(Below are excerpts from a journal a friend encouraged me to keep last year while everything was falling apart)
Monday April 25th 2022
I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t journaled. I haven’t written on my personal blog. I’ve been too busy pouring my heart and soul into my job.
Today I was surprised with, essentially a PIP, during what was supposed to be a regular weekly meeting.
“Well you’re an amazing writer and have a great following, but I don’t think you have a personal style. I think you’re searching. I couldn’t defend your style if I tried.”
I never intended to BE a fashion blogger. I wanted to write.
Tuesday April 26th 2022
It’s the day after and I am completely emotionally hungover. I’m vacillating between anger, despair, sadness, really all the things. I’m really starting to question if what this job was to me when I began – an outlet I needed, the perfect job for the moment – is no longer that thing. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a long-term working situation. What I always loved and kept me going was the writing and connecting with people. There are other ways I can do that. Maybe not as lucrative, but I can do it.
I feel like a puppy adopted from the pound as a Christmas present that months later is given up to a shelter because the owner didn’t have time for it.
Maybe I barked too much, but I never shit on the floor. I was always loyal. I was always by your side.
Wed. April 27th
I feel like I’m just cycling through the stages of grief right now. Sometimes I’m sad and it feels like my intestines are in knots. Other times I’m angry because of the bullshit. Other times I’m hopeful that this is the start of something even better for me.
If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you know I don’t do anything halfway.
That included fashion blogging.
I didn’t just put all my eggs in one basket; I poured my entire identity into that job. I loved the writing, the connecting with other people and, let’s be honest, the money was good.
When the basket was chucked aside and I tried to sort through the mess of runny yolks and cracked shells left behind, one of the first things I felt was shame. I knew deep down without that push I wouldn’t have left. I didn’t exactly fit where I was, but the unease in the familiar was much less scary than whatever the alternative was. At least I understood the contours of this job no matter how uncomfortable and restricting they were at times; who knew what horrors awaited out there.
It’s not necessarily painful to look back at where I was a year ago, but it is painful to see how much pain I was in. How bewildered I was. How utterly crushed. It was my worst nightmare and yet, a thought crept into my mind…
“I never have to use a thesaurus again to come up with a new adjective to describe how my butt looks in jeans.”
Although my world as I knew it was falling apart and I had no idea what my next step was, I knew somewhere deep in my bones that this would be one of the best things that ever happened to me. Amid the storm there was a sense of calm, however small and fleeting it may have been.
I became unburdened from blogging which allowed me the space to make room for something new. But first I decided to do something I’d never done before: I slowed down.
I didn’t jump into a new gig immediately – and I was fortunate that I didn’t have to. I took time to explore what fills my soul. If I’m being honest, finding a solid dupe of a sold-out dress didn’t bring me fulfillment, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that it did.
I tried a number of things over the following months and what I came back to is my love of creating. Ultimately that led me back to what I’ve pretty much been doing my entire life. Researching. Falling down rabbit holes. Storytelling.
My former employer was right about one thing: I was searching. Not for a style – I think fashion is subjective and there are powerful, interesting ways to explore it – but for what I was meant to do. Fashion blogging also gave me confidence in my writing. Where before I would have scoffed at the idea I could be paid to write – to create – I left that job with my confidence shattered besides one key thing – I could write. And I could find a space – or make a space – where those skills are valued.
It’s easy to look back a year ago and confidently state that I knew I would end up in a better place. I mean that was certainly the hope as I sat in my closet sobbing, shoveling ho-hos down my gullet. If I were to look for the lesson in all of this – not that anyone comes to my blog for life lessons – it would be the following: don’t hyper-focus on finding the perfect fit, but don’t compromise your values for a bad one either. Everything I embarked on over the past year – the past 35 years – led me to this crazy niche of micro-content creator on TikTok. Something that wasn’t even on my radar in April 2022. It won’t be forever, but it will prepare me to take the leap to the next stepping stone. To the next right fit. But I know that I will never compromise myself again for a fit that is subpar; rough against my skin, careless with my feelings, squeezing all the uniqueness out of me like a poorly fitted blouse.
My fits going forward – like a pair of jeans you find on sale with just the right amount of stretch – will be so good.
Wed. April 27th 2022:
I did took a mindful vinyasa class today. We did this exercise where we opened our hands like a book, visualized what doesn’t serve us, whatever is bothering us or whatever we need help with, and then we brushed it away with our hands while slowly twisting from the core, keeping our hips straight. And repeat.
So, I continued to see what didn’t serve me and brushed it away.
4 thoughts on “And Just Like That…One Year Later”
Do I seriously have to start using TikTok just so I can read you? I am too old!
Meredith, I am so sorry that you were so much pain after ME didn’t work out. For what it’s worth, I loved your pieces, partly *because* you didn’t take fashion very seriously. And I liked that you didn’t have a dyed-in-the-wool style! It created more room for inspiration. You are a wonderful writer, and I’m very happy that you’ve landed in a better place.
I’m another fan of your work at the ME & was sad to see you go. Your writing style was (& is) interesting and not the typical blog style that so many others have. You seemed so normal & not a try-hard, if that makes sense? My favorite white jeans are a boyfriend style from Old Navy that you shared over there. I just enjoyed your perspective; it matched well with mine & often what I felt I could afford. Dropping $200+ on jeans is not attainable for me. Anyway, all this to say, I’m sorry for the struggles you went through. I’m also happy to now follow you on Instagram & here on your blog. It’s got to be hard to be vulnerable in such a public space!
I’m sorry the loss of your job at ME caused you so much anguish.
I liked how your pieces there always came across as relatable. You weren’t trying to give off French Girl or Hot Latina vibes; you were just a normal fashion loving woman experimenting with different styles.
I’m glad you’re finding your groove again. I look forward to reading more.