Since I decided to abandon my blog, I’ve gotten one pretty consistent reaction. My friends are typically confused, a bit disappointed (“I actually read your blog,” one friend said), but understanding.
I tend to have a habit of neglecting things without warning or explanation beyond my own inner dialogue. So, turning a corner now, I feel like I owe a little bit of an explanation to those of you who have been loyal readers.
Allow me to start by saying that over the past four years, this platform has been crucial in developing my voice as a writer and my identity as a young woman. Had it not been for this outlet and the support of those around me, I may not be pursuing a career in journalism. I am thankful to be living in an age that is so open to individual expression, a time where it is so easy to be heard.
That being said, it came to a point last summer where blogging was overtaking my life and I didn’t like it. Instead of taking in the ambience of a restaurant with friends, I would be concerned with taking pictures in it or creating perfect, formulaic reviews of the dishes. I wasn’t much of a great friend either, I’d say. Have you ever heard the saying, “Anything around a writer is fair game?” Well, yes.
Not only this, but the abundance of “fashion and lifestyle” bloggers in Miami alone was getting to me. I felt a bitter pulse of competitiveness whenever I met another or saw another woman’s blog. Of course, having an edge to stand out is important, but loving others and feeling free from resentment is more important (to me).
So I decided to reclaim my life and stop relying on the alternate universe I created on a web page. Page views and likes and shoes don’t make a happy life; lifting our faces from technology to experience the world does.
In the past several months–starting college, meeting new people, experiencing independence of a new kind, solidifying my beliefs, learning so much–all these things have enriched me tremendously as a person. I have discovered topics and become tremendously passionate about those things, to the point where I feel little connection to the fashion world anymore. This is not to trivialize the important form of art that fashion is, but to explain how trivial I felt focusing on the superficial aspects of it.
I tell you all this to say that although I still have moments where I wish I could share my experiences on this public forum, I am happy I took a step back from my laptop to pursue other interests. There have been several times in my relatively short lifespan where I’ve chosen to change directions and I can confidently say that things have worked out better for those decisions. Each small shift has lead to places I would not have been otherwise.
I hope my personal challenge can inspire some of you to detox your lives of things that no longer serve your growth. At times, it’s relationships or maybe a habit. I believe the point of growth is to shed those unnecessary layers to get down to the core of Me.
As my parting piece of shared thoughts, I leave you with a small list of things to be more enlightened and awake to all the beautiful things happening around us.
1. Coffee in the morning (or any other warm beverage)
This literally and spiritually awakens me. There is nothing like starting my day with a hot mug in my hands. Lately I’ve been stepping into my backyard to take in the sunshine and vibrance of the green all around me while I sip on my coffee. A few deep breaths before the chaos of the day begins makes all the difference.
2. Move your apps
Since starting college, I found myself depending on my apps on my phone to keep me distracted in uncomfortable situations. While waiting for class or to order food, it’s a really simple cop-out to pull up Instagram and scroll into the abyss.
Moving your apps (Twitter is especially tempting for a news junkie) into a folder or a separate page of your phone screen makes it easier to not check social media each time you touch your phone. A more drastic and bold option is to delete them altogether.
Instead of tapping on a piece of glass whenever I’m feeling unsure, I’ve trained myself to stand and breathe and observe what’s around me. There is so much to learn from just looking.
3. Find a meditation in your everyday.
Not to get all new age on you, but meditation has so many proven benefits to our health. Meditation can really be anything that brings you peace. Sitting still and breathing, practicing yoga, swimming, washing dishes, taking a nap, lighting a candle…There are thousands of ways to find a calming space. Taking a moment to step out of the day and centering again is crucial to having maximum productivity and just being an all-around better person to those around us.
4. Express yourself
Make like Madonna and let it out. My preferred method of release is writing (obviously). Find something that makes you feel like you are free. It could be painting or exercise or even gardening. I always recommend journaling when friends or family are stressed because it is a way to lay your burdens on nonjudgmental paper. Paper won’t tell anybody. If you write it down, you don’t have to worry about keeping it in your mind anymore–wonderful thing.
How rare is it to meet a person that truly listens instead of just waiting to speak? The world would just be a better place if more people listened. Not only does listening teach us a great many things, but it plants in us an empathy for others. The incredible Maya Angelou put it perfectly when she said that people will forget what you said and forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. What better way to make someone feel appreciated than by taking in each of their words?
With that, I leave you all to go run free, explore and make the world a better place. Thank you for your love these past few years.
This blog will always have a warm spot in my heart.
If you ever need inspiration, these places make me feel full of joy: