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See the pictures below? I didn’t know it was gyaru, which sounds so incredibly silly, doesn’t it? I’ve been gyaru for nearly 10 years – how can I not know if it was gyaru or not? It all boils down to one reason: I just don’t know what substyle it fits into.
It’s crazy how much Instagram has changed our lives and you know what? I’m not even mad. Yes, I do have my bad days where I’m comparing myself to others, but it’s also had such a positive impact on my life. I’ve never connected with more people from all corners of the internet than I have done on instagram and it’s the first place I look at when searching for beautiful places to go to. So don’t worry Instagram – I still love you. Here are more reasons why I love the ‘gram!
I turned my face to check if my blusher was visible enough and of even vibrancy on both sides (it definitely was – I might as well have emptied the whole block of colour onto my face) and my eyes occasionally flickered up towards the beautiful lashes that framed them. Gosh, yes, it felt good. With one last slick of lipgloss my war paint was complete, and I was ready to tackle the world.
It was 8pm on a Monday evening (well, yesterday, in fact), and I was trawling through my blog archives, going back to my first year of blogging in 2011. Gosh, it was embarrassing to look at; my posts were filled with emojis, with cringey language like “lawls” instead of lol, and were sometimes no longer than a paragraph. My photos were awful (as were the blog watermarks that were plastered over them) but I was excited to be on this little corner of the internet, and it was evident in my writing. With a twang I realised that I really, really missed those carefree days where I wasn’t serious about blogging. Over the years my blog posts – although mostly cheerful – have become more carefully planned and filled with relevant jargon in order to be noticed in the online world. But back then I really didn’t care about my reach or engagement.
So what happened? Why did blogging become so serious?
Some days my relationship with myself is a good one. Sometimes I love how my eyes aren’t quite that shade of blue but neither are they green; that my legs look as if they are never-ending; and that my ability to pull the most stupid faces brings a smile to my husband’s face (or maybe it’s a oh-god-she’s-doing-it-again-grimace).
If you said this to me a couple of months ago I would’ve looked at you, gobsmacked in disbelief. Hustle less and live more? Definitely not! I used to believe that good things come out of hard work – and in some instances it is true – but I took it all too seriously. I started to compare myself to more “successful” people and thought that I wasn’t good enough. ‘I had a breakdown’ was an understatement as I found myself crying in my sleep because of how ‘unsuccessful’ I was while I was on my second honeymoon in Amsterdam. Yep, on a holiday where things should’ve been super romantic and carefree.
I knew that I needed to change my mind-set about my life and the way I view the hustle as the toxic thing that it really is. Hustling has become an obsession in our society and I got caught up in it all. So here’s how I’m trying to hustle less and live more…
Okay, I fucked up, again. I allowed myself to get down in the dumps because my lil’ blog over here wasn’t get enough attention as I wanted it to. It got so bad that I was stressing myself out and just piling lots of things onto my to-do list, and my searches were filled with stuff like ‘how to grow your blog’ and ‘how to get more pageviews’. It was triggered when someone posted in a group “can you please help me grow my blog because I only get 200-300 pageviews a day?”.
People are right – comparison is the thief of joy and it stole all of my happiness right then. Gosh, I was so far away from that! What is wrong with my blog? Is it worth even blogging any more? I know I shouldn’t be moaning because people have different measurements of success, but it really got to me. I was lost focus of what I wanted to do because I was feeling so upset that I wasn’t good enough. Again.
That’s until I read ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. I’m not really one for self-help books, but after finding it harder and harder to be multi-passionate, I decided to give this book a go. My mind was blown. My goals were back in focus and my dream future was becoming clearer.
After this I realised that I wasn’t ever going to become a full-time blogger. There were so many signs that I dismissed earlier that suddenly became crystal clear. Firstly, I never really had the time for blog events and attending blogger meet-ups weren’t really my thing unless I knew someone there. Secondly, I was secretly thankful that my inbox wasn’t flooded with sponsored emails. I just couldn’t write a sponsored/gifted post with the same enthusiasm as I would have if it was just a normal outfit post unless I truly believed in them. And thirdly, I couldn’t be bothered to learn about SEO. At the end of the day, I write posts because I wanted to, not to boost my rating or whatever.
What I do know, however, is that I do love blogging but only because it provides me a creative outlook to write down my thoughts. The more I tried to pressure myself to promote my blog and get it in front of people, the more stressed out I was. And that reflected badly on my writing. I even had to take a break from this blog (and this is my first post after said break) because I found myself crying to sleep as I lost sense of purpose. But I don’t really need a reasoning for blogging – doing it because I love it is a good enough reason.
I’m going to take it easy so that I can focus more my ‘One Thing’, which I know to be my art. It’s something that I’ve done my whole life and it’s been in the dark for too long. I want it to grow. I want to be known as a hand-letterer and be damn good at it.
So, I’m happy with just being a hobbyist blogger.
P.S. Are you a hobbyist blogger or do you do it full-time? Or are you somewhat in-between?
It’s a strange concept, isn’t it, the thought of an introverted gyaru? Gyaru are always portrayed as out-going and fun-loving in the media, but I’m so far away from that. It used to get me down quite a lot as I felt that my introverted nature meant that I wasn’t a “real gyaru”, but the older I got the less I cared. I just preferred to be in the comfort of my home with my husband and my cat than out partying, it’s as simple as that.
Do you remember when we first met? I was so alone at home, wanting to go out with my friends but, alas, it was a school night so I was left with nothing to do. But then you came along and changed my life in so many ways… So I guess I could begin this letter by saying “thank you – I think you might have saved my life.”
Because you see, I never really fitted in at school. I loved my friends but sometimes I would rather be at home in my own company than to run through the parks with hayfever burning my eyes. But sometimes books weren’t enough and you filled that void. You, as cheesy as it sounds, completed me.
It was the late summer of 2016 when I discovered that there was a thriving blogging community on twitter. I had been blogging for around 6 years by then but yet I felt like such a newbie when I began to have a good look at other blogs outside the ones that were already on my reading list. I mean, these were really good blogs. Their content was great, their photos were top notch, and all around they seemed like they really knew what they were talking about. Then I discovered another blog, and then another, and before I knew it I was hooked.