Hello friends! Fall is here. And I'm feeling a couple different feelings.
Part of me has been struggling with the idea of Autumn this year. Typically, I love Fall. I welcome it with open arms. But part of me is anxious about the change lately. Part of me feels weird watching the seasons change. My sense of time is still a bit warped after the passing of my mother, so I have a weird feeling in my gut watching everything change around me while my mind feels stuck. The other part of me sees Autumn as a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I need the change. Maybe I need things to feel different so I can climb out of my own mind. Maybe the delightful smell of the dried leaves will bring me to a better headspace. Maybe I'll feel comfort in the opportunity to wear my favorite sweaters again (as simple as that sounds, a good sweater can really make a little guy feel confident).
A few years ago, when the pandemic was on the rise, and when I was beginning to walk more frequently, I found comfort in watching the plants around me slowly bloom. Having the opportunity to witness the slow and subtle changes, despite so much of the world being outside of my control, brought me a lot of comfort. It was a comradery, experiencing the change with my surroundings. So that's how I've been trying to manage my anxiety this time around. Lots of hiking. Lots of trail runs. Lots of connection with the world around me. And lots of therapy (always remember that therapy is crucial). Something about the Autumn air makes me feel introspective. Why did I used to love Fall, but now it scares me? I've been trying to dig deep.
In my time venturing around, I've been thinking about simpler times. I've been thinking about things I used to enjoy, the different hobbies that guided me through my anxious adolescence. The reason I started this blog was to share my anxiety story, to both help myself and to help others. And it was those simple pleasures that pulled me out of my darker moments back then. So for today's post, I want to discuss some of those things that meant the world to me. All this reflection has made me feel nostalgic for those creative outlets, so let's celebrate them.
That Twee Aesthetic
There was something so special about the twee kind of fashion I was rocking in 2014. Since I was a kiddo, I always loved fashion. I wanted to be a designer for the longest time, and in high school I took a lot of style inspiration from the show New Girl. I was blogging at this time, and all through high school I was publishing bright and festive outfit posts. These were so fun to do, and I had to be super crafty since I didn't have a tripod. The entire creative process was super therapeutic and exciting for me. Definitely nostalgic for that feeling of setting the self timer and wearing something that I felt truly myself in.
As an adult, I'm struggling to find that style again. Maybe it's because I haven't been as confident with my body, I'm not sure! But I'm searching for this excitement again, because fashion in general, and browsing fall fashion on Pinterest, make my heart sing.
Classic, 2014 YouTube
2014 YouTube was a safe haven for me. I was experiencing the worst anxiety I'd ever felt, was too scared to leave the house, and didn't know anyone around me who had felt the same. However, I started watching creators online, some of whom where comedic comforts, and others who actually openly spoke about mental health. It was a space where I felt happy to be. Grav3yard girl was someone I watched a lot for her silly videos, because she felt authentic and I loved her bold style. And Zoella was someone who genuinely helped me garner a new perspective on my anxiety. I compiled some of the videos that helped me in 2014, which you can see here, all surrounding Zoella's "Just Say Yes" mantra, where she encouraged her anxious viewers to just give it a try. Like something as simple as leaving the house for me. So I would remind myself to just say yes. Missing how precious vlogging felt back then, especially among the British YouTubers I'd watch.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Most of this is going to be about fashion. But that realm of self-expression was super empowering for me! Nothing felt more exciting that flipping through either my Teen Vogue or my Seventeen Magazines. That, and exploring the world wide web, specifically Pinterest. Like I said, nothing hits harder than fall fashion on Pinterest. Bring on the flannels, the cardigans, the chunky boots, the stockings. I'm ready for them all.
Keeping up with bloggers and vloggers I enjoyed was also a way to stay inspired. People like Estee Lalonde and blogs like A Beautiful Mess were major for me! Estee was always adventuring in her vlogs, and ABM was curating fresh and creative content regularly. I felt visually and mentally very content with what I was seeing in my feed!
The Early Blogging Scene
The close-knit community when I first started blogging was unmatched. Everyone was sharing and retweeting and commenting on each other's work! Being creative is a lot more accessible online these days with TikTok and Instagram, so I feel like that classic blogging community that once existed is a lot harder to find. I'm still friends online with some of the OG bloggers, and we still check in every once in a while, but that exciting feeling of seeing the girlies share a new outfit photoshoot or chat about books doesn't quite feel the same anymore. If you're still writing classic blog entries, hit me up! Let's read each other's work and be cute!
Also just the overall creative process of blogging was different for me. I was taking outfit photos after school, or practicing flat lay and product photography. I was posting weekly. I can't even conceptualize that these days. I was just getting through school and putting the remainder of my focus on photography and fashion. Life was so simple.
Scrapbooking and Collaging
I was crafty way back when. I mean, I was knitting (hence Grins & Needles), photographing things, and printing out a shit load of photos to make collages. I mean I was constantly collaging. Constantly updating my vision-boards was something to make me feel excited about all the possibilities. It allowed me to feel more confident about playing with different clothing and makeup. I miss doing hands-on crafts like this. I still have some loose scraps (I sometimes switch out pieces, but I never really threw out photos I'd print off for the scrapbooking), so I ought to pick up my bullet journal again and do some nostalgic collages in it to fulfill my inner self.
My New Excitement For Walking
This is probably the most recent thing I feel nostalgic for. Like I mentioned earlier, I started walking routinely in 2020. My fitness journey really picked up, but I wasn't doing anything super intense yet besides the occasional pool swim. However, I have fond memories thinking back to that park I visited daily. I was freshly laid-off of my coffee shop job, and needed a place to go where I wasn't around people and where I could have a meditative time. Well, the community park was the place. I was listening to nothing but Little Dragon, so now, whenever I play classic Little Dragon tunes, I always envision the path. Those beats would give me a little pep in my step, and being among the trees and getting my heart pumping was such a gentle and sweet experience for me. Super thankful for those moments, within such a dark year.
So, what's the take-away here? Maybe there's a way to incorporate those little joys into my life today. The world around me might not be the same, but I'm sure there's a way to adapt and find that love of fashion I once had. And now that Fall is here, I'm already excited to bring on the layers.
Thank you guys for reading, as always. What's something that makes you feel nostalgic?