Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

#shareyourugly

I hadn’t planned on writing this post today but after my conversation during a 2+ hour lunch with Steph yesterday, I decided it’s necessary. It might get convoluted and circular, and I apologize in advance for that.

I am not okay.

In fact, I am the exact opposite of okay. I’m a disaster. A mess. 

I have unpaid bills. My house is decidedly less than clean. I have errands to run, emails to answer, calls to make, jobs to apply for, a gray streak in my hair I need to dye, blogs I need to catch up on, and plans that I desperately want to cancel yet I do none of it. I want to smile and mean it, laugh and feel better, and understand that it is okay to ask for help. But it takes all my strength to get out of bed and brush my teeth each morning and there’s not much left over for anything else. I sleep like shit when I actually do fall asleep. I have no motivation to do anything except sit on the couch and play endless games of Rummikub on my iPad or read books. I’m still grieving my miscarriage. I’m still unemployed. My depression is at an all time high (low?).

I feel like an epic failure.

I tell you all this not for sympathy or pity or anything other than I want to share the fact that, despite the humor you might read in a post or a cute picture you might see on Instagram, there’s more going on behind the scenes. My life is not a beautiful, staged on a white background array of sunshine and rainbows. My life, at times, is ugly and awful and not at all enviable. And I tell you that because I know that someone, somewhere, feels like she (or he) is the only one with ugliness in her life. And I want that person to know she’s not. 

We all have darkness. We all have moments when everything feels like it’s falling apart and will never be put back together. We all have moments of shame and sadness and messiness and absolute wretchedness.

Bloggers don’t often do a good job of conveying that, although some are spectacular at it (think The Bloggess, Allie Brosh, and a couple of others I follow with quasi-regularity). But there’s more who hide the ugly than share. And I think that needs to stop. Bloggers have a reach that other people don’t, and you never know how your words can affect someone. Which is why, bloggers (and nonbloggers), I’m encouraging you to share your ugly. Whether it’s a picture or post or tweet or whatever, share something with your readers that isn’t shiny and perfect. I’m not talking a picture of you sweaty after a 10 mile run or epic leg day at the gym. No one looks good after that. I’m talking about showing about a failure in the kitchen. A stain on the rug that you hide with a piece of furniture. A huge zit you cover up with makeup. Something, anything that strips away, even for one small minute, any delusions of perfection your readers and followers may see. 

Our words and images are powerful. We never know who we’re reaching or who’s touched or impacted by what we say. It’s a hard thing, reading blogs and only ever seeing perfection. If that’s what people are using as a basis for comparison, it’s an impossible standard to achieve and can do more harm than good. 

So tell your story.

Divulge your scars.

Discuss your battles. 

Show your ugly. 

 

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23 Comments

  1. Kristin

    I want to get on board with this. I have a laundry list of “ugly” right now and I’m tired of other people’s ugly being a sweaty workout picture or rocking a newborn to sleep at 2am. That’s not ugly. I think we try to do it with pictures, but to really #shareyourugly, you need words. (Which means I need time to write it all down, which means I need more time in the day, etc).
    I like this idea.
    Kristin recently posted…Stuff and Things 5/21My Profile

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  2. kathy @ real talk

    when i was going through my severe PPD after kayla was born, i became an expert at hiding what was really going on. behind the scenes, i was a mess and it got worse. my marriage was on the rocks, i had isolated myself from everyone and i wanted nothing to do with kayla. those years were the darkest of my life and i am still ashamed to admit that during those times, i wanted to be away from my daughter.

    i only wrote about it just as i was about to get treatment because i felt i had to let some people in who were wondering why i had dropped to 100lbs, why i never went out, why i never talked to anyone, why no one ever saw kayla. it was hard but it needed to be done and afterwards, after i felt a bit better during treatment, was when i realized that you can’t hide from the ugly because sooner or later, it’s going to come back and hit you hard.

    i do hope that things look up for you very very soon. know that i, we, are here for you. thank you for opening up and sharing. xoxoxox
    kathy @ real talk recently posted…humpday confessions [5-20]My Profile

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  3. Linda Sheridan

    Glad you were able to meet up with my girl. Just talking it out with someone is cathartic. Writing this is, too. It is not ugly, it’s human. Depression is difficult to understand, even for those who are feeling that way. The good thing – it’s being talked about and addressed. Love and lights and angels to you. I know I say it all the time, but I believe those 3 things help. I am a lightworker!! My life has changed for the way better the past 20 years or so. It has worked for me. I am myself, but better. You are enough.
    Lots of love, SMD’s Momma

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  4. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m positive it will help you to get it out there and even if it doesn’t it will surely help someone else.

