I've been putting off writing this for a few weeks. Number one because I like to keep this space fun and light, with little pressure to pull out the thesaurus and try to remember my college English courses. And number two, I don't think it's necessary to reveal much on a blog designed around fashion and beauty. Personal style is one thing - it's pretty harmless, and the worst somebody can tell me is that I look ridiculous in an outfit or have bad taste in hair. But writing about my life in a more meaningful way is terrifying. Why would anyone care anyway?
That being said, I sometimes get bored of just sharing outfit photos and reviewing beauty products. After all, how many lipsticks does one girl need? How many dresses for that matter? Wait, don't answer that. However, I would like to use this post to do a brain dump if you will. If this doesn't sound remotely interesting, then come back on Monday for more clothes (it'll also be my birthday too)!
I'm not sure if I have ever done a life update, but I love reading them on other blogs. I guess it humanizes the person you admire on the other side of the computer screen. So much of social media now is curated. I can't even stand that word anymore. Curated. Yes, let's live a curated life where our Instagram accounts all look shiny and bright. Most of the time I have makeup stains on my vanity table where I take pictures, or Nettie grabs a hold of my poster board that's used for flatlays so it's got puppy drool and paw marks all over it. Is there a my-life-is perfect filter? Others seem to have it!
All of this searching for perfectionism started to get to me awhile ago, coupled with the cold hard fact that my life felt like it was on auto-pilot and I was just going through the motions. I was tired of my job, burned out like all of my Psych professors warned us about. Those scary non-profit organizations! I promised myself when I first got hired working with at-risk youth that it would only be for a year or two, or until I had gained enough experience to move forward. I promised myself I would go back to school. That didn't happen the way I planned though, and almost six years later I had a nervous breakdown and Nate, my mom, and my therapist told me I was losing it and needed to find my happiness again. I didn't listen until I read this book and then it just clicked. This thought kept sticking out every morning: How can I best serve the families I am supposed to be helping if I can't even help myself? How can I fake enthusiasm when these kids have developed a keen sense of spotting a phony? But I felt like leaving my job meant leaving the kids that I had grown to love. I was tangled up in their traumas, poor choices, and often gut-wrenching stories and I needed to untangle myself before everything turned into a big knotted mess. Before I did. So at the beginning of August, I left my job.
Before I go any further, I want to make clear that I didn't quit to blog full-time. There's no way I would feel fulfilled doing this for a living. That's my own take of course, and I can completely understand how someone else would love the chance to turn their hobby into a full fledged career. I know a few full-time bloggers who do it so well, and I still get a sense that they love most aspects of it. For me, I think it would go to my head a bit. I remember the irony of this when I was going to a crisis call for one of my kids. Not more than an hour prior, I had posted a pretty outfit photo of myself, all smiles and directing people to my website. And then I was snapped back to reality and I was comforting a crying child who believed ending their pain was better than being in a foster home. I felt like I was living a double life or something, and I can't even explain why to this day.
I don't regret my decision to leave, but I also say in earnest that life lately is a little strange. I am still a stylist for Stella & Dot, I begin school in two weeks for a certificate program, and I'm currently reading a ton of self-improvement books. That's about all I can really say, except that I know things will look up eventually. In The Book, it quotes an unknown source: "We tiptoe through life hoping to safely make it to death". Well I refuse to tiptoe safely anymore. For what it's worth, I hope nobody reading this does either.
And if I can leave you with another piece of advice, especially to my fellow bloggers: Go outside of yourself and if possible, donate some of your time to helping others. It's easy to get caught up in the blogger bubble of sponsorships, free stuff, and attending glam events. But there's nothing more rewarding than helping others who are in need of someone to just listen to them. Even though I don't work at a non-profit anymore, I think the lessons it taught are invaluable, and it will always remind me that being of service is one of the greatest (and most important) parts of life.