The photo above was my first real deal photoshoot for my blog: Beauty and the Muse. It was back in 2013, when I had a change of heart on the whole 'blogging' thing. I saw a few other bloggers have some professional photos on their sites, so I set out to do the exact same thing. But I wanted to be different. Daring. Shocking. I wanted to get the people talking.
Style Theme: Every freakin' color possible. I mean I wanted all the neons. I wished to look like a human bag of Skittles. And I did.
This photo made it's rounds on Tumblr and Instagram. I was pleased. I wondered what else I could do with this thing called fashion blogging.
I had blogged before. Had no idea what I was doing. People thought I was weird for doing it. I just wanted to write and be creative. A few people liked it, but not enough to actual keep the blog going, so I tore it down. Then I had an awkward YouTube channel where I disrespected reality stars, modeled the worst fashions, and suffered a public mental breakdown right on camera. Ugh. So this time, I just was going to put it out there, respectfully, and see where it went. I was going to be famous in no time. Ha!
Or so I thought.
Warning: I never, ever meant to become or aspired to be a blogger of any sort. I was just a black girl who liked fashion and liked writing.
Anywho, I attended every event in the city. I worked at ghetto fashion shows in Detroit to get my name out there. I was used, misused, and abused by wannabes. Promised lies. I traveled to New York, got a little feature on HuffPost's Instagram page. I traveled to DC and did an awesome plus-size event there. Met some cool people. And then I went home.
I posted about how much fun I was having while going through my own internal struggles, the ones that weren't so fancy, weren't so pretty like the pictures I posted. But as long as I kept up the façade, right? Who cared about a blogger and her issues...
There was something missing. I enrolled in a masters program for creative writing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that life was too short not to take chances. So I took one that changed my life forever. While in school in Pennsylvania no one really cared about how I dressed or what I posted on social media; they were more interested in me, my writing. Wow, I thought, that was definitely a first. I felt like I was finally at home.
I learned something while going through those highly rigorous two plus years of graduate school; I learned influence. Attention is great. Especially positive. Praise is even better. But what do we choose to do with the influence that we have is the most important of all. And it doesn't really matter what field were in, creative or non, its all the same.
So I pulled back from blogging and asked myself: why are you blogging?
At first I wanted to snatch the campaigns and work with the top people and be noticed by those who supposedly mattered. I wanted to be flown out to the important places and catered to like a queen. I wanted to soak up all the fame and glamour.
Women, my audience, would message me and belittle themselves and say they wanted to be and look just like me...I was disgusted with myself. Why would they want to be me? Who am I? I posted pretty pictures with no substance. I became a droid blogger just like the others with amazing backgrounds and perfect teeth but with nothing to say. I had influence but not a lick of substance.
In 2016, I re-launched an entirely new site. I have a clean slate. My goal for Beauty and the Muse is to not focus on numbers or stats or saying the right thing ever so perfectly, but to create and build a community of creatives. Black creatives, white creatives, plus or straight. I want this to be a place where we can have open and honest dialogue. I want you, the reader, to take something from me, anything, and share it with someone else. I want my influence to matter. Even if it is to just one person. That's one person more than yesterday.
Let's keep the conversation going. What are some of the ways you've come to a realization that you are, in fact, evolving? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Reflection. Growth. Evolution.