Its July 20th 2015 and as I collect my degree I look at the hordes of people waiting in the wings, clapping and cheering. But I don’t feel elated, I feel broken inside and the cheers ring false in my ears. I am congratulated and given well wishes by people I know I will never see again but in that moment we feel connected, we feel alive. Except the reality soon hit and that broken feeling that I had felt was only a pre-cursor of what was to come. I was burnt out, tired and sick and as I chronicled in ‘living with an invisible illness‘, I was fighting a battle that seemed dangerously close to the edge. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong and told me I was fine, despite me being in constant pain and throwing up any meal that I ate. Coupled with acute depression and anxiety and surrounded by toxic friends its safe to say that I was stuck in a dark voluminous rut and I couldn’t find my way out. I needed to unlock the key but the only key I found was a lesson on how to spot toxic friends. When uni finished I was stuck, I wanted to do something with my life but being sick prevented me from working and I was constantly surrounded by negative energy. I had a friend called A who sent me nasty messages and made me feel like s**t and after three years of friendship I knew I had to cut the strings loose.
That summer of 2015 was the year that would change me and in August I decided to do something I had been dreaming of since I was 16 and that was to start a blog. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew that I needed to take control of my destiny and stop letting others control what I did or said. I needed to stand up for myself and be a bigger person but it was a scary transition to make. But I did it, that one warm summers day, while friends were out relaxing in the sun I spent weeks setting up my own website and watching my dreams come to life. I didn’t expect any traction at first, after all I was barely known but within a few days I already had my first collaboration and by week two I saw visitors outside of my friendship group and it made me glow with pride. No one could tell me what to do and as my own boss I learnt through trial and error how to become a successful blogger. It was hard at first, dipping my toes into the virtual waters of blogging but hearing the praise heaped on me by other bloggers made me feel happier than I had in a long time. I used to journal as a kid after being abused and bullied and often chronicled my years in foster care, but stopped around the age of sixteen after my diaries were getting read. I stopped writing for a long time after that and outside of academia the rare poems and stories that I wrote were brushed off to the side, because I never felt that they were good enough.
I had low self-esteem and never saw myself as a ‘good writer’ , despite good grades and affirmations from friends and family. Meeting other bloggers and joining other chats soon helped me change my perspective and now I realize that this writing malarkey was something that I was destined to do from the moment I was born. I had always created stories but today I share my stories with you, my readers and that is the greatest gift of all. When my diaries were being read as a child I took to secreting my stories and journals in school books, so that I could preserve my memories in a safe place. I guess having my privacy violated was one of the main reasons why I always found it hard to trust but being able to blog ‘freely’ and choosing what I share with my readers is a beautiful, liberating feeling. As soon as I started blogging I encouraged friends to start their own blogs because the relief I felt sharing my story with the world was unpalatable and my own therapeutic outlet. For the first time I could talk openly about my struggles with overcoming my past and not be ‘called out for being a drama queen’ because you all understood. Hell some of you even had some pretty awful s**t to deal with too and being able to support each other through times of need was a lifeline I did not know I needed. At times when I felt low and thought that the whole world was against me I blogged and when I cried so much that the tears blurred my vision I read other peoples blogs, who shared similar life experiences to me and demonstrated how regardless of past we could all survive. And I did survive, here I am today a changed woman, who has blogging to thank for saving her life.
There were times when I thought I should end it all, thought the only escape would be through popping pills and ceasing the wildfire that rang in my ears during my lowest moments. But I never went through with it because I couldn’t give up, my time had not come and I wanted to survive. The voices in my head would try and urge me to do bad things but I resisted and wrote until my fingers cramped and my eyes grew heavy. When the nights drew on and the darkness seeped in I would write, even if it was a load of crap I wrote because it was the only way that I could feel better about myself, because my pen and keyboard never judged me. Where my laptop went I followed and when my laptop couldn’t join me, my notebook would be the solace I craved during dark moments. Eventually over time I became better and although I still have depression and anxiety, being able to blog changed my perspective and showed me how to appreciate life and live in the moment. I had spent so long pre-blogging feeling sorry for myself that I was numb to what was there around me and that was a support network of people who were just one click away.
When people would question what I did as a blogger and tell me it was a silly hobby, I would bite back and defend my sisters and brothers. I would tell them how blogging was more than just a creative outlet, but a coping mechanism and regardless of its merits as a business, the strengths of blogging lies in its ability to change lives. I am not the only blogger to see the world through new eyes and I wont be the last, blogging is so much more than just ‘a vanity fest’ as we are so often portrayed and regardless of our niche we all have a story to tell. Blogging changed my life because it allowed me to be open with who I was a person and not have to hide my true self for the sake of ‘preserving face’. For others their content might not be as personal but they all have a story to tell and that is the beauty of blogging-Being able to re-invent and share who you are with the world and connecting with like minded individuals. Many people outside of the blogging world judge who we are, because we ‘receive freebies’ (god I hate that word) and believe that ‘blogging is the easiest occupation in the world’ but it’s not. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for but blogging taught me how to be more business minded and showed me how to edit, create good SEO and SMO content as well as refining my time management and writing skills . My point being is that blogging didn’t just change my emotional state of mind but it also taught me transferable skills that could be applied to other occupations . Without blogging I would have no clue how to create a site or even have the idea to run my own Facebook groups and those who said I would not achieve anything in the past… well eat your words because I am bloody proud of myself.
I am and will always be proud to call myself a blogger; through blogging I have met friends like Anna-M (On The Edge Blog) , Christine (Xtine Loves) , Virgit (Preppy Fashionist) and Lucy who have become some of my closest friends and their intelligence, compassion and humor will unite us until the end of our days. Because lets face it blogging wouldn’t be much fun without the people you meet along the way and through blogging I have made friends for life. They would offer me advice and feed me food and have me in stitches of laughter on days where I needed them most. I didn’t have to ask them to read or like my content but they did regardless, because we bloggers support each other through anything, thick or thin. I am so proud to not only have created my own website and business but be able to celebrate and congratulate the success of some of my closest friends. When I saw Virgit work with Coach and reach 90+ K followers on Instagram I was elated, when Lucy had the courage to start her own channel and create opportunities for herself I clapped in admiration. When Anna began a Masters Degree in Psychology and still have the time to run a successful blog I felt like a proud mother and when Christine was chosen to host her own radio show and be featured on top brands pages I danced. Success can be found through blogging and no matter how big or small you are, the opportunities that you get make all the hard work worth it.
How Has Blogging Changed Your Life? If You Are Not A Blogger, Would You Ever Consider Blogging & Why?
Shop The Look