Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

You may have noticed some of these “things” posts out in blog land… It started out here with, Jess’ Things I”m Afraid To Tell You and then Ez turned into a “movement” and now Meg from Mimi+Meg was inspired to keep the momentum going and included me in her round up this time around.

Basically, the whole point of this is to show a little bit of the reality behind all of our lives. Have you ever read a magazine article, blog post, watched a tv show, or even a commercial and got sucked into the trap of thinking or worst, even believing that there is some unattainable level of perfection out there that you are not meeting up to? I know I have! If you catch me on the wrong day, despite being old enough to know better…I too can be vulnerable to this type of thinking as well.

I think of this blog as a bit of a show, putting only my best side forward intentionally, and not really revealing a whole lot about my personal life or any of the “not so pretty” bits. I mean the whole premise here is really great design and style. But, I would never want anyone to ever read The Zhush and come away from it thinking that I’ve got it all together and lead a perfect life.

No one leads a perfect life. I could take some photos of what our house really looks like on any given day, not the stylized version that was printed in a magazine. (But, really, who wants to look at a messy house?)  Half of the belongings were props that went back home with the stylist that day! It’s the pretty parts of life that make the harder parts bearable isn’t it? Sometimes we want to believe in the fantasy, that’s truly the allure of magazines and blogs. But, I know first hand that sometimes all this believing can be too much, and we can be too hard on ourselves.

So in an effort to give a little insight and some transparency here are a few things “I’m afraid to tell you.”

1. I had wanted to start a blog in 2008, and it took me over a year to work up the courage to do so. I’ll often tell people it was on “a whim”, but really it was more like a brave moment finally connected in my brain, and then, that day, on a whim…I went with it. My “whim” is really the fashion equivalent of “this old thing? I just threw it together, I’ve had it forever.” That’s another thing… I never just throw something together, on any given day I’ve probably torn my closet apart in an effort just to look presentable, it can be exhausting.
2. I’ve been talking about starting to paint again (I was a fine arts minor in college) and I’m now battling the same negative chatter in my head (see number 1). It will probably take me many more months to get past my own inner critic.

3. I have a tendency to be overly sensitive at times and I dread any type of conflict or controversy. I go out of my way to avoid it. I always have. Imagine the type of lawyer I made back when I practiced in New York City. Way to know oneself

4. I often get e-mails from readers asking how I manage three kids, this blog, the store, etc. Usually they are from young moms looking for life balance advice. First off, I don’t really manage…juggle is a bit more apt, and every other day I literally drop a ball or two…and I have HELP! The word “balance” makes me want to scream.

5. I sweat the small stuff and the smallest things have the potential to set me off in a jealous downward thought spiral. Most days I’m immune to such nonsense, but then suddenly, bam..a fit, young, yoga mom at check out in front of me in the supermarket, a friend’s ultra organized and super clean house, a family of really well behaved kids in a restaurant. You name it, I’ve been jealous of it. I compare and mentally berate myself for NOT being whatever the insecurity du jour is.

6. I dread my Birthday every. year. I have a lot of hangups about aging and getting older. A Lot. It’s my Achilles Heel. I don’t like a lot of attention focused on me on my Birthday, but if it gets ignored, I’ll freak! Basically, I expect everyone around me to be a mind reader, even though my own thoughts on this day are a bit of a mystery to myself.

Clearly, I’m only just glossing over a few things here, not because I don’t want readers to know I’m flawed, or because I have an aversion to keeping things real. Life is real enough. Yours, Mine, all of it. I enjoy blogs for a quick diversion, and I assume my readers do too. But, it does feel good once in a while to do a reality check…everyone has their own fears, anxieties, insecurities and odd quirks. Everyone.

So, if you want more peeks behind the proverbial curtain, I highly recommend checking out all these incredible blogs participating today. Some of them really go there, and are a lot more brave than yours truly. Not an easy task, trust me….