    We need to be better as a society about transparency without someone accusing us of being negative – that happens too. The P to the Positive all the time people bristle at any real life shit – it’s not negativity, it’s reality. You can’t put a shine on a turd.

    Love you! I’m down to share my ugly.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Currently – MayMy Profile

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  5. Ali A

    First off: I LOVE Allie Brosh. She is/was a HUGE inspiration to me and my blog. Second: I HATE blogs/bloggers who only want to convey perfection. Be real; tell me what you’re bad at it, show me when you’re ugly, complain about something, be sad about something. That’s real. That’s human. To some degree I’m not comfortable just presenting some fake persona where everything is rainbows and butterflies and I’m super happy and perfect all the time. I’d rather be honest and relatable. And you are too, which is why I love your blog 🙂
    Ali A recently posted…Dear StrangerMy Profile

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  6. Nadine

    I agree with you. We are all really good at hiding the ugly. The things that we don’t want the world to see for fear of vulnerability or criticism. I always feel like when I read a post where someone is sharing their feelings, struggles, confessions….they are much more relating than someone who is posting about the 5 tips to a perfect vacation or something other shit. *hugs* Perhaps it’s time to get ugly!
    Nadine recently posted…Victory Equals MotivationMy Profile

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  7. Julia @ Grace Makes New

    YES. THANK YOU. I have some ugly going on too, and I try to be open and show that on my blog but I know I have the tendency to want to share only the good, sparkly, pretty things, even if sometimes they’re REALLY hard to find because I’m struggling so much. Like Nadine said, I relate SO much more to bloggers who are honest with their struggles than ones who only post perfection all the time. I know we can’t necessarily put everything out there on the internet because some things are personal. But we can be honest about the fact that we struggle, and it helps so much to know we are not alone!
    Julia @ Grace Makes New recently posted…Our Gallery WallMy Profile

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  8. lisacng @ expandng.com

    Thanks for sharing your story, Jana. Definitely, no one is alone in having ugliness in their life. For me, when I’m down, I’m down and those are not times I feel like sharing with the world because I know I might say something I’ll regret. Nevertheless, I agree the perfection that people want to portray gets old. Even when they share something more than that, it seems not genuine.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Advice I give my children but don’t take myselfMy Profile

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  9. Teh Megan

    I think my biggest struggle in sharing my ugly is that I’m afraid of the reactions of people that it involves, which is kinda silly, but at the same time not. It’s almost a self-censoring of what I put on the blog because I don’t want people to think I’m airing my dirty laundry (since most of my issues are related to other people).
    I agree with nadine that “feelz” posts are much more relatable than regular posts, which I think is why I focus so heavily on the Confessions post each week.
    here’s to uniting the strugglers and being real!
    Teh Megan recently posted…Confessions {5/20}My Profile

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  10. Kateri Von Steal

    I am definitely a member of the #shareyourugly club.

    And when I was at my lowest, you took the time to reach out and befriend me – so sister, I am totally reciprocating. You need to vent – email me. Please.
    Kateri Von Steal recently posted…Thursday Thoughts of Intolerance and RantingMy Profile

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  11. Amber

    I love when people get honest. I feel I’m pretty honest in my blog. My life isn’t always rainbows and sparkles. I love reading honest and blunt posts because you’re right: it feels good to know you are not alone. You might be helping someone else by sharing your honesty.

    Also, venting helps me. A lot. I know there are some bloggers who are like, “You shouldn’t vent! You should be thankful for what you have!” Whatever. I’m venting, thanks.
    Amber recently posted…Things That Annoy Me Thursday: Lying eBay CustomersMy Profile

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  12. alyssa

    I love this post.
    I try to make sure my blog is an accurate representation of life, to an extent. I share things that are important, and sometimes, my anger is the most important thing I’m dealing with at the time. Or my frustration is, or my sadness is, or my shitty situation is. I don’t want to talk about it all the time because I don’t want to dwell on it—that just makes me feel worse, and I don’t take comfort in being a negative influence on other people’s lives—but I think it’s important to make sure I’m not projecting this image of a picture-perfect life. I don’t have the widest reach, but the truth is I don’t really know who’s reading, and I take heart in the knowledge that sometimes it is a person who needs to know that it’s okay to be angry about a dumb thing a person said, or sad about a fight with a loved one.
    I really do appreciate bloggers who pull back the curtain and show their real lives and the *real people* stories behind things like mental or physical illness that a lot of people aren’t really exposed to. That’s the only way to humanize these things, and when we do that, hopefully we learn to be a bit kinder and more respectful to people around us. Because we’re all participating in some battle at some point, aren’t we?

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  13. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    So much to say so I thought I’d just call you! Although I try to see the silver lining in things and do appreciate life and have never suffered depression myself, my life is FAR from perfect if that makes YOU feel not so alone! Thank you for sharing your feelings and being so open and honest. I have a feeling we are going to have some long talks at Fincon. 🙂
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…The Gut FeelingMy Profile

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  14. Lindsay

    Thanks for sharing. So many people can relate to what you write and like you said, no one writes about that shit. It’s all about rainbows and sunshine.

    I think I’m pretty transparent. I’ve blogged my disaster of allergic reactions that nearly put in the grave last February-April 2014, I’ve wrote about when I’m depressed and I just feel like I can’t go on anymore. Sometimes I feel like I’d be better off on my own so I’m not a burden to anyone or holding them back. Shit, you ever want the ugly truth, hit me up because I’ll tell it like it is every damn time.

    xox Hang in there sister. Sending much love, light and hugs your way. <3
    Lindsay recently posted…Things I will not tolerateMy Profile

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  15. Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife

    I love this. I love you. Thank you for paving the way for others to share their ugly. I do my best to keep it real…
    Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife recently posted…For The Love Of MotherhoodMy Profile

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  16. Kerry

    I love these kinds of post because everyone’s life is ugly. Whether emotionally, physically or just in their space. My dining room table is always a nightmare with clutter. I have major dusting to do and no desire to do it. I agree we shouldn’t cover it up, life is messy.
    Kerry recently posted…Happy Is A ChoiceMy Profile

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  17. Karen

    I just assume that everyone has ugliness in their life no matter what image they convey on their blog or especially Instagram. Whose life is perfect anyway? Whether they want to post it or not, it’s not something that really bothers me. I honestly don’t believe that anyone’s house is as glam, hipster chic, pink macarons in mason jars or peony-filled as their photos make them out to be.
    Karen recently posted…That’s What She Said // Reba McEntireMy Profile

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  18. Kathleen

    Xoxo. Thanks for sharing.
    Kathleen recently posted…5 Blogging Lessons From David LettermanMy Profile

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  19. Gwen

    Oh Jana, I’m crying reading this right now. Your confessional paragraph is me right now, too. The only differences are that I’m not unemployed, but I probably should be because I’m slacking off so badly at my job that I don’t really deserve to have it. And replace “miscarriage” with “my mother’s sudden and untimely death” and I could have written that whole thing. (And instead of Rummikub, it’s hidden object games or some other mindless shit.) I know I should really see a therapist, and I can’t get myself to do that either. So let me just reiterate that you’re not alone. Thank you so much for writing this.
    Gwen recently posted…Some Stuff I Read Since the Last Time I Wrote About Stuff I ReadMy Profile

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  20. Stephanie

    I don’t like talking about what I’m bad at, on the blog. I mean, I do it occasionally like when I post how much $ I spent during my so called no spend month, but nothing serious. I don’t have much serious going on but when I do, I don’t like to dwell on it, if that makes sense. Other people feel better after talking about things, but I feel worse. So the last thing I ever want to do is think about it more, write about it, field comments about it. I don’t mean to portray that my life is perfect, but I’m just not a sharer when it comes to the negative stuff (even in real life.) I’d rather just make people laugh.

    Although, I think I keep it more real on my blog than others, just in general. I swear a lot and there’s dog potty pads in the backgrounds of my photos. Nothing staged over here!
    Stephanie recently posted…Confessing More Unpopular OpinionsMy Profile

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  21. Kay R.

    Thanks for sharing this! This is so touching. I think I keep it pretty real on my blog but like in real life when things aren’t great I kind of keep to myself. Same with the blog. Whenever Im not blogging as much thats when things aren’t the best because I don’t like to dwell on bad stuff … or deal with it… whatever the case. I so admire those who can put it all out there, I always sit and read it and feel so connected to the blogger. Perhaps one day i will get that way!
    Kay R. recently posted…Freedom lies in being bold.My Profile

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  22. Kristen

    thank you for sharing Jana. I think you are incredibly strong and honest. love this post.
    Years ago when I realised that other people had the same thoughts I do – well, it didn’t make me feel better but it made me feel less alone. I’m all for being honest and sharing things because pretending everything is okay is not the answer. For me, anyway.
    Kristen recently posted…My Top 10 Beach ReadsMy Profile

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  23. Kimmi

    I really loved this post…I know I am late to comment but I wanted you to know that this post stuck with me for the past week…and today I made my own post sharing my own ugly. Thank you for inspiring it and for being real about the fact that life isn’t always awesome.

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