Friday, February 6, 2009

It's all about ME!!!!!

So, I've been doing some reading around the digiworld this week, and I've been doing a lot of extracting. That combination is both heady and dangerous, because it leaves a lot of THINKING time. And one tends to think about what one has been reading and what's going on in one's life. And since I was trying to catch up on my photo a day blog (which I did, neener neener) I've had the whole photo/scrapping/philosophical/artistic expression thing very much on my mind. So now you get to read about it. Ain't life wunnerful? (And just think of the very long chain reaction I am starting - you'll read it and think about it and ponder, and then go off to express your own thoughts on things, and then others will read that and think about it and... well, you get the point).

I guess the whole thing boils down to this. Why am I doing all of this? What possible reason could there be for a grown woman to spend so much time playing with pixels (coloring them, enlarging them, rearranging them, erasing them, LOL, the list goes on). There are all sorts of reasons people SAY they scrap. We even get into arguments over it. There are those that pursue the practical path of "preserving memories." Sure. We do that. There's another angle, the "creating beauty" philosophy. Yeah, we do that, too, or else no one would be interested in buying another kit to scrap with, or learning another technique to make their pages visually interesting and attractive. Then there's the group that uses scrapping as a social event, between vying for plummy CT spots to speed scraps to becoming most popular in the forums. All varied motivations, all of prime importance to the participants in each philosophical sector.

But the thing that strikes me is that despite the differences between these motivations, there is one constant behind each of them that, like it or not, unites us all. No matter what reason we say drives us on to DO this, ultimately it boils down to a single thing.

As another blogger long ago and far away pointed out, scrapping memories is fine, but our children aren't exactly beating down the door for us to preserve their first haircut, or their first free throw, or even the first time they throw up. I would hazard a guess that there are quite a few young men who wish their mother would get the dang camera out of their face and go work on some other vicitim's memories. So unless you are a terrible control freak intent on defying the indifference and forcing them to acknowledge that you are cataloguing their every move, there really isn't a good case to be made that preserving memories is what initially drives you.

As for the creating beauty aspect, well, I like a lot of my layouts, but Michelangelo isn't exactly going to suffer hot competition for space on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, if you catch my drift. This isn't egads! Put it in the Louvre art. So while it's a darned sight better than spraypainting graffitti on your neighbor's new Lexis, not very many people outside of the scrapbooking world are going to truly be transported or edified. Sorry.

The social aspect is undeniable. No matter what drives you, there is a pleasure in rubbing elbows with other women similarly driven (no matter what state of denial they are in regarding their motivations). One cannot deny, however, that there are those for whom creating/preserving/sharing is just a means to an end in order to gain power, prestige, and influence. It's at about this time that Preserving Memories and Creating Beauty like to get kinda snooty and look down their noses a bit from their lofty perch of Sacrifice and Duty. Trouble with that is, that perch is pretty shaky.

Because in the end, we all do this for ourselves.

Maybe Memory Maker wanted to know something about Grandpa's picture from the 30's. It would have been nice to know what he was thinking. Fine. Grab a pencil and jot a note on the back of your photos. 30 seconds, tops. But no. She spends a good hour or more, planning, shopping, creating, rearranging, explaining (because this is Memory Maker - don't skip that journaling!) None of those things are really necessary. Preserving the memory can be done with a photo printer and a pencil. No. She does this because SHE LOVES DOING IT. It's for HER.

Maybe Creating Beauty drew doodles on her homework paper and her friends ooh'd and ah'd about it and made her feel better than her mirror did that morning. I don't know. But if creating beauty were her only motivation she'd probably be painting in oils, and she wouldn't spend an hour and a half finding JUST the right extracted ribbon in her ACDSee stash to cause grown men to fall to their knees with the sheer beauty. No. She gets more from it than beauty. She gets control, she gets to express what she wants to express without any rules other than her own. It's for HER.

And everyone knows that it's nice to be popular, it's nice to be admired, but in the end, there are MUCH easier ways to go about that in much less complicated environments, with a lot less work. Churning out layouts for free to advance someone else's business. Yeah, that's a plan to take over the world ;) Power and Admiration aside, she does it for HER.

So there you have it. We all have our own combination of motivations, we all have our particular interpretations, and we all glean our particular rewards. But don't be fooled, we do it for ourselves. And in a time of economic upheaval, social unrest, and untold stress, you know what I say? Good for US!


Shanners said...

I'm totally with you. I KNOW I do it for me - but don't tell hubby. I think I have him convinced that it's part of my job as wife/mom to make beautiful keepsake scrapbooks of our family life. That way he doesn't fight me too much for the computer if I'm in the middle of a LO - it's my JOB!!!! :)

DanisDelusions said...

Oh how I wish I had your way with words.

Miss Chris said...

All I can say is AMEN!

MamaB said...

Julie...(((hug))) It's always such a delight to read your blog!

Snap said...


Scraps of Candy said...

LOL @ Shanners.

How true! Scrapping is my escape from life and all that being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, etc entails. While I am be scrapping about those things, at least I am not having to deal with them at that very moment. :D

Anne of Alamo said...

You just made the silly race worth it! I found someone who thinks they way I have been, but says it really good!
I needed to read this, especially the part about a grown woman rearranging pixels..that is just so great!
I am now stalking your blog! ha ha just kidding kinda!

Terebene said...

I have been thinking about this since I read it. I definitely scrapbook for me. When I am old and my family has abandoned me, it will give me something to do to look through all those scrapbooks. Maybe, just maybe, someone else will appreciate them once I am gone but if not, oh well.

People don't take up hobbies in hopes of their kids liking them - think of stamp collectors. The kids break it up and sell it off and that's fine. You liked it and it kept you busy. Arranging pixels into pages is the same. Keeps your brain happy.