If I was just looking back on my photos from 2013... Then it'd look like I had one of the best years of my life. Yet behind the filtered Instagrams and happy snaps, it felt like it was the worst. I was going to make this a video, so I do apologise that this is going to be a majorly long post, but in some ways I really want to get a lot of things off my chest and close a door to a part of my life. I'm no writer, so if you read it then great if not then skip to the TLDR bit or just look at the photos!. I warn you its very rambly, but my frank and honest feelings about the last year.
Earlier in the year, I made a video called "Alone Together", People ask about that video a lot, but I had to private it for personal reasons, you can see my blog post here. As someone with extreme control issues, my life had spiralled and I'd lost control. I just wasn't “me” anymore. The bottom line, I wasn't happy, I wasn't myself. I was this totally different person who was insecure, unhappy and broken. There was no single reason I felt like this, it was a mixture of things. Some of which had been bothering me for years, the problem was it all coming out all at the same time. I normally have quite a structured and methodic outlook on my life, But for the first time I felt totally and utterly lost.
I touched on it before, but I've been quite ill on and off for the majority of the year. My sleeping took a turn for the worse as I developed insomnia after starting to get night terrors. Even now I really struggle to sleep because I worry about waking up in a panic. As I was so ill that sometimes I couldn't physically get out of bed, I was so drained. I might talk about things sometime in the future. But for now, I just want to make sure y'all know that I'm alright, and things are manageable.
So that's a brief low down to the emotional and physical side of it. Now the blogging bit. This is hard for me to talk about without feeling a bit weird. Its hard to explain without sounding ungrateful or petty. I reality I feel a bit silly even admitting it because I know I have what is deemed a "successful" blog. In fact, I have two fairly successful blogs, and I can see people tutting at me writing this, but this is genuinely how I felt about my blogging life in 2013.
Using Marilyn Monroe as an example... At her peak, she was in a constant battle with her inner demons. She never felt she was “good” enough, despite being one of the most desirable actresses at the time. She had a rocky personal life paired with crippling anxiety and she was highly self consciousness despite portraying the whole "Marilyn Monroe" persona in public. This year considered packing it all in a few times because I couldn't face the idea of talking about myself on the internet. I was insecure and deeply troubled by my own thoughts and for the first time in my life, I lacked ambition, drive and passion.
While I've blogged consistently, albeit with a few breaks most of 2013, I sort of just “treaded water” in the blogging world. I made no progress in moving my content forward or updating my format to fit the 2013 blogger mould. Blogging mid life crisis? Maybe... but I think it was a little bit of green eyed monster, a shift in growth paired with the fact I just felt like I wasn't “good enough” at blogging.
This was the year blogging went editorial. Long gone are the days of having "just for fun" or “homegrown” style blogs where it doesn't matter what you post about or if you can write or take photos properly. Blogs are the new online magazines. Us bloggers are finally being taken serious by the industry that has shunned us for so long, but I can't help but feel it's damaged what blogging was all about in the first place. Who knows what will happen in the next year. Just look how vlogging has changed in 2013, These people are legit celebs.
It's only now I realised that there was nothing wrong with my blog. It's blogging that has changed dramatically in 2013. You HAD have to keep up with the times or fall behind. I was barely engaged with the community so why would people engage with me. The community aspect of blogging has all but vanished in the blogosphere with it feeling like bloggers are afraid to share traffic, recommend each other and even comment. Its harder and harder for new bloggers to breakthrough and "make it". Sometimes I think the blogging ship has sailed and it's too late to get into it and get big. But you never know. As a blogging community, we should take a leaf of the Vloggers and Youtubers books. They are much more open to promoting each others content, collaborating and sharing their audiences. No wonder they've levelled up and blogging is just feeling a bit.. stale.
The thing is even though I felt like my blog was failing. I've had one of the most successful years financially, opportunity and career wise. I've worked with countless brands on blogging and behind the scenes projects including TresSemme, eBay, St Tropez, Toni & Guy, Topshop, Boohoo and Kiss FM. I've styled shoots, been shot for campaigns, ran social media channels and planned and activated successful online content. I've had two very successful LFW's in which I went to countless shows and backstage, I went to Amsterdam with DKNY, attended festivals as VIP and went to the premiere of Anchorman 2 and those are only a few things off the top of my head. I forget how surreal and overwhelming the opportunities I've had in my life.
Honestly, I did genuinely enjoy all the things I've done this year. But I could never shake the feeling that I didn't deserve it, and I wasn't good enough to be in that position. I blindly went into blogging 4 years ago and never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine living the life I do now. What Im trying to say that its you can still be really insecure or unhappy with yourself despite being successful. I've always felt like one day people would realise how much of a phony I was and it'd all come crashing down around me. In my head, I see that person I used to be. That awkward country teenager, who didn't really have any friends and certainly wasn't looked up to or cared about not the person I've grown into since starting this journey as a blogger.
It's taken me a long time to accept how dramatically different my life is from most people my age. Im 23 and have my own business. Not only that, one that I built myself and made financially viable. Which allows me to live in London and live a very comfortable and enriched life. As a blogger, with my friends being bloggers, surrounded by even more bloggers and vloggers. It's easy to be in this “London Blogger/Vlogger” bubble where freebies and press events are the norm. Where you get pissed off because so and so brand didn't send your their latest release, despite having two unopened palettes sitting in a drawer or you didn't get an invite to such a such event. Most bloggers wont admit it, but its the truth. Cattiness and jealousy is rife... but it's all so petty and silly. In 2014, I'm definitely going to stop comparing myself to others and work towards accepting that I do deserve everything I've achieved in my life because I've worked hard daily for four years building my own brand and selling myself. To paraphrase Drake - I started from the bottom now I'm here.
I'm genuinely thankful and incredibly humbled by everything my blog has done to my life from the inner confidence its given me to the emotional support that having a huge network behind me. I felt care about by other people for the first time in my life and thats really something I've struggled to accept. I cant thank you enough for reading my blog, being there for me when I needed you to be and just generally coming along for the ride.
I'm not very good at talking about feelings openly. I never have been. Even my Therapist says Im rubbish at it. I think its really important to remember there is more to a person's life than what they choose to share on social media. Its even more important to remember that what people (not just bloggers) put out is always the best possible version of themselves and their life. Mediated personalities are rife on social media, and its easy to think someones life is all roses when in reality, you just don't know.
Although I've gone off on a tangent, Like I said in my Alone Together video, things DO get better. If something knocks you back, take all the time you need to get back on top again. Trust me, It will happen. Right now I'm working towards making myself the best possible version of myself in real life, not just on the internet. I've taken control of my future, plus I'm more determined than ever to take those baby steps towards changing my life for the better. I think it took me hitting rock bottom in my life to realise how happy I could be if I only I let myself feel that way and more importantly enjoy it.
TL;DR: 2013 was bittersweet, but a big kick up the bum. Here's to 2014.