Featured Slider

My 2019 Blogging Goals

Yes, I know, we are nearly halfway through February, but I had a rough start to 2019, and I feel like my brain went through a sawmill or something currently, so I am writing this just to TRY to regain some semblance of focus on the semi-chaotic runaway train approach I have had to blogging in the past year especially. I have, I admit, had a slightly sarcastic attitude to blog "goals" (see I can't even write the word without quotes ;-0) in the past.

I think because I have faced a lot of stress recently I just want something to focus on. I still hold the general attitude that my blog is an exercise in whimsy and overzealous self reflection at times, but I also like to kid myself that maybe some of my posts on body positivity or cancer awareness or, ya know, t.v. and stuff or whatever have somewhere along the line resonated with someone out there

So anyway. What are some areas I can improve on (within reason). I don't see myself ever becoming a fashion or lifestyle blogger at this point. I think when I first started blogging and there were some more low key/ personal bloggers posting about fashion I related to it all a bit more.

I do like to look at clothes and buy clothes and think about clothes, but I lack the tools to create the high end editorial content we seem expected to produce at this stage in the blogging zeitgeist. I wish I didn't care what people thought about me, but to participate in that realm just feels so completely outside my wheelhouse at this point it seems pointless.

Ok next. What are my actual strengths? I'm a decent writer. Decent to good ok. I'm not faux humble, I do believe that my writing voice is probably the strongest thing in my blogging wheelhouse. Which isn't to say there isn't a ton of room for improvement. I sometimes feel like I use approximately ten times too many words in regards to blogging/keeping people on my page.

We all seem to have the attention span of gnats nowadays. I genuinely try to be concise, but more often than not get a bit carried away with myself. I was an English major who churned out ten+ page papers on the regular, it's a hard habit to break, this wordiness lark. I really need to work on ruthless self editing and making posts that are a little more jazzy/attention grabbing. But also I don't want to dumb down my "content". It's tricky.

The things I like writing about most are:

ME (let's be honest! ;-). But I feel like people will get bored of/are already bored of me! Especially the body positive/diet culture stuff, I know people seek that stuff out who are interested but I don't want to turn off regular readers with it becoming too repetitive either.

What else can I write about myself? I have a lot of personal things I could write about but I haven't, I do hold back a little believe it or not (I sometimes feel like my blog SEEMS more personal than it actually is. Like I've pullled a fast one, do any other bloggers feel this way?). Like I don't share that much of my personal life really.

Also I don't want everything to get too navel gazy. But I guess that was how blogs started, right. But still. I prefer some semblance of kidding myself the world doesn't know ALL my business.

Movies/T.V.: This is one area where I feel like I could be doing much better. I write these magnum opus, far too long posts like three times a year trying to cram in everything I have watched and liked, and it's exhausting for both me and the reader I am sure.

I feel like if I did this monthly at the least it would be much better. I think I have shied away from it because it's a genre I enjoy reading critical thought on, and it makes me nervous because some part of me wishes I could do it on a more professional level (I guess? I don't know. I read a lot of terrible t.v. writing too and think "I write better than that") but also I don't have a word limit so I know I would find that a real struggle.

Also it feels like 90% of film/t/v/ writing is now done by millenials, and they have a different voice/way of  seeing things than me, and I feel self conscious because I'm old, which is dumb, there are tons of people my age or older who watch films/ t.v.). And anyway that whole medium (online media) is seemingly currently undergoing some sort of apocalypse, so who even cares, I should just write what I want, someone somewhere has to.

Music (big ?). Do people care about a 40 something woman's opinions on music? Weirdly some of my favourite things to write (and read) on a (now defunct) review site I used to contribute to, were album reviews. I waded right on in there with some writers who I thought were amazing and wrote my own impassioned music twaddle and loved it.

I even have my own (highly unpopular! :-D) music Twitter account - I created it as a sort of safe space where ideally I wouldn't have to see anything other than music related tweets. It has mostly worked, of course you do get some musicians who are way too into politics (just tweet about music please!).

