Over the last few months, I’ve noticed something interesting with the online spaces I occupy: while I’ve been a lot quieter both here and on Instagram, my subscriber and follower numbers have been slowly increasing. While the numbers aren’t astronomical by any means, it’s been enough to make me question why and how that’s been happening considering that I haven’t written a blog post in almost six months. Spoiler alert: I still don’t know, but it got me all kinds of nostalgic in thinking about the ways I’ve inhabited this small space of the internet for the last ten years. Yes, you read that right: I’ve been blogging for almost a decade and wow does that make me feel really freaking old. Revelation aside, as someone who has very much chosen to share her thoughts, feelings, and highly non-professional advice online for this long, I think it’s high time to acknowledge the elephant in the room: that the very landscape of the blogging world has drastically changed since then.
My History with Blogging
This space started as a kind of online journal while I was in college: a way to stay connected with my friends and family back home in a more long form way than Facebook could really handle at the time. Although, now that I think about it, I was one hundred percent guilty of penning a few “notes” on Facebook back in the day (wait do those still exist? if so, brb, must delete all evidence of my late teenage angst). You should also know that I’ve been “writing my feelings” for even longer than that, starting with the platforms Xanga and LiveJournal, which were before Facebook really even existed. I legitimately made friends online back in 2003 (which hi why did no one monitor me as a teenager a little bit more?) via those now outdated platforms, and I also shared some shit I would be highly embarrassed for anyone to ever find now (nope, don’t go looking — I shut those things down a few years ago when I realized they were still somehow living on the internet). I digress. I turned to what I will call “proper blogging” in 2010, and found a really beautiful community in the world of blogs pre “liketoknowit” and sponsored posts that helped me grow into a better writer and, ultimately, a better human. My faith was still new to me at the time, and there seemed to be something sacred about being able to virtually meet other young women who were also writing the things they felt the need to write while learning more about Jesus and His grace in the process. I virtually bore witness to some of these friends coming into relationships, graduating from university, getting married, and having babies, and there was just something so incredibly beautiful and rare at the time about having friends from all over who shared one thing in common: we wrote out our thoughts and feelings for the world to see when the world didn’t know to look for us. It was sweet and pure, and something I am so grateful to have been a very small part of.
Fast forward to today, and the world of blogging is vastly different. There are hundred of millions of independent blogs out there, not to mention millions more on smaller platforms like Tumblr. It’s actually pretty crazy to think about the amount of words — and therefore opinions — that exist on the internet now, as there are just so many voices and content made for us to consume, to the point that it has become insanely overwhelming. Or at least that’s how I’ve felt: overwhelmed. And thus underwhelmed by the thought of adding to the noise, which has been reflected both here and in the micro-blogging space that is Instagram. So yes, it’s been a proper minute since my words have graced the pages of this blog, and while the chatter is one reason I’ve been a little quiet, there are some other, more personal reasons in the mix, and the time feels right for me to share them with you.
Why I’ve Been So Quiet
First, I’ve spent the last six months continuing to travel, bringing my total time of living out of my suitcase to over seventeen months. For some perspective, that’s over 500 days of wearing mostly the same clothes, shoes, and accessories. In one respect, it’s been refreshing to realize how little I really need to function from day to day. In another, man am I sick of my options. And in case you were curious, my trusty Away Bag has served me quite faithfully, and yes, sometimes my clothes get that weird “you must not do laundry regularly” smell — traveling is so glamorous, right? So being that I have been on the move, it’s not been the most convenient time to sit down and write, let alone have the kind of quality content I’d want to even share. Couple that with the fact that I have found myself spending more time in reflection than ever before, I just haven’t had much in me to write. I’ve been thinking on my travels, my relationships (the good and the bad), being in the last year of my twenties, and how my life currently looks so unlike what I might have imagined it would years ago. In summary: I haven’t given much thought or time to writing because I haven’t had much to share, and we all know that when you’re running on low, it’s damn near impossible to have much of substance to pour out.
