In truth, I’ve been dreading this write. It’s the end of the 2020 year, it’s expected (or should I say, I’ve the expectation) that I put together some insightful written post. I usually have a plan – an outline of an intro, body, and conclusion and ya’ll, I’ve got nothing. I’ve no word for the New Year, I’ve no desired thought to reflect on the past, and I just feel stuck. Stuck in between this time after Christmas and before the New Year where you really have no clue how to feel. You’re on a roller coaster of emotions. So many thoughts, reflections, doubts, worry and decisions you feel you need to make. All said, I am really not sure where this write will lead me. All I ask is that you keep reading thru end.
Truthfully, I am rolling my eyes right now. My attitude is awful. I’ve no motivation. All I want to do is sit, watch movies, and work on a 450 pc puzzle I found in Ellie’s closet. Instead of setting goals and plans for the New Year, I’d rather list pros and cons of a year round Christmas tree. I’ve come to realize the adult decision knob resets everyday, typically reaching its peak the week in between Christmas and New Years. “The New Year is upon us – you’ve a brand new canvas to explore and set new goals. What’s your word? What’s your plan? Let’s set new goals and reflect on what did and didn’t work.” An invitation I’d typically accept, I find myself declining. I lack motivation. I lack creativity. I feel my cup has a few sips left before it’s empty. I need to recharge. Throw me a bone. Anything. I need a little grace.
In no way do I want this post to be negative. That’s not me. I cannot, however, dismiss the heaviness and the weight of the 2020 pile up. These feelings of uncertainty are the raw truth. And as much as I want the body of this post to concentrate on the good of 2020, I cannot throw my frustration under the rug.
The expectations I’ve set for myself as a blogger should be addressed. Reach x amount of followers. Write at least one blog post a week. Send out a weekly Newsletter. Dive into social media’s algorithm and try to make sense of it. Stay up to date on trends. Order your next try on haul. Pin to Pinterest. Reach out to brands. Plan weeks out in advance. Outfit your looks for photo shoots. It’s become a cycle and merry go round that I struggle to stay on.
It’s funny what comes out when you just sit down and type. I keep writing ‘I’ll be honest’, as if I haven’t been honest. And if I really dig deep, I don’t think I’ve been as honest as I should be with all of you. So, here it is – I get discouraged a lot. The ‘happy ‘whatever day it is’ smiling videos mask a lot of fear, frustration, and the reality that I truly don’t know what I am doing. I am undoubtedly type A and a planner at heart – but the majority of what I am sharing has me standing sidelines with my fingers crossed.
Digging deeper – there aren’t very many of you. Or as many as I make it seem. You know when an influencer says “so many of you loved what I shared last week..or loved the shoes…or ..” I wish I could say that. Sure, the follower count says 19K on Instagram. Sure the likes and comments have increased this year. But the real me – the everyday me, is in my stories – and views just aren’t where they used to be. There’s a huge difference between a number count and an active count. Of course, that makes me question my content. It makes me doubt my reason. It’s dealt me a real shiny hand in the game of comparison. I know I’ve said numbers don’t matter. They shouldn’t. But they do when the brands you so desperately dream of working with base their partnerships on analytics.
Yep, I am that influencer who’s talking about numbers. I don’t mean to complain pretty. It’s just the reality of the position. The repeat reminder is frustrating, because it’s not what I signed up for. This space is supposed to be an escape. A place to unleash creativity. A place to share my story. A place to connect, learn, and be inspired. This community is small and while I appreciate all that are here, I often feel buried in this industry. I cannot control my reach. I am lacking ability to build. It makes me incredibly sad knowing all I’ve put in. I’ve been in limbo for quite sometime and can’t quite figure out how to break mold.
Should I do something else? Should I find another escape? Is what I am doing making a difference? What’s the point of this? Will anyone even read this post? Why is this year so. fucking. hard? All valid questions I’ve asked myself this week.
My word for 2020 was rise. It’s a little funny, reflecting back on my go-getter mindset. Little did I know (little did we all know) what 2020 would bring. I knew I’d continue to endure obstacles. I knew I’d receive brand nos. I knew I’d continue to play the comparison game. I knew I’d struggle with balance and face personal challenges. I knew, or thought I knew, what failure looked like. It’s clear, 2020 threw a new strand of defeat we all weren’t prepared for.
