I often feel homesick for many things. People, places I've never been, memories, moments in books I've read. You might think that sounds heavy or sad but I assure you it's not. It's actually a wonderful reminder of what it means to care for something or someone. A testament to what it means to hold things near and dear to your heart...
Not that anyone has truly asked me to explain myself or my blogging absence lately (although I appreciate those of you who have checked in with me in recent weeks), I do feel a certain responsibility, perhaps to myself, to understand why I needed this break. Or better yet, why I still need this break.
If you happened to read this blog post from a few weeks ago, you know we recently lost my sweet dog, Elvis, to lymphoma after a year or so of chemotherapy treatments. Personally, I'm still reeling from this loss, as anyone who has lost a beloved pet will understand. It's a pain that, no matter how much I tried to mentally prepare for, I still felt blindsided by and quite honestly, may feel for quite some time.
What punched me in the stomach even further after losing Elvis was the cold realization of how much of our attention, time and energy is necessitated on social media, specifically Instagram. Speaking as someone who makes her living solely online, largely on the aforementioned app, I quickly realized that my week-long social media break to grieve the loss of my dog resulted in severe account reach limitations, making it next to impossible to reach even a small portion of my audience, let alone prove to my current and potential brand partners that our collaboration was a worthwhile investment.
In short, my mental health break was damaging to my "social" presence and earning capability, because Instagram rewards the accounts who are the most active, the most consistently engaged and the most willing to forgo personal boundaries 24/7, and punishes those that are not. If you're willing to burn out on this app and dedicate all your time to it, you might get ahead. If you value some sort of offline life, you'll have an increasingly harder time marketing anything very successfully online, unless you can afford a team of people to run it in your absence, which yours truly, like many other small businesses, cannot.
I won't bore you with my long-winded complaints. Again, you likely already read them here. Let's talk about the aftermath of it all.
In the weeks that followed, I found myself spiraling in a lot of self-doubt, a lot of negative self-talk, a lot of imposter syndrome. Suddenly, I felt all my time being sucked back into this app that I fully knew didn't have mine or yours or anyones's best interests at heart, and yet, I was beholden to it. My livelihood depended on how well I could "suck it up" so speak to try to "stay relevant" in the ways I could stay relevant online (whatever that means). And when you have thousands of dollars to pay off in chemotherapy bills, work isn't exactly optional.
I felt stuck, and perhaps still feel stuck, in a cycle of diminishing returns. That's not a fun place to be for anyone, but especially a creative who's constantly being told to create content that fits an "algorithmic mold." I understand these spaces evolve quickly and rapidly — it is the internet after all, that's the name of the game — but I've been feeling particularly drained more than I ever have in my 12 or so years of doing this. That's certainly enough reason to give me pause to re-evaluate.
I suppose you could say, in some ways, I've been feeling homesick for a version of our internet lives that didn't need to be 100% online, all the time, 24/7, 365 days a year, regardless if your mental health was feeling up to it or not. I feel homesick for a time when you could maintain an online community sharing the part of yourself that you felt comfortable sharing, without having to share every other bit as a marketable commodity.
As such, I took a somewhat conscious step back from a lot of the content I typically create, including the longer format content here for the blog. I felt exhausted. And largely still do.
Now, I don't share any of this looking for sympathy or pity. A lot has happened in the past two years of this pandemic to give anyone reason enough to re-evaluate what's truly important in their life — my problems are not unique or even newsworthy in the scheme of things. But they're my problems just the same, and since I started this space over a decade ago to largely share just that — my thoughts — I figured you all, those who still visit me here, deserved an update of some kind.
Thankfully, December is typically a busy time of year for work and this time around, it's proving to look up compared to December of 2020. And with my mom now in town for a visit, I'm trying to be extremely mindful of how much of my energy I spend online and for what reasons. Not just from a creator standpoint but also a consumer standpoint. My hope for you all, is that you can do the same, in the ways that make sense to you.
Over the next few weeks, I may be somewhat present here. I may not. I'm trying to take it day by day, week by week, and whether or not I have something worthwhile to say/share. Please know, my lack of posting here should not be a reflection of how much I value this community. You've seen me through a lot of changes, good and bad, and selflessly supported me through it all. Hell, you all afford me the ability to do this as my full-time job for the better part of the past six years. I owe you a great deal for that. I just want to make sure what I'm sharing here is coming from a place of unforced honesty and lately, I've been dry on that. I hope with a little further reflection and self-internalizing, I'll be able to change that to figure out a new path that makes sense for me. One that hopefully doesn't feel as beholden to the trappings of social media whims.
