I am a firm believer in the Instagram bio telling the story of who you are. Now granted, it may sound a little ridiculous, but I think there’s something so telling about describing yourself in 150 characters. We can project the selves we want others to see. And one of the words I have added to mine recently is authenticity. So I think it’s time I start unpacking my thoughts on style blogging and Instagram in general.
I have given both too much power.
I have taken a month off out of necessity, and it felt really fruitful to take a backward step and evaluate why I use both (blog and Instagram). In the meantime, I reopened my private Instagram account reserved for people I actually know, where I can post 847 pictures of my kids or any mundane task I find amusing without “fear” of losing interest or followers. But what is at the heart of caring if I lose followers or interest? What purposes are my blog and its Instagram counterpart serving?
I am not naive enough to believe I am a spokesperson for all style bloggers on Instagram, but we all started an account for a reason. Maybe a few people in our private lives appreciated our style. Maybe we wanted to cultivate something just for ourselves in the mass chaos that our lives had become when we were (are) in the thick of raising little ones and going to work every day. Maybe – deep breath – why we started has a little bit of an attention-seeking truth behind it, an ugly truth we never wanted to surface.
For me, about three years ago, I wanted to write about style, to connect to my outside world while navigating the foreign land of northeast Iowa with two babies under age 4 in tow. But as I expressed in my last blog post, my purpose became twisted and unfocused along the way, and blogging/Instagramming became detrimental to my life.
The answer for me was to take a gigantic step back, hands raised, almost in a fearful awe of what negativity transpired while I was so hyperfocused in growing my blog and its Instagram counterpart. Though I have been noticeably absent from my blog Instagram account, I did catch a post recently shared by a few ladies I follow…and it was upsetting, for this exact purpose. It put the blame on the user. It made the user feel shame and guilt for allowing online presence to define her. To some extent, I realize accountability is a factor. Yes, we should step away from our phones and back into our reality when social media gets too heavy. But what if it’s beyond that point of realization? Do we still guilt and shame that user for not being in the right state of mind to step away? Lots of ugly is to be found when we guilt and shame others, even if it we are trying to share a post that is “helping” them see the error of their ways. For me, the only answer was to step back, but I know others out there are probably in a similar state but have not stepped back.
So why am I here again?
I don’t think the answer is to permanently step away from my blog and Instagram because there is a lot of fruit that grows in both spaces but ONLY when both are cultivated and well tended to. And the cultivating tools are in my hands alone. I have known since I was in third grade that writing is a way I can express myself, and my love of writing has grown into a life passion and career for me. The best teachers of writing are writers themselves.
So why do I continue to blog? My answer, my why is simply this: I want to write, I want to share, and I want to cultivate a community where women can come and read about my life as a working mom who is busy, whose focus is never on the same task for more than five minutes, who is being pulled in 865 different directions (I need that jacket, I need to make homemade treats for my son’s class, I need to do something about the frizziness of my hair, I need to clean up my diet, I need to exercise today, oh wait. When was the last time I swept the floors again?), but who still finds the value in expressing her personal style, though others may dismiss that value placed on style as vanity. I would respectfully disagree.
I am a firm believer in the Instagram bio but also a firm believer in style and image as empowerment and confidence. P.S. I’m so glad you’re here, and I am excited to navigate through life with you once again. But I’m also deeply grateful for my time away, which provided me with a healthy perspective shift. Stay tuned. I have so much to talk about.