Hello my lovelies,
I apologise in advance but this is gonna be a long one! There's a lot going on in my head so hey, why not share? No one has to read if they don't want to, I figured.
I've just spent a few minutes changing my blog header (more pink! Less pink? Some nice handwriting! Not mine...) and by chance happened to notice the amount of posts I've put up this year.
Halfway through the year and I have only managed to post sixteen times?! Aghast at my utter lack of productivity with regard to this little space of internet that is mine, I promptly set to analysing why I have let this happen. Blame work! Oh yes, full-time work doesn't leave much time for blogging, and admittedly when I get home most evenings I can't even bring myself to turn my laptop on after staring at a screen all day. But really, it shouldn't be an excuse. I have a smartphone. I have weekends. I have some free time. Really, it's just laziness (and exhaustion). Plus it is an issue for hundreds of other bloggers I follow and they all pull it off, heck, even I pull it off some of the time (sixteen times now apparently).
Lack of inspiration? I don't think I can blame this either. I read enough blogs and have so many thoughts and ideas off the back of them, inspiration from things I see or try or read, that if I took the time to write about them my blog would be never-ending. God knows I own enough clothes to write about all the time! Let's try something else.
Photographs! No, this isn't really an issue. Looking back through my photo folders this year I have plenty of pictures not yet shown on the blog. Not even uploaded to Facebook (although somehow there are over 1000 pictures of me on there. Wow). Admittedly I don't get many that pass my standards as I don't like forcing Jon to take pictures of me as he gets bored quickly. I also have a fancy new(ish) camera, a couple of lenses to play with, a tripod that hasn't broken yet, and the aforementioned smartphone for emergencies. So what's the problem here?
It's not easy to admit, for something that must surely plague a lot of other people. But back to the standards I mentioned... I just don't think I live up to my own most of the time. So many occasions where I have forced Jon to take pictures of me ("Come on, just a few for the blog!") and then I get home and...bleurgh. My tummy is sticking out. Urgh, those arms. I can't believe I thought that dress was flattering! What is going ON with those brows? My hair? My skin? Let's crop it. No, that's even worse! I can't do this...
And the laptop turns off. I genuinely don't know what comes over me. I don't like to think of myself as a person with low self-esteem. I'm quite happy with my life. I am loved. I have a job and a home. I'm not ill. I don't consider myself "fat" as such - don't get me wrong, I am plump and just about contained by a size 14, and could probably afford to lose a couple of stone, but I'm not about to hide myself away in a hole because of it. There are worse things in life than carrying a few extra pounds - trust me, I've been there. I've been slimmer and I've been larger and when I was at my skinniest I was also at my unhappiest, so it's hard for me to reconcile weight with general happiness. But over the past year I've noticed the weight begin to creep on due to a number of factors and I wonder if this is affecting the way I feel about posting photos of myself online.
The thing is though, I've never looked at my blogposts and thought "wow I look good" before. That's not the point for me. I don't want to promote any sort of beauty ideal, I don't want to boast about the way I look or make anyone envious or aspire to be like me. I like clothes, and I like make-up and I like talking about clothes and make-up. I also feel it's easier to talk about these while showing what I am talking about. I find it inspirational reading other blogs and seeing how other people dress and make themselves up - it gives me ideas, regardless of what size they are or how flawless their skin is. When I post I hope I'm doing the same for my readers - perhaps they considered buying that dress and if it looks alright on me it might swing their decision! That mascara made my stubby lashes look good - might work well for you too! But I'm not going to lie, it does boost my own confidence when people comment on how pretty this dress was, or how nice my hair looked in that picture. So there is definitely a link and even an element of narcissism in the whole thing - I pick and choose my pictures so carefully now, knowing they'll be scrutinised by whoever lands on my page. If I don't like my chin or my arms or heaven forbid if the tummy looks enormous then I delete the photo.
But... I don't do the same to other people. I don't read other blogs and think they look fat in that top, or that colour does nothing for them, the way I criticise myself. In fact, I actually prefer reading blogs by people the same size as me or similar, because I figure if they look good maybe I don't look so bad?
Today I went out on a limb and wore shorts and a T-shirt out, in the big wide world, because it was simply too hot to cover up. It was terrifying - I spent the whole day stressing about my ugly feet and unevenly toned legs, wobbly thighs, flabby arms, massive stomach, grotesquely large chest and spotty skin. But nothing happened. No one stopped me in the street to tell me to cover up. No one pointed and laughed. No one gawped in horror or covered their child's eyes. So maybe, just maybe, I could post some of the outfits that didn't pass my standards. Why shouldn't I be honest, after all?
I didn't post this because several other bloggers have since worn the same dress and looked much better than I did:
I didn't post this because my dark circles looked like I had been punched and my hair was a mess (on reflection I actually quite like this photo!)
And I didn't post this because my arms and chest look vast and also ghostly pale in comparison to the rest of me. There's roughly eight tummy rolls in there too.
Before anyone queries it I would just like to make it clear that I'm not writing this to invite a bunch of comments telling me I'm being silly and look great, or accusing me of fishing for compliments - that's not the point! I think blogging really does put an onus on showing the best of you - and I totally get that - but who decides what is the best? Are we too harsh on ourselves? Do people want to see more realistic and honest accounts of other people's lives, or should bloggers gloss over the "ugly" side of things and only show what people want to see? I think I like a bit of both - reading aspirational blogs is great and I love the ideas I get from them but at the same time I beat myself up because I'm not as pretty as llymlrs, not as sophisticated as The Londoner, I don't rock a dress like essbeevee, my photographs don't hold a candle to Rachel Phipps, and I'm not as stylish or photogenic as Carrie from Wishwishwish. And I wonder if this is why I hold myself back and refuse to post anything I don't classify as "good enough" to show the world.
What do you think about the whole self-esteem through blogging thing? Is it helping or actually making things worse? I think there are positives and negatives about putting yourself out there on the internet but am always happy to see what other people think :) I for one am going to try and relax my standards a bit, even if I don't look like a size 12 in that dress or if my skin's playing up again, because really, does anybody care?
Disclaimer - I picked those blogs specifically only because I've read posts from them today and so they are fresh in mind, no other reason :)