Tuesday, July 30, 2013
My Love/Hate Relationship with Pinterest
How do I begin? I guess I’ll begin where it began—this sometimes glorious, often obsessive, occasionally infuriating relationship. My good friend Alissa introduced me to Pinterest two years ago when she made a pin board dedicated to inspiration for mywedding.
Alissa is one of those rare people who burn the candle on both ends all the time, and yet, although entertaining a mild dependence on caffeine, still keep it all together and manage to lead very productive and meaningful lives. Alissa is busy the way I imagine Benjamin Franklin to have been busy—pursuing his passions vigorously, and not limiting them to one realm of interest. Alissa is far saintlier than Franklin, I’m certain, because without being paid and without even being pressured she voluntarily bore the weight of my entire DIY Shabby/Chic wedding on herself. I don’t even really remember a formal discussion about it, just her Pinterest invitation to me, opening my eyes to the wondrous new worlds of ideas for my wedding, my reaction of excitement, agreement on virtually every idea and style she pinned on my behalf, and discussion with her on how we could make it all happen.
I would say, from my experience with other brides who planned their weddings with the aid of Pinerest, most are disappointed in the outcomes of their weddings. The plans they were more than confident in only because of Pinterest did not turn out to be as doable as they believed. For example, my friend Storey, who is a bridal consultant at a national bridal chain, recently told me that she frequently has trouble helping brides on a budget find a dress in their price range because they want nothing less than an exquisite, all-lace, backless, minutely tailored, crystal-encrusted, move-over-Audrey-Hepburn, WOWZA gown they could never afford in real life, but which they saw on Pinterest.
I can hear it now: “I saw it on Pinterest, and you really don’t have it?! That’s the only one I really want!” . . . Storey, I don’t think I could do your job.
On the other hand, we have the example of my wedding. We spent around $5,000 for the whole thing: invitations, ceremony, reception with dinner and live music, professional photographer, fireworks, favors, flowers, cake and a dessert bar, decorations, my dress, AND the honeymoon. Credit must be given where credit is due, and even two years later I’m still beyond grateful to my dear friend Alissa for her help, and even for her introducing me to my frienemy Pinterest. Without her can-do attitude and renaissance-woman abilities to do anything she sets her mind to, our wedding would have either been a lot more shabby than chic, or we would have gone way into debt to afford the stylish aesthetic I so longed to have at my wedding.
The other way I defeated the fiend of wedding-lust unleashed upon me through Pinterest was in how I chose my dress. I mean, seriously, the dress really is the centerpiece of the whole event, am I right? At least it is for us dewy-eyed little girls dreaming of our wedding since we first saw Ariel’s poofy-sleeved wedding gown in 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Well, I had quite the chance to have those very poofs, though I no longer favored them as much at 24 as I did at 4. You see, I have never been a fan of mass-produced gowns ala David’s Bridal, or even those made by “designers” at little bridal boutiques. I like unique; original, but classic. Having spent a few hours in a vintage wedding dress shop only to be disappointed both in prices and in how much alteration would be required to make any of those retro gowns fit my style, I considered he offer my mother made me when I was still a teenager: to wear her dress. It had poofy sleeves to rival any. But beneath the sleeves, and some dated 80s sequins that Alissa figured out how to remove harmlessly, was my dream dress. It was perfect. It was free. Even the alterations, which were done by another friend.
I am getting long-winded here. Is this a post about my wedding, or about Pinterest? Ugh. Pull yourself together, Libby.
My point is, Pinterest could have corrupted my wedding hopes, over-complicating them into a materially-driven need to be in style, rather than a lovely night celebrating the joy and beauty of my marriage to the man I love. Without Alissa, and a bit of perspective, there could have been some major Pinterest-fueled regret.
Now my wedding is done, and yet here is Pinterest, my ever present frienemy. Have I explained yet, or maybe have you guessed, why I cannot fully embrace and love Pinterest? Pinterest is not the problem. I am the problem. And maybe you are too. We go on Pinterest for myriad reasons. Here are some of mine: to escape; to get “inspiration” for even more things I won’t really ever accomplish; to compare myself to others; to make sure I’m hip with the trends; to find recipes I may or may not ever make; to bookmark a link I don’t find important enough to become a bookmark, but in some gluttonous way can’t let go of into the void of the web (as if Google couldn’t fetch it back for me in a second); to gain followers; to market my blog posts; to check my repins for validation of my taste; to figure out what I NEED in life.
It took me stream-of-consciousness writing that entire list before I came upon the last one, which is really the one that sums up the hate part of my love/hate with Pinterest: “to figure out what I NEED in life”
. . . If we let it, Pinterest will tell us who we are. It will tell us what we need to look like, cook like, and live like. It will affirm us or make us feel unworthy, but in either case, it will be a misplaced guidepost for our life’s meaning and goals.
I still do love to hop on Pinterest and keyword search something amazing like “dark chocolate cherry cheesecake,” “neon peplum top,” or “how to can tomatoes.” I still enjoy trimming the boards/pinners I follow down to only that which I truly appreciate or am inspired by, and scrolling down to take in all their latest pins free of any unsightly tattoo boards or too many workout motivation pins. But I need to be aware of and make a conscious choice not to use Pinterest as a compass for my life. I need most of all to not allow Pinterest to tell me what I need to own or how I need to look. This is, after all, a blog about being frugal and yet still enjoying beauty in your surroundings. Pinterest can get in line behind Crate & Barrel for sources of my material-lust, but I’m not going to let them beat me.