It has been over a year since I last published a post on MWM. Since that post, I have changed jobs, moved house, travelled to Cape Town 3 times, moved to London, started a business, sold my share in a business, met some inspiring people and generally had a very busy, rewarding and eye-opening year.
Having a break from writing wasn’t a decision I made one day, it just happened over time. I don’t feel like I can restart MWM without writing a post on why that was, not because I think the blogging world has missed me (I’m not sure it knew I was there beforehand…), but because I’ve missed it, and I feel I owe it an explanation.
Keeping a blog was my way of channelling my creativity and my passion for beauty into a little ongoing project, which helped me feel like I was achieving something with each post I published (however sporadic those posts were). It never mattered to me how many people were reading it or what they thought; I did it to feel fulfilled, build up my tiny corner of the web and justify a few exorbitant makeup purchases along the way.
So why did I stop?
I remember starting to lose interest in blogging when I encountered the dreaded ‘a’ word – yup, acne. It was the classic story – no real skin issues as a teenager (apart from the constant orange patches thanks to Rimmel instant tan), but as soon as I hit my early 20s and had real adult shit to deal with, I was blessed with the angriest skin, seemingly out of nowhere. It turned out that it was primarily down to my method of contraception, but I didn’t really feel I had a choice in that respect (I get bad migraines, so anything with oestrogen in was a no-no). I convinced myself that it was better to accept that whilst my face may be a mess, at least I wasn’t going to have an unplanned pregnancy… and apart from the odd phase where certain skincare products would calm it down, this went on for around 4 years.
Fast forward to now, and I’m nearing the end of a course of Roaccutane and finally starting to see a difference. I’m genuinely terrified to admit that I’ve had clear skin for the past two months incase I jinx it (and I’m certainly not expecting it to have gone away forever), but I am now at least hopeful that I won’t have to deal with acne for the rest of my life. Up until very recently, I simply couldn’t try out new beauty products or switch up my routine (my skin got even worse before it got better), so the kind of blogging I wanted to do was almost impossible.
I’m not at all shy about talking about my skin and I plan on writing about my Roaccutane experience on MWM in the hope that it helps at least one person who struggles with acne (I know that blogs helped me out immensely through my course of treatment).
My skin issues were probably a contributing factor in what was a pretty difficult end to 2016, when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I wasn’t going to mention this on my blog because there is still so much stigma associated with mental health and unfortunately people do still jump to conclusions and make negative judgments without understanding the circumstances. But then I realised that’s exactly why I should mention it. I feel I almost have a duty to, because hiding it – when I would easily chat about some physical ailment that might have stopped me from blogging – would only seem to validate the stigma.
It’s easy to forget that it’s so common (1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental health problems each year), but just like with my skin, reading about other people’s experiences with mental health on blogs opened my eyes to the issue, and helps so many others do the same. And frankly, any person/organisation that is still prejudiced against mental health issues probably isn’t worth being associated with anyway.
I don’t intend to go into detail about my own experience now (better to kick off the blogging resurgence on a cheerier note…) but, in terms of its impact on MWM, I lacked the inspiration to blog for a while. In retrospect, however, I see the diagnosis as a blessing, because it forced me to make some changes and take control of my life. As a result, 2017 brought a renewed enthusiasm for life that I felt had waned by the end of 2016, and I’m extremely grateful for that – even if it meant that blogging took a backseat.
Aside from lots of travelling (and trying to be mates with penguins – see above), one of my main highlights of 2017 was my introduction to entrepreneurialism. Being Creative Director in a fashion startup taught me countless invaluable lessons and ignited a passion for business that is showing no signs of diminishing – business books, articles and podcasts now replace Spotify playlists on my daily commute, and I’m hoping to incorporate some startup-themed snippets on MWM (with a beauty slant, of course).
Running a business, however, is an all-consuming venture that can leave its founders with no space to think about anything else, let alone a free 2+ hours a day (min!) to keep up with the work that’s necessary for maintaining a blog. MWM (and quite often, my social life) therefore took the hit, but I don’t regret that for a second. Going into business was one of the most educational and eye-opening experiences of my life and I have now well and truly caught the “entrepreneurial bug”.
The final, more obvious reason for taking a break from blogging is that I actually lost my entire blog recently when I failed to renew my hosting subscription (obviously not realising the consequences – silly me). 4+ years of work vanished into cyber space with no way of being restored. Thankfully it doesn’t bother me too much as I see it as an opportunity to start over, which I was keen to do anyway.
Blogging is, without a doubt, the most challenging hobby I’ve ever had. It takes an unbelievable amount of time, commitment and creativity, and anyone who starts a blog without a genuine enthusiasm for their content will find this out pretty soon and probably give up.
That said, it’s also one of the most rewarding hobbies, if you can find enjoyment in the hard work and not put too much pressure on yourself. Blogging is a great way for me to satisfy my constant need to be working on something creative, and combines so many of my favourite things – writing, photography, editing, social media and keeping up to date with trends (read: finding excuses to buy the next beauty release). I love that no-one can tell you what to publish and that every piece of content you put out is completely unique to you.
So, I’m excited to get it going again. I’d love to promise that I’ll be churning out regular posts this time, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.