So yes, I don't know. I guess on top of this I would like to develop some semblance of more regular posting this year and maybe go back to prompted posts when I'm feeling uninspired/lazy, because I am a writer who can usually produce something or other when given a nudge - I obviously just can't be relied upon to nudge myself if this past year's output is anything to go by! If anyone knows of any group blog prompts or link ups or whatnot please kindly point me to them, I would like to feel less of a disconnect from the blogging community if possible this year.

Overall my attitude for 2019 so far seems to be: life is short, take no bullsh*t, do what makes me happy, take more chances, and start giving zero forks what other people think about me who don't matter to my life in the grand scheme of things at all. Peace out :-)



See I've Already Waited Too Long....



So the past month was a stressful time for me. What is normally a pretty happy time of year (Christmas and New Year’s +my birthday two weeks later) had a shadow looming over it. I received a phone call approximately 4 days before Christmas (it’s kind of a blur, I know it was under a week but more than a couple days before), anyway I got that phone call that nobody wants to get but some of us do.

Something was found on my mammogram. A quite small something, so small it only showed up on one slide so they weren’t extremely worried but a something nonetheless so they were going to be setting up appointments for me for a follow up 3D mammogram and an ultrasound scan.

I won’t prolong the drama here, I am ok, it was just a benign cyst I found out last Wednesday immediately after my ultrasound. But it took A MONTH. For someone with my health history, it was a really long month.

The reason I began getting early screening mammograms almost ten years ago was in fact because of radiotherapy to my chest I had as part of my Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma treatment. Unfortunately that very treatment significantly increases my and anyone else who has had its' odds of getting breast cancer. Which kinda sucks. I have largely had a head in the sand attitude towards it, having, I now realize, been quite lucky to have had this be my first scare – seeing as 1 in 3 women get benign cysts, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

So yeah. I am trying not to be be annoyed at the fact they felt the need to tell me this before Christmas, given my history, and also given that they must have known there was no way I could feasibly receive an appointment through before the New Year.

I don't know, I am sure it was protocol but just…do better NHS. I then had to chase up the appointment , which I had been assured would be arriving very soon after the new year, because there was no sign of my  appointment date three weeks later. I had no answers from anyone in the clinic I was dealing with as to why it was taking so long, so I did the thing I wanted to do least: asked my former oncologist for help chasing it up (well, his secretary).

It's hard to explain, but once you cut ties with your oncologist, it has a very forever feel to it. It can be quite weirdly sad, you come to rely on them, and I have oddly had to deal with him once more because I had a blood clot in my leg a few years ago.

So in my particular situation it just felt even more like opening the door backwards to that person I used to be, the girl who calls cancer wards, and it emotionally drained me in a way that is hard to describe. I do think this helped however as within two days I magically got my appointment in the mail. I hate having to say that the NHS still makes you fight, because I know they are doing their best, but it wasn't ideal.

I was also diagnosed with my lymphoma coincidentally in December. I spent most of that month in hospital and I still remember begging and pleading to be let out of the hospital on Christmas Eve after my third biopsy, an open chest surgery. I remember everything about that Christmas, how quiet and sad and trying to be a tiny bit normal here and there it was. For years afterwards I would still get a tiny bit depressed at Christmas with the memories of that intense period of my life, so for this to happen right before Christmas, a – forking –gain, was just….gah.

I am very flipping patient and good about all this stuff truly. I hold my sh*t together, I try not to stress other people out who I know are worried about me...but I have limits now that do not take long to blow I realized after this latest scare. That third week of waiting with no answers was my limit. I found myself incapable of speaking to people on the phone about it with getting the overwhelming hard cries and fury, agh the fury. I finally found out that…get this….a radiographer had been “off sick” and so the whole department had fallen behind like a week. In a major hospital. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Anyhoo. Breathe. I was obviously so pent up with anxiety and dread and terror that if I hadn’t gotten the answers last week I feel like I would have had some kind of nervous breakdown, so I am still very much coming down from it. I still feel like I’m in sort of bubble and I can breathe now but like…really? Are we sure it’s ok to breathe? Because I forgot how to again for awhile.