Until then, I love you all. Truly.
Urlazh matching blazer and skirt set (gifted) // Tamara Mellon boots (gifted) // Brothers & Sisters beret // Chanel bag (gifted, similar style here)
All the outfits look so beautiful! I was searching for some outfit ideas for work and this article would be really helpful. Thanks a lot for sharing.
Our family, aka my son’s family, lost their beloved dog this past year. It was paralyzing to me. I was with them at the time. He was ill and I went to help. The most telling thing to me was my 16 year old grandson, randomly bursting into tears. They’ve since adopted a rescue dog. He saved them.
I’m sorry about the algorithm. If you only want to do your blog, I’m here for it.
You’re such a creative queen.
Shame on Instagram.
I’m so very sorry to read about your loss. They do take a large part of our hearts with them when they go
I’m so sorry to read about your loss. Our furry friends take such a large part of our hearts with them when they go.
Your post speaks so eloquently about my struggles with IG.
The platform certainly sucks the joy out of life, if you let it, which I’ve allowed of late.
You are a delight to follow.
Be well and take care!
Hi Krystal. I’ll admit that I don’t visit the blog as regularly as I once did, but something compelled me to today, and I read this post. I was severely impacted by the sudden death of our cat Jim 10 years ago. Only a small of people really understood how devastating it was. When you truly love another living being – the two-legged or the four-legged kind – and when you lose them, that grief is the same. It makes me so sad to know that your livelihood is being threatened by a damn algorithm because you are thoughtful and selective about what you post.
I really hate how Instagram is changing how content creators must approach their work. I truly hope that something shifts in 2022 and you feel your rightful place again. x
I’ve been thinking about you so much. I mean a lot. I check in here at TTT often. I was happy to see you had posted here, but I am sad about it all. I too miss the good ol’ days of the internet when content was just that–content. It entertained and it wasn’t meant to sell anything. Before you know it there were affiliate links and verified Instagram accounts. It has all gotten quite absurd. I’m not even a professional blogger, but I don’t seem to have anything to publish over on my blog. It’s weird. Usually it’s driven by my creativity, but that creative spirit of mine is rather blah right now. There’s nothin’ there!
I do wonder about it all–specifically Instagram. How much longer can IT be THE thing…? Soon there will be something new, don’t you think? And then we’ll have to learn all about that. It is what it is. But that’s why I keep coming back to TTT. It is YOURS! No one else owns it Sweetie! You just remember that!!
Hang in there.
Big hug. Big love.
Fernanda! I do this too!
I just want to give you a big hug. I know you’re going through a hard time and I can’t tell you how much I feel your pain. It’s terrible that we currently live in a world where you’d have to choose between taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally, and your livelihood. There’s GOT to be another way. If anyone can figure it out, you can. Just remember that the loss you feel is just a small reflection of the love you have, and love makes everything eternal. You’ll sort things out and won’t be sad anymore, and all the while your Elvis will be right by your side!
Thank you for your heartfelt commentary. You are awesome; you deserve time to heal and do what’s best for you. Losing our dog to cancer was one of the most traumatic things that happened to our family. It takes time — a long time — to heal. Take all the time you need. I love your spirit and cherish all the times that I would log on to your blog (I don’t do Instagram) — it made my day. An aside: the photography in your blog is so well thought out. I love seeing the different architecture around the city; your clothing — it’s perfection! Thank you. Enjoy your time with your mother and hopefully you will have a great holiday!
I am always on the lookout for your postings! Take the time your body, mind, & spirit needs. Enjoy your time with your mom visiting. We won’t have forgotten you in your time apart from social, rather we will be waiting for you here. Take good care! Lots of love–
In taking the time that you need, and just sitting with your thoughts and emotions spinning around you, you will figure out a way to tweak this, or redo things entirely. I see your awareness of the joy you and your content brings so many women, and the respect you show the connections forged. Yet the both, and, of it is that Instagram can really suck as a business model and the feeling of powerlessness over it has got to be so oppressive at times. Sending care your way, and you are doing the right thing. 💗💗💗
I am sorry for your loss and hate that the culture we live in puts profit over our mental health. I wanted to let you know that anytime I notice you are not on my feed I make sure to go like/ save posts to make sure you are. I hope you enjoy your time with your mom.