Thursday, June 14, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Say

At work, I always tell the kids that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all; and I've tried to follow that as much as I can as an adult. So when I first heard of Get Off My Internets, I was angry that there would be a website where people write hateful things about bloggers, some of whom are my friends. But as of late, I've been spending a little more time than I'd like to admit on that site reading the forums and I also hate to admit it, but I actually agree with a lot of what they say there. I think one of the reasons I just haven't been motivated to blog as passionately as I once did is because of how much blogging has changed since I started in 2009. Clicking on an affiliate link to a product via a blogger's tweet recently made me feel a little used as a follower, and all the more compelled to write this post that has been haunting my mind.

Almost two years ago, Chictopia invited me to speak at their conference about social media and a little about the blogger-business relationship. I still stand by what I said that day that the blogger-business relationship should be transparent, fair, and honest. However, I feel that sponsorships have become even more apparent on blogs since then, and that the shift in purpose of blogs has shifted from expressing creativity to getting free things. The fantasies of fame and glamor have created so many formulaic bloggers who lack real originality and personality. I can find countless girls wearing a floral dress with doc martens; girls wearing an oversized sweater with cut off denim shorts; etc. while scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard. Who were once relatable, genuine girls trying to find their personal style within their closets and budgets are now basically live mannequins for companies. Free stuff is always nice, but is it still "free" when it's at the expense of your originality and personality? It just wasn't, and still isn't, worth it to me. I'm not saying that I'm overflowing with originality and creativity, because what's so hard about putting a striped top with a skirt? All I'm saying is that I think we need to go back to our roots and the real reason why we started blogging. What happened to that loving community that fostered friendships, creativity, and personal style? I feel like almost every comment, tweet, and blog post have become PR attempts to build relationships with companies rather than with fellow bloggers and their readers. I have honestly made the best friends from blogging who I wouldn't trade for anything and who have thankfully remained true to themselves through all of this, and I will be forever grateful for all the opportunities I received through blogging. I just hope that other people can still find friendships and equal opportunities even among all the greed that has littered the blogging world.

GOMI also criticized bloggers for not being real on their blogs, and I admit to putting up a happy facade, but let's be real for a little while. From throwing up on the flight to last year's NYFW to creepy men starting conversations with me while I take self portraits, I think I just might have the most un-glamarous blogging life. For me, most mornings of getting dressed on "picture days" are neither effortless nor are they fun. Sometimes they result in a cute outfit and then a blog post; sometimes they result in mini-breakdowns over hating my closet and my body; and sometimes, probably the worst of all, they result in an impulsive need to buy something new. That last one is something I'm getting better at--dressing for me and not for my blog. I know it's stupid and ignorant of me to have breakdowns over having too many non-cute clothes, but it happens and that's something I've been working on too (especially now that I'm going to be unemployed soon, I have to love every single thing in my closet). Honestly, I think if I didn't have my blog anymore, I'd probably just live in basic t-shirts with a skirt, shorts, or jeans; and on non-picture days, I do. But that's the great thing about having this blog right? It pushes me to be creative with my closet, but sometimes, I worry that the creativity is too forced and not genuine. At the same time, I think I have to stop worrying about creating and just start being...myself.

I'm currently on the cusp of a new chapter of my life. I'm excited, and I'm terrified. I'm scared that maybe I'm not all that great with kids as I thought I was. I'm scared that since the classroom setting is so different from the daycare setting, I might not even like teaching. Now that I'm single and Robert's leaving for Hawaii soon, I'm scared that we made the wrong choice and that I'm going to be forever alone. I'm scared of not finding a job when I graduate. Sometimes I think I'm scared more of success than I am of failure. I'm also scared of spiders and clowns, if you didn't already know. At the same time, I'm excited to meet new people who I can talk to about teaching and kids. I'm excited to learn about a subject that I'm interested in and that I can apply to my life for once. I'm excited to being on the last chapter of being a student, and to beginning a career.

All these feelings, coupled with the fact that sometimes I feel like my blog has outlived its purpose since I have found my own style, have made me want to quit blogging altogether. And I think if the blogging world continues towards this direction, I just might one day soon. Until that day comes though, I mean to stick to my New Year's Blogging Resolution of not forcing the posts/outfits but to let them come naturally. I'm going to try to be a little more real too if I didn't scare you off already.

Until next post,
picture sources: 1 / 2


  1. You hit even note I have been feeling lately. I try to be "real" but I just don't know how much of my life I am willing to share and how much should I share to be considered "real". After going back and forth on it for a while now I have come to the conclusion I shall never be a popular "mommy" blogger and so I should just write and post what I want period. What i should have been doing the whole time.

    Also, I have seen the bad side of popular blogs (along with good) and the branding is just over the top, sometimes they drift so far of what they were when I started following them that I just stop and have to remember why i loved that blog int he first place. I keep thinking "oh it is a tangled web we weave"

  2. Jasmine, you really hit it on the nail! I've actually been carefully constructing a blog post touching on some of the things you've mentioned here. But before I publish it, I want to make sure I write it in a way I want to communicate it. So I'll continue working on mine, but in the meantime this post is inspiring and I really appreciate you not shying away from touchy subjects.

  3. Great post. I totally agree with what you are saying. I think what works for me in blogging is to do it purely for me. I don't think I will ever have sponsors, not because that is a bad thing, just because it isn't for me. I don't want to have a lot of giveaways because to me I would be turning my blog into a gimmick. I don't want to be a brand, or represent a brand or anything like that, I just want to have a space and a voice where I can share my feelings, thoughts, ideas, and creations and be heard, even if it is just by a few. I also want to be there to help people if they are lost or hurting in life. That is what blogging is about, its about connection.

