“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.” –Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal”
I had another topic planned this week. In fact I had about half the story written and all of the pictures already taken. But, it just didn’t feel right to me. I couldn’t finish it and that’s because there was a more prevailing topic that had taken over my mind all week. It’s not the “usual” fashion/beauty topic that we discuss, but instead it’s about two little devils that have decided to take up residency in my mind this past week. Those little devils are self-doubt and comparison.
I am not telling you about this because I’m looking for sympathy or even because I need advice (I have a therapist for that). I am telling you, because I KNOW I cannot possibly be the only girl/woman out there that has dealt or is currently dealing with this, and I want everyone to know that we are not alone in our struggles.
You may be wondering what place this topic has on a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog. Well, let me tell you…this week when I was overtaken by these thoughts of self-doubt and comparison, I became extremely tired and lost in my thoughts. I found myself in pain at work trying desperately to keep my eyes open. The only relief I found all week was when I got home from work and could take a “nap” at 5pm. But, then I would wake up around 7:30pm, I would be depressed that I wasted valuable time on sleep when I felt I should have been doing something productive like exercising or cleaning or writing. Soon after I woke the anxiety would set in and I would start to worry, “will I be able to sleep tonight since I just took a 2 hour nap?” And because of all of this, it was nearly impossible to do anything productive with the time that I did have left of my night- including simple hygiene steps like showering at night….hence where the fashion/beauty comes into the story.
When you aren’t feeling mentally well then you tend to not take care of yourself physically. And when you don’t take care of yourself physically then you feel even worse about yourself mentally. It’s a never ending cycle. So, for anyone out there that wants to argue that fashion/beauty is just fluff and doesn’t matter, then I’d love to take on this battle with you. Because, let me tell you, it matters. It matters a lot! When you feel good about yourself and present yourself in a way that you feel, then you naturally take on the world more confident and self-assured…and that my friends is a beautiful thing.
I’ve dealt with self-doubt and comparison more times than I can count in the past. This time, however, it revolved specifically around this very blog- that up until now has brought me extreme joy. I officially started posting on my blog at the end of January, but had been researching and pouring every part of myself into it since last October. I’m fully aware that it’s a work in progress and that I need to learn a lot. I still need a good camera and better graphics and layouts, etc. etc…..and I am OK with that. However, what I’m NOT ok with is that I started doubting myself and comparing myself to other bloggers. A pesky voice said…”You will never be as good as them. You are wasting your time. Who do you think you are?” That same awful voice thought…
Maybe my blog would gain readers if…
I was thinner and could fit in all styles of outfits?
I took pictures more like hers?
I looked like her?
I wrote about higher end fashion?
I had more money to fit into the higher luxury “other world”?
I’m really not sure…
Do people like my blog concept or not?
Am I wasting my time?
I’ve never been a “fashionista,” do people that know the “old” Michelle see me as a joke?
Are people laughing at me?
Is my writing good? Or am I kidding myself?
If I can’t get some of my friends and family to read it, how can I expect others to?
Do I fit in with the current group of bloggers in Chicago?
I’m different. Always have been. Always will be. I don’t want to pretend to be anyone but myself. Am I going to have to do so to fit into this world?
How are any of the statements or questions above helpful? They are not. I have a lot of learning to do for my blog, but I can tell you that I know comparing myself and doubting myself is not the kind of learning that my blog needs. And I know it. However, knowing it and putting it into action are hard.
I didn’t start my blog to “compete” with anyone. I started it because I wanted a way to express myself and to connect with others. I also loved how supportive everyone in the blogger community was of each other.
So, the idea of comparing myself to others that I look up to and admire is absolutely ridiculous. They would never want me to do that, and I don’t want to do it either. On top of that, I’m ME and I want my blog to be different than others, because I want it to reflect who I am.
As I said at the beginning, I know I can’t be the only girl that has suffered from comparing herself to others or doubting herself so I wanted to share my experience in an effort to make YOU not feel so alone, and also to hopefully confront these two demons so I can get them the hell out of my life.
I PROMISE YOU this: I will be back to showering (mainly because do you know how fucking embarrassing that was to admit?) and taking care of myself and painting my nails and not hitting my snooze button 10 times and hopefully not going home after work to sleep BUT instead working out. I want to go out in the world and feel good about myself this coming week.
Here’s a little picture recap of my blog so far…I look forward to everything ahead!
As the title of my blog says, I’m: just me, michelle christine
No more comparing. No more self-doubt. I challenge you all to do the same!
Until next week…Xx!