About a year ago this time I started in on a similar post. At the end of any year is a natural time of reflection and evaluation, but this last year was a real doozy. I don't need to rehash the events of 2020 for anyone, but it definitely has given me pause and shifted my thinking about the blogging space and what I want this to be.

When I started blogging years ago my goal was to share my life through the lens of fashion. Many of my early posts (please for the love of everything good and holy don't go looking) it made more sense to share my outfits and finds in the context of my life. I liked sharing about my weekend and commenting on how I put the outfit together for the moment. My goal was less to be a commercial for my outfit and more insight into my styling choices. Over time, the influencer world changed. My posts got shorter and with changes on the Instagram platform, actual blogging seemed better served when more explanation was necessary. Posts were reserved for a review of a product, wishlists, or bigger reveals. At the beginning of last year, I had intentions of making some real changes and blogging more often. Then COVID happened and then the protests and racial reckoning this summer and things changed.

Like a lot of people, I went full force into educating myself, amplifying voices, being accountable and having tough conversations. It felt like the right thing. I know it was the right thing. It felt and still feels like the influencer space has changed, and I really think for the better. An influencer as a person is a brand, not a model or a mannequin. In some ways this is great because I get to be a whole person. I think people are less interested in the fakeness that can come from the social media world. Sure people want gorgeous pictures and cute clothes, but they also want to know who you are and see the messiness. They want to hear from you, which is exciting and scary in so many ways. 

The influencer world really shifted this summer and was/is going through a reckoning. As with most things there are downsides as well. Some of that comes from figuring out how to balance these new responsibilities and deal with new judgments. 

"How do you post responsibly? Do you post about political/cultural issues? Do you not post? How much is too much? How much is too little? Is it stupid to post about a sale on a cute top when we're all stuck inside with nowhere to go? "

If you're hoping I have the answers, spoiler alert I do not. I want to be clear too, I'm not whining. I truly don't know what the right answers are but I do think some more social consciousness is important. I'm a mental health professional and social worker by trade so these things are important to me. It feels authentic for me to integrate this content into what I already do. I also think there is some fun in the escapism of fashion/lifestyle blogging. I'm not sure there is a right answer here and that's fine too. 

In wrestling with these questions , I hit a wall in January of this year. I felt overwhelmed and irritated with the debate in my head and then to also see it on social media at the same time. I gotta be honest, so much of the conversation was starting to feel shaming. Do yourself a big favor and check out Brene Brown's TED talk on shame. Accountability, ownership, guilt, education all good things. Shame, not so much. How do I know? Because these themes were coming out on social media:

"You aren't posting enough about ____ and that means _____about you"

"You're posting too much about ____ and that means ___ about you"

"You aren't a good person if you _____"

It was too much noise to sort through my own thoughts and opinions. In between really serious stories I'm still supposed to talk about my favorite Amazon items? It felt and sometimes still feels frivolous. I'm completely supportive of whatever anyone wants to do on these platforms that feels authentic to them. That's when it hit me, I wasn't being wholly authentic. I started blogging post-graduate school when I had tons of time on my hands. My life was lighter and less serious in ways. Now I have an almost 4-year-old, a serious job, in a serious time in American history and my focus has shifted. The world has changed and I've changed. I now choose to follow people on social media who are completely authentic. That means some days they talk about clothes or make-up and other days they talk about personal issues or cultural issues. I'm interested in a whole person, not a beautiful mannequin on an Instagram tile. Why would I continue to post in a way that wouldn't make me want to follow myself? It seems like to some degree influencers are making this shift. Not all though, not as many as I would hope to see but I think it's trending in the right direction. 

So that's me.  A mostly jumbled, overanalytical, solutions deficient mess. I'm learning in real-time, I'm just doing it on Instagram. In 2021 expect to see some of the same. I still love fashion and beauty and I'll share my favorites with you all. Also expect to see some new shifts as my life has changed. That may mean more kid content or house content. That also is going to mean I'm going to share thoughts on cultural/political issues I'm passionate about because that's who I am. Welcome to a new year and a commitment to a more authentic me.

Photo cred: Katzie Nelson Photography