I said something along the lines of “haha what, I hardly ever blog these days.”
He told me I should get it because it was great for planning content; I can just go on WordPress and start writing! I replied with “okay, I guess I can plot when to talk about Freakie’s favorite things and when to talk about MY favorite things.” Something like that.
How I Fell Out of Love
I was once a blogger. That was my identity, before we/they were called influencers, before I became just a copywriter (and writing for a living completely took over my life). Prior to getting into the advertising field, my job titles came in slashes: blogger/web designer, blogger/freelancer. “Blogger” always took the forefront.
(I remember one time, I asked a friend of a friend if he was a blogger and he kind of haughtily responded with “no, I’m a writer.” I can’t recall if I took offense in that, but I didn’t understand the difference back then. I was drunk so I might have been a bitch and he might still dislike me to this day.)
Pa-importante person that I am/was, I got a kick out of sharing my life with online friends and strangers. Blogging was so simple back then and I was free to write whatever I wanted because the chance of meeting my audience (who all lived in other countries) in the flesh was highly impossible.
I started going online in 1997 and I’ve been obsessed with internet since the day I signed up for hansonline.com. I grew up in a small college town in the province and I wasn’t particularly well-liked by my peers so I longed for something else. The internet gave me that— message board friends, pen pals from Brazil and Australia, a place to tell my story, and a world outside my miserable Los Baños existence.
Eventually, blogging blew up in the Philippines and I was part of the first wave of the new media pro-blogging chenelyn (lol sorry). I never took it seriously, though. While everyone was finding their niches and shit, I stuck to what I knew best: yapping about myself (a mistake). My audience expanded into people I was bound to bump into offline and the community became too small, but I didn’t mind. Then blogging became a viable source of income and there was always this constant pressure to keep a readership and to kind of be more careful with my words so that money would keep coming in in the form of sponsorships and advertorials.
And it all just kind of fizzled out. Writing about myself got old, and with maturity came privacy. Without a niche, what the hell was I going to blog about? Besides, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.
So I took a breather. I stopped thinking in blog posts and it was great! What a relief to not have to document everything so that I’d have content. But even though my job and my new relationship kept me happily busy, I still felt a bit of guilt and remorse for abandoning something that I’ve been doing for more than half my life. I tried to keep blogging, popping in every now and then to update this space, but my attempts were half-hearted (sometimes quarter-hearted, even) and it showed.
The past year and a half has been the best time of my life so far (thank you for turning things around, Joey ♥) and it saddens me that it went undocumented. I needed a break, though, because I had no fucking clue what I was doing or the direction I wanted to take— not just with blogging, but with life.
What I Learned
I learned a few things about myself when I took some time off, and I hope that these will guide me in how I approach this whole blogging thing.
Earning money is nice (really, really nice) but I found little enjoyment in advertorials for big brands. They’re so hard and I always feel a little insincere writing them. Sure, I never accept sponsored posts if I don’t believe, support, or use the product but I couldn’t help but feel a bit like a shill every time.
I want what I write to have heart and to matter to someone. I also want to be relatable. I’m lucky to have a full-time job and little side projects so I don’t have to heavily depend on my blog for income, giving me a little leeway to write whatever the hell I want.
People will always care//
I stopped blogging because I couldn’t keep up with all these fancy fashion, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers and their beautifully curated life. I thought— why would anyone want to read about this silly bleach blonde cat crazy person when they could be looking at twenty photos of someone’s #OOTD or #FOTD?!
But personal blogs are my favorite. I love that I can learn so much about a person and build a friendship of sorts with them over the internet. Though useful and valuable, I honestly don’t give a shit about style blogs, beauty blogs, tech blogs etc etc. I find most boring because they’re not juicy, and only seek them out when needed. I can’t form a relationship with that/you because I’m only invited to your closet or your make-up bag. It doesn’t invite me into your life.
To quote my buddy, Irene: I don’t care about what you’re wearing if I don’t know who you’re kissing.
Besides, everyone can post outfits or reviews of the same product, but no one can replicate your life or your story.
Be brave, be vulnerable//
I have an impenetrable wall 7-feet high guarding my heart because I’ve been burned before and I refuse to be used as anyone’s target practice. But this wall has been up for so long that I think I’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel. It’s something I’ve been struggling with since my last relationship ended and something I constantly worry about because it’s hard to write when you hide from your emotions.
Vulnerability is a lesson I need to learn. I’m tough as nails but I think that it’s done me more harm than good.
Honesty is important//
We’re very careful with what we post online and that’s totally cool. No one wants to read paragraphs of my anger towards Metro Manila nor do I want a public documentation of the trouble I get into every weekend. I’ve also stopped being so loose with my words and emotions.
But I think a too curated life breeds insecurity in others and makes you come across as a fictional character. I’ve totally embraced my Instagram shelfie-envy (and general life envy) and turned it into inspiration, but there are times when I’ve had to cut myself off because I was starting to feel unsatisfied with my life!
We could all benefit from flashes of realness.
I’ve been blogging for nearly two decades but I feel like I still know nothing. In a way, I’m kind of starting over and finding a purpose for this dusty little corner of the internet. I’m a little excited!