 Coco + Kelley / Court & HudsonSacramento StreetMy Cup of TeCrystal Gentilello / MIMI+MEG / The Decorista / Modern Eve / Apartment 34Design Blahg / Vmac & Cheese / Miles to StyleLife in a Venti Cup  / Radiant Republic / Savvy Home / The Doctor’s Closet / Design Manifest / Because It’s Awesome /{extra}ordinary wonders / Sparkling Footsteps / Hitha On The Go / Note To Self / So Much To Smile AboutBlogstar / The Goods Design / Style & Pepper / Small Shop Studio  / Long Distance Loving / Maggie Rose BlogThe City Girl In Me / The Best Laid PlansConcrete Jungle DC / Food Fashion Fitness / East Coast Chic
Thanks again to Jess for her initial post, and to Ez for starting the movement. And, finally,
Here are the bloggers that participated in Ez’s Wave No.1 of Things I’m Afraid To Tell You:
Design for Mankind | Little Brown Pen | Beautiful Hello | Curating Style | Sweet Fine Day | The Jealous Curator | Happy Days | Sage & Berries | Really Handmade | Peck Life | Satsuma Press | Rena Tom | For the Easily Distracted | The Hemborg Wife | Vitamini Handmade | Courtney Khail Stationery and Design | Meg in Progress | Dando Photography Blog | Widdershins22 | Alison Citron | Pink Moon Daily | Just Pretty Things | From China Village | Tea with Me | The Darling Ewe | Not Your Average Ordinary | The Electric Typewriter | Elleby Design | Parsimonia {Secondhand With Style} | Life as an Artistpreneur | Hello Cupcake | Dellie | The A & B Stories | Pretty Little Things | Feistyelle | Nib & Zed | Well and Cheaply | I Ripple. I Dance. | Whitfield Awesome Blog | Foxtrot Press | Dry As Toast | The List of Now | Apple Blue | For the Love of | Four Flights of Fancy | Miss Modish | Snapshots & Secrets | Dirty Laundry | Bubby & Bean | Penelope’s Press | Little Nostalgia | Vale Design | Pikaland | Fleurishing | Print Pretty | Vespa Tales | Hazel & Agnes | Amanda’s Musings | Mo’ Funk Designs | Ordinary Mommy | Camp 1899 | In Honor of Design | Liberty’s Yarn | Love, Life & Pictures | Stacey Winters | Owl in the Rain | Living Life Creatively | Emma Elizabeth Clease | I Live in Vacouver Now | British Cream Tea

Leave a Comment


  1. I wasn't even aware of this movement but you are so generous to contribute. We all have these moments – I can't imagine anyone thinks that someone's life is perfect. But I think despite all you say here, you are doing a pretty darn good job of juggling!!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  2. Raina Cox wrote:

    I would LOVE to see your art.

    (Just please tell me it doesn't involve blobs of color and a squirt bottle.)

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  3. I'm smiling, nobody has a perfect life trust me. Sometimes our worst enemy is learning to shut off the rants we have going on in our heads. Nice to learn you're human….;)

    Enjoy your day!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing, Sue! I'm the exact same way about my birthday. I wish I could just find a way within myself to make it a happy event…

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  5. Great post Sue, it's nice to learn a bit more about you and definitely start painting!! Janell

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  6. Sue. Paint. NOW! I can't wait to see what you come up with and I know it will be fabulous!


    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  7. It is nice to get a closer look at our favorite bloggers! Thanks for your honesty,can so relate! Also, PAINT! Don't hold back now, just go for it-no one said you had to show everyone right away, although we hope you will:)

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  8. Karena wrote:

    I love this post Sue, I think at times, seeing all of the beauty and fabulous homes in blogland, instead of going to look at ONE Designer Showhouse does make us feel like, wow how does everyone do it and I don't have it together!?

    You have pointed out the facts that we all live with "issues and Dramas" in our lives.

    God forbid anyone walk in my closet right now! Ha!

    Art by Karena

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  9. I enjoyed this post immensely. Do more!
    xo xo

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  10. Sue I love this. We are so alike! I should have put something about how jealous I am of the unmarried, no kids, 20-something's and all their free time. Don't complain to me how busy you are! You have no idea! (And I guess I didn't either.)

    I just started obsessing over my wardrobe for NYC — crap! I should have been obsessing for a few weeks now. I'm behind! ;0)

    Can't wait to meet you xoxo

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  11. That was wonderfully refreshing. I feel the same way about blogging. I often think people just stop by for an uplifting moment of their day and yet, I found this to be so as well.
    Now, I felt like you were describing my daughter in #3. Here's the kicker, she is about to graduate law school. I worry that world is going to eat her sweet sensitive self up.

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  12. This movement is fantastic. Putting out there the more "real" stuff helps people (other bloggers, in this case) support you in even more positive and real ways.

    I have been making the effort to be more real (as you know, thank you for reading! xx) after my wedding. In large part, I started doing this because wedding blogs took a bit of a toll on me when I was planning and I started to think the people writing them glossed over/ignored the real emotions that go along with getting married… some of which are ugly.

    Your blog is one of my favorites, in fact, it was one of the first blogs I started following. I can't wait to see what comes as you tackle your fears and get back into painting. I would love to see what you put out there!

    BTW – I'm have a JD, too… wonder how many of us there are in the blog world?