Because here’s the thing. Once you’ve had a ( in my case very rare, no known cause, out of the gray blobby ether) cancer diagnosis, you just lose any real feeling of the delusional faith that most people have that convinces them “It won’t happen to me”. I totally get why people are that way, I was once too. It’s human nature: “But I can’t get sick – I’m healthy, I’m good, I exercise and eat blueberries”

We are constantly reassured, in subtle and also not subtle ways, by things all around us, that our health is something we are somehow in control of. But the scary truth of it is, that is not always the case. You guys, I hate to be that bore at the party. I actually really don’t ever talk about my cancer history in real life if I can help it, mostly because people just get so full of pity and wonderment and speak well-meaning but largely mindless platitudes about why I’m still here, etc. 

And I have to bite my tongue to stop from screaming sometimes “I’m not special. I had cancer. Anyone can have cancer. Oh, not you, obviously, you could NEVER get cancer, because Jesus and kale and karma and oxygen and any other comfort that helps you sleep at night is all totally going to protect you, because life is fair and you get a magical health halo around you no matter what because you are a good person.”

Look, obviously people who have had illness touch their lives don’t think this way but like…there really is no going back once you’ve seen “the dark side”. You just live your life, and when the bad stuff happens, you gird yourself for the worst, you go into autopilot mode. 

I didn’t feel much shock this time at the potential bad news. The thing was I had a lot of time (A MONTH) to try to kid myself, whereas the first cancer rodeo once they found my giant mass they just knew it was bad news from the get go and even though I had a few months of symptoms I really didn’t have a clue or fear it might be cancer prior to that.

I sort of succeeded keeping it together around Christmas, my Mom was here, we were trying to keep Christmas as light as we could. I didn't want to watch any potentially cry making movies though so we watched a LOT of dumb Christmas comedies. I knew that the chances were pretty decent it was nothing, and that rationality was something I managed to hold onto for a bit. I felt mostly weirdly calm for a week or so after the non-news news.

But like, people can only do that for so long when they know what it means if it’s not good news. Doubts creep in. Like “Ok sure kid yourself all you want lady”, (cancer is super annoying and calls me lady! ;-), but you and I both knew I’d be back, didn’t we, we have unfinished business. You see, you just aren’t grateful enough as a survivor, you really lucked out and yet still here you are, not living your best life, not chasing your dreams, not self-actualizing into a super zen next level goddess or feeding the hungry or doing anything noble or meaningful enough to merit you survivorship status. You blew it, lady, and now you must pay!”

What can I say, the cancer boogeyman voice in my head is a vengeful and mean spirited one. It knows I am weak, not strong. It knows I am terrified despite my insistence otherwise to anyone who asks. It knows I barely made it through the first round and am so deflated and spent feeling already at the mere thought of having to go through it again that it has already won. It knows that it has me, and there is nothing I can do about it, not a damn thing.

It knows I am not a warrior or a badass b*itch. I am feeble and weak and sobbing, I am nothing I feel nothing but emptiness and dread.

So yeah. That’s the headspace I am shaking off, so I’m not beating myself up too much for not springing back to emotionally stable form right away. It’s just as well it turned out ok, because I am not the one to deal with it again. No thanks. 

I guess it doesn’t matter how much time passes, the potential for fear of your own imminent mortality is (naturally) limitless. But having gone through it once before, the real fear for me was the “battle” itself.

It’s a cliché for a reason, but mentally anyway, it is a battle, to have to fight for your life and suffer feeling worse than you ever thought possible for what feels like forever, all while knowing it might not matter anyway. It takes a certain level of grit, whose supply I am not especially convinced after my experience this month is infinite. Hope is a fragile and tricky thing to grab hold of if you feel you are almost tapped out.

That’s where this took me. I’m sorry if it upsets anyone but it’s all I got. Obviously I am grateful, and relieved, in the immediate aftermath when the doctor smiled and said "Good news, it's just a cyst!" I was awash with the good endorphins of relief, but the truth is I'm still a little bit scared and I know I have to shake that off now, but it's obviously brought a lot of stuff up that it took me awhile to let go of the first time so I guess I just need to be patient with myself.

