Measuring Up

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Why do I blog? It’s a question I ask myself at least once a week. Sometimes, I don’t even need to think about it; the answer is right there, on the screen in front of me – I enjoy having a creative outlet that I am completely in control of. The Daydreamer has been a six year work in progress, an outlet for my love of fashion, beauty and, more recently, travel. It’s my very own creative space, and it allows me to chat to those who want to listen, rather than running the risk of alienating my friends by talking non stop about how strong the latest offering from Oasis is, or the fact that strobing is the new contouring. Sometimes, I blog about personal matters and when I do, I feel proud of what I’ve written and hope that my readers feel like there’s more to The Daydreamer than just pretty fluff that fills my days (and head).

However, sometimes when I ask myself that question I don’t know the answer. At times, it can feel as though it’s a lot of work that eats into my time and doesn’t deliver much. Sometimes I get paid and sometimes I receive nice things and sometimes I’m lucky enough to be taken on a trip somewhere new and exciting but, mostly, I’m planning, scheduling, writing, editing, researching and proofreading posts, as well as styling and photographing still life shots or begging the husband to take photographs for me. That’s before the social media, which is oh-so-important and which takes up hours of my life, but which I actually don’t do enough of. Blogging can be exhausting and, in such a competitive world, it can leave you doubting your blog’s (and, in turn, your own) existence.

As a blogger, I also like to read other blogs, mainly for inspiration. Frassy is a great source of inspo for me personally; Audrey is honest and witty and fun, and she’s not afraid to say what she thinks, and she works hard – I mean, really hard – and she values every single one of her readers (despite having tens of thousands of them she often personally responds to comments and feedback). She’s an amazing writer and I love to read her posts, which leave me trying harder, aiming higher. I find Audrey’s endless energy motivating – she is always striving for more, but ‘more’ is saving up to buy her own place rather than having a wardrobe full of designer clothes. She’s also a girl who knows how to have fun, and I love reading her blog posts and seeing the beautiful photographs of her laughing and gadding about between Barcelona and Paris.

Another blogger I adore is Glasgow-based Tatyana of Lafotka, with whom I’ve had long chats over our insecurities (as women and as bloggers) and, because we are both bloggers with friends who don’t blog, we can do the bloggy-chat together at length. Tatyana recently made the decision to rebrand her blog, which I think was a tough but necessary journey for her. I admire her honesty and her kindness – she’s a gentle soul with a warm heart, and this comes through in her blogging (both before and after the rebrand). As well as inspiring me with her unique but wearable style and her fitness/health posts, Tatyana recently shared her feelings about being a blogger based outside London – rather than write that post myself, please read hers because it sums the situation up perfectly.

One more is LuAnne D’Souza of Weesha’s World. LuAnne is an incredibly beautiful woman, an Indian girl who lives in Dubai. What’s most beautiful about LuAnne is that she’s an absolute darling. Having chatted to her a bit on Snapchat, I get the impression that she’s as sweet as her sugary voice and that she’s the kind of girl that is as loyal as she is fierce. I admire her refusal to be defined by her size and instead, she shops ’til she drops and totally works the hottest fashion trends and beauty looks. I find LuAnne and her blog uplifting and I always come away with a smile.

I try not to read blogs or visit Instagram accounts that leave me feeling like I’m underachieving, or that I’m not earning enough, or that I’m not attractive enough. It’s not that I resent their “success” (and I use quotations because success cannot be measured purely by wealth and designer accessories), it’s that I don’t feel a connection to them, their brand or what they are portraying. There are lots of bloggers and Instagrammers that I do follow who carry £3,000 handbags, but they have personality, a sense of ‘realness’. When there is nothing but cash-orientated content on offer, I’m out – but I have to consciously tear myself away, because it’s easy to get sucked in and, as soon as I compare myself to these women (or my blog to their blogs) with their endless conveyor belt of Celine bags and Valentino shoes, broken up periodically with Triangl swimwear and coconut water on a Malaysian beach, I feel a failure. Not only that, I measure my attractiveness based on an Instagram feed featuring nothing but long hair extensions, lip fillers and slender, tanned limbs. But, with their half a million followers, it seems that this really is society’s idea of ‘perfect beauty’. I find myself measuring my own personal success against these rather ‘unreal’ people that I’m trying to avoid when, really, my success lies in what makes me truly happy (aside from a Mulberry Mini Lily), and the real importance in life. For me, as much as I love fashion and Dolce sunglasses, what really matters, truly, is my husband, my family, and my friends; my job at a leading university and my blog and the opportunities it’s given me; my health – my God, my health; and that I can live comfortably, with fresh water and clean sheets and good food. That is what matters. That is success.

Sadly, it’s not just bloggers that compare themselves, it’s all of us. We compare our entire lives, as if our marital status, our job title and salary, our hair, bodies, clothes and skin, are markers of our success and happiness. We constantly put ourselves up against other people and it’s soul destroying. We are wasting our lives.

What we should do, is do something fun with someone we love, celebrate each other and be happy in our own skin and environment. We should take a look at everything we have achieved: what we have done and what we continue to do. You’ll surprise, even impress, yourself. And, instead of approaching the negatives with a defeatist attitude, let’s use them to learn, make change, and better ourselves. It takes courage, but once we evaluate unhappier parts of our lives, we can start to change for the better, to live life and walk our paths with happiness, hopefully while wearing a pair of Manolos – but if not, so what? At least we have feet.

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I’m Wearing: Dress, Henry Holland for Designers at Debenhams; boots, Faith at Debenhams; fur collar, detached from old coat; sunglasses, reworked vintage by Spex Pistols.

Images: Kris Miller

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4 Comments

  1. Tatyana 4th March 2016 / 07:39

    What a beautiful read first thing in the morning. You’re so right – there are so many things to feel grateful about and to celebrate about ourselves daily. You are an amazing human being, a fantastic writer, you have great style and I always love your honesty. I love it when you comment on my Instagram pictures saying you don’t like something – it’s that realness we all need and it’s hard to come by! Thanks so much for your sweet words – really touched and remember, there are many people who look up to you, get inspired by you (me!) and admire your hard work! So keep on doing what you are doing and stay the awesome YOU!

    PS! Loving the new blog look and those pictures!

    All my love
    Tatyana x
    http://www.LAFOTKA.com

  2. Claire Smith 4th March 2016 / 10:04

    I love the honesty behind this post! I’m sure everyone feels like you do in the blogging community. I also really like your dress – Henry Holland is one of my favourite designers <3

    Gisforgingers xx

  3. Barbara Lindsay 5th March 2016 / 23:06

    Excellent writing, well done.

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