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  13. Wow.What a relief to read this.I can so connect with this, especially the negative critic in my head/ your head.Wherever did that come from !! You are very special!! . My blog is my happy place with all kind of lovely things.. but it seems some people feel this gives the impression we bloggers all lead perfect lives…. so here are a few things that aren't perfect ! My blogpost is on this link

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  14. Sue, I am so inspired by you and the others and your bravery in sharing! It's so inspiring and a great reminder that we are all human, we all have insecurities, and we all struggle. Thanks for letting us take a peek behind the curtain. πŸ™‚

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  15. I Dream Of wrote:

    Oh Sue, thanks so much for this beautifully honest post. I couldn't help but laugh, because as I read it was like looking in a mirror and seeing some of my hidden stuff. (I'm glad I'm not the only one who does that around her birthday!)

    Can I encourage you to get back into painting? You should hear all the voices in my head that are nagging me about my lack of talent now that I've decided to go down that path seriously. But the best things we do start with the bravest steps.

    I love the polished and Chanel-chic story you spin here on your blog, but love even more knowing that there is a real, imperfect person behind the lovely posts!

    Have a wonderful week! XO

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  16. I love this post!!!! Was this cathartic at all for you or did it make you cringe? I think its so FREEING and REAL to express these thigns. We certainly don't love you any less. If anything we identify more. I feel THE SAME WAY about my birthday – it was nice of someone to put that into words for me. Thank you – getting to know someone behind the 'gloss' of their pics and blog is surely what makes people more loyal. I loved it!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  17. Although I love beautiful images, and houses and gardens and blogs, what I really love is blogs that keep it real. I like knowing the "good, bad and the ugly." I think that is what makes people more interesting.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  18. Stitchfork wrote:

    I've always liked you through your blog, now I like you even more! Get those paint brushes out Sue!
    xo Cathy

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  19. Man, I feel so out of the blogging loop! I had no clue this was going on except from this post. Sometimes I wonder where the heck I am socially, haha!

    I love what you said about balance. I heard to it once before as replacing. Like, you can't do it all, so you have one thing, then replace it with another, then replace that one with something else, and on and on. I liked that much better.

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  20. Sketch42 wrote:

    i feel like we have a lot in common… I ultimately chose not to do this post because I do feel like I share this stuff regularly on my blog, and its always very emotionally draining. Everytime i do a post like this, I have to check the comments every ten minutes to make sure no one said anything mean- and inevitably someone does and I get into a funk for 3 days. SO thats why I chose not to do this… but anyway- numbers 3-6 were spot on for me.

    And with #1, I started my blog and didn't tell ANYONE about it for a year. So thats kinda similar huh?

    The only thing I was going to confess, is that like you, I have HELP. Its so obvious that I must have some kind of help otherwise, how would I ever be anywhere, doing anything? I have a kid thats 1 year old! BUT to say it on the internet is asking people to snark on you… which is why I've never talked about it. FOR some reason, the internet is only happy if you are a single mom working two jobs to make ends meet. Stay home with your kids and you are "just a mom", get a nanny and you are a bad mom… whatever. its not fair. To be a good dad all you have to be is not a bad dad. To be a good mother you need to be a super hero.

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  21. Thanks, I needed that today! Reading a post like this reminds me that we ( ie. most people) are more alike than different—no matter what the facade..I connected with your individual traits so well! Thanks again…BTW… still working up the courage to pick up my blog! ugh!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  22. Great post. My favorite was my husbands comment when our house was in a magazine … he took one look and said "I wish I lived there". It is fun to dream and look at beauty and fun to be real. I love it all.

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  23. Hmmmm. I think we were separated at birth. I share the same insecurities, especially the artist fear and envy. I'm actually working with a coach to get up my nerve to paint again. And obviously, my blog-mojo has taken a hike. Thanks for sharing, Sue…..glad to know you!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  24. Elaine wrote:

    Way to put yourself out there girl! I laughed and smiled when I read your post! So human: brave, frail and still marching on! I can so relate. And as a mom, I hope I can give my boys the confidence so they don't dwell on the chatter that sometimes holds us back. Your blog is great, so glad you took the leap 3 years ago. I enjoy what you share and read it regularly.
    I am celebrating all of you! Cheers.
    elaine (this too is just a work in progress..dipping my toe in the water probably much like your first year!)