It's important to me to write my true experiences of this stuff always as best I can. I'm sorry if it's not super life affirming or inspirational, but honestly I'm not writing this for anyone seeking that from me. I'm a bad b*tch who has had cancer, you can take your kale and positive thinking and shove it, kindly.





Happy New Year!


via GIPHY


I was looking for New Year's gifs and for some reason this one made me giggle (I was too old for Full House although obviously have seen a few episodes in my day), anyway Happy New Year! 2019...that's like, almost 2020. Woah right? Especially for those of us old enough to remember what a big deal New Year's Eve 1999 was - how was that almost 20 years ago?! Yikes.

During that crazy "Y2K" New Year's Eve I was living in Hell's Kitchen in New York (now more quaintly known as "Clinton"). This is only a few blocks from the hubbub of Times Square but I wanted nothing to do with that mob scene (to be fair I did do Times Square one year before I lived in New York, that was enough for me!).

I went downtown to be with friends in the East Village, we ended up at my favorite dive bar 7B (named for its location on 7th Street and Avenue B, it's called something else now but they still use it to film "grungy" New York regularly although I imagine it's hipster central now - the bar in Jessica Jones is set there, amongst many other shows and films; I don't know how they even operate as a bar what with all the filming!). Anyway it had a large horsheshoe shaped bar, and a very good jukebox, and somehow attracted a clientele that was youngish to mixed ages, not too trendy, basically it always had a really low key, chill vibe.

Back in those days the East Village still clung onto hints of authentic grunginess, to its history, in a way I see that is virtually wiped now in the New York Instagram accounts I insist on following and being depressed by the dramatic changes to my old 'hood throughout the passage of time.

I had a college friend visiting from out of town also, she had managed to meet a dude at a bar the night before uptown I guess (how was I someone who went to bars two nights on the trot?! Ah youth!). A couple of close friends of mine came out with us, it was one of those great New York nights where you meet new people and the world is full of possibility and you don't actually make any bad choices although you probably could have but it would have wrecked the gilded memory so you are glad in retrospect.

I remember waking up at my friend's apartment feeling a tiny bit less blue about the world/like I had endless opportunities ahead of me. Moving back to New York after college was something I had to save up for a year after graduating: I had everything vested in my New York dream, something that seems so innocent and naive, but sweet, to me now. Ever since I was a little girl I had dreamed of living in New York, and while it was more often than not a struggle, it was life changing for me in many ways and I still, as is probably obvious, remember it very fondly.

Anyhoo, New Year's Eve in America has a different vibe to me than it does in the U.K./Scotland. It's celebratory, but also a bit introspective, whereas I feel like in the U.K. it's like 95% celebratory, the rest slightly half hearted resolutions without too much deep reflection encouraged.

That might be unfair, it's just my own experience - in the first years I lived in Scotland, Hogmanay (as they call New Year's Eve here) was a downright bacchanalian marathon of partying that entailed multiple destinations and a slightly surreal bowl of soup around dawn that someone's parents had kindly stayed up to warm for us (my husband is from a small town) so the tradition of "first footing" is/was still in effect, in which people are expected to stay up to entertain drunken youth I guess?

It was all incredibly cheerful and convivial (and foreign to me!). Everyone gathered at the town cross for "the bells" at midnight, kisses and New Year's greeting were exchanged with (in my case) mostly strangers, and then, as the years passed and people settled down a bit, we maybe stayed at a friend's house for most of the night.

We had a couple of years where we went to ceilidhs (dances) or discos instead, and they were fun, too. Auld Lang Syne was played at midnight at quite a rowdy speed as everyone gathered round in a circle, arms crossed across our chests and hands linked, chanting and getting more and more rousing as the song progresses. This video is a decent approximation (except add more drunk people!): ;-)



Kinda cool if you've never seen it before, eh? I'm sure there is some meaning behind not breaking the circle, the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne are sweetly hopeful and mournful at once, and I can't help also enjoying more quiet versions of the song like this one by James Taylor (I highly recommend his Christmas album for chilled out holiday vibes):



The past couple of years we have had quieter ones, for mostly circle of
life type reasons: people being less inclined to go out as they age, friend groups shrinking or changing for various reasons (kids, divorces, etc.). Being an introvert it has, if I'm honest, not broken my heart, I am pretty happy to stay inside and be boring and not have a hangover on New Year's Day!

