It’s been two years exactly since I started ‘Real Girl’. For some reason this seems absurd and untrue. Firstly, because at some level I’ve ALWAYS been Real Girl; and secondly, because I dreamt of having a blog like this for a long, long time – way before it actually came into existence. I thought and overthought (overthunk?!) what I would like to put up on my two year anniversary for quite a while. Then, like a true millennial, I convinced myself that no one cares and berated myself till I felt weary and pushed the task to the last minute. Now as I sit here with my biggest motivator – last minute panic, I realize that I want to honour these two years by telling you exactly what I learnt in these two years. Not all the lessons have been pretty, but then what’s the point if I don’t keep it real? So here goes nothing, err…not nothing… but…I mean…(Oh hi anxiety, when did you get here?)
- I still consider myself more ‘writer’ than ‘blogger’
I’m always focused on the quality of the writing in my articles. In fact, I’m manically obsessed with words and wit. If I were to put in half that effort to master design and visuals, I might have been at another level today. I honestly cannot say if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but this is a thing. It’s just a fact. Some days it pulls me down and other days it makes me feel smarter than the average bear.
- You can’t be a blogger and not care about the social media game
This is the brutal truth and one that I grapple with everyday. There was a time (eons ago) when running a blog was considered an art in itself, but today social media has taken over the world. You can’t physically meet every person to explain that you actually have a cool blog. You only have social media to do your bidding.
- It’s really hard to blog when something is happening in your personal life
I’ve had the unfortunate experience of watching my dad go through a whole bunch of pretty major health issues these past few months (most of 2017) and I know it affected my blog. I’d be so weary and emotional at the end of the day, that the last thing I felt like being is funny/witty/sassy out here.
- I can tell a lot about people by how they react to my blog
I’ve met too many dickheads in these last two years to now properly recognize the kind. They are the ones who think they are being very clever by saying something like –
“So what is this blog thing you’re doing?”
“Okay, so like…are you making money?”, or better still, “But like how does one make money from blogging?”
Now some of you may argue that the last question could be genuine. But to you I say – It’s 20fucking18! There’s something called the Internet. Look it up. There are plenty of articles explaining how blogs can be monetized. Besides, if you belong to another field altogether and aren’t going to understand even if I explain it, then why bother asking? It’s like me saying – “so this surgery thing, like how does it work?” I won’t ask because I know I won’t just simply ‘understand’.
On the other hand, you have my favourite kind of people – the glass-half-full kinds. They always say, “ I read your blog, it was really funny” or they’ll say something vague like “I saw that you’re doing something cool”. They uplift you with their energy. Like seriously, vibes don’t lie!
5. Connecting with people has got to be THE BIGGEST PERK OF BLOGGING
Just the sheer number of awesome people I’ve connected with in the last two years has been beyond amazing. It’s honestly been the highlight of my existence so far. If my network determines my net worth (as the famous saying goes) I’m gold baby, solid gold. 🙂
I’ve met some pretty darn amazing men and women who I exchange ideas with, take advice from, collaborate with, exploit talents of, and whose energy I shamelessly feed off of. Blogging can be lonely if you believe no one is going to understand you. Since it is creative entrepreneurship – you can actually talk constantly with entrepreneurs (they need not be bloggers) and you will find just how many things you have in common with them.
Social media helps you connect with so many people daily, and if you don’t enjoy that then you’re not doing this profession right. I absolutely love the number of random conversations I have with people, especially on Instagram. I’m properly addicted to the fact that people reach out over there with their opinions and insights. Some of them say I uplift them, but really they uplift me!
- I’m SO conscious about getting clicked
Okay, so random fact – I really never thought that I’d have to feature so much on my blog/social media. I always thought I’ll work with random visuals and put up a picture here and there. But I soon realized that people only click on posts that have your damn face in them (not making this up). Till date, I’m so conscious of getting clicked even though I’ve had the good fortune of working with some great photographers. Besides, every time I see a new set of photos – I’m only nitpicking at myself. (Why am I standing so awkwardly, WTH is that fake smile, why can’t I look sexy? Arghhhh!)
- I have big dreams for Real Girl
Even though I’ve had people tell me to my face that my numbers are not strong enough, or that I’m not fashion enough (LOL WUT), or that the blogging scene is too saturated – it doesn’t stop me from thinking of the big picture. I absolutely don’t see why my hard work won’t pay off and I also genuinely think there’s nothing like Real Girl out there. So remind me why I shouldn’t dream again, haters?
Also, I WILL be an old lady with grey hair and a rad blog called Real Girl – which will be ironic because the ‘girl’ bit will be questionable. But this is happening. It’s a thing. It’s decided.
- The blog has become an intrinsic part of me
Obviously when I started Real Girl, I had certain goals like wanting it to be an inclusive space where all women felt secure and comfortable. I thought I was doing this for ‘others’ but turns out it’s been so comforting for myself. I have been a major victim of body shaming off late and it’s so funny how Real Girl saves my soul every single day. Because how can I be a beacon of hope and light to others if I let the world bring me down? So I dust off the insults, fart a little glitter fart, sit on my unicorn and use the only weapon I have – words – to write encouraging posts and keep up the momentum of unabashedly just being.
To sum up on a realistic note (what other note is there?!) I do know that I have a long way to go when it comes to being put on the map but I like the strides we’ve made. I’ve worked with some actual brands (and gotten paid for it, don’t worry!), collaborated with some awesome people, interviewed some cool cats, learnt a LOT, made a lot of mistakes, stumbled, cried, hemmed and hawed, picked up a few tricks, and honed my skills in these last two years.
If you’ve been along on this journey, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you’ve been a hater, no one in the world keeps me going as much as you do, so thank you EVEN more.
I can’t wait to see what the future unfolds.
Happy 2nd birthday to me 😀
A big shoutout to PrintOctopus for sending over this customised phone case with my new logo. (The quality is excellent and the logo colours really pop! Also, perfect blog birthday gift, don’t you think?!) 😀
If you don’t follow me yet, change that!