    Anyway, this is becoming a ramble but I wish you luck in figuring this all out.

    xx, C

  4. Ditto - I do read GOMI and I find a lot of what they say to be true for a lot of bloggers. I usually like the smaller, more personal blogs better anyway, with minimal exceptions.

  5. I loved this post Jasmine. I totally agree with you about how the culture of blogging has changed, one reason why I left it. But I also think that you can't really have your own expectations of blogging and have them apply to others, if that makes sense? Some people blog to get free stuff, and as annoying as it is, that's THEIR idea of blogging, just like yours and mine was to meet like-minded individuals and share creativity.

    I'm excited for you and all the things that are about to happen for you. Yours is one of the few blogs I've kept reading since I quit and I still love it. And don't be too scared! I like to think all the things that are worth doing are the things we are almost to scared to do in the first place.

  6. Jasmine, I love you so much! I feel like I've watched you on this blog grow into this beautiful, thoughtful, amazingly smart and insightful woman and you're not afraid to court difficult subjects. You're so self-aware and articulate and strong! Every choice you make is the right choice--it sounds cheesy but its true because nothing you do is permanent. You can always change your mind, you can always go back, but in the end, I find that when we first make big changes in our lives, we want to run away, we want to crawl back into the comforting hole from where we came, but then after a little while, you'll realize that you've grown into an even more amazing person and you don't need the safety net you once had! Give it time, and know that I'm rooting for you SOO hard. <3 <3 jenny

  7. I really do agree with everything you have said. I'd been blogging on my old blog for a year and a half when I found myself in a difficult place in life. I didn't feel like thinking about what outfits to wear or sharing my life at all, so I stopped blogging. I then had a year gap before I started blogging and in that time I changed a lot as a person and thought of many things I would do differently if I were ever to return to the blogging world.

    My blog no longer tries to please others. It is my own style, I will post when I want to post, not just because I feel guilty about not posting for awhile. I am not interested in gaining sponsorships or receiving freebies. Don't get me wrong, if I'm offered something I genuinely like, I will jump on that offer, but I don't want to force myself to talk something up.

    My blog is completely different now to how it was before, not just because I have a new title, but because I have changed as a person.

    I would hate for you to stop blogging, but give yourself time and don't force yourself to do anything you don't want to do. If you need a chat, feel free to email me.

    Wardrobe Quarry

  8. So, you have managed to perfectly describe all of the things I've been feeling about blogging and the blog world for a very long time. It's funny. I was thinking the other day about all the wonderful blog friends I've made since I started blogging, and how I feel like since I formed those friendships, the whole idea of a blogging "community" has dissipated a bit. And that worries me, and bums me out, because the dissolution of the community means less blog friendships, people missing out on the best thing I've found through having a fashion blog. I know I've been worse about commenting personally, and finding new blogs to read. I think I got into a really unfortunate blogging place a while ago, where I got really insecure about my readership, about my clothes and my body, and haven't fully recovered. I keep up with my close friends blogs (like you!), but it's hard when everyone seems to be getting praised and adored for doing more of the same. It's discouraging, because I don't fit that mold, and though I tried to do it for a while, I realized I don't even want to fit that mold, ever. And in regards to "courtesy of" items and all that, I used to think it would be fun for people to send me cute free clothes to share with my readers, but now I feel like most of the bloggers I used to love for their creativity I know don't love because they are more concerned about showcasing their free stuff than being unique. Sigh.
    Anyway, I'm so glad you wrote this post, and opened up, because I relate to all of this, the fears, the qualms, the excitement. I'm so so so SO excited for you, and your new adventures. You are amazing Jasmine! If you need anything, never hesitate to send me an email <3

  9. Sometimes, while people blog, they find themselves or discover something inside of them that they didn't know about. A lot of bloggers, after finding this, have moved on in the real world leaving their virtual lives behind. Most are forgotten once they walk away but some leave a mark; you, Jasmine, are one that will remain in minds and hearts long after you've moved away from the blogging world. Good luck to you. You are transforming into an intelligent and strong woman. I'm proud of you.

  10. This post is 100% original.

    I myself, feel exactly the same. When I started blogging, I did intend it to be a fashion blogger where I post my outfits. But I soon felt pressured and unhappy with the entirety of it all. So I made the decision, a personal decision, to change my blog into a public diary/personal style. For me, writing is a BIG part of my life, who I am, and how I dress myself. Same thing with my photography. I find peace in metaphors and photography. And I'm not blogging to get famous, but to share my words, my interests, my photography - me. I'm sure because of that, I don't have many followers but I don't really care.

    I love my blog and what it stands for. I love YOUR blog and what YOU stand for Jasmine :)
    Stay beautiful and always humble and true

  11. I read your blog religiously and it's precisely because of how open and honest you are. I love your style and I CRAVE YOUR POSTS!!!!! Continue being real, I appreciate it and it really enhances my life. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  12. Wonderful post - like many other conscious bloggers, I am conflicted with the idea of feeding greed and consumerism, but on the other hand, I have to understand that great bloggers also deserve the right to make money off of their talents and hobbies. For me, it's starting to sink in that I am not happy being a mannequin of the most current styles on every post, and I would like to be known more for my character.