But the lyrics of the song (originally a poem by Robert Burns, which...uh yeah, requires translating, even for this long time expat) do resonate for me, as an expat far away from old friends most of my life, as a 40 something who can't quite believe 20 years have passed since I hung out on barstools in the village with friends I still call friend, but haven't seen in too many years.

Auld Lang Syne is certainly a wistful song, I kind of like how the Scottish people infuse its melancholic tone with a bit of joy in the dance, because we have to muster some hope for the New Year, don't we? It's the only way to get through those long (short) winter days stretching in front of us right now.

The forced cheer of a new calendar year begun right smack in the middle of winter is a pretty clever trick (it used to begin in March, but then in the 16th century they decided to change it!). As a January baby I have something to look forward to anyway (although last year I did have a wee moan about the perils of January birthdays!).

So anyway, I hope we all "take a cup of kindness yet" this year, with friends old and new; it's honestly been a bit of a tough holiday period for me personally so I just want to get on with the start of 2019 and hope it brings good news and happiness and health for all of us. I don't need to be reminded to be be grateful for the good things in life this new year, so I am lucky in that respect at least. On a world/political level 2018 was hella exhausting, so I hope that 2019 has a more mellow and kind vibe all around, for all of our sakes. Happy New Year, anyway, I hope it's a good one for all of us!



xo Steff

How To Be A Happily Unsuccessful Blogger!

 
I had no appropriate pic for this post but here are David and I a couple of years ago trying and spectacularly failing at some sort of Instagram catch the sun type pose! I die laughing!..

 

...How To Be A Happily Unsuccessful Blogger

 

Yes, you read that right! Maybe you landed here by mistake, but since you're here, let's talk about blogging! Do you have "blogger's burnout"? Are you tired of feeling like you can't live up to the 101 Pinterest articles you have read that tell you how to be the most badass blogger in the land? Hasn't it all gotten a bit...much?

I first began blogging four years ago this past autumn (I always forget to do "blogiversary" posts! Happy 4th birthday to my little blog!) over at Weebly, under the obscurist title, Deep Greens And Blues (James Taylor lyric, natch ;-)). I moved to Blogger a few months later, feeling like I had this blogging lark well and truly under my belt and it was a great and easy idea to move over a dozen posts to a new platform, despite having no idea how to do this whatsoever (it was...a nightmare! ;-).

2014 was really not that long ago, but it was actually much simpler times in blogging. Yes, the whole lifestyle blogger thing was on the upswing, but there were still plenty of quirky, unique, day in the life type blogs on the go, and it seemed easy enough to find each other.

It felt like a cozy, warm community if you were lucky enough to find a few blogs that you liked and who liked your blog, too. Despite reading a few friends' personal blogs over the years before I finally took the plunge and started my own blog, I was fairly oblivious to the growing lifestyle doyenne/arbiter of taste type blog that was cresting when I started mine. I naively thought blogs were mainly just about the writing. I know, crazy am I right? ;-0

Which isn't to say I wasn't clumsily ambitious, in my own way. The first few blog posts I published were a lot to do with dispelling myths and tropes I had encountered as a young (ish) cancer survivor. And being a former English major/writer type, I kind of thought maybe my words might resonate with some people out there (mainly former cancer patients like me).

I also possibly arrogantly thought that most writing about cancer was bland, faux inspirational pseudo religious drivel (well to be fair I had encountered a lot of it along the way during my treatment, with a few notable exceptions like John Diamond's book C.), and that my particular slant on it was ya know, very unique (again patently untrue, at least in recent years, I have discovered more and more beautifully honest blogs about cancer, including this unerringly great one from Christine at I'm Sick and So Are You ).

Anyway, I happened to stumble across the writing of Mary Elizabeth Williams, a fellow cancer survivor who had written several searingly honest and funny and heartbreaking posts (and now a book) about her cancer experience over at Salon, and felt deeply seen and related so much to her writing. So being a bit of a Twitter RUBE (I hadn't really used it much at all before I started blogging), I rather bolshily sent her links to some of my blog posts. Like...I think about it now and CRINGE so hard. What was I thinking?! I would never have the nerve to do that now that I know how Twitter works!

