Hi, I’m Jo and welcome to Joannesherrell.com: my brand new and improved little home on the web.
It’s been a hot minute since I last published a blog post. In fact, if ‘hot minutes’ were years, it would be around 4 of them.
Do you ever stop and think about life and how great it is? (I hope you do.) Lately, I’ve been doing just that and also reminiscing on a time (about 4 ‘hot minutes’ ago) when I was deeply unhappy and lacking the motivation to do just about anything. Including one of my favourite things in the whole world: blogging.
Blogging was something I started as a teen. I’d share my deepest, darkest secrets under an alias over on Soul Cast. I was always taken aback by the kind words I would receive from strangers all over the world but also the ability to offer support to those in similar situations. I became addicted to writing things that people resonated with.
Fast forward some time and I started my own self hosted platform where I incorporated my love for fashion and beauty. I posted almost daily, collaborated with some amazing brands and gained quite the following.
All in all, I’ve been blogging sporadically for almost 50% of my lifetime and it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I became a digital marketing tutor off the back of my experience and made money side-hustling as a web designer for small, independent companies. I’ve done some pretty amazing things as a result of being a blogger.
So, why did I give it up?
A question I ask myself regularly. I’m not one that typically gives up on things but at the time I guess it was one of those impulsive decisions that I’ll forever regret.
BEING DIAGNOSED WITH BPD/ EUPD
I’d recently been diagnosed with a condition knows as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) aka EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). It wasn’t so much the illness itself that inhibited me from doing what I loved, but the desperation to share my experiences with it, not having the confidence, and feeling like I’d failed at being open and honest or using said experiences for the greater good to help others suffering from mental health problems.
Even just typing this into a blog post 4 years later feels like an achievement and something I never thought I’d bring myself to do. Even more so the fact that I am on the road to recovery and finally feel like I am in a place in my life where I want to show people that wellness is possible, even though it may feel like you are in the darkest place with no sign of that light at the end of the tunnel.
FEELING LIKE I HAD NOTHING POSITIVE TO SHARE
The thing with blogging is it’s totally circumstantial. Just like with being diagnosed with a serious mental health condition, I wanted so desperately to share my life but felt like everything I could possibly write was just one negative thing after another.
As well as finding out I had BPD, the relationship between myself and my son’s Dad was coming to a close, I had to move back to my parent’s house and I was having a hard time at work.
There seems to be a lot of false pretences online where content creators and influencers only share the positives, giving the illusion that their lives are perfect, when in fact they are probably far from. I guess I felt the pressure to conform but I’ve learned to take the bad with the good and also accepted that it’s okay not to be okay. I’ve also come to realise that someone somewhere may desperately need to hear that they are not alone. So being open and honest in such situations is actually a sign of strength and not of weakness for going through those things in the first place.
COMPETITION & BULLYING WITHIN THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY
Just before I decided to give up blogging, there was suddenly a huge boom in content creators, particularly within the fashion and beauty sectors. I guess it comes with the territory that often these types of topics can surround a lot of bitchiness.
Out of nowhere, everyone and their aunt had a blog and the community became extremely saturated, meaning that people were fighting tooth and nail for a slice of the limelight.
I can reel off so many influencers just from the top of my head that literally bought their way to popularity, purchasing followers on Twitter and Instagram. It became so difficult to decipher who was genuine and passionate about blogging, and it created a massive wedge between those that were and those that did it for the followers and the free stuff. Even PR’s and huge companies were fooled.
I remember reading so, so many Twitter threads from bloggers jam-packed with condescending comments aimed at other bloggers for the sole purpose of stirring up hate and drama. It was vile.
Not to mention, a forum was actually set up specifically to spread hate and bad mouth other bloggers in an attempt to get them off the internet.
COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHER BLOGGERS
I am not exaggerating when I say that I have probably typed out over a hundred posts during the time I had fallen off the blogosphere, with the intent of one day hoping I would have the courage to share them. But all I kept thinking was ‘my photography is not as good as _’s’ or ‘I really want my blog to look like _’s’ or ‘there’s no way I could ever write as creatively and comprehensively as _’s’. I compared myself so much to other bloggers that I convinced myself I wasn’t good enough.
I convinced myself that measuring your worth comes in the form of follows, likes and comments or how many brands want to pay you to review their products. It’s only now that I realise just how dumb that sounds.
Over the last few years, I have really worked on my confidence and although it’s not always easy, I have learned to accept that we may be different but that doesn’t make us any less worthy. Whether it’s about our looks or the way we dress, our intelligence, or even the way we blog, there is a place for everyone.
So, why have I decided to start blogging again?
There was a time when I honestly thought I would never turn back and blogging was behind me forever. Yes, I was still writing behind the scenes but it was solely a lack of confidence and motivation that stopped me from clicking that little publish button.
I’m probably at the happiest and most confident that I have ever been in my life so far. I’ve changed as a person over the last few years and there’re a few valuable life lessons I’ve learned along the way.
One is that you shouldn’t be afraid to be who you are and be proud of it. I’ve learned so many new skills and experienced so many things over the last few years and I want to make a positive contribution by sharing them. I know now that I don’t need to be ashamed to talk about my struggle with mental health or admitting that I am far from perfect.
And, finally, life is way too short and if you’re passionate about something, you should stick at it. Yes, we all may feel like giving up from time to time, and that I did for 4 years. But what matters is that you brush yourself off and give it another shot.