To celebrate blogging on Grins & Needles for six years, I thought I'd take you through how my posts have changed through the years, and how my mindset has changed along with them.
In the first year, my blog was private. I had a small following on Twitter, becoming close with bloggers from different states and countries all over the world. I blogged more than just weekly. Sometimes I'd post a few days in a row. I felt incredibly inspired by people like Zoella and Grav3yardgirl to be somewhat open to the internet, although I didn't let my friends and family in on the secret blog.
I posted a lot of tutorials using my PC's camera, despite the grainy quality. I just had fun with it! I also felt really inspired by fashion and style. I was a Polyvore fan, before the site got removed, and I was and still am a Pinterest fanatic. I was heavily interested in capsule wardrobes, so I created a mini series called "How Many Ways Can It Be Worn? (HMWCIBW?)" in which I chose a limited amount of clothing articles and styled them in several different ways. If I wasn't using my webcam to take photos, I was using the self timer on the digital camera I had at the time.
Overall, the first year of blogging was definitely an outlet I could use, both creatively and mentally. It was initially something I was going to keep quiet, but at the same time, I wanted someone to see the cute outfits I was sharing. That's when things changed.
On G&N's first birthday, I created and published a video to the public, opening up about having the blog. My ex was the one who encouraged me to share it with the world, and I'm glad he did. I remember crying to my parents after I sent them the link. I was so scared of judgment by peers and family members, because my anxiety at the time felt almost crippling. Looking back, I didn't need to be afraid. But my fellow anxious people will understand. The unknown is scary!
In this year, I started focusing on both beauty and fashion more in GRWM posts; I'd share the steps I took to achieve whatever look I was going for that day. Nothing else too significant happened this year, besides gaining the support of family and friends--which is huge!
My photography started to take off this year. Not only did I get a new camera (after mine was stolen), but my eye for composition started growing. I was excited to take outfit photos after classes, photograph "hauls", since I finally had a job to pay for makeup, and I adventured more with my now sister-in-law, Angie. We'd take a lot of photo adventures just for fun, even if it wasn't posted on G&N.
This was also the year that I finally opened up publicly about my skin. After years of being pestered in school--and, anywhere public, really--I finally wanted to just clear the air. I wanted to just tell people, "I am normal, I'm just anxious. I pick when I'm anxious." I've never felt incline to heckle people about any physical conditions that person may have. You don't know what you might trigger if you ask. Just treat everyone with kindness, please. I have scars, but I am human.
2017 was the year of practicing more flatlay photography and opening my Depop shop. Honestly this year was kind of a blur to me. I think I was blogging when I wasn't at school, work, or with my boyfriend at the time. Blogging was still a hobby, but by this time, I was collaborating with some businesses here and there. It became something that I realized I wanted to do as a job. I'm obviously still not there, present day, but I felt motivated to start that journey back at this point.
Later on in this time frame was the start to a huge growth. My anxiety was originally causing me to be super dependent on my ex, and when I finally separated myself from him, I was on this new journey of self worth. I was still in classes, making new friends, going through the motion of life. And I was finding peace in being alone. It was allowing me to finally see my own worth. Yeah, I still have days where I feel less than, but everyone goes through that. Being newly single was a scary change that forced me out of my comfort zone, but I felt like I could breathe once I started finding normalcy again with classes and work. I'm young. I need to learn to love myself.
This time frame was also the start of even more big changes. I got a second job, moved out of my parents' house, and maintained blogging while dealing with my busy school-and-work schedule. I also felt a shift in mood, because there was just so much happening in my personal life.
I also started struggling with body image. This caused a slight decline in fashion posts, yet a huge jump in beauty posts. I also wrote a lot about my continuous battles with anxiety and depression a lot in this time, because, like I hinted, this was just a messy time in my life. I tried to still use the blog as a hobby, but sometimes, with how stressed I'd feel, the blog seemed like a chore. It breaks my heart to say that, but sometimes creative minds feel burnt out. I definitely posted sparsely this year, but I tried to just keep my head up and write my truth.
From June 2019 through June 2020, I've felt fantastic. I shifted my focus on improving my mental and physical health. And despite a lot of set backs--and I mean, a lot of set backs-- within the past year, I feel strong. I feel a lot more courageous than I've ever felt. I feel like I've grown so much since starting G&N, and I've maintained my goal of staying honest and open on this site.
I appreciate all the support you guys have given me through the years. Your support, even during the days when it's hard to write, has kept me going. And I hope in some way that my writing can help you guys feel comfort and understanding. We're all human.