In The Interest Of Keeping Up Appearances


If I’m honest, I can’t count the amount of times I’ve auto-piloted my response to “Hey! How are you?”

I’ve got enough variations of “Yeah, fine”, “Nothing to report”, “Good! You?” on my dashboard that I can use any one in a succinct breath, deftly tapping the letters out without any thought or feeling; exhaling what feels like the start of a hurricane when I hear the little swoosh noise jump from my phone as I press send. 

Another attempt at truthful contact avoided. Brilliant.

All well and good when I am fine, when there is little else to report other than an assuring “I’m OK”. But, inevitably, there is going to be a slice of time when things aren’t so great, or moments when I don’t really want to admit that I'm not feeling fine - times where, if I'm honest, I could do with a little bit of help; some comfort, advice. 

Why then do I still stick to what I know best

Just like that, I pull another “I’m fine” out of the bag and actively choose to continue the same melancholy carousel ride. The ride where I see the same sights over and over, where I move no further forward; where I am just blindly continuing with the same sad lie.

I could argue that the “beauty” of technology is the absolute ability to be anyone, at any time. It doesn't matter if I'm crying, stuffed away and curled up in bed, because I can type my way into making others believe that I am feeling however I want.

Because, to me, deception seems easier than truth.

Remaining incognito and emotions-anonymous simply seems easier. If I ever drop the pretence, the smiles and the empty eyes, I find myself clawing at the ground to wrap myself back up in a web of lies desperate to go back to just being “Fine”. Or, in the silent void after actually saying how I really feel, I jump to stifling my emotions with
But you don't want to hear that”. 

Actually, no. I am totally, totally irrevocably wrong.

Everyone gets stressed. Everyone gets tired, emotional, frustrated – tens of thousands of emotions are felt in a second by different people, on different continents and time zones, changing their moods as often as we blink our eyes. 

No one wants to be seen as weak, vulnerable; less accomplished or evolved than others. When magazines are stuffed full of criteria on how to be prepared, more efficient; successful and beautiful, it is hard to run a white-wash over them and ignore. 

We're all starting to forget about the reality behind the edits.

The reality where people bond over closeness. Over being truthful, letting one another in on our secrets, fears; worries. Humans crave contact. We want eyes to look at us, to feel someone else's skin against our own; we want a thumping heart that is excited/nervous/head-in-the-sand-terrified about meeting someone. 

The faux-pressure of keeping up appearances is a myth – and we know it.  

We know it from when we put on a top and some lipstick to take a Snapchat to make it look less like we’ve been in our PJs all day long and more like we've stepped out of bed at a normal hour, we know it from when it’s the third consecutive day of wearing the same outfit; we know it from the song we just can't stop repeating because the lyrics make us feel like we have a friend who gets how we feel.

We shouldn’t be afraid of telling the truth, or admitting when things aren’t quite OK, because we know that life isn't always shiny/exciting/oh-my-god-amazing all the time. We need to remember that we are allowed to feel down, sometimes. 

We’re just too busy keeping up the pretence of being OK to realise it.

So, in the interest of 'keeping up appearances' - let's not. Instead, be brave, open, honest; and stop filtering our (sometimes-less-than-perfect) reality.

 

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Photo credit: Greg Rakozy @ Unsplash
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41 comments

  1. This is a beautifully, truthful post. xx

    Kartonia | Still in My Nightie

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    1. Thank you Kartonia, that's a lovely thing to hear. x

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  2. This is so well said!! Definitely something I need to work on! Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog and good luck with the job hunt :) xx

    www.thebeautymist.co.uk

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    1. You and me both! Thank you so much! :) x

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it, Cielo :) x

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  4. I adore your style so much! It's super chic!
    check out my blog + follow back?

    xo,
    Jess | wildvagabondss.blogspot.com

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    1. Ah thanks Jess, glad you like the aesthetic. I'll pop over and nose around your blog now! x

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  5. I think you're right with saying that we say we're ok even when we're not. I used to do this but then I thought, well I'd want people to tell me when they're not ok so perhaps I should do the same. Lovely post xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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    1. I agree - it's definitely time for everyone to stop hiding behind lies and say the truth (me definitely included!) Thank you for taking the time to read, lovely x

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  6. I don't anyone could have said this more beautifully than you did, Lucy.

