That Time I Almost Cropped the Rug (and All Authenticity) out of a Photo | Seersucker Sass

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

That Time I Almost Cropped the Rug (and All Authenticity) out of a Photo

Not to be confused with the time I created a faux marble surface.

Why Blogging Authenticity is Important

It started innocently enough.  My boss sent me home from work early because the weather was a little touchy.  I've been trying to step up my Instagram game, so I figured I would take a little snow day photo.

First step - Did everything in the photo make sense?  (This is my boyfriend's favorite question to ask me as he teaches me photography.)  Yes!  It totally makes sense to be in my pajamas, reading magazines, and drinking cider out of one of my favorite mugs (a gift from Nicole of Chronicling Home) on a snow day.  But no matter how I angle the photo, I can't get the rug out of the background.

So I attempt to hide it by throwing my down throw, a neutral little sage green number, over the rug.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a fluffy white rug like other bloggers? I thought to myself.  The throw looks icky, so I go back to my attempt at just angling the photo without the rug in the background.  And that's when I catch myself, as this rug is important to so many people for so many reasons.

During World War I, the Armenian people were forced out of their homes by the Ottoman Turks, under the impression that they were being relocated to safety from the war.  In reality, it was a death march that claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians, many of whom who had all of their worldly possessions, and specifically rugs like the rugs in my home, with them.  It is widely recognized as the Armenian Genocide.

 When we moved into our apartment, my boyfriend and I didn't have a lot.  We had a (borrowed) air mattress, a few pieces of Target furniture that could fit into his car, a card table that acted as a desk, and a some folding chairs.  By the time we got our couch for Christmas (thanks Aunt Susie!), we had added some new Target furniture and started working on two gallery walls.  When I came back from Mexico, our apartment had two new (to us) rugs, not only were the gorgeous and made, but something about having rugs made our apartment truly felt like home.  (Isn't it weird how one little touch can change everything?)  The rugs were gifts from my boyfriend's grandparents.  Their parents (legally) fled to America during the genocide, and we have been told that the rugs were among the items they brought with them.  I'm still in disbelief that they were entrusted to us, and I'm so ashamed that I would ever try to crop something so magnificent out of a silly Instagram photo.

I strive really hard to be authentic.  It's important because this blog is a community to me.  When I write my posts, I write them they way that I would speak as if I were lying out in the floor of the sorority hall carrying on with my closest friends.  Would I hide the rugs if my friends came over?  No, because I'm really proud of them!  So why would I ever crop them out of a photo?!  When we spend time trying to be something that we aren't or writing in a voice that's different than our actual voice, we only hurt ourselves.  Readers (and friends) can smell bullshit (pardon my language) a mile away.  As bloggers, if we pretend to be something that we aren't, it's going to become evident really quickly, and we will lose our credibility and our online friends.

This experience taught me an invaluable lesson in authenticity.  My blog should reflect where I am right now in my life.   I live in a cozy, one bedroom apartment.  The natural lighting sucks, and there is a lot of brown - the couch, the walls (ugh), and tones from the rugs.  I work in an industrial park. I live in a city where manufacturing is the lifeblood.  So instead of looking for fluffy white rugs and scouting out extremely picturesque locations, or stomping my foot when I have to take a photo inside of my apartment, I'm going to be really proud of where I am, and embrace it.  The photos of my blog will be taking on a new feel - less stereotypical and more representative of me.

Have you had a similar situation?  Why is authenticity important to you?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!  I'm so excited to share a beauty post with y'all tomorrow :)

PS - If I've sparked your interest in the photo that inspired this post, click here.  If you're curious about the Armenian culture, specifically the rugs, click here.   I watched this hilarious episode of Conan with my boyfriend and his parents, and according to them, it is spot on.


  1. This post is exactly the reason why I don't care about my "Instagram aesthetic" or whatever people call it these days. I don't want people who read my blog to think that every little thing about me is perfect because it definitely isn't. This includes having a fuzzy white rug that it seems ALL bloggers have. I get wanting pictures to look brilliant for promotional purposes but I would rather be 100% me (which sometimes includes a completely messy apartment and two dogs) than end up being less than authentic. Really great post, thanks for sharing.
    P.S. I love the rug!