But surprisingly, she read them, liked them, and retweeted them with generously kind words to boot. I'm not going to lie, I was not unfamiliar with being teacher's pet in a writer's room, so some obnoxious little part of me was like "Of course she did, I'm an amazing writer with important things to say!". I may have been a tiny bit heady/cocky with my newfound Twitter fame by rt/association (Louis Theroux follows her, so at one point I did think ..."Maybe Louis Theroux read something I wrote!"...yes I am a huge freaking delusional dork). I may have even been crazily thinking that my op-ed writing career was on it's way up if I kept getting these lucky breaks.

Many of my early posts had quite high views and comments for a new blogger. The aforementioned retweets sent tens of thousands of new visitors to my little Weebly blog mere weeks after I had begun it. Looking back, it was always going to be downhill from there, something I was too clueless about blogging to realize at the time!

I have tried over the past few years, even pre-blogging, to get my head around how one gets to make any money as a freelance writer. After joining a few websites I came away pretty disheartened, not gonna lie. It's literally pennies an hour in many cases - yes you can maybe break through if you slog away at it long enough, but the pay for hire market is dire in my observations.

Even those on the top rungs are struggling right now as more and more online and print publications fold. It's quite a tough moment in time for anyone seeking to make a living from the written word.

So it's likely natural/evolutionary how visual and consumerist the blogging medium in particular has become. Now, don't get me wrong, I like fashion, I like to buy things and occasionally write about them too. But I'm an introvert and don't like telling people how to live their lives or say "this is cool, this is Not". I mean obviously I have a lot of opinions and tastes but I would never want to cause offense or make anyone feel bad for not having the money to buy an expensive/designer thing or travel or eat out or whatever.

I am genuinely disturbed by some of what blogging has become, if I'm being honest. It's a false picture of a false life in many cases, designed to create envy and desire for that (unreal) life so the people will buy the things and the blogger gets a cut and yes the economy needs shoppers, someone has to sell the things...but I don't generally enjoy the feeling that many blogs give me of being less than these days for not having all of the things they were in, let's get real, most cases #GIFTED.

Which isn't to say that aren't lots of lovely, inclusive fashion and lifestyle blogs. But there can be a level of one track glam all day/luxe designer everything aspiration that so many bloggers seem to think is what we expect/want from their content? And maybe they don't know (or care in some cases?) how off putting it can be.

It's the same reason print magazines died a death in my opinion. Bloggers became a thing because of relatable content that magazines weren't providing. And now somehow it has become less and less relatable in some instances. Sigh. My feelings are complicated, obviously.

ANYWAY I digress. As is obvious by now, I promise one thing in my title and then make you wait an age with my rambling before ever getting to my point - hallmarks of a spectacularly unsuccessful blogger, if I do say so myself! ;-)

So yes: "How to be a happily unsuccessful blogger", what am I on about? Why would anyone want that? Well, I guess if you have read this far maybe you have had similiar feelings about not feeling up to girl boss'ing it or adding thousands of followers by whatever means necessary or inventing a trending hashtag or any of the myriad other things we are meant to do to succeed at blogging besides just, er, blogging.

Maybe you are tired and just want  to quit blogging altogether because why bother if you can't be a success? I have been there, trust me, and it's embarassing to me, because I never set out to or in any way thought I would be a career blogger at ALL, so why would I let myself be so discouraged from doing something I enjoy? Because I have, at times, let it all get to me. Sometimes I wish I didn't follow any bloggers at all (well other than the ones who I read/read me!) lately, because I find all of this unending pressure to be a GREAT SUCCESS frankly exhausting.

I guess the main thing that I think is important if you want to be a contented blogger is: stop comparing yourself to other blogs. Seriously STOP IT RIGHT NOW (sorry to shout, but while I see this sentiment floating around a lot, I think most of us struggle with it. It's natural, it's human nature to want to compete/feel relevant). But it's not doing anyone any favors. If you love writing, or creating, or sharing your outfits or thoughts on books or films or gaming or kite surfing or whatever floats your boat, just keep at it! Why on earth wouldn't you?