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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    1. That's a beautiful thing to hear, Leta. Thank you x

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  7. Really well-written post - Great job girl!

    http://industrialbarbie.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you Sara - glad you think so! x

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  8. Love your blog , and what a powerful piece of writing !!

    https://eralissa.wordpress.com - be sure to check out my blog if you get a moment <3

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    1. Ah thank you so much - of course, I'll pop over there now :) x

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  9. Great post, it gives a lot to think about. :) Personally, I feel that the whole 'keeping up appearances' thing is a two-way street. Sure, we tend to just switch to auto-pilot and respond 'I'm fine' every time someone asks 'How are you?'; but at the same time, asking that is just a polite thing to do and I don't think that everyone who asks that necessarily wants to hear a full story behind why I'm having a bad day. Nor would I even feel comfortable telling people about my private life and why things perhaps aren't so good. In everyday settings (e.g. at work), there just isn't a time and a place to open up and 'be brave'. It's different with actual friends and family though, of course, although I usually like to deal with my problems on my own, anyway. Thank you for the thought-provoking post! x x

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I totally agree, Kay - this is very much a time and a place dependant article, pushing aside the usual passing pleasantries when "You OK?" is really is just another form of greeting. I'm definitely talking about the latter opinion in your comment, with friends and family, or whoever the chosen person to confide to is - for me, sometimes just typing alongside another voice on the internet helps, the anonymity of it all makes me feel I can drop barriers. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment with such purpose, it really means an awful lot. x

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  10. Lucy, this was a wonderful post. I've got to admit that I'm guilty of this.

    For me, personally, it's just simpler. Easier. I've got a pretty hefty reputation of being the happy, cheery, smiley girl but once I stepped into darker places, everything fell apart. Of course, no one else knows this, and so I keep up the appearance of being happy. I smile. I wear nice clothes. i tell people it's alright. On auto pilot. Because I know if I crumble, everyone else does, too. It's how it used to be anyway.

    I think if we were to open up to saying that things aren't okay, it should be to selective people. I've done it with the partner, and it's made such a huge difference in the way I live. And yes, Lucy, we're allowed to feel sad sometimes.

    I enjoyed this post so much, and it's my first time here! I've just followed you on Bloglovin' and CANNOT wait to read more of your thoughts. Cheers! <3

    May | THE MAYDEN | Bloglovin'

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    1. May, this is such a lovely comment to read. Thank you - I think you've captured the intention of the piece in its entirety, which is great to see from my perspective - (I sometimes have no idea how things will be received or if they even make sense outside the realms of my own mind!)

      I definitely agree that it is select people - I generally like to keep myself to myself, and confide in very small circles (sometimes circles that are just one-person-sized).

      Thank you so much for following, and I hope that the upcoming content will continue to appeal. X

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    1. I cannot take credit for that - it's courtesy of Unsplash and their photographers, who are incredible. x

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  12. wow, this is such an amazing well-written post! thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

    Sara / www.aboutlittlethiings.blogspot.com

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  13. This is beautifully written and so true, thanks for sharing. xx

    Julie
    www.rainingcake.com

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    1. Thank you Julie, that's so very sweet of you. x

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  14. Really love the way this is written, it's so true and refreshing to see that not everyone has this absolutely perfect photogenic life.

    Lucy x- Yellowicing

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    1. Totally - that was the aim. Thank you for reading, Lucy :) x

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  15. Woah, I really loved reading this post ♥

    tipscapsule.blogspot.com

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    1. Ah that means so much! Thank you! :) x

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  16. What lovely words! Such a lovely post babe <3
    Lucie xx | LucieLovesIt.com

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  17. Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read, Stacey :) x

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  18. This was a very well-written post. Couldn't have said it better myself.

    ZEKALIN

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  19. OMG, this is hilarious - and oh so true for me as well! It's so tempting to take the easy route and duck the hard choices that I wind up doing most of what you listed above. Thank you for giving me the giggles and reminding me of the virtues of courage, truth, and actually doing things. Well written you!

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  20. Really love this post, you write so well :) x

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    1. That's so sweet, thank you so much! x

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  21. I do enjoy your post so much about appearance. I was thought I am the only one that think about that but then I read you post. I really enjoy it !

    xx
    http://liveitcolorfully.blogspot.co.id/

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    1. Thank you, that's really sweet to hear x

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