Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Was Wrong And I Never Should Have Left

It was a silly decision to decide to quit the blog. It just was. 

After posting here that I quit, I tried to start the email newsletter I'd promised. The first one was fun to write, because it was about 2017 TOI Nationals and a re-cap of our season, but after that I just kept coming up dry. There was so much going on, and I had so many thoughts, but when I sat down to write, nothing would come out in a relevant way.

As I kept poking at it, I realized that I hated that no one would be able to scroll through old newsletters in an organized way. The best part of blogging, at least circa 2011 when blogging was still so personal and authentic, was discovering someone new and just getting lost in their archives. When I found Casey's Elegant Musings (now Casey Maura!) I spent an entire snowed-in Sunday afternoon reading every single outfit post she'd ever written, and then proceeded to dig all the way back to her first post of all time and attempt to read it in chronological order. A few years later, when I started following Carly from The College Prepster (she was still in college when I first found her!) she became my morning coffee. I would wake up and immediately read what she'd written, and then, as I finished up my second cup, get lost clicking through her related posts. Even now, whenever I start to feel a creative rut coming on, I pour through Elise Joy's 'creativity', 'motivation', and lately, 'knitting' tags.

So many people who never got into blogging like to smash it in with the rest of the social media train wreck, but those of us who've found our own spaces here know it's just not the same. Each of the three women I talked about above really shaped and represented a phase of my growing up. As I worked through new things and discovered more of who I was, I sought out their voices because they represented what I was striving to be. Casey showed me how to be myself, even the contradicting parts of myself, when I was an awkward 13 year-old that related every real-life situation to an I Love Lucy episode and perpetually felt out of place. I turned to Carly when I was wrapping up high school, and she let met indulge my to-do lists, random ideas, and overbearing, Type A tendencies. And then, just when I was positive Blogland had turned into a lifeless dessert, Elise sparked the creative juices, self-reflection, and fierce independence that full-time retail had started to beat out of me. 

Once I officially was done with the blog, I really started to miss it. The months before, I had started to feel out of place here. Like I'd outgrown it and somehow lost my voice along the way. But without this platform, I realized I'd gotten rid of my voice all together. I tried journaling, but without the structure, and the editing, and the desire to make some sort of point, I found myself doing a lot more complaining and worrying than real, productive, restorative writing. At some point, I actually started a brand new blog. But the new space didn't fix my problems. I didn't want to abandon all the story I'd already written.

So, a couple of weeks ago I decided to come back. I've changed the design (it's super ugly right now and will definitely change again), and wrote a new about page. At work, I wrote out a list of post ideas. I decided I really had outgrown 'young yankee lady'; so I changed the URL. I wish I'd realized in June that what I needed was a face-lift, not a whole new space. 

I am excited to be back, as I've really missed sharing snippets of my life and pulling together a mass of work that, if no one else, I enjoy reading through. I think we have to keep writing, and writing well. The romantic part of me believes that blogging is our last intelligent, personal narrative. If we don't write letters, or journal, what are people going to publish in 100 years? Anthologies of Instagram posts? *shudders*

And if nothing else, it's exciting to have somewhere to ramble incessantly like this (and let's be real: a place to use words like incessantly. That doesn't happen often).

Thanks for reading, guys! It feels good to be back!

Gillian, xoxo

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