I haven’t blogged in a year, but that doesn’t even really count because it was just another post like this one explaining my absence the year prior and a reflection on the year. So I guess, technically, I haven’t really blogged in two years.
I have a hard time coming up with words about *why* I haven’t been able to, haven’t wanted to – every thought that springs into my mind is so negative, I don’t even want to share them here. I guess, as usual, it’s easiest to keep it simple, so I guess it boils down to a few things:
- You know that quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy”? I’ve touched on this before, but comparing myself to other bloggers/”influencers”/whatever, sucks ALL the joy out of blogging for me. It’s not about being jealous about how many followers or readers or comments other bloggers have, because let’s be honest, I’ve never really pushed myself towards that anyway, blogging has just been an outlet because I really enjoy writing as well as connection with others. I do compare myself to how well written someone else’s blog post is, their gorgeous photography that “I’ll never be able to achieve”, the incredible community of readers and followers (not the quantity – the quality) they have achieved. Obviously I know if I don’t push myself and create content consistently, I won’t have readers. But instead of pushing through the discomfort, embracing the struggle – I give up. My brain shuts down, nope, not today, not even worth trying, why are you even attempting this, you’ll never be good enough, just quit. So, I quit. Not forever, because now I’m realizing I would really like to blog but feel a little bit directionless. Which brings me to my next point…
- I’m not the same person I was when I first started Odessa Darling. At this point in my life, 2014, I was grappling with an illness I didn’t understand or have any answers for, fresh(ish) out of college and searching for something, anything to satisfy my desire for creativity that I’d basically shut down because I needed to survive: get through school, get through work, get through the day. Surviving, not thriving. When you have no real sense of self, after spending years pushing away anyone who tried to get close, struggling with mental illness, trying on personalities is like thrift shopping: “Is this me? Or this?” I was all over the place, a health and fitness blogger wannabe, an eco-friendly hiker travel blogger, a photographer, a food blogger who spent half her meals crying over the number of calories in a dish, or the amount of pain eating put me in to begin with. A chronic illness blogger, opening up about her medical experiences and woes because it’s still not talked about enough. I felt like such a fraud advertising myself as a “healthy lifestyle blogger” when I’d go home and self medicate with vodka more nights than not. And after a back injury added insult to injury (or chronic illness, if you will), my mind just went dark. I still don’t know “who I am”, I don’t have a big vision for my life, and while that’s completely normal in your twenties, social media gets inside my head and taunts me: “Everybody else has it all figured out, look how well they’re all doing, why can’t you figure it out, you idiot?”
So that leads me to wonder where to go from here, how to proceed. I’ve contemplated, many times, just wiping the slate completely blank, starting over. But that feels just as disingenuous, hiding the past parts of me that, whether or not I’m the same person today or not, they’re still me who wrote them. I’ve never really had a “niche”, which is supposedly KEY to monetizing your blog (not necessarily my goal, but if it happened organically I wouldn’t be mad). My hyperactive brain doesn’t help, either, as it bounces around from interest to interest never really settling on any one thing. I am great at starting things, but never finishing them. I am great at trying things and giving up because I’m not succeeding quickly enough for my perfectionist personality to be satisfied.
So to quote the great Charlie Kelly… what do now?
Do I just keep blogging aimlessly, because at least I’m writing? Do I wait (as I have been) for some ~sudden inspiration~ to come to me, buckle down on a niche and become a super profesh blogger? (Yeah, right)
When I think of my favorite non-food blogs to read, I really enjoy long reads that make you think: opening up a conversation about something not talked about all that often, or offering up a new viewpoint on something everybody deals with. Do I lean into that, even though I’m certainly not as well-versed or smart as these writers I admire? Do people even want to read this? Will I continue just speaking into the void?
I am both deeply inquisitive and deeply anxious: I ask a lot of questions, but I hate when there’s not an answer. I hate making decisions, should I quit or should I persist? I know nobody will have this answer or decision for me, I don’t even have it for myself. Do I keep blogging?
I hope so, I guess so. I just renewed my domain for another year – I was seriously contemplating just letting it expire and letting this all go…. but I couldn’t. So I suppose I will take that as a sign that obviously this all means something to me, even if I haven’t quite figured out what it is. Maybe if I continue writing, learning, thinking, I’ll get there eventually.