It's been six months almost to the day since I last blogged. It has been an unplanned, even unacknowledged absence on my part. In fact, I found myself ignoring the blog entirely. Some of you have emailed, posted on the blog’s Facebook wall, tweeted - and nothing in reply. For that, I am sorry. I've thought many times about posting an update of some kind, something - anything to address my silence. To be honest, I just have not been up to the task.
Among other things, I'll be leaving my job at the end of this month. I'm both thrilled and terrified: I don’t exactly know what I’m doing next, but I'll be job hunting and grant-writing (finishing the dissertation is a real item on my agenda) for most of the summer. Without going into too much detail, the job situation has been one of the most paralyzing things about this year, and it’s probably the source of many of the reasons I stopped blogging for a while. I made the decision to leave in November, but I committed myself to finishing the season and finally gave my two-months' notice in April. Guarding that secret so closely for as long as did (in fact, I often wondered if I'd even be brave enough to go through with it) only added to an already stressful job environment. And the job environment was killing me pretty damn quickly. When anger is the most frequent emotion you feel during a work day, it's time for a change. The regular season ended in April and the graduation season only ended last Tuesday, and then I was out sick with a nasty cold for the rest the week. (No coincidence there, I'm sure.) Only this past weekend did I feel like I could actually move on. That I’m ready to move on…
Most importantly, I really feel like doing things again. Starting with blogging.
The blog has been a real conundrum during this whole ordeal. I've worn some killer outfits over the past 6 months and regretted not sharing them with you all. But I also have had a hard time formulating any coherent thought about, well, anything. More and more of my posts from the last year started to sound so manufactured and one-dimensional, and I couldn't find a way to break out of that, especially when I couldn't be open about what was going on in my life anyway. I wanted to share more, but I didn't even know where to begin, and I was terribly afraid of coming across as too negative or even whiny. Not insignificantly, I'd also gained a lot of weight this year (no doubt related to the job stress), and I could no longer bring myself to take pictures of myself every day. Proclaiming self-confidence as a curvy blogger wholovedherbodynomatterwhat would have been an outright lie. And wasn’t that what my proclamation was supposed to be? I didn't know how to reconcile any of it, and blogging itself became a source of stress. So I just…stopped.
I’m sure many of you read Kendi Everyday. Well, her poignant post from a few weeks ago (“Life Lately”) deeply moved me because it hit so close to home. And I’d been struggling with my blogging mission (as I'll call it) too. Why do we blog? How much do and should we share behind the camera lens? Am I being dishonest somehow if I present the perfectly styled portrait of an outfit and only that? What do my readers really want, anyway? Am I a model or a stylist or just a regular person putting herself out there, using her personal style as a vehicle? I'm comforted by the fact that I'm not the only (style) blogger questioning these things lately, and I'm extremely intrigued that so many of us are saying the same thing almost all at the same time. (Courage begets courage!) I'm even more comforted by the warm responses I read on such blog posts - the blogging community truly is a remarkable one. So I think the answers to these questions come down to the first rule of blogging, as I learned it: focus first on the content and your readership will follow; figure out what you want your blog to be and let it be that fully. And then have a little trust...
But the other thing is that honest writing, if that's what is important, is just plain hard, and it’s always risky. This post sure as hell didn't come easily - I've been mulling over it since Saturday! A part of me just wanted to jump right back in with the usual outfit pictures announcing "Hi! I'm back! Here's what I wore on a bunch of random weekend errands! I missed everyone!" But I knew that would not have been complete and therefore not honest, and I found myself really caring about that, regardless of who might be reading the post, or when. It was the choice to either buckle down and take a risk, or continue in the same unfulfilling vein that made me stop blogging in the first place. Write what I actually want to say, or keep hiding and doubting myself.
So the question remains: Why do I blog? I believe my answer is just to connect and to share. And to find a little release.
I don’t know what direction this blog will take (a new title is just one of the ideas I’m tossing around), and I don’t know how often or even how long I’ll continue to blog. I do know that I've been wanting to get back to the kind of freedom I felt when I first started the blog, allowing myself that sense of immediacy and accomplishment that writing about a day (in the life of an outfit?) and hitting "Publish" gives. Yes, there’s something really fulfilling about that.
So if you've made it to the end of this manifesto of sorts, I thank you for connecting with me, for letting me share with you, whoever you are. There's something to be said for having a space to think, write, and share without knowing exactly who (if anyone!) I might be reaching. Anonymity is mixed blessing. And if I have reached or helped you somewhere along the the course of this blog, I am so humbled that I have and so grateful that I can. Your support, encouragement and inspiration has definitely reached me.
P.S. I DO know that I don't intend to stop sharing my style, so how 'bout some outfit pictures, eh? =)
|Dragonfly tee - Dorothy Perkins / Denim pencil skirt - Queen Grace (n/a)|
|Sandals - Christian Siriano for Payless|
|Ring - The Limited (old) / Earrings - LOFT (old)|