweet. Oy,

Here's my argument, using myself as an example.

I blog as a creative outlet, which makes me happy. It increases self pride. It increases my confidence. It encourages me to continue doing what I love in order to keep creating content to blog about, thereby creating a cycle of positive, healthy experiences.

But. Taking into consideration the way I started this post... when things went wrong, my blog stopped feeling like a safe place. It made me feel guilty, both for wanting to move on from my grief and for not being ready to be the bubblegum blogger I'm expected to be. It actually made a shitty situation feel worse, in a way that should seem so incredibly insignificant in a matter of life and death.

This fear that I could lose my safe place by sharing my feelings and digressing a little bit from my blog's purpose.... that fear is toxic. It is the same as the stigma of talking openly about mental health. The stigma keeps me from blogging (read: keeps me from happy things) and fills me with unfounded negative thoughts (read: makes me dislike myself). It is toxic.

If this stigma affects me with my handful of regular readers... imagine what it's doing to the bloggers with a huge following. If I stopped blogging tomorrow because I just couldn't stand the pressure to smile pretty for the blogosphere, nobody would really be affected. But if, say, Elsie or Emma from a Beautiful Mess went silent, there are tons of people who would have a void to fill.  If we love those blogs, and therefore want those bloggers active... we should be encouraging the positive mental health of those human beings who happen to write awesome blogs.

Here's my proposal:

Let's start showing it's okay to talk about real shit by supporting the people who are already doing it. Reduce the stigma by showing it's okay to talk about. Comment on blog posts or status updates instead of awkwardly averting your eyes. Share posts that are open and honest. Spread the word that you understand that bloggers are people too. Let's encourage more delicious cherry smashing therapy,  like on Stetted Blog. The emotions add flavour.

Use the hashtag: #humanblogger so other people (including me) can keep up with the conversation. 

Want to go even further? Grab the button below.

If even a few people embrace this #HumanBlogger concept, I will be ecstatic. I hope to see some humanity in my newsfeed.


Never miss a post! Subscribe by email:   

You Might Also Like


  1. Oh, gosh. I feel pretty humbled to have been a jumping off point for anything. Thank you so much for writing this. I feel the guilt factor as well, because I "should" be DEALING WITH THE THINGS rather than spending time blogging and then hiding from everything in my bed... which I totally did yesterday.
    I think part of the reason why we tend to not put ourselves out there is because for the most part, when we do, we hear crickets. People don't know what to say, so they say nothing. But they respond to, say, cake. For those of us whose income is based on our blogs, that's a lot of pressure.

    1. I can't thank you enough for inspiring this! I totally agree with it being a lot of pressure. In a perfect world, people wouldn't have to worry about scaring readers off with real talk. I think your method of doing what you love (cherry smashing) is a perfectly fine way of "dealing with things", and if hiding in bed is what you need, then keep doing that! Treat yourself however you need to.

  2. So well written. I just had a loss myself and have been battling some of the same feelings. Having just gone through the wake, I think people have no idea what to say. But, that's ok. There really aren't any words that will make the hurt go away, but knowing that people are feeling compassion for you and are ready to lend a shoulder to cry on is comforting.
    We've become so detached from each other in our daily lives. I pass other human beings in the hall at work and more of them avert their eyes than smile and say hello. I've actually made it a point to start saying hello or smile, at least, at all of the people I come across. I'm an introvert, but lately the way we ignore each other has become totally bizarre to me. I'm alone in a quiet hallway with someone and I'm just supposed to pretend they aren't there? Like they are a spooky ghost or something? So weird.

    Anyway, so sorry for your loss. Hang in there and cry your eyes out whenever you want, but don't forget to be ready to be happy again, too.

    1. Thank you for your perspective! My heart goes out to you as well for your loss. I admit I've shied away from hallway conversations because of that awkward moment when someone asks innocently, "How are you?" and I, for honesty's sake, want to reply, "I'm terrible. How are you?"

      The best piece of advice I've gotten throughout the last few weeks is to respond with, "I'm working it out." It is such a simple statement that doesn't make anyone uncomfortable without forcing me to say I'm fine out of habit.