    Darrian //

  2. I want to actually applaud right now! This is fantastic. I have to admit that I get lost in the whole blogger aesthetic sometimes. Like the other day, I was cleaning out a little corner of my office and found all sorts of really great stuff that I was hoarding away just so I could take a photo of it. I'd forgotten that stuff was there so it obviously wasn't serving a purpose in my life. I made the choice to donate what I couldn't actually work into my everyday life and I feel so much better for it, like I'm living more authentically. I love the story behind your rugs. You should be very proud of those! Stories like that are why I love connecting with fellow bloggers so much. Great post! xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

  3. I totally get where you are coming from girl (and I think your rug is completely gorgeous with a great story). Authenticity is one of the main purposes and missions behind my blog, that being said I don't think it is wrong to make some decisions simply for aesthetic purposes, to me photography and blogging is a creative outlet and sometimes that means making creative/artistic decisions. I don't have a major problem with cropping my laundry basket out of a mirror picture but I do have an issue with photoshopping out undereye circles (I mean I'm a weirdo...I don't mind if a professional photographer does it but I can't do it to feels inauthentic). On the same not I can't bring myself to wear face makeup on a daily feels like too much for me, too fake, to inauthentic but I wear eyeliner and mascara each day (and dye my hair)...why is that any different? I think it all comes down to personal choices and how we feel in our gut about them. If a decision makes me feel inauthentic or "icky" it isn't the right choice for my blog and I need to listen to my gut. Great post girl <3

  4. I totally agree! I also like to remind myself that I enjoy looking back on my blog, and it originally started as a way to document my life. Would I want to look back on a post or a photo and have to try and remember the real image or story? No! I want it to be there for me, so that even when I am losing my memories my blog can remind me.

    I love your rugs and the story behind them!

    Sweet Spontaneity

  5. I absolutely love that rug! It's beautiful and so is the sentiment behind it. It can be really easy as a blogger to get caught up in the aesthetics and it's good to realize that everything doesn't always have to be perfect. We also have terrible natural lighting (ground floor condo, I feel your pain) so I make the most of when it's sunny and the light is pouring in, but I've definitely had to make due when it storms as it often does in Seattle. ;)

  6. This post is just one of the many reasons that I love you and your heart! (And your cozy apartment!!) This is too funny because I was just thinking last week that I wished that I had one of those fluffy white rugs for insta photos hahaha.

    This post is such a great reminder to not join in the comparison game, but instead use our blogs and social media to be thankful for where we are in life!

    xoxo A

  7. Thank you SO much for posting this! It's so hard to get the perfect "aesthetic" that everyone is so into, so I've recently just stopped trying so hard. I style photos with things that I love, things that I live with every single day! We aren't born to fit in, sweet girl-we're born to stand out and let our lights shine :)

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  8. Okay 1. You're adorable. How was I not already following you on Instagram?! Anyways, that has been fixed. Following!

    2. This post is so true and such an important lesson! I definitely have had moments where I try way too hard. When I stop trying to add a million things in to one photo and make it more simple and authentic, my photos come out so much better and end up doing better too!

    xo Ashley

  9. This is a beautiful post. I think we all get caught up in making sure we have the perfect photo and the perfect lighting with the perfect background. Authenticity is so important to me when it comes to blogging and I love that you share your authentic life with all of us. I hate seeing only the perfect people and their perfect lives. No one can be perfect all the time! I adore you and your blog! Keep being an amazing role model for all of us

  10. Thank you for sharing your honest story behind a photo! It is so easy to get caught up in perfection when it comes to blogging and especially, Instagrams. I mean, hello, I own one of those white faux fur rugs! It's important to remember to be real and authentic though. Again, thanks for sharing!

    Lauren |

  11. Snaps for you for posting this! As amazing social media can be, I totally agree about how important it is to stay true to yourself!