Second, I have been immensely distracted by, well, anything and everything. I really try not to let some of the more cumbersome aspects of my personality reign freely, but my whole bent toward constantly dreaming has one major flaw: it sometimes hinders me from fully living my actual life. I have never admitted this publicly, but I am constantly guilty of dreaming up alternate storylines for my life, and mentally living there for longer than would be considered normal. Think the multiverse, but make it personal (hi, I’m a nerd it’s fine). In these “alternate realties,” I’ve been the lead in countless romantic meet cutes, comedies, and even the occasional tragedy, I’ve been part of a few twist-and-turn thrillers, and I’ve even time-traveled to long forgotten eras. In layman’s terms: it’s like normal day dreaming with a dash of . . . acid?! There’s even been time or two that my very-much made up storylines have bled so unnoticeably into my reality that I’ve had a hard time distinguishing which is which. Have you ever heard or read the quote, “Feet on the ground, head in the clouds?” Hi it me, and wow, is this ever an embarrassing facet of my personality to share with the world. It’s also unbelievably humbling, though, because it’s real, and I think choosing to share the more vulnerable parts of ourselves is important. That being said, I’ve spent bits of my already scarce free time over the last few months immersed in some of these dreamed up storylines of mine, which have hindered me from having much “realness” to share. It’s something that I more recently decided to fight head on, and it’s become a battle that I refuse to lose because I do not want to miss another second of this real and beautiful life — no matter how dull or difficult it may be at times.
And third, there have been other things that I have been working on in the interim. Many of you know that I started a podcast called Wild Hearts with Gennean at the beginning of the year, a venture that has simultaneously been an absolute joy and also extremely draining. I mean, I love sitting down with my friends to chat about different topics that I believe will encourage other young people in getting after their dreams, but I would be lying if I said the backend was a piece of cake. From writing prompts to recording to editing and uploading, each episode takes countless hours of hard work from behind the screen of my laptop before it can go live. Do I love hosting a podcast? Yes. And do I kind of hate myself for always waiting to the last minute to edit each episode because I know it’s going to eat up my time? Also yes. But every time I receive a message on Instagram or an email to my inbox from someone sharing how much an episode meant to them, all of the negative feelings disappear because I know — in that moment — that the time spent working on the podcast was worth it, even and especially if just for that one person. So if you’ve been wondering if Wild Hearts with Gennean is coming back after the break we’ve been on this summer, fret not my friend: new episodes are coming soon. On top of the podcast, I also recently started working on a more long-form written project that I was first given the idea for last summer while traveling through Europe. To be honest, getting that project started is a big reason why I’ve been back back in the U.K. for the last few months, and I am happy to report that things are moving along. This lil written bebe of mine isn’t quite ready to be introduced to the world yet, but I am so looking forward to the day when it is.
Hi, I’m Back
That all being said, I think that there is a time for being quiet — for tucking in and focusing on one’s inner life, which is where I’ve found myself for a while — and then there is a time to reopen the boarded up windows and share some good news with the world . . . or at least with whoever will listen / read / watch, etc. So hello reader, I am so very glad you are here, because something new seems to be entering into and stirring up my atmosphere, and it would be an understatement to say that I am expectant. Another beautiful and unexpected thing to come out of this season of silence is a shift in my writing: identifying my true voice. Not the voice I’ve felt like I needed to put out there in the past — one that’s semi-fabricated to try to meet the expectations of others or standards of society — but the one that’s been just behind the curtain, patiently waiting to be invited on stage. Well y’all, she here, and she is more than prepared to bring the fiery realness that my in-real-life friends know and love . . . okay, tolerate. They tolerate her/me. But I really do feel so freed up in allowing this voice of mine break through onto the pages of this blog and the pages of my life.
Now that these words are officially out of my head and breathing life into this post, consider my silence broken. I can’t wait to share more and more with you guys as life continues to unfold and as God keeps smacking me in the face with Love. There is no doubt that it’s been a wild ride so far, but the truth is I wouldn’t trade this journey of mine for anything else out there — even if and when my enneagram four-ness wants to daydream my real days away. Thanks for sticking around you guys, and to my new internet friends, welcome! It kind of feels like you arrived at just the right time.
Oh yeah, and here’s an update: your lil digital nomad friend (me!) is finally going to be putting down some roots! In a turn of events that few saw coming, I will be moving back to Nashville in September for the next chapter of this weird story I’m living. While California was the best place to grow up and remains one of my favorite places to visit, I simply can no longer tolerate the price tag — not to mention the personal baggage — that comes along with living there. Thus I say goodbye to beautiful coastal drives, state income taxes, and skyrocketed car insurance, and hello to fireflies and sprawling hills, landlocked living and tornado watches, and some of the worst driving ever (not an exaggeration). Now, it would be disingenuous of me not to mention that Nashville has some baggage for me, too (see here), but spending a few months there earlier this year reminded me that, just as I have grown in leaps and bounds in my time since moving away, that city has grown in many beautiful ways, too. And growth — no matter what it looks like — is always a good thing. So yes, Nashville and I may have a bit of a painted history, but I feel more than ready to call it home again because we have both changed in what I believe are some of the best ways.
PS. I did some quick research and omg the notes feature does still exist on Facebook. If you, too, found yourself a little too willing to share all the guts and glory back in the late aughts, you may want to draft those babies up. You best believe I just did.