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  25. Sue, I completely relate to numbers 3 and 5, 6! Sometimes I think trying to avoid controversy puts me in even more trouble than confronting it. It's crazy to realize how we really are all in the same boat: kids or no kids, big house or no big house. We all have things others wish they had, but all wish we had things others have that we don't. Guess the moral of the story is, we can't have it all but we can try to make the best of what we have πŸ™‚ X

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  26. CDS wrote:

    That was such a great read! Thank you so much for sharing. I may not always leave a comment but I always stop by and read your posts! LOVE!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  27. i happened to go on reader today and i'm seeing all these posts – i LOVE them – so much more appealing and humbling! – love love love

    *Much Bliss*
    Erika~Tiptoe Butterfly~

    Stop by and enter~FREE CUSTOM STICKERS GIVEAWAY~ it’s the perfect way to get your β€˜brand/blog’ out there!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  28. Sue,
    Thanks for keeping it real….we're all doing the best we can. And, I have to smile b/c I have the most horrid photo from Mother's Day, I am tempted to post it. My usually photogenic older son was making the world's worst grimaces in all of the photos. But, I had to laugh. Not deleting those. Just going to save them and show them to him when he's a little older! πŸ™‚

    And, the fact that you were brave enough to mention your desire to paint….means your are ready! Sounds like the perfect summer project!

    xoxo Elizabeth

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  29. Irene wrote:

    SO great to hear something like this from you and so many others I admire… I'm a new blogger and you are SO right. It IS this perception of perfection… Thank you for keeping it real!!

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  30. I love your writing style. Thank you so much for sharing! (I have two kids, one on the way, and multiple businesses as well–to heck with balance and HOORAY FOR HELP!)

    Published on 5.14.12 · Reply
  31. You Rock! I love your sincerity and bravery. Motherhood, work and life a hard work, damn hard. Bravo for putting it out here! I love this movement.

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  32. #5 inevitably ALWAYS happens to me when I'm up late at night, browsing blogs and websites, then start telling myself I'm not doing enough, or good enough. Hello, downward spiral. But it's just like that quote says — comparison is the thief to joy. We all need to remember that more often! Thanks for sharing this today!!

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  33. pve design wrote:

    I remember so clearly being afraid to tell you when my son was in the hospital that I had to wait on your artwork and you were so kind and so real. It was all before your blog and I feel so fortunate to know that so many of us find courage in sharing our bravery and it is by opening up and sharing our fears that keeps us brave.
    We are like soldiers here in blog land. I feel there is a positive message in opening up and sharing our vulnerabilities.
    Thanks for inspiring me.
    Help is so not a four letter word. I think if one can have a bit of help it sure makes life less scary. We do wear many hats and cannot possibly keep it all glossy….life is real and full of texture.
    Now go please paint….you will love it.

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  34. jeanine wrote:

    I was told at my first design internship that it's really all smoke and mirrors and I think that also applies to blogs. I try to remember that when I'm reading.

    I think you should paint again. It's something you don't have to ever show anyone but however it turns out, it will be fun. πŸ™‚

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  35. Roxy Te wrote:

    Hi Sue! I think you were more than brave in sharing today and so very well spoken. I just loved learning more about you and seeing the more realistic side. I'm really trying hard to work on number 5. I'm surprised how easily I can be thrown off by those little things. Aside from the insecurities that crop up, it makes me feel weak that I'm so quick to be down on myself. It's a work in progress and a journey made a little easier thanks to your admission πŸ™‚ Keep on rocking out!

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  36. angela wrote:

    I could have written this. Wow, you said a mouthful and thank you. We are all more alike than different in this world…

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  37. I'm also afraid to blog about my weakness (flaws), my fears and disappointments. I really want to be able to do the same, thank you for the inspiration.

    Lisa x

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  38. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I can so relate. I still don't know how you juggle it all but it's good to know you have help. You are an inspiration…even more now that I know your life isn't perfect. Thank you for setting an example. xo

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  39. I had coffee with Marianne from Style for Living this morning (lucky me!) and she told me about your blog post and how great it was, so I wanted to stop by and check it out. I really enjoyed and appreciated your honesty – laughed about doing the blog on a whim and its fashion equivalent – how true. πŸ™‚ I can also relate to #5 – comparison feels the WORST, especially if you don't have a chance to talk to that person to realize that their life has its challenges too. Thank you so much for sharing – GREAT POST!

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  40. WHAT???? Your not perfect :). I am loving these post….and at 60….I can tell you that getting older does suck in a way. I mean I know more now but crap…I'm too old to care πŸ™‚

    Published on 5.15.12 · Reply
  41. LOVE knowing more about you, Sue! Why do we put so much guilt on ourselves for not being perfect, and having it 'all together'?!?! I'm the same way! I'll bet the husbands aren't constantly beating themselves up! πŸ™‚ I'm so glad you did this, love getting to know the person, not just the blogger. xo

    Published on 5.24.12 · Reply