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Amy Ludwig VanDerwater: Don’t lose your identity in pursuit of perfection

Goodbye, Pinterest. It was fun while it lasted. Well, not really. To be honest, you had a way of bringing out my envy and guilt from day one. I know you didn’t mean it, but bit by bit, your gorgeous looks, artistic perfection and endless connections eroded my confidence.

As our relationship grew, my sense of self shrunk, and I began to feel that I should always check in with you when making decisions. While you may not have meant to control me, somehow everything became all about you. So I’m giving you back your handcrafted silver clay ring and your collection of inspiring quotes, handwritten in calligraphy on parchment. It’s over.

Everything felt so right in the beginning. You offered promises of perfection: endless creative cocktails, decluttering tips that sparked joy, paint color combinations, holiday decorating ideas, casual up-dos for beachy photographs and even suggestions for exercising my arms and legs. But that’s all they were. Promises.

Never once did you actually mix me a summertime sweet watermelon julep or help me drag a bag of mismatched socks to the curb. Never once did you paint my bathroom. And we never worked out side by side. You just sat there, looking fine.

Oh, we dated. For a long time. I’d stare at you, in awe of your knowledge and beauty, wishing that someday my skills and look would be worthy of you. When I cooked a roasted red pepper quiche or created a St. Patrick’s Day-themed macramé mason jar holder and someone said, “It’s so Pinterest!” I took that as a high compliment. To be “Pinterest-y” was to be cool. I wanted to be like you, part of your family, a member of your tribe. But somehow, in trying to be like you, I forgot who I was.

Yes, I know. You were always there for me. At any time of night or morning, for as long as I wanted to spend with you, you were there. We’d sit together at the table, on the bus, even in bed, and I listened to your suggestions, comparing my ideas to yours, taking your advice again and again. And you never left. You stayed. I know; you have been loyal.

But you see, the more I listened to you, the less I listened to me. And the less I actually accomplished. The hours spent poring over your gorgeousness were once hours I spent actually making regular blueberry jam, not looking at staged photographs of oregano infused blueberry jam. And the time I spent pinning your pictures to my boards had once been spent looking at photos of family, reading good books, making messy sketches in my imperfect journal.

Actually, maybe you weren’t so loyal, Pinterest. It just dawned on me that you’ve been “loyal” to millions of others at the exact same time we’ve been together, sitting with others on the bus, sharing ideas with others, sitting up in bed with them into the wee hours. So maybe this isn’t a breakup at all, for you were never mine. You were always there for you, attracting new admirers, collecting new lovers, always shiny and beckoning.

Sure, I’ll look back on a few good times. There’s that spray-painted antique dining chair. You know, the hot pink one with yellow mums nestled into the caning. I’m keeping that. And I’ll hold onto your ooey-gooey cinnamon roll recipe. But please pack the rest of your ideas into your snazzy retro convertible, and drive away listening to your perfect for breakups playlist. Because we can’t be friends. I won’t be stopping by like last time. It’s over for good.

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