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The System Is Never At Fault, Only The Person


bea

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This entry is kind of meandering, because I have to start out with what sparked the idea first.

Sara Sophia is one of the bloggers over at A Deeper Story (which I find kind of absurd and ridiculous at times, but not because of the entries, which are often quite good, but because of the damn comments praising people for being honest and vulnerable for writing about things like "I'm not sure God wants me to hate gay people." REALLY? Golly, how brave of you to talk about that) and she ran a blog called Love, Sara Sophia. She was a good friend of Ashleigh Baker and ran a site with her called the Lovely Guide and I think they went to Paris together?

She was sort of fundie-lite, married to a Jewish guy, homeschooled herself, homeschooling her four little kids in a tiny house seemingly in the middle of nowhere and really, quite a good writer. Her life seemed pretty idyllic, frankly. Lots of Instagram pictures of cute kids and kicky little thrifted outfits, upcycled toys and kids clothes, etc.

She went to one of the blogging conferences, got home, and fell of the face of the Internet from February to April.

Then she started writing again pretty recently, but this time about being wounded and hurt and scared. Starting out with writing about being broken and promising no more lies. No details, not that she owed anyone any, of course. Her "about me" section was entirely removed from her website.

Today, she wrote an entry at A Deeper Story that starts like this:

On February 27 of this year I walked out of the front door of my home and I never went back.

I walked out of the door, across the deck and down four wooden steps.

I walked out of an abusive marriage.

I took four children and left behind everything I knew and everything I believed.

I had allowed myself and my little ones to live in fear every day for twelve years.

I feel awful for her. But you know what? I also feel awful for the people who read her perfect-looking blog about her perfect-looking life and probably tried to emulate her and make their lives like hers, without realizing that she was only pretending to have that perfect life herself. Not realizing that the Instagram pictures and "what I'm wearing today" stuff and artfully formatted free verse was something she put up to protect herself from her actual life.

Which is part of my problem with these fundie blogs in the first place. They present this image of perfection - if only you follow rules A, B, and C, your life will look like this too. And they HIDE the fact that following rules A, B and C will not guarantee you that perfect life. They also hide the fact that often THEY have followed A, B and C, only to have it end in disaster and misery.

But it's never the fault of the rules. The fact that A, B and C may be stupid rules that more often than not end in misery is never brought up. It's the PERSON who has failed, always, not the system. Being taught that once you get married, you have babies and that once you have babies, you always always always stay married because that's how marriage works, and that if you're miserable and abused and scared you pretend you're not because it's unacceptable to be anything other than perfect, that's never addressed.

I think Sara Sophia is brave for saying what happened to her, for stating that she's divorcing and she's unemployed and she's got four little kids and no money and she's terrified.

But man, do I wish this PRESENT PERFECTION AND HAPPINESS AT ALL TIMES ONLINE/IN PUBLIC bullshit would stop. I'm not saying it's only the fundie blogs, but this whole movement like A Deeper Story wouldn't really be necessary if people were actually honest about themselves on their blogs. If they were honest about what they really believe, about their questions, about how life is actually a lot harder than just following A, B, C and ending up with happiness.

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If someone charges their own life because they read a blog where someone who lived that lifestyle looked happy, I have no sympathy for them. If you (general "you") believe someone's blog is 100% the truth, you're either dumb or really naive.

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If someone charges their own life because they read a blog where someone who lived that lifestyle looked happy, I have no sympathy for them. If you (general "you") believe someone's blog is 100% the truth, you're either dumb or really naive.

:text-yeahthat: Appearances are very deceiving.

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:text-yeahthat: Appearances are very deceiving.

If something looks like it's too good to be true, it probably is.

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It is surprising how many people accept superficial displays of nice, happy families and never question if there is anything darker. Anytime anyone seems too perfect, there is probably something darker going under the surface. No family is perfect or always happy. We all have faults and problems. Families are the same way.

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Often times the more perfect the image the family presents to the outside world the more dysfunctional it is internally.

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I think thats probably true. The families who pretend to be perfect are usually trying so hard to hide some very obvious skeletons in the closet.

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Often times the more perfect the image the family presents to the outside world the more dysfunctional it is internally.

I agree. One fundie family pretending to be perfect validates the next fundie famiy pretending to be perfect. They're all full of crap.

But whatever the case, I am glad that she left all that behind and I hope she can find the means to raise her children away from her abusive husband, and I hope she can find some peace.

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It is surprising how many people accept superficial displays of nice, happy families and never question if there is anything darker. Anytime anyone seems too perfect, there is probably something darker going under the surface. No family is perfect or always happy. We all have faults and problems. Families are the same way.