Don't stress if you can't afford an expensive camera or don't have someone to take pictures of you 24/7 or your Instagram doesn't have a uniform theme. Because honestly, does anyone who has all of those things truly seem that happy to you? Are they not also constantly striving for more followers, more likes, more attention? Don't try to write like anyone else, or fit a style tribe that isn't you, or feel left out if you don't go gaga for cactuses and rose gold bar trolleys or pleated midis or whatever else is trending in blog la la land.

I say if writing gives you pleasure, keep at it. If one person says something you write mattered to them, guess what, your blog has VALUE. Yes, I know, we all would love to make a living from our living rooms. But realistically it's probably never going to happen. Yes, there's a gold rush on (mostly on Instagram, but wow have their algorithms messed with even successful bloggers), but you don't have to get carried away trying to be a part of it if that is not healthy or meaningful to your life.

Lately it feels like we are all meant to be striving to be part of some wealthy elite club that, let's get real, only a very few people who are a certain age and look a certain way and are able to present their lives in a certain light, are ever going to achieve. If you find the thought of making a perfect mochaccino and balancing it between your wooly socks on your crisp white bedlinens as traumatic as I do, then you know, don't be a part of that or oversaturate your feed with that shi - I mean stuff ;-0.

And honestly, how long can many bloggers stay on top? It's all a bit Emperor's New Clothes -there's always a younger, fresher, more social media savvy generation coming up. Can you imagine the exhausting HUSTLE of that life? There is much more to blogging than success and campaigns and collabs and likes. There has to be. I hope so anyway, it's the only thing that keeps me bothering with it.

Obviously if you want to try your damn best and work hard to be a (financially) successful blogger or socal media "influencer", go for it, by all means. I'm not saying don't try if you want it with all you've got. In my younger years I was a fledgling aspiring actress, I am all for chasing a crazy, impossible seeming dream if it truly makes your heart sing.

But I'm writing this mainly for those of us who are a bit tired of trying to feel like we are being heard in an overcrowded blogging field, like we don't fit in because we can't fork out a month's salary on a camera or have professional level photography on every blog post. Who have read every "How to be a Successful Blogger" post going and come away feeling a bit...empty, and confused, and frankly, knackered.

It's ok to be "unsuccessful", it's ok to do it for the fun of it, you don't have to publish a certain number of posts a week if you don't want to, you can totally break every blogging "rule" you have ever read that has made you feel overwhelmed, and the world won't come to an end. You can do it any way that works for you. Just try it, I promise it's kind of...freeing.

Look back at some of your older blog posts that you are maybe proud of and forgot about. Look for that person that said something authentic and kind and remember how good that felt. It felt so much better than an Instagram like, am I right? Where are they now? Are they still blogging? Maybe go visit their blog and say hi.

Maybe you have forgotten to keep up with the social aspect of blogging because you've been far too busy with "social" media. I know I am guilty of this too. Less scrolling, more genuine interaction is how I hope to regain some of my blogging joy/mojo in the weeks and months to come personally.

I might be delusional, this might be pie in the sky thinking, but I do hope that somehow we some of us can get back to what made us want to blog in the first place and stop stressing so much about what everyone else is up to/how to get ahead. I know I personally miss the way I used to feel about blogging, and it has recently made me lose my way/pull back from it a bit.

But I am hopeful that things can come back around to a slightly simpler way of blogging for those of us that still value it. I really am. It's up to us to decide what we believe makes our blog a success: if we want to step outside the box of being driven only by financial or gifted rewards.

It's up to us if we want to open ourselves up to feeling happiness from putting something out into the ether that we are proud of, or something that we just feel like sharing, from hopefully making real connections with other people, as opposed to all the other...stuff. If that makes me an unrealistic hippy dreamer of a blogger then so be it, I'll carve that as my "niche" from here on out. Is anyone with me?

Here is a Replacements song that encapsulates my feelings in a weirdly roundabout kinda way I guess (I know super naff 80s video but the lyrics are clearer than a live video would be!)!: