Sunday, 19 August 2018

It's Not Goodbye. Just Goodbye for Now


You might notice that it's been some time since my last post. That's not necessarily unusual; in the almost nine years I've spent running my blog, not once have I ever had an 'official' break, though I've had plenty of intermittent quiet posting periods.

The time for a real break however is now. There's not one specific thing that's drawn me to this conclusion, more an accumulation of thoughts which have left me feeling that a little time away from this corner of the internet would do me some good.

One contributing factor is time. Holding down a full time job and blogging alongside it is hard. Up until recently, I only ever found this hard work rewarding; that what I got out of it was worth the graft. Now? It's become more like a second job.

To lay things completely out there, I rarely post about things that I want to anymore due to the time I have available. Too many posts are on a 'have-to' basis because I've been offered something in return. Of course this is commonplace in blogging but the balance has just swung too far into an area I'm uncomfortable with. I have only ever posted about opportunities or products that I'm genuinely interested in and I always try to give an honest view - though that said, there's this horrible unspoken understanding in blogging that even if you feel negatively towards something you are reviewing in a post, you must tone those feelings down, neutralising your true opinion. In my posts, I've always tried to balance any negativity with the positives and while I feel I've maintained honesty and integrity, there have been many instances where I've typed out negative sentiment before deleting it and replacing it with something less harsh - after all, I was 'invited' or 'given it for free' so what gives me the right to be so blunt? So much of this goes on in blogging and it's spread to bigger, more commercial areas of the internet - and further afield.

This takes me onto the second biggest factor in this hiatus. When I scroll through my social feeds, I'm inundated with product placement. Teeth whitening, weight loss, gym equipment - you get the picture. These products aren't exclusively being peddled by bloggers either. It seems now that anyone can become an 'influencer', with terms like 'Instagram Blogger' and 'Social Ambassador' being bandied around. As someone who studied journalism and got into blogging through my love of writing, it's sometimes difficult to see this shift in the industry. It often feels insincere too, even for someone like me who has firsthand experience with brands gifting 'influencers', it's often hard to know if a product is truly recommended by the person discussing it or not. I don't like to generalise but within this new wave of social-only influencer accounts, many are based around looks - take a girl with a great figure who has mastered the art of the selfie and thus has racked up scores of followers who aspire to look like her. It's all fine in principle but with the rise of photo editing apps and the curated nature of platforms like Instagram, it becomes difficult for many followers (particularly young girls) to identify those blurred lines between online perceptions and reality. As someone who once had very little self confidence, so much so that it developed into an eating disorder, it deeply concerns me that so much of this content is consumed by impressionable young people who grow up watching their friends lives through the often rose-tinted window of social media. Even as someone who I would say, understands better than most what goes on behind the scenes of being an influencer - including my awareness of the darker sides like buying followers, the use of bots for engagement and the editing apps used to give the users that perfect appearance that their followers double tap for - it all still affects me. It's often hard to not to compare yourself to others and their perfect appearances, interesting lives, scores of fun-loving friends and seemingly endless funds for fancy meals, expensive cocktails and worldwide travel.

With this, I will be unfollowing accounts that spark negativity - though I realise this is likely not their intention. I have also made my Instagram account private; I'm putting things back in my control and taking away some of that pressure to create content for the affirmation of, in most cases, complete strangers. I'll be trying my best to post content that simply brings me joy and not worrying about arty angles, hashtags and appeasing the algorithm.


On a lighter note, I've really enjoyed doing my more foodie posts and hope I can return to that. I'm actually currently going through food intolerance/IBS diagnosis at the moment and figuring that stuff out makes eating out harder which is another reason for this break.

I also have other things I'd like to pursue and dedicate some time to. One of these being a bridal inspiration Instagram account (you can follow this @oneofakindbride). This is something I wanted to do following my wedding last year. I'd love to grow it into a blog and potentially onto even bigger things - but I need to give it some love and attention and unfortunately, this blog was getting in the way.

In these past few weeks, I've turned down opportunities that have landed in my inbox and it's felt so liberating to not have anything on the horizon and having to worry about my 'next post' and gathering content for it. I've lived in the here and now and had a lot of fun. I've just celebrated my first wedding anniversary with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York with my husband and last weekend, hopped over to Amsterdam on an impromptu trip with some of my best friends. It crossed my mind during both these trips that they were brimming with blog post content - but this quickly washed over with a wonderful sense of relief when I realised that I could enjoy and treasure each moment, sharing what I chose to share on my platforms without thinking about what might be 'blog appropriate' shots to capture. I feel much more content (I love the subtle semantics that change the meaning of this word!) and for the time being, this is how I want to continue living.

So with that, it's not goodbye - just goodbye for now!


1 comment

  1. I get you 100%! Sometimes I've needed to take a break myself because it starts feeling too much like an obligation and less like something that I truly enjoy doing.
    I hope this break will help you clear your mind!


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