:text-yeahthat:

I agree, one thing that makes us human is our flaws, and that includes families as well as individuals. I do think those blogs that portray perfect families are full of crap, as it's obvious they're hiding something serious.

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It is surprising how many people accept superficial displays of nice, happy families and never question if there is anything darker. Anytime anyone seems too perfect, there is probably something darker going under the surface. No family is perfect or always happy. We all have faults and problems. Families are the same way.

I think that's very true - I'm just frustrated because there's so much WORK that seems to go into this presentation of life as 100% perfect and awesome because anything less is unacceptable.

I think my larger issue is with the fact that this lack of tolerance for anything other than perfection leads to the development of sites like A Deeper Story, where people are lauded and applauded for things that other people do every day without thinking about it, like not hating gay people. Or believing that being Christian doesn't mean you have to vote Republican.

Some of the stuff they write is genuinely affecting, but a lot of it is....Jesus Christ, you want a fucking cookie and maybe a medal for being a Christian and not an asshole? For having doubts about God? Lots of people seem to manage these issues just fine, they don't need actual platforms designed to be a showcase for the fact that people have questions and problems and are normal. Why is it so necessary to get accolades for not having a perfect life and saying so?

Maybe it's because in addition to the fundie blogs, I read non-fundie mommybloggers sometimes, where life is NOT portrayed as perfect, where there's kids who misbehave and husbands who annoy and houses that need work and budgets that come up short and frustrations and annoyances galore. And most of it isn't written with the air of "LOOK HOW VULNERABLE AND HONEST I AM BEING PLEASE GIVE ME A COOKIE." It's just...life. That's how it goes in the real world. Things are imperfect.

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I've never been a big fan of mommy blogs. I get exhausted just looking at the pictures. How exhausting must it be to project a clean, cheerful, stylist, house and clean, cheerful, stylist children. I can't even get the twins to smile nicely for the Christmas card picture.

I joke with my husband about starting a blog sometime. Between the two eye-less cats (untreated infections as a babies; no, we didn't torture them, they came to us this way), piles of laundry, cat fur-infused dust bunnies, stacks of ungraded papers and projects next to the couch, my husband's work gear piled near the door, and my unfortunate mug in every shot, it would be enough to scare any right-thinking woman away from keeping a hearth and home. Kind of an anti-mommy blog.

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I've never been a big fan of mommy blogs. I get exhausted just looking at the pictures. How exhausting must it be to project a clean, cheerful, stylist, house and clean, cheerful, stylist children. I can't even get the twins to smile nicely for the Christmas card picture.

I joke with my husband about starting a blog sometime. Between the two eye-less cats (untreated infections as a babies; no, we didn't torture them, they came to us this way), piles of laundry, cat fur-infused dust bunnies, stacks of ungraded papers and projects next to the couch, my husband's work gear piled near the door, and my unfortunate mug in every shot, it would be enough to scare any right-thinking woman away from keeping a hearth and home. Kind of an anti-mommy blog.

Is it weird that I have always wanted to start the most dysfunctional mommy blog ever? Loads of kids but completely anti quiverfull, pregnant 15 year old, crazy cat lady aunt who keeps showing up, nudist grandparents, a home that wouldnt look out of place on Hoarders, parenting tactics that make Sparkly Lauren look like a great parent, parents are cousins, family reunions where everyone fights, dogs that poop everywhere, everyones an alcoholic or on drugs, awful children who dont behave...

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I agree that from an outsider's perspective (and I am a total fundie-mommy-blogger outsider, I'm so far outside I can barely press my nose against the window), the posts that are "Look at MEEE! I'm being HONEST & AUTHENTIC & ME WANT COOKIEEZ" can make my eyes roll straight outta my head. Like others havementioned, this applies to the "Maybe gayz shouldn't go to hell after all?" or "Maybe there isn't a God to be a speshul snowflake for?" instances.

I am *not* talking about abusive marriages like Sara Sophia's situation (which would be scary and devastating to anyone regardless of religion IMO). It's takes courage to leave those circumstances whether one blogs about it or not.

But really? If they need cookies in order to feel safe/validated/loved for talking about actual feelings and messiness and stuff that to us outsiders is just "it's my life so deal with it people", then I'm OK with that. It's a step in the right direction towards tapering off the fundie-mommy-bloggy posturing, husband-worship, and endless ways of photographing oneself in new outfits.

I had wondered what had happened to Sara Sophia, and I wish her all the best with her and her childrens' futures.

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