Dear Daughter: About On-line impressions
Another quilt block and letter for your Dear Daughter quilt. I’ve had this one sewn up and ready for awhile, but mislaid it. Along with all the other finished blocks. I turned my craft room upside down looking for it. Finally found the pack between two cookery books. Not my best filing decision.
I’m not the most organized person, as I’m sure you know. More spontaneous. I have moments of pure whirlwind efficiency, which keeps everything ticking along fairly smoothly, but most of the time I tend towards chaos. Organized chaos, as I can usually find whatever is needed. It’s not something I rattle on about on-line, partly as I don’t think people would turn up to read about it.
Far better to write about finished dressmaking projects, rather than the mound of washing that has so far been ignored. Take photos of the places we’ve been, than the areas of the garden yet to be weeded. The dust bunnies multiplying under the table. Seriously, does anyone want to read about the more disorganized side of my reality? Do they really need to be burdened by a photo of my quilt blocks hiding between Mary Berry and Nigella? More to the point, do I want to write and take the photos of it? Heck. No.
This is really the subject of my letter to you. Not everything on-line tells the whole story.
Each photo you see, has probably been selected as the best of the rest. Altered and enhanced to show its subject off at its best. After all ,why would anyone publish a bad photo unless it was to prove a point?
The subject of the photo will have been arranged to perfection. Props added to show it off at its best, and cover up boring bits they don’t want you to see. Even a quick photo snapped will have been cropped to cut out something in the background that may distract or not add to the subject.
In short, photos are censored by those that publish them.
(I’ve pointed the camera at the pretty cakes and not the mountain of baking utensils waiting to be washed, that we all know are lurking just out of the frame)
Recently you have shown me photos on Instagram of people you used to go to school with. Some you haven’t seen for two or three years. They look different, and I’m not talking about being 3 years older. They are unrecognizable to me. (I’m beginning to think that the latest fashion of bigger, drawn in eyebrows is a far better disguise than any false moustache.)
The girls staring back out at us, look amazing. They have perfect makeup, hair styled and dyed, and suck their cheeks in, until they no longer resemble the person you knew. They look older than their age. They look confident. They look like they know what they are doing.
Now, as these are the only images you have seen of them recently, it gives the impression that this is how they look all the time. (Although, you and I both know that cheek thing would be impossible to keep up for too long.) It is quite undermining to think your peers have got it sorted and you are left behind. After all, you don’t look anything like that. (Thank goodness, I like your eyebrows the way they are)
(Clematis not from my garden, but the photo added here could give the impression that this is how my garden looks.)
The truth is that they don’t either. More than likely. First up, before they took that photo, they spent ages applying makeup, fiddling with their hair and practising the pout in front of the mirror. Maybe hours. They will have taken several photos and chosen the best to hit the publish button on.
Most would not have time to do this whole rigmarole before school each day. Also checking a mirror every few minutes to ensure the perfect pout, would soon get them a name. I’d bet that they don’t ooze confidence all the time. They will all have their worries that give them anxious moments. The photos hide a lot.
If you could roll back to a few hours before they took the photo, you’d probably find them examining the latest spot on their face and their hair would be scraped back in a Minnie Mouse hairband, that they’ve had since their Aunt brought it back from Disney World, when they were 8. Maybe the makeup session was displacement behaviour, in an attempt to ignore the french verbs that are still in their bag waiting to be memorized for the next day’s test. Maybe they chose that look, as they’d seen another friend’s photo on-line and that’s how they looked.
Maybe they are pretty much just like you. (Except the Minnie Mouse part. Not part of your collection.)
So my message to you is, that a photo may be worth a thousand words, but those words may not be the ones you see at first glance.
Your loving Mother
This is part of my Dear Daughter quilt project. One letter for each quilt block. Until a whole quilt is completed. This is my 21st block. You can view all the finished quilt blocks, and their letters, via my Dear Daughter page.