Thursday, September 19, 2013

Veeeeerrry Pinteresting

For the longest time, I resisted the lure of that strange phenomenon called “Pinterest.” I saw friends posting photos of clothes, kids’ crafts, home decorating ideas, and recipes, and I knew that I had to tear my gaze away quickly or else I’d be pulled into the black hole of time wasting that is Pinterest. And it took weeks, even months, but I finally gave in and signed up, with the full intent of “just browsing now and then”.

Hi, my name is Sandy, and I’m a Pinterest junkie.

Admittedly, I’m not nearly as obsessive as some folks. I browse Pinterest when I have a few minutes of free time. I never rarely browse until the wee hours of the morning when I should be sleeping. I don’t have 100 different boards sorted by which room of the house those decorating ideas are best for. I don’t stalk the boards of random strangers because I want my house to look just like theirs. (OK, I stalk one, but only because she really does share my taste in food and clothes, but apparently has more time to spend searching for awesome recipes and outfits than I do. Kathy Novak, wherever you are, thank you for saving me a lot of time.) But I definitely run to Pinterest for relaxation and comfort and an escape from life now and then.

For me, a lot of Pinterest’s appeal is the dreaming part, the wishful thinking. I have an entire board entitled, “Stuff I’ll Buy When I Finally Write That Best-Seller.” Pins on that board include things like a Valentino gown, a mink coat, a pair of Louboutins, a Carmen Ghia convertible, and a bunch of real jewelry. Even if I do finally write that best-seller, I probably won’t really get any of those things. (Well, maybe the Louboutins.) But it’s fun to imagine it. My “Get in My Closet” board is full of beautiful clothes, many of which would NOT look like the photos once I put them on my average, normal, over-40, post-children, non-modelesque body. But it makes me happy to dream that if I had all those clothes in my closet, I’d look just like those lithe, perfectly groomed, perfectly toned, 20-something models.

But I’m not completely unrealistic and impractical. I justify my time on Pinterest because there really is a practical aspect to it. I’ve found lots of great recipes there. (I’ve even made one or two of them.) I’ve found dozens of ideas for kids’ art projects and educational games and parenting advice. I even did one of the art projects, the infamous Melting Crayon Art, with my son. In terms of the final product, it was a spectacular, colossal, epic failure. But it was fun! 

It also inspired me to create what I think of as my “dose of reality” Pinterest board, entitled, “It Would Not Look Like This if I Made It.” It’s full of lovely, artistic projects that, merely by virtue of being on Pinterest, imply that they can be done by mere mortals like myself. Beautiful, artistic, marbleized Easter eggs. Adorable teddy bears made out of bread peeping out of mugs. Delicate butter cookies shaped like sand dollars nestling in a brown sugar beach. A charming elephant made of swaddling blankets. I post these to remind myself that as fun as it is to collect these ideas, I need to keep my sights set a bit lower. My crayon art failure proves that even the simplest-looking projects may require more artistic talent than I possess. And it’s okay if my projects don’t look like the ones on Pinterest. It’s okay if I don’t even bother to make some of them, as cute and easy as they seem to be.

Because that’s where Pinterest, like any other addiction, gets you. It offers you the promise of easy accomplishment, of effortless success. And when you fail, it lies that the next time will be better, and if you just dedicate yourself a bit more, give a few more hours of time, your results will match the tantalizing picture on the screen. It swears on your mother’s grave that the next project you try will live up to your expectations. But it never does. So we just keep pinning, and pinning, and pinning, and trying, and trying, and trying. And every now and then, a project is a great success, and we just KNOW that from here on out all our Pinterest projects will be successful.


My way to fight the trap of random successes was to create another Pinterest board. (Well, of course it was.) This board is called, “Pinterest Stuff I’ve Actually Done.” It reminds me that a) of the hundreds of things I’ve pinned, I’ve only tried a handful of them, and b) of the handful I’ve done, only about half have been any kind of success. The homemade spaghettios were great, the honey duck breast was spectacular, and the beef tenderloin with cognac Dijon cream sauce was to die for (almost literally; I nearly set the kitchen on fire – but it was totally worth it).

So in the end, I’m glad I joined Pinterest. I can enjoy dreaming about the projects I’ll do, the clothes I’ll buy, even the redecorating projects I’ll take on, as long as I don’t worry when the results aren’t quite what I’d hoped for. They might not be perfect, but at least they’re…Pinteresting…

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