Hey. It's been a while. Nearly a whole year. Whoops. 2018 was a wild ride. It felt like it lasted forever, and it still somehow got completely away from me. I let the blog go dark, and while I'm not proud of it, I understand my own reasoning behind it.
At the beginning of the year I had a serious bout of imposter syndrome. I remember being out at a party and a good and old friend asked me what I had been working on & I didn't have an answer. I felt like the blog didn't count and I needed to be working on a "big" project - a book, a zine, a YouTube series - something "big" and "serious" that would get me noticed and end in fame and me having "made it". If I wasn't doing that, then I must be a fake. And I'm a fake and a nobody, then why do I need a blog?
So, to combat this, I started doing a lot of freelance writing. And guess what? Writing for other people meant I didn't have a lot of time to write for myself. While I'm proud of putting myself out there and doing something else - in the last few months I've realized it's not really where my heart is. The internet is full of people who wanna be the next Chris Hardwick and are begging you to like to subscribe because they're HUNGRY, they're STARVING for it - and I'm just...not. Don't get me wrong; I'm passionate about writing and fandom and curating a lifestyle and sharing that with people - but my endgame isn't to have to most like photo on Instagram. Which leads me to my next point...
The business of blogging is stressful and irritating - especially if you're buying into the "competition" and trying to be the most "liked". It takes time and money - to go to the newest places, eat the newest foods, create the best optics for the best photo. Without the money and the time I'm not able to produce content that I can be wholly proud of or that will be 'gram worthy, so I end up creating nothing, and impostor syndrome sets in again. Organic growth is nearly impossible - the algorithm has fucked up everything and who even checks their feed anymore when there are Stories? It is crazy hard trying to turn a profit, especially if you don't want to turn yourself into a product or shill someone else's product. Thousands of clicks and at the end of my best month, I still only made $20. It's dishonest - just google 'Instagram fake travel' or 'Instagram fake sponsorship' - even Bow Wow fell into the trap, remember the Bow Wow challenge? It's insidious. Everyone is trying to flex on every one else all for the likes. Half of the time, I was feeling like I was in a contest that I didn't enter myself in & didn't want to participate in - I don't need to be the most "liked". I don't need to seek that kind of validation, especially when I'm part of a family and friend communities that let me know that I'm actually loved.
I was reading a blog post by Rainier from Love Life of an Asian Guy, and it hit me hard. "You start to see each conversation not as an opportunity to truly bridge a connection with others, but as an opportunity to keep your audience stimulated, entertained, and happy. This isn’t to say that my opinions on these topics are fake. But they are just a snippet of how I feel and they lack the nuance and depth that I believe comes off smoother when I talk in person or during a livestream." Rainier just wants to blog, and so do I. I want to write & sometimes post nice photos without it being a big ordeal. I don't want to create content that is bite-sized or simple for people. I am not bite-sized or simple. I don't want to be an "influencer". I've said it before, and I stand behind it - swaying people's opinions & feelings isn't a joke, & I want to be accountable & only stand behind things I truly believe in.
The most impactful thing I did in 2018, the one that was most important to me, was participate in This is My Brave: Los Angeles. This Is My Brave, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization is the leading platform for individuals to share their stories of living successful lives despite a diagnosis of a mental health disorder through artistic expression (spoken word poetry, original music and essay readings) on stage in front of a live audience. We're opening up the conversation about mental health disorders in communities all across the country and beyond via our YouTube channel. Writing about and publicly talking about my mental health was... freeing. Impactful. Important. Moving. It reminded of who I am and why I am. The response from friends and family who went to the show or watch it on YouTube was overwhelmingly positive. Just a few minutes of vulnerability and bravery, but they were the best minutes I had in 2018. And it was something that I did for me.
I am going to keep blogging. This isn't the first post like this I've written. I've stepped away and come back before; I've hit this spiral before. But, this time I am consciously disrupting the cycle. From this point forward, I blog for me. And I hope you stick around, and if you don't - that's cool too.
Until next time. xo.