choosing not to be popular

I am learning lessons from instagram that I thought I'd learned years ago from writing a weblog. In the couple of weeks I've been there, I've seen clearly what is popular, and I know I can to a certain extent provide that (within the limits of my camera, ability, and very small beginnings at the site.) But I've also seen what makes me happy. I love taking storm-coloured photographs, and bright summer photos ... but when it comes to my general palette I want something gentle, peaceful. The colours of chrysalism.

Which is not at all popular.




It's the same with writing. My instinctive manner with words is, I admit it, rather strange. I don't have an audience of thousands, and in the past I've tried to change my style to attract more people (with a certain success in in my early years of blogging) yet it ultimately left me bereft of something essential inside myself : my personal relationship with beauty. So I returned to my odd, dreamy little authenticity, and the people who relate to that read it, and between us real connection is possible.

Choosing to be unpopularly true to yourself carries the same breathless weight as choosing to be an introvert. Will you be left alone in a corner? Will people understand that you want to talk, and do interesting things, and belong, but you simply need to be quiet as well?  Ultimately though, changing yourself to fit in creates a far deeper isolation. I've ended up deleting from my feed some pictures which got more likes than the other pictures - but that I didn't like myself, in the context of the whole. It was hard to let go of public approval (relatively speaking - my account is very tiny, after all.) But I remembered something I wrote a while ago ...

Maybe no one will want to hear my song. But this is something age teaches a woman : it's better to be true to yourself, and remain unheard, than to have attention for being someone you're really not. Because other people are not there in the late darkness when you're whispering the day down into dreams, and other people are not there when you breathe gently on a new-kindled story, and other people are not in your heart, singing the true way home to you.


The most beautiful song in the world.


15 comments:

  1. Your Instagram photos are some of my favorites. I love how I can recognize them, instantly, as yours. I appreciate that, with all your art, you're true to who you are.

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  2. you are always so gracious dawn, thank you for such a kind and lovely comment :-)

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  3. Kind of what Dawn said... My daughter told me it is more important to have a style. Like Dawn said well... Your photos are recognizable. xoxo Su

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  4. Wonderful thoughts. We need to be true to ourselves, not always easy.
    I fear ridicule and therefore say little. But I try to keep my images true to me and not fall in with the majority.
    I delete myself too often.
    Your posts make me look inside, I like that.

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    1. its a shame that fear of ridicule silences your voice, but I know what you mean. it's definitely not easy to be true to ourselves, it takes real courage. I can do it better online than I can in real life.

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  5. Thank you for this. I'm learning very slowly to be for myself, and not worry so much what others thinks and want from me. I love your quiet words and pictures. Please stay yourself :) And I love that song as well. I've been listening to it on repeat.

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  6. always, always better to be true to oneself. also, think of yourself as providing an antidote to the slickness and 'packaged' feeling that has overwhelmed IG and everything else, pretty much. i think your palette and images are lovely. we need gentle just as much as we need passionate. we don't need more slick...

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    1. you are so right, there is an awful lot of slickness and pretentiousness at IG, I am learning that quickly too.

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  7. I was so happy to find you on instagram and love your pictures. I love your posts here as well, but very rarely comment as I don't feel that I have the right words to convey how your writing touches me.
    blessings
    ~*~

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    1. thank you, that is so kind of you <3 I've enjoyed "meeting" you at IG so I'm really glad you left a message here :-)

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  8. The other day I was sitting on the rope swing in my back garden watching the dew sparkle on the grass: red, then violet, gold, pink and green like Christmas lights. The colors flashed and shifted, but nothing essential changed--it remained dew. I love everything that you share and have never considered any of it to be less than you.♥

    What if the vision we hold for ourselves is too narrow? An artist's work tends to evolve over time--does the later work negate the earlier work?

    I have let go of the notion of being true to myself (which has proved to be confusing and self-limiting) and focus instead on being true to Christ who sets me free from societal constraints to become my realest, most complete self.

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    1. it's lovely the way you are a steadfast advocate for your faith :-) and your comment is so beautifully written, thank you for it.

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  9. Dear Sarah.. this speaks to me in so many ways. I could write a paragraph here, but I don't want to overwhelm, and you have spoken so eloquently and perfectly.
    To be true to oneself. I am learning to accept and appreciate all of the little (and some not so little) ways I am different. There is such peace in that... when I let it in. And when I push the external influences out. I love who you are.. and what you share.. what you write, and what you find beautiful. What a gift you are to those of us who feel deeply and differently than what is popular. Sending love xoxo

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