Its been a week since we self-isolated.
A week of waking up stressed, working from home and having my partner in the house 24/7. Good thing he makes me laugh and we like each other!
As I am typing this I am sitting on the sofa, legs stretched on the coffee table, laptop on. He is sitting at the desk a few meters away from me with Cruzy on the rug beside him. We are listening to Etta James and the light is dim.
At this very moment, I am the happiest I have been in a while! My worries have drifted away and there is no COVID-19 outbreak. I am doing something that I love (that is blogging) and the people I love are here by me.
The following conversation unfolds:
ME- Can you imagine taking a picture of my current view and post it on the blog?
HIM- Why, what’s wrong with your view?
ME– (Gesturing towards my view). Well, to begin with, I am wearing my fluffy EMU Australia slippers that are half-eaten by Cruz, there is a Five Guys half-empty fries bowl on the table (a remnant of tonight’s Deliveroo order), two mugs and a glass of wine. And don’t even get me started with the scarf hagging on the chair. It’s a mess!
HIM- And what’s wrong with it…?
I know that he is right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my view, it’s the view of a much loved and used living room, but after 13 years of blogging my brain is programmed to see, seek and document the aesthetically pleasing views only. And here is how this obsession began…
I started my blog back in 2007 because I absolutely loved writing and keeping journals, a habit I developed when my mum’s best friend gifted me with a fancy journal on my 8th birthday. My blog was my secret online outlet that very few had the privilege to read and an extension of my childhood habit.
When collaborations started coming my way back in 2011, I knew things had to change and Natbee’s couldn’t be a sloppy online diary anymore. I rebranded Natbee’s, hired a website designer to help me with the visuals and bought my first DSLR camera (hello bob cut hair and youngster me)!
I have always been creative and what with my daily job being in research (white lab uniform, beakers, and fan extractors glam – you get the picture!), I was itching to have a creative outlet to share my daily (mostly thrifted) outfits and adventures.
The more people were reading Natbee’s, the more brands wanted to work with me, the more money I made and the more I believed in me. But also, the more I had to ‘perfect’ my life, be pretty and document life scenes in 5* star hotels. Until 2015, when Essena Oneil spoke about the blogging facade and the blogging world exploded with blogposts comparing their staged life vs reality.
This was the time I realised two things. One, the necessity (and responsibility) that bloggers carry in this world to be authentic and genuine as they influence their audience to unimaginable degrees. Two, how guilty I was of faking my life and presenting some sort of life perfection (if there is ever one to be found!).
As you can imagine things haven’t always been easy: I have been through break-ups, lack of Ph.D. support, dysfunctioning lab experiments that took my work behind by months and the constant stress of moving from one rented place to another. But you would have never guessed even if you were an avid reader of Natbee’s for years! I learned to hide the ‘ugly’ life moments under the carpet and only present you with the positive aspects of my life. In all fairness, wanting to keep my outlet full of positivity is not something I regret. There was absolutely no need to document my life while going through the most difficult periods of my life. But there was equally no need to fake it.
Fast forward to now and with a pandemic that none of us had ever thought of experiencing in their lifetime, things have become much more simple! With the negativity surrounding us, polishing my content and documenting a life perfection is the least of my worries. Heck, even staying at home, not socializing and not being able to go out of the house whenever I want doesn’t seem that bad anymore.
I learned to think differently and prioritise what REALLY matters in life:
- My health and the health of the people I love.
- Having a roof on top of my head and food on the table.
- Having savings and a stable income.
- And, on a lighter thought, not having to ration the toilet paper!
Of course, I will still go on trips and document the good times but I vow to post more of the real-life and not so much of the staged life that I got used to posting.
I love the connection I have with my audience, if I could give you a glimpse into my Instagram chats you’ll see what I mean! The laughs, the support, and advice and all the questions that pop in every day. For the past week, I’ve been posting spontaneous content on my Stories, daily life moments coming from the comfort of my bedroom and messy kitchen. Cruzy jumping all over me, Cruzy chasing my slippers (the ones I am wearing as I type this) and Cruzy bullying me because I didn’t pay him attention and it’s been 5 minutes since he had his last cuddle. And people absolutely LOVED it!
It didn’t take me long to realise that I had lost part of this, and it is only me to blame for by turning my brand into something more editorial (and advertorial) than it used to be.
The long and short of it is that I am going to post a bit less aesthetically pleasing and more genuine content here – I hope you don’t mind me. With me being busy with a full-time job and everything in between, my focus has shifted and Natbee’s is not my priority anymore. So, it’s the perfect time to go back to the style that I had at the very beginning of this blog, and post more spontaneously and from the heart. It might be nonsense, but it will be my nonsense.
I hope you like it!
I’d love to know what you like seeing in blogs these days! Are you a blogger, a PR or a reader? What’s the content you enjoy the most?