Friendship & Individuality in the Blogging World

by Melissa on January 30, 2014

Inspired by a quick morning conversation with some amazing ladies I know, I thought I’d take the time to write about something that has been rolling around in my mind for a while. Something that I’ve brought up a number of times over the last several months, and I’m ready to complete my thoughts on it now: blogging. Blogging can be a complicated monster, and there are two things about it that stand out most to me: friendship and individuality. They are two incredibly important things to remember and fuel in the blogging world…because, man, blogging can bring some absolutely amazing people into your life and it can really teach you a thing or two about being yourself.

I took a break from this very large part of my life for a while. I stepped back from my blog and allowed myself the time I needed to heal, the time to find my voice again, and the time to decide what was best for myself. I contemplated changing my blog name and starting fresh. I contemplated making this blog a private, password-protected place for me to write my thoughts. I gave up on ambassadorships. I began to feel my voice weaken and my thoughts turn from positive to negative, despite what my outward appearance. I felt the massive popularity contest in the health and fitness community begin to take me over. I felt disappointment in the direction in which everything was headed take over. I was heading toward imbalanced and disordered. So I left it behind for a while, and I gave myself the time to think about what it was I want. What I wanted my blog to represent. How loud I was willing to let my voice get.

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself, aloud
I am but only one person, though, and amidst the mass of bloggers whose voices are loud and have a following far larger than mine, I have decided that it doesn’t matter how loud I get or how many people read what I have to say, I am who I am. I refuse to conform to fit in. My voice represents me. I am unique, opinionated, and I am human. I am not perfect. I am not here to become the most popular blogger. I am here to tell a story. To be true to who I am, to write about my weaknesses, to share my victories amongst friends. As long as I inspire one person here, I’m completely content with what I’ve done here.

And the same goes for my personal experiences. No, I’m not a fast runner. In fact, I stop to walk more than once during a run. (Gasp!) I don’t do Crossfit. I don’t live by the paleo diet. I don’t live off of just fruit. I haven’t participated in over 100 triathlons; I haven’t even done one, and I’m not even interested. I am who I am. You are who you are. I don’t make myself improve my running just because someone called me slow. I work on my running for me. I gain weight. Sometimes a lot. I fall behind. I get terribly unorganized at times. I get moody, I get discouraged, and I fall down. A lot. I don’t jump on a bandwagon; I do my thing, and I bounce back. Every. Time. I am who I am, and when something begins to persuade me otherwise, I need to step back, and that’s exactly what I did for the last few months. Now here I am. Ready to step back into the world of blogging. I won’t be pushing myself to blog every day, because I don’t have the free time I used to. Full time grad student. Photographer with her own business and about to be breaking out into the big, beautiful, romantic world of WEDDINGS! (Squeee! Two bookings in the last three weeks!) Mom. Wife. Daughter, sister, friend. Blogging here will continue to be what I always wanted it to be – a place for me to share my life with others. My ideas, my struggles, my accomplishments, my recipes, and everything in between. You’ll see me now (again) active in the FitFluential community.

I hope to keep seeing the wonderful faces I’ve seen over the years continue to stop by. I hope I inspire new faces to continue to be who they are whether it’s popular or not. I hope to inspire people around me to do what it is that they love to do, even if it means going against the grain. I’m in this personal journey of mine to have a healthy mind and body, and I’m here, blogging, for the friendship and community.

Well…that was all over the place. ;)

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Ilene January 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

I love your authenticity. And I love how you have not allowed the more competitive side of blogging to change who you are or what you write about. I love the blogging part of my life but I have to keep it in perspective. I love how you are able to do this and how you share all parts of you and your journey with us. LOVE
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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Love you. Yanno, I admittedly, at some point, allowed the whole competitive blogging bit get to me. And I’ve let nasty comments get to me once and almost convince me to believe that it was at that point that my blogging was over. I think there are a lot of things that can really affect a blogger’s mentality – breaks are definitely a great way to keep it in perspective, especially when things outside of a blog are affecting the way you feel as well. I felt like between my own struggles outside of the blog on top of my struggle with my voice here really kept me from enjoying my blog.

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Harold January 30, 2014 at 12:02 pm

You made perfect sense – to me at least. I did the same thing, only I left my old blog behind and started over. It was what I needed to do to get back to being who I am and want to be.

