Saturday, May 18, 2013

You're doing everything wrong

I'm going to confess something - I don't use Pinterest. I know you're shocked and possibly even disappointed. I signed up for account ages ago but can't recall the password and don't know the last time I logged in. Pinterest allows you to "re-pin" images and you can create boards for themes, events, and whatever you want to save. I suppose it's meant to help foster creativity and give people ideas for how to do cool DIY projects. This blog has even been pinned on the site by someone who liked the pictures I took of houses in Alameda. Maybe she's restoring a Victorian home?

But I've never gotten into pinning. From my limited time on the site I realized I didn't fall into the following categories:
  • I'm not planning a wedding so I have no use for mason jar art/lighting ideas and have no plans to ever get married in a barn (and neither do you so stop it)
  • I'm not having a baby nor do I have children so no need for cute knitting projects or homemade baby food or rainy day craft ideas
  • Pumpkin doesn't wear clothes and I'm not going to make her (although she would be cute as a ladybug but then she would kill me in my sleep)
  • I'm not renovating a house so no need for weird DIY bookcase projects that involve upcycled wood (which I'm in support of) and some plant based resin I have to make in my kitchen (which probably smells like garbage rotting because that's always what happens with these things)
  • I'm not into pickling produce, making my own beer or other alcohol, or curing meat
I even tried to get into the baking boards of Pinterest because I love to bake and I love to find challenging things to bake. I found some cool stuff but to be honest, I knew I would never make any of it so I stopped. It would be fun to try but ultimately I'd rather be on PinterestFail than on the real site.

I don't think my dislike of Pinterest has anything to do with the site itself or why people use the site or enjoy making boards and re-pinning things. Pinterest, like most forms of social media, is designed to make us all feel bad. Think about your Facebook newsfeed for a moment (if you're on FB). Aren't there days when everyone seems to be having a baby, getting married, adopting a puppy, getting a promotion, and going on an exciting vacation? On those days don't you feel like telling everyone to shut the eff up even though you're super excited for all of them (in all sincerity)? Pinterest insecurity is apparently a thing now and we're all feeling it in some way. Social media has the ability to make us all feel like lonely, uncreative, narcissistic, boring people.

Of course that's not true. I mean, it might be true for some people but overall, most of us are not uncreative or boring. Sir Ken Robinson talks about this all the time. We're all creative in different ways and we have to focus on how to best express that creativity. For some people, it's pickling homegrown vegetables and using beet ink to label your mason jars for storage. For others, it's using post-it notes to decorate an office mate's cube for their birthday. Creativity can be taught and we all have the capacity to be creative. It's just different for each one of us.

I would love to say that I feel most creative in my job since then I would be the adult person that I dream of being. But I don't feel most creative at work although I try to be as creative as possible and sometimes I achieve great things or at least things that don't make my colleagues want to gouge their eyes out to end the pain of the meeting or training I'm conducting.

I guess I would say that I feel most creative when writing and baking (but not at the same time - that could be dangerous). I love writing this blog because it gives me an outlet to share ideas and photos and tell stories (which I love to do). I started the blog because I felt disconnected from things when I moved to Alameda. It was hard to adjust and it was a way to connect outside my apartment. While others enjoy the blog, it's mostly for me. That's not to say that I'm not glad people enjoy the Island and find me amusing; I am and I appreciate that people take the time to read it. I imagine this is what therapy is like.

Baking is also very therapeutic for me. It's a lot of work whether you're making something from a mix or from scratch. Don't ever let anyone tell you that making something from a mix isn't baking - it is. I prefer from scratch in terms of process but sometimes I need to get something done quickly and a brownie mix works just fine. I like the order of baking and the process. That's why I prefer baking to cooking - I'm not as good at throwing ingredients together and having something awesome happen. I'd rather spend two days making an Italian Orange cake - that's more my style. I made this cake 5 years ago (ish) for Christmas and my family still talks about it. It was that good and is probably my favorite cake. With baking, not only am I satisfying my need for process (the type A part of my personality), I'm also making others happy (the Erin Counselor part of my personality).

So my new goal is just do those things that make me feel creative and happy and leave the rest behind. I'm trying hard not to compare myself to everyone else. It's not healthy or fun. This is all part of the process of being the leading lady of my own life.

By the way, my next baking project actually came from Buzzfeed (providing all the cat photos and 90s nostalgia you'll ever need). Bourbon marshmallows s'mores are happening sooner than you think. The bacon is optional.

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