I had a Friday Favorite scheduled for today but decided to hold off because I need to thank you all, and this thank you is way overdue. Heads up, this post may ramble. A lot.
Last year fucking sucked. Sorry about the swearing, but really it was so bad the F word is necessary to fully state its suckdom. Yeah yeah, I broke my arm twice but other stuff went down along with it that it all really rattled my core, shattered my confidence, and made me question so much about this blog, my life, my purpose.
And then I turned 40. And I said it was awesome because it is, but even if you think positive thoughts and see the glass half full, some milestone ages can still pick at your psyche.
This June, Wardrobe Oxygen turns 10. That’s a major milestone in blogging, I think even more major than a human turning 40. And there’s no way that I could accomplish such a milestone if it weren’t for you. You reading, you sending me emails, you sharing my blog with your friends. In February I decided to show you the love with a bunch of giveaways from some of my very favorite brands. To start it off, I did a giveaway with a bunch of products I love and bought for one of you. I thought it would be fun, but I figured y’all would be far more psyched by a shopping spree at a popular store. I was blown away by all the comments that came on that post, for weeks I caught myself crying almost every time I checked my email.
I felt the universe was telling me something when the winner was Clarissa, a person who started as a hate reader from GOMI and is now my email/Whole30/kindergarten mom buddy. It’s damn hard to not peek when you know someone’s talking about you, but there’s a Firefox add-on called LeechBlock I added to all my computers that has encouraged me to stay away. There’s no point in focusing on those who don’t like you when you’re surrounded by supporters.
So I started individually thanking each of you who left a comment on that giveaway post, and all the emails I received, but it got really overwhelming. It reminded me of when I sent thank you notes after our wedding; the last thing you want to do is send a, “Thank you so much for your generous gift, it will be used in good health” when that loved one went to such effort to pick it out, to attend, to celebrate that next life step and the love of your life. What can you write to truly express what you’re feeling? I got writer’s block, not just with replies but with writing all together. I started overthinking everything in regard to this blog. I wanted this to be a great year – my 10th year, and one where I came back better than ever. But instead I was stunted. I struggled to put together outfits, wanting so badly to do my best, give you what you deserve. I questioned my advice posts and left more posts than I could count in draft form on my computer because I worried they weren’t good enough. And then the money, oh the money ate me up. If I was finally successful, was I the cause of a reader’s financial ruin? Oh gosh, was I hurting people with my blog?
I have some very dear friends who are in this industry. Some are bloggers, some are writers, some are stylists, but we’re all connected by a passion for fashion and a desire to be authentic and honest with our businesses and purposes in life. A couple years ago, I was part of a women’s circle in my community and I still see some of these women from time to time. One night, I saw a woman from that community circle and she gave me some advice. A couple days later I received the same advice from a woman in my other circle of friends:
You are only responsible for what you put out in the world, you cannot be responsible for what people do with it.
That advice not only broke my writer’s block, but also broke this fear I was still holding. The fear of being judged. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of… well being human. Human. We’re all humans, beautifully flawed. How am I benefiting you if I am trying to be perfect for you? That is the problem, not the affiliate links. There’s so much perfection out there right now, it’s so easy to feel as though you’re doing life wrong.
I printed out your comments and emails, even those I haven’t yet replied to. I have them in a binder, I have them taped inside my planner and my work notebook. When I go off course, and worry too much about the them, the everybody, I read them and I remember why I do this and who I do this for.
Last weekend I wrote my post about the word Smug. While I set up LeechBlock, I have Google Analytics and StatCounter, two tools that let you see where traffic comes from. I receive Google Alerts, which provide a snippet of text from sites that mention me. With these tools I saw that five different locations recently had individuals who described me as smug and it blew me away. Me, who has been eating herself up because she doesn’t think she’s good enough. It was another reminder that there’s no point in trying to please everyone, because no matter what you do, you won’t succeed. My post wasn’t a “woe is me, there’s meanies on the Internet” post, but one where I decided to just lay the cards out. And the outpouring of love and support in the comments, the comment form, and emails again left me in tears.
I love you guys. And if you got through all my crazy rambling I want to thank you for being such amazing human beings. So many of you I now consider friends, whether or not we have met, whether or not I even know your real name. I read your comments, and even if I haven’t replied yet, I take them to heart. In these past ten years I have become a better person because of you. Because of you I am more open minded, less judgmental, more giving, kinder. Because of you I get out of my holes of self-doubt and writer’s block. Because of you, this blog exists and will continue to exist, and continue to be more honest and human. I am so damn proud to have such a community of amazing, wholehearted, badass folk here. You have power, you have strength, and you have such amazing beauty. Thank you for sharing it with me.