The last six months have really begun a unusually weird and spectacular new journey for me–not in a true-renewal-glitter-and-sunshine way, not “I’ve figured it all out,” but in a “Who the hell am I, and what the hell is going on in my life right now?” way. What is this all turning into? How am I going to react to the things that have happened to me, and the thoughts in my head, and the way I have grown and ever stay the same?
It’s almost like an auto tune-up. Some self-examination that was long overdue. Before this year, I had not been emotionally challenged in a long time, so I didn’t feel the change when it started to come.
It sort of started in March, when my partner Sarah and I founded Hello Holiday, which is what I’ve been throwing all of my time and money and energy into for the last five months. Starting Hello Holiday gave me some increased cognizance. It was such a big risk that out of necessity, I did start some self-searching. And that awareness meant that I would notice dozens of significant events in the following months that noticeably diverted my path, halted my routine, and made me realize that I have some damn lessons to learn.
It really started in May, when I realized that I was not doing the right things for me. I had an inner freak-out and reacted by taking a lightsaber to a ton of projects, saying “no” to anything I had doubts about, quitting things, and making positive new friends. I had some rough interpersonal experiences that made me just hate what I was doing, i.e. trying to make a career/build reputation/achieve fame/collect money and pass go by blogging. I started to kind of look in the mirror and I felt like I was just playing a role that I had locked myself into performing because I didn’t want to “disappoint readers.” (I mean, that’s really dumb insecure stuff.) I felt like I had started buying into a competitive, pretentious, and materialistic culture that blogging is at its worst, and my motivations were slowly morphing into that. Realizing this, I didn’t want to blog anymore. I didn’t want to analyze my hit data. I didn’t want to court sponsors. I didn’t want to do these “creative monetization” strategies where readers had to pay for content or “classes” or or or. I didn’t want to do outfit photos. I didn’t want to extoll bullshit lifestyle advice.
The truth is that I like to write, and I love to work. I love to take risks. I like to overwork. I like to feel busy. I like to share what I write, and I like to share what I learn, and that’s a good reason to have a blog. But I think an important part of that “sharing” in such an open online culture is sharing a really authentic version of how things are. And I didn’t feel like the outfit posts and sponsored posts and hobnobbing really gave me space to be real.
Besides that, I made a lot of business decisions in May. I stopped doing the dress line and chalked that up to a fun (but expensive) experience. I closed CAMP Coworking, something I thought was going to be a long-term career focus, and had to take some time to mourn that. I started dipping my toe into the worlds of funding and venture capital as well as coding and programming. Like, on a professional level you could say a lot happened. But on a personal level is where the most jarring changes took place.
In July, I feel like all of the self-examination kind of culminated with my trip to Portland for the World Domination Summit. Once again, as I’ve done over and over and I’ll never be able to repay him, I want to thank Chris Guillebeau for making it possible for me to come and putting on an event that made me feel secure in my business and personal decisions, and prepared me to take on these challenges I had been dealing with for months. WDS was strange for me, as I think I alluded to in a previous post. I met mostly amazing and inspiring people and I also encountered a lot of insecurity and inauthenticity in some folks, which I now see as an essential part of their own journeys. I’ve been there, if I’m not now, and it was all just so much more more holistic than I expected. But it really felt like coming full circle in the past three months–from falling into a really fake, stupid, materialistic lifestyle blogging culture, to some of the pretentious self-searching in Portland, I’m back where it all started and the only thing I know for sure now is that it’s all absurd. Life is absurd, it’s gonna be weird, you’re gonna change your mind about things. You can’t please everybody, and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying and worrying about it. Life is not *that* abstract. If you look, you can figure out your own personality, character, and goals and be like yourself instead of trying to be like someone else. It IS kind of scary. It’s easier to be like a successful person than be yourself and fuck up. But I think living that way just catches up with you and turns out to be a mistake. I think that’s what happened to me.
On the side of exploring authenticity, I’ll note that I had some of the best days of my life with my host, Laura, on my trip to Portland. She’s an old Omaha friend who moved to Portland for a change of pace, where she works as a hair stylist. Yard picnics, very late nights, and some of the most mature and personal conversations of my life. Throw in some dancing, bus-riding, and bar-hopping…the truth is, this trip was the most changing, challenging, and inspirational ever ever. Laura’s like a fairy godmother, and Chris is like a fantastic life-wizard putting it all into motion. I’m beyond grateful for my relationships with both of them.
A crazy summer vacation.
It’s been a long time with this website and it’s due for a redesign. My brand has changed a lot, my goals have changed a lot. I don’t identify with it anymore. It’s taking everything I have not to just save the template and scrap it, and go back to the default template or something somewhat stylized and just take the pressure off the writing. Posting creative projects I do, business-related pieces, things I do for customers, what’s going on at home, and how things are doing with Hello Holiday and whatever else I try to do. I think it’s time.
So here are the things that are actually going on with me, that deserve positive and excited and unique posts of their own:
- I got a book deal and I’m working on it now. My first deadline is in September and of course I think there’s no way I’ll make it. It’s a craft book full of great tutorials. My main goal is to write a book that I would want to own, so I hope that’s what I can offer to you.
- Hello Holiday. I still need a post about this. What is it? A womenswear e-commerce startup. What the hell is that? What makes it different from other shopping websites? When does it launch? Who is Sarah? How do you source clothing? That’s all stuff I’ve got to explain.
- Alice is starting Montessori Pre-school this month and I’m losing my mind. I’m going to miss her so much but I get two free full days a week now so I know I’m about to blow my own mind with the productivity.
- Feminism is ruling my life and I’m afraid I’m getting a bit radical and it’s getting hard to keep it out of all of my writing. Sorry, I guess I’m that now.
- I basically live on Twitter. Why blog when you can micro-blog, etc.
- Planning a big party for Omaha Fashion Week.
- Planning Barcamp Omaha.
- Planning Lovestruck Omaha.
- Going to Las Vegas in two weeks for the Magic apparel trade show. Gonna drop all my money there. It’d help me if you bought something from my shop. If you really want something and it’s too expensive, let me know and I’ll work with you. If you *need* something in there and can’t afford it, I want you to have it.
- Moving into our new office in busy midtown on September 1st.
Working hard, loving hard, playing hard, sleeping happy.