Martha and I aren’t exactly kindred spirits. Not for lack of trying on my part, I feel like I gave it a solid 80% at one point in my life. Which is the first indication of my impending failure. Martha doesn’t do 80%.
Not that I know Martha personally. Our relationship is purely one sided and consists of flipping through magazines, home shows, or rolling my eyes at her overpriced, but cleverly marketed products at the crafting store.
Martha has become the brand for everything home. Perfect, polished and manicured. Her accomplishments are brilliant… minus the whole prison thing but that’s beside the point. The woman has obvious talent.
So it’s impressive.
But it’s not me.
Do I admire a spotless, organized, photo shopped but isn’t, kind of home? I admire it, sure.
But the trouble I run into with Martha, and the home industry she has come to represent, is this unattainable standard that sets us up for failure when we think our homes should look like that too.
It’s the home equivalent to celebrity. It has been dyed, painted, botoxed, nipped, tucked, and spray tanned (with the good expensive stuff and not that other stuff that makes you orange).
It’s not real life. And comparing this idealistic standard to real life is poison. It feels like crap. Because…I’m venturing out on a limb here…most of our homes don’t look like a magazine centerfold.
Life is messy. And then sometimes life gets cleaned up, organized and put back together, which is great, but it doesn’t last.
The sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can stop being that crazy person yelling about the crumb on the floor, the one we just mopped in a frantic attempt to fool the company coming over.
It happens, right?
It’s stressful. It’s sending a message to our brains that our homes have to be perfect, that we have to be perfect. And really, how would our company feel if they came over and witnessed our home in its natural state?
Relief because we can stop with the pretending. Wave the white flag and surrender the crazy. We don’t need to compare ourselves. Let’s just stop.
Admire, yes. Be inspired, sure. Compare, no thank you.
Because when we start comparing, we stop listening to ourselves. We buy into overpriced countertops and the perfect shade of beige. We shame our popcorn ceilings because they are hideous in the design world. But did we ever ask ourselves the question,
Do I even care about popcorn ceilings?
My recent epiphany, I really don’t care. In fact, I think they do an excellent job camouflaging the unevenness of our mid-century ceilings.
So ask the questions. Do I really care about fill in the blank?
And maybe you do. And that’s great, if it’s your own preference and not one made for you. Because there’s nothing wrong with smooth ceilings, overpriced countertops or the perfect shade of beige. If that’s what you want.
But if you’re wearing pearls and cardigans when you really want blue jeans and t-shirts, it gets awkward. It doesn’t feel right.
And while we’re on the subject, maybe spotless and organized should settle for cleanish and getting there.
Because trying to fit our home into a plastic mold is never going to work. Let’s just have a moment of acceptance.
Take the ideas that resonate with you and say no to the rest. The home industry works for you. You’re the boss.
So let’s celebrate our own creative selves and make a space that reflects that and not the top trends of two thousand whatever.
It’s your space. Own it. Surround yourself with the things that are important to you. Express your individuality and quit the comparison game.
That game will mess with your head.