Oh no, not HER again, you all collectively groan…
It’s no secret that I’m sarcastic. I mean, look at the company I keep. But this late-winter/early-spring has been hard. I’ve been exhausted and depressed, felt wounded and raw, and sometimes the hard candy coating of sarcasm hasn’t helped to get me through the tough times. Sometimes, what I needed was real, honest sincerity.
I don’t mean inward-gazing, “harnessing your authentic self” -type sincerity. I mean straightforward honesty. Liking something simply because you like it, and not being ironic or funny about it at all.
This type of writing is not easy, and I can only seem to accomplish it when I’m sad. When I’m at a low point, I’m not concerned about being funny; I only care about getting my thoughts out on the page. But sincere writing is dangerous; without the sarcasm, there’s nothing to hide behind.
On the flip side, reading sincere writing is a relief to me. There’s no pretense, no judgment, no perceived coolness to make me feel inadequate: just plain, honest writing. If you feel the need for some sincere writing, some genuinely kind and lovely ladies, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorites.
A Cup of Jo is a big favorite. Joanna is a writer living in New York with her husband and son (and soon-to-be new baby). She speaks so earnestly about the things she likes and the questions she ponders. Anything from “is it wrong to let toddlers go starkers on the beach?” to “would you wear white nail polish?” Her Friday “Have a Wonderful Weekend” posts are my particular favorites. They’re filled with links to little things like a great new song or some lovely jewelry, to videos and photos she found and wants to share. And she does it so plainly and—to kill this poor word—sincerely. Reading her site is like a sigh of relief to my tired soul.
I love Helen Jane so much, I want to hug her website. I want to move to California to be her friend. I want to attend a party on her porch and make her a margarita. Her writing is so simple and honest and her intention is pure. She wants to help others feel better about themselves and navigate this sticky place called the Internet where those of us sharing our stories in such a public arena can sometimes feel lost, unsuccessful, and disliked. This recent post titled “My Three Wishes” made me weepy. “Let me fix the broken. Let me heal.” Oh, Helen Jane, you are perfect. But Helen Jane is not just kind, she is also hilarious, she’s a great cook and entertainer, she’s a fantastic artist, and she’s on a bocce team named “Joanie Loves Bocce”. What’s better than that? I want to be Helen Jane.
Hang on, before you roll your eyes, hear me out. I know a lot of people love to hate Gwenyth Paltrow, but if you let go of your preconceived notions and overlook a little of the ridiculous, I really do love her weekly Goop newsletter and find it so serene. Yes, I agree that last weeks collection of “boutique homes” to rent was more than a tad over the top, and the $155 letter tray in the Goop Collection is insane, but I don’t know. Her writing is honest. She’s just telling you what she sees and thinks and likes and isn’t apologetic about any of it. I love that. Plus, we all enjoy seeing “how the other half lives”, right? Well, the other half buys $400 wooden bracelets and $150 sweatpants. Fascinating! If nothing else, the site is loaded with delicious-looking recipes and beautiful photographs of things you will never be able to afford, and it’s a treat for the eyes.
So there you go, some honest beauty on the Internet. I hope you enjoy all three sites. Now tell me, what are your favorite non-snarky sites?