You will find the right balance that will work best for you and I look forward to reading where that will be :-)

Have fun and keep blogging.
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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I love that you have “runnah.com” now. :D It’s amazing to me the number of bloggers I know who have had to do the step-back-and-check-myself bit. Actually, now that I think of it, most of the bloggers I admire have had to do so. It’s always great to step back and refocus – it keeps us all real.

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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I completely relate to your thoughts on this. This year I decided my new years resolution was to be myself. Sounds dumb but it’s something I need to work on, especially in regards to my blog. I’m choosing to make my blog be only what I want and only blog when I want. I want blogging to be for me instead of for anyone else. I love my readers but it’s still my decision.
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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm

They say that in order to be a blogger, you must have tough, thick skin, because you’re putting yourself out there for others to see. I think that’s the toughest part for me, because I would love to reach more people, and that may or may not happen the way I do it. I want to reach them on my terms, but I don’t always have the thickest skin. I want to reach other not through conformity, but through my own experiences, because none of us are alone in this world. The last thing I want to support here on my blog is the idea that we should all be experiencing the same thing in the same way. That we should all be running at the same pace, doing the same workouts, be the same weight, think the same way, etc. etc. The last thing I want to do is make someone feel as though they’re being alienated based on who they are, what they look like, how they experience life. And you’re right. That IS your blog, and while a blog is, well, technically a very me, me, me thing, revolved around the writer, to me, a great blogger speaks from his/her heart TO other people…to reach other people…to bring people together. (I hope that makes sense!)

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Becky@thesavedrunner January 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I just found your blog, and I love it! I love everything you said in this post! In the blogging world it is so easy to compare yourself to others, but you just have to be you!!

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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Well hey there! So glad you found me! :D The comparison bit doesn’t hit me as hard as it used to…but keeping my vision and my voice clear and unique? That’s a tough one when everything around you seems to melt together into one big mess!

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Kristin @ A Mom on the Run January 30, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I love this and totally agree with the sentiment. I’ll be here reading along and cheering for you. <3

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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Thank you so much Kristin. <3 That means a lot to me!

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Carly @ Fine Fit Day January 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

You inspire me, lady!! I love your blog, I love what you have to say, and I LOVE that you always bounce back from whatever life throws at you. xoxo
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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Thank you, friend. <3 <3 And I love that I have friends like you with whom I can surround myself. <3

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Ashley @ Brocblog January 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I completely hear where you are coming from. I was trying way too hard and feeling so much pressure from the strange world that is blogging and made some mental changes just this morning to the way I am going to handle my blog from now on.
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Keia Lee January 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I recently discovered this for myself as well. Blogging can be overwhelming and way to much competition. I write becuase I love it and because I want to help people grow and find themselves.
Thank you for sharing this it was very inspiring!
Love, Keia

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Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Totally needed to read this right now Melissa. Oy. I’ve been going back and forth on the blogging thing. I mean, I love it and all that it has brought into my life but man, the competitive side of it (and me), I just don’t know. I’ve been stepping back a bit from blogging and social media kind of out of necessity (work and other things) but I don’t feel a huge pull to go back to it always. Hmmmm, maybe it is time for me to pull back? I don’t know if I’m ready for that though. Sorry for this rambling comment!! xox
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Melissa January 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm

What’s wrong with a rambling comment amongst friends? :)

If you need to pull back, you need to pull back. (Though, as all of you said to me, I would hate to see you go.) The break I took has been an eye opener for me, for sure. To see how much it was taking over my time. To see just how much I really started forgetting the good in it. Instead, I was getting angry with the imbalanced and disordered and counterproductive information and mindset in so many “healthy living” blogs. (I cleared my bloglovin’ feed out yesterday. Wow.) Do what you need to do for you, my friend. Your voice is one of the many beautiful voices I love to “hear” and I, for one, know that it sometimes take a good amount of rest and refocus to keep it going loud and proud.

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Stephanie M. Freeman March 29, 2014 at 11:26 am

This is so awesome and just how I have felt with my running over the past year… You have inspired me to write on it! Thank you so very much:)

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Stacie May 31, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I agree with you. Just be YOU! Stacie xo
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