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Jun 16, 2014

Today, me and some other blogger friends are talking about #RealBloggerBeauty. This initiative was started by my friend, Maya, and aims to offset the perfectionism that bloggers (and pretty much all of us) are always striving to achieve. Today, on our own blogs, we’re sharing a personal & perfectly imperfect experience or challenge we’ve encountered in our own lives, just to remind us that, you know, we’re all human.  Be sure to visit Maya’s blog, Charmingly Styled, to see a roundup of them all! Nobody’s life is as perfect as it looks in Instagram! So let us all embrace that, together.

At first, I had no idea what to write about. Naturally, I called my Mom, who reminded me what a huge battle I faced with myself starting this blog in the first place, and how I let that insecurity hold me back for years.

So I’m here to talk about that today. Even if you don’t have any interest in blogging specifically, I hope you can find some inspiration in the journey I’ve experienced along the way!

So, how did I start? Well, I didn’t…for a long time. For awhile, “style” was always something that I loved and was intrigued in, but it was never something that I was good at. If you would have stopped one of my friends at Kilroys in college and asked them about my taste in clothing, likely their response would have started with, “bless her heart!…”

I also had a particular knack for sporting huge, oversized belts in attempts to disguise the newly acquired 15 pounds I put on Freshman year. Would anybody (least of all, myself) have guessed I would become a style blogger and for that matter, a Fashion Editor for my favorite website, The Everygirl, (I still wake up some mornings and question if that is in fact, real) 6 years later?

H E L L.    N O.

And I carried that silly insecurity with me for years. I let it hold me back from my dream of starting a blog for a really, really long time. Fast forward to 23 year old Jess. My style had gotten measurably better. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of four years, and although I was having a ton of fun living my newly-single-girl-in-the-city life, I also had less of a support system. I had no idea what HTML even was, the nicest camera I owned was my iPhone, and I was afraid if I told anybody my dream of starting a blog, people would think I was joking. I was not going to be “that” girl.

What happened? After about a year of indecisiveness, I threw myself into learning how to code, downloaded a free trial of photoshop, got my hands on a good camera, and just did it. And then kept it a big, fat secret.

I continued posting regularly for awhile, but I would go through periods of doubt and stop blogging all together for weeks and months at a time.

Then, after I’d been dating Neal for about a year, and I finally confessed my “idiotic” blogging dream to him, revealing the fact that I’d been hiding this half-assed site from him all this time. After finally convincing me to let him read it, he wouldn’t take no for an answer, and we did my first outfit shoot that Sunday. He allowed me to see how ridiculous I was being, holding myself back.  Would my site be where it is today without that huge push of confidence from him? No, I 100% know that it wouldn’t.

My biggest lesson in this entire experience? It’s not going to just be, “believe in yourself”. That, actually, should be a given. But let’s be honest, it’s hard for us to see the potential our own dreams when we keep them all to ourselves for fear of being scoffed, or laughed at.

As Millennials, we have grown up in the “Just Do It” generation. We’ve heard that the key to success is to just hustle, get it done. That’s great advice, but here’s something that is just as true: sometimes, that “can-do” attitude, isn’t enough.

Not all of us can operate solely on “just do it” fumes. That doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy, or that you don’t deserve the life you want to build for yourself. To get past those moments of hesitation and insecurity — we need the support of others (of course, that’s in addition to busting your ass and always going the extra mile).

Find your cheerleader. Find someone who believes in you, sometimes even more than you believe in yourself. Seek feedback — talk to people. Find others that share similar goals and hold each other accountable — whether that’s a friend, a parent, a significant other, a classmate, or someone you just recently met. You will grow professionally, and as a person, 100 times faster when you have a support team. 

Speaking of a support team, that also includes you guys. Those of you who have taken the time to read this astronomically long post, who come to this blog every week, who know me personally or just through this crazy online world — you are my support system, and you are so much of the reason I’m continually inspired.

So thank you! Especially to Maya, for creating such an inspirational project. Be sure to stop over to Charmingly Styled to read what everyone else has to share today.

Have a great week!

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