I vowed to rise up amongst anything that stood in my way. I knew I would face failure. I wrote, “There will be failure, but instead of staying stagnant – instead of halting at fear – instead of comparing, letting weight of the past sit heavy, instead of bowing my head, or throwing in the towel – I’ll continue to rise up.”
Did I adapt? Of course I did. Quarantine and the mask mandate sure dealt obstacles, but I made due with the content I’d created and made new. ‘Save for Inspo‘ posts were created. It was fresh and unleashed creativity.
Did I work with brands? Yes. Many of which I dreamt of working with from the very beginning. I developed partnerships with brands that align with my mission and those I am so proud to advocate for.
Did I get burned out? Boy did I ever. But learned the warning signs and how to dodge future melt downs. I learned the importance of self care, when to take breaks, and disregard any guilt that follows.
Did I really rise? In some areas. But I feel this disappointment stems from remaining stagnant.
I’ve learned being an influencer has this way of mapping out a timeline that you feel you must follow to achieve happiness and success. If you don’t get to point A, you’ll never get to point B. Well, I’ve been stagnant for a while now. Not much growth has occurred. I feel my style share is repetitive. And sadly, I feel my rise rate doesn’t make one world of difference. At least it feels that way; I don’t see it factoring into any formula for success like it should. Maybe I should re-define what I see as success. Maybe I should take my own words and captions to heart and remind myself I’ve already made it. Maybe I should re-evaluate and shift. Maybe stagnation is a good thing.
I’ve been pondering the last of this write for a few days now. I’ve let more thoughts and positivity surface. And thankfully, my mood has shifted.
For those that are still reading – thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading the raw and letting me voice the build up. In no way do I want to come off unappreciative. It’s imperative this write acknowledges all of you that are here. Analytics are one thing, but connections and relationships override it all.
This past week of reflection has been the hardest, and I’ve thought to let go. I’ve thought to ungrip. But it’s you that re-fuels the passion and YOU are the reason I keep going. It’s because of you that tss is still here. The negative state I started in at the beginning of this write has shifted. I’ve been reminded the size of your audience doesn’t matter. What matters is that your audience is listening. If I’ve helped one of you see the value in being independently you or have opened a door to explore style differently, than I am still on the right path.
My focus hasn’t always been where it should be and I let numbers dictate my drive this past year. And it’s clear I feel I haven’t moved or grown much from last. But stagnation has taught me balance. It’s taught me perseverance. It’s deepened my reason for tss.
Yes, there have been lows this past year. But there sure has been a lot of good. Many highs of which I’ve sadly forgotten or have buried until now. A few I’ve dug up in thought are:
- built and shared 4 seasonal wardrobe capsules with you
- worked with brands I’ve only dreamt of working with
- published 58 blog posts
- reached 2k followers on ltk
- reached 1M monthly viewers on Pinterest
- introduced my ‘save for inspo’ series – opening doors to style creativity
- deepened friendships
- participated in multiple share weeks, a wellness month, sales, gift guides, and try on hauls – all to further align with my mission of providing you the tools to embrace your authentic style
- added elementary teacher to my resume
- we sold our GA home
- celebrated 17 years of marriage
- I pr’d on the Pelaton
- we were able to send our kids to private school
- our family remains healthy amongst covid
- launched my first annual 12 days of gifting and deepened my connection with so many of you
Many of you that are here, arrive from Instagram. I’ve shared my morning motivate quotes each morning for well over a year now. Most are found on Pinterest. Some are shared from scroll. I stumbled upon the image pictured above and it hit deep. In a way, it serves as a justification to this unmotivated state I sat in. It forces me to accept where I am now. That it’s completely okay to want a do-over of 2020. It reminds me stagnation is okay. If you feel you haven’t moved since last year, its okay. Maybe your goals or word remain the same – that’s okay. We’ve all endured highs and lows this year. But we cannot let them define who we are and dictate our path for 2021. Whichever the case, be sure to pack yourself a little grace. I know I am.