It’s been a long time since I wrote anything on here. Well, maybe not such a long time – a month – but still long enough. My absence manages to be both for no real reason and also for many, as I decided to take a few weeks away from the constant buzz of social media and online commentary to really focus on myself and what I want from life.
I have been blogging for years in some shape or form, but I find myself at a point now where I’m not really sure if I consider myself ‘a blogger’ anymore… moreso just ‘somebody who has a blog’.
Let it be said, being a blogger is great and sitting down with my laptop that first day and setting up my now-defunct site was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. From this little hobby of mine I’ve had some amazing opportunities and made some incredible friends, but this past-time is also one of the things that has affected my mind and sense of self-worth the most too, and so I felt time out was needed. I needed to remove myself from the ‘blogosphere’ and look at it from the outside in.
Roll back the hands of time and you find me in a relationship where I spent a huge amount of time alone. For the majority of my time, words were my companion and I would create new content on a daily basis, posting almost every day of the year.
I was working with brands, attending events, had my own magazine column, wrote for various newspapers and websites, and was even earning a little money. I said yes to everything, keen to build new contacts and get my name out there.
And then I stopped.
My direction was lost in a haze of Who Am I’s and What’s The Point’s? I wrote less, I second guessed every tweet I sent and I became hyper-aware of the number of likes every photo I posted on Instagram got. My mind span with figures, counting each interaction and noting where they lacked.
When talking to people who aren’t within the blogging world I always see a sense of bafflement on their faces when I talk about this, but within the ‘sphere it is as much about numbers as it is about words, and those digits – as much as we may want to deny it – are a universally understood gauge of how successful we are. Or aren’t, as the case may be.
I was constantly looking at my follower counts, my page views, the likes and comments and wondering why I wasn’t doing more. I would read other people’s content or look at their photography and berate myself for not being as creative. For not being better than I am.
It became overwhelming and unconducive to a happy and healthy mind.
Fast forward the clock once again; my personal situation changed and with it my lifestyle became very different. My life now is active and full meaning opportunities to get online and write are fewer; inspiration less. Then 2017 happened and I stepped back even more, became more insular and focussed on just getting through each day. There was no room for anything else.
A few months further along the line and I decided I would start embracing blogging again – it was something that had brought me so much happiness before and I wanted it to again. I missed it.
I started looking for opportunities. I spent hours reading other people’s blogs to see what was hot and what was not. I scrolled in disbelief at how beautiful blogger’s Instagram accounts are now and how they manage to construct a theme and stick to it. I marvelled at the professionalism in the industry and it hit me… whilst I’d had my back turned, the blogging world had moved on and I had been left behind. The reputation I had built, all my hard work, had become dust. I had to start again.
For a couple of months I kicked myself. I watched people achieving great things, getting incredible opportunities and collaborations, or turning their hobby into their full-time job and wondered why I hadn’t just kept going. Why I hadn’t just kept on plugging away regardless of how badly I felt my life fit me.
So, I logged off. I stopped writing. I stopped reading. I stopped posting. I stopped scrolling. I decided to take time away from the pressures of social media, blogging and the inevitable barrage of self-comparison and self-criticism, and let my mind still.
And that’s when it hit me, quite out of the blue and with a clarity I wish I had found sooner – what is meant for us will come to us, and perhaps being a girl boss isn’t what I’m here for. Perhaps being average is where I’m destined to be pegged. Perhaps I’m not the ground-breaker I wish I could be – perhaps I’m a normo?
And what’s wrong with being normal?
In a world where people can become the next big thing for 5 minutes, make lots of money then fill out of the cast list of reality TV shows for the next 10 years, we are constantly made to feel like we could or should be more. That if we can JUST GET TO THAT NEXT THRESHOLD ON INSTAGRAM, WE’LL MAKE IT. We’ll be able to give up that job we hate and start taking perfectly poised photos, getting all the likes and making our millions.
But that’s not real life – not for most of us – and that’s alright.
Finally, at the grand old age of 32.5 I have reached a point where I care less. In fact, I would go as far as to say I’m now caring a healthy amount. In the blogging world numbers are everything and when likes and page views are how success is rated, it’s all too easy to let those dictate how you feel about yourself.
With a fresh outlook for 2018 and a determination to make myself happy, I forced myself to stop using hashtags on my photos on Instagram, I said no to collaborations I didn’t think would fit, I turned down events unless I really want to go to them, and I unfollowed the accounts that made me feel shit about myself. I decided to get back to basics and blog for the love of it, and to accept that I am bossing life but in a very different way to how I might have imagined.
I’m getting up each morning and going to work. I’m co-running a household. I’m keeping a boyfriend, a dog and two cats alive. I’m getting us financially straight. I’m maintaining and nurturing friendships. I’m living ethically. I’m having fun and I’m loving my life.
Hand on heart, I can say I feel more myself now than I think I ever have done and it turns out I’m not a girl boss, I’m a normo and I am 100% ok with that.