Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, it’s been a long time, guilt, guilt, guilt.
2019 has been…odd. I feel, in some ways, that it’s been a cocoon year. Last year I was a caterpillar, next year I’ll be a butterfly - this year, I’m nesting and growing and figuring shit out so I can spread my wings later.
This post has been a long time coming, and it’s theme I’ve talked about multiple times regarding this blog, but I have to hammer it home again, for my own peace of mind.
NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE MONETIZED. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A SIDE HUSTLE.
I say this, as someone who willingly and purposefully gave up all of her side hustles in the last year. I’ve stopped chasing the hustle. For a number of reasons, but mostly - I can say - for the first time in my adult life - I think I’m 100% professionally fulfilled.
For a long time, my side hustles were what I was doing to feel fulfilled and that I hoped would eventually become my main hustle. Most of you who know me personally, have known that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The truth is - I’ve always just loved telling stories and I’ve always loved pop culture. As a child, I thought I was going to blow my education and become a rock star. As a teen, I thought that a unlikely plan and I shifted my focus to film. Making movies would allow me to have a hand in all of the things I loved; writing, story telling, music, fashion, and of course, pop culture. So - that’s why I set off and pursued my degrees - because I thought they’d help me advance into a career in film and ultimately as a writer. Because I love to write and it comes easy to me. Even when I wasn’t taken seriously by my professors or my peers, because I cared more about Burton that I did Beckett - I wanted to have my hand in pop culture, I wanted to write.
Writing always felt like a lifeline to keep me alive and to get me to my CAREER. Whatever other job I had - I always thought that it was a placeholder until the writing took off and I could spend all day huddled over my computer with a cup of spiked tea, spilling my heart out. Here’s the thing though - I got a taste of that life during my funemployment, and I wasn’t really crazy about it. There’s a lot of time that passes in between the maybe two hours each day that I was able to squeeze out some good words. Also - I was hella broke and that sucked the most. While writing is still my lifeline - it’s not my career.
I finally feel like I've finally struck professional gold. Retail buying is…wild. And difficult. And I’m still learning it and a lot of the time I think I might not be that great at it. But I love it. I get to work with pop culture and use product to tell stories. I do something that feels important to me… Being an adult who lives in a big city, it’s easy to lose sight of what it was like to be a teenager in a suburb who couldn’t go to shows and couldn’t get merchandise, and how good it felt to go to a mall and buy a shirt with your favorite band’s logo on it or a hoodie of your favorite cartoon. But, I remember that. And it feels really good to be the person making that hoodie possible. I finally feel like, this is it. This is enough. I can do this for a really long time and feel good about myself; I feel like I’m using my talents and skills and challenging myself and doing something awesome for a select group of people.
Which isn’t to say that I’m done writing. Not at all. But it is to say - that writing is my non-monetized hobby. And I’m so good with that. First of all - it’s real goddamned hard to make money at writing. I’ve had multiple people ask to pick my brain about my blog recently and the only advice I’ve been able to give them (which I’m not sure they were happy with) was - blog for yourself, because no one is going to read it and you’re not going to make any money off of it. I lose money on this blog. Straight up. Even when my views are in the thousands (which only happens once in a blue moon); I’m still losing money on it. Thousands of views aren’t enough to get paid advertising and web hosting doesn’t pay for itself. It is what it is.
I’ve also had multiple people tell me recently that I need to write THIS THING or THAT THING. That if I want to see media with more black women in it then I need to write it - because I write anyway. Nah, I don’t NEED to do any of those things. Writing is my hobby. And it’s important to have hobbies. I’m stealing this sentence right from a psychology article, “Hobbies play an important role in mitigating some of this unavoidable stress, as they provide us with an outlet for creativity, distraction, and something to look forward to.”. Hobbies are fucking important.
I’m so tired of hustle culture. Hustle until we die? Nah dog, hustle until I’m ready to take a nap or when traffic dies down and then relax and enjoy a video game. Attaching a hustle to everything raises the stakes and makes the things that you should be doing for fun stressful. And that’s the wall that I used to hit with writing over and over and over the past few years. There are multiple posts about it, right here on this blog.
I get it, some people need a side hustle. “Half of millennials have a side gig because they can’t find a full-time job that will pay them a living wage, or because a side hustle is what’s required to break into their desired field. But once you’ve decided to monetize a leisure activity, it can be hard to go back.” But, the article that quote comes from by Ann Friedman lays out why not everything is, or should be, a hustle. Somethings you need to do for you.
So for now, writing is something I’m doing for myself. I’m not sure how often I’ll feel led to update the blog. I’ve been MIA around here for six months. I should hope that I don’t take another six months off, but we’ll see. Eventually, I’ll probably write for gain again. After I’ve retired out of the fashion game and moved to the mountains with my husband - I’ll dress in caftans and vintage nightgowns under too big cardigans and write my sordid memoirs and YA fiction. Maybe I’ll hit the lotto and that time will come in the next five years. Who the fuck knows. I don’t. For now, the words are for me - and you, if you choose to read them.
I have some other fun things coming down the pipeline to share with you - a new Youtube channel…possibly a podcast…even less than likely some music. I’ll let you know.
Until next time. XO.