      Thank you for the sentiments, and I hope you also find your happy moments between the tears.

  3. I shared this sentiment on Megan's blog already, but thought I'd share it here too. I personally PREFER the real blogs, because they show me it's normal to not always be perfect. Sure, we all know things like blogs and Instagram are only the highlights of a person's life, but it can be hard not to feel like that IS their real life, 24/7, and to envy how everyone else seems to have it all together and you don't. So I say YES, YES, YES, to more human blogging!

    1. Thank you! I completely agree with all of it. I occasionally creep instagram just hoping to find proof that these bloggers' tables occasionally have crumbs on them or their workspaces look worked in. How do you really thrive as a crafty person if you seem to be starting out with perfection? I figured craftiness started with creative problem solving caused by real life being imperfect.... anyways, I could rant about this all day! I hope to see some hashtagging from you! On my way to follow you now. :)

  4. I'm in. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I completely understand the perspective you're coming from. Last year, I had a baby. After 10 years of infertility. We never talked about the infertility online, because it all just felt too fragile. Once we actually had the baby, it was so much easier to acknowledge. And I finally published a post about the loss of my grandparents, and their house (it had to be sold after they died). It became easier all around, after that kiddo showed up, to blog about my feelings. Now if only I could convince myself to get back in the kitchen!

    1. I have heard a lot of people say that having a child makes it easier to open up. That intrigues me, but also makes me happy. I recently read a really great post from With Style and Grace blog about getting back into the kitchen after her mother died. It's both wonderful and intimidating that the things we love to do hold so much power over us when we are struggling with life. Think of it as self care vs a luxury!! You need to take care of you.


  5. I am so sorry about your friend :(.

    I think it's good to be yourself on your blog or at least embracing your own voice. I mean your blog is after all your own space. I know that sometimes blogs only show how quick and easy something is or that life is so perfect but I think it's sometimes important to show the journey or the willingness to work through something because it helps to find people to relate to what your doing and make you a little braver in this world.

    PS. OH! and maybe it's my poor preggo brain talking but that cherry dessert looks majorly delicious.

    1. My un-preggo brain agrees about the cherries, so I think it's just Megan's mad skills with baking. I'm hoping for my own cherry smashing therapy soon, but I am feeling lazy enough to use cherry pie filling if I make a black forest cake.... *cowers*

      Thanks for the support! I hope to continue embracing my own voice here. Hopefully will reveal my craft room, too, soon! :)

  6. I'd kind of gone off the blogging world - both reading and writing. I was blogging more from the perspective of the business but couldn't not make it personal and wasn't sure how comfortable I was with that, partly because I'm a bit too private, partly because I don't believe you can only share the good without the bad and mostly because when all you see is shiny happy it's way too intimidating to share your struggles. I may never really catch on to blogging but it's really good to know that there are people blogging for reals on my feeds - and I will make a point of sharing some of the crumbs on my tables in my feeds ;)
    As a footnote, one of the best blog posts I read (from a small business perspective) was on the blogs of one of my fav designers - who share real world stuff but mainly more on the happy happy side. Then one day they dropped the bomb of what had been going on behind the scenes for a while and it was a shock to read, but actually made me feel so much better about myself and where I was, to read that someone I looked up to was having similar struggles. And they've continued to share, maybe partly based on the response. So the #humanblogger should most definitely always be encouraged, and we can support each other in this virtual world, and hopefully more of that will translate to all our real worlds.
    PS. I'm sorry to hear about your friend. It's a tough time to go through, but I hope you have loads of love (and giggles) around you to help you through it!

    1. I'm glad you came back to blogs and said hello! It is really hard to be impersonal, I find. When I first started blogging I avoided it like the plague... but as I get more and more into my mental health day job I also get more and more into the idea of taking care of myself however I know how. That officially includes being real here, being a #humanblogger and making a point of finding and sharing posts that are real.

      I'm hoping this #30daysketch thing will help me cope a bit... maybe distract me or at the very least let me reconnect with a part of me I haven't connected with in years. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!!!


Thank you for your comments! I love reading them all and will reply when I can.