This day is particularly significant for me, and every year it serves as my day to reflect. 19 years ago, 9/30/2001, was the day my entire life got uprooted and thrown down a completely different, dark path. If you want to read the full story, you can do so here. Strap in though, it’s a long one.
That’s what she said.
Anyway. People constantly tell me they love me for my “realness” and honesty. Well, first off, thanks, I appreciate you. And second, here’s some cold, hard honesty:
I have lost a lot of passion for what I do in the past year or so. Cue gasp. It’s sad and I don’t like to admit it to myself, let alone admit it to all of you, but in order to do something about it, I have to put it out there.
I can’t explain why this has happened exactly, but some of it has to do with how the industry and social media, overall, has changed. And some of it has to do with COVID, obviously. I have a lot of feelings about it and right now, I’m just not going to get into it. Will save that rant for another day and another post. But the bottom line is: I have been a food blogger for over a decade now, and an “influencer” for the better part of that decade, and I just don’t get the same joy from it that I used to. I guess you could say I feel sort of stuck, and also a little bored.
I feel a little bad saying that, but if you do any job for this long, you’re bound to run into this conundrum at some point.
In my life, I’ve gone through plenty of ups and downs, but the one thing that remains constant is: you have to be patient, but you also have to take control of your own life at some point. You gotta get up and shake it off. My method for coping with shit is a combo of self love and tough love, just FYI, so if that speaks to you, we’ll get along just fine. If not, don’t worry about it. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and Instagram reminds me of that every day!
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way though, so if you’re in the same boat, take a step back and reevaluate. Or just…take a step back. I have never felt more burnt out in my life, and taking a few days off from posting/absorbing content is allowed if not completely necessary sometimes. And I don’t know about you, but this year has tested the shit out of me in that respect. Some days I wake up and feel motivated, and some days I don’t feel like doing anything at all. It’s been a rough few months, and I’m just trying to navigate the next steps and figure out how to bring the passion and joy back into my job.
So after my own step back/reevaluation, I’m trying to go down a slightly different route moving forward. I feel a little like I’ve done my work here and I’m ready for the next step. I want to pass the torch. Share my wisdom and all that crap. That’s why I got into consulting work and started my company, The Skinny Pig Inc. in 2018. Frankly, my content has been changing for a while now anyway, I just keep getting pressured back into the old way of things because it’s familiar and it’s “easy”. But I started this blog in 2008 – that’s TWELVE YEARS AGO – and I need a challenge. It would be ridiculous to assume that I’m the same person I was twelve years ago, hell, even five years ago, so here goes nothing. Time for a rebrand.
I am not someone who likes to be complacent, and I know changing things up can be a dangerous game to play, especially with Instagram, but I’m prepared to lose even more followers than I already have. That little factor has been eating at me daily for the past few months. Why am I losing SO MANY followers EVERY DAY?! And the only thing I can figure, is that I’m just not the same person I was, and people see that. And I guess some people don’t like it. You can’t fake authenticity, but I’m not going to pander to anyone. So yes, the losing followers thing sucks, but I like to think of it as the universe trying to tell you something. I guess I’m finally listening.
So if you follow me for #foodporn, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m stepping away from that a bit. I still love food (cooking it/eating it) and restaurants, so don’t worry, that will still be a part of my content. I just can’t post only foodporn, because it doesn’t feel special to me anymore. It’s everywhere now. Not to mention I’m older now and I can’t be consuming burgers every single day. I wish I could, but I’m 36 – I gotta be a BIT more careful with my diet. You don’t need ME for that. Here’s why:
There was a time when being a blogger, and a food blogger especially, was a skill you had. You had to know how to write, you had to have a distinct voice, and you had to know how to use a camera. Now, anyone with a smartphone can be a “food blogger”. Once “media invites” became a thing, and folks got word that they could eat for free if they learned how to take a decent food picture and buy some followers, all bets were off. Clout was something I had to earn, and now it’s something you can buy or fake. I could sit here and be mad about that, but I’ve done that already. I’m over it. I just want to do something that matters to me. If you want to support that, THANK YOU. I will do my very best not to let you down.
I’m not saying that new bloggers can’t come along and be great, but I’m saying that I think the reason I was able to grow a following and create a name for myself is because of ME. People used to tell me they followed me on Instagram for my captions and my sense of humor. Then I think it changed to them following me because of my food pics. I wanted to get better at food photography, of course, but it was always about my voice. At least that was what I wanted, and over the years, there’s been a dramatic shift. People on Instagram don’t even read captions anymore. There’s very few who still do (we appreciate you), but most of the time people only react to the photo and even then, it’s a tricky game to play. What works? What doesn’t? There’s little consistency. So I’m done trying to figure it out. I waste so much energy on something that feels not only futile, but pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
I want to put my energy into more important things, like helping people. I know that’s a broad statement, but it’s why I started blogging in the first place, and over the years I’ve drifted away from it. And I feel bad about that, which is also why I started consulting. I also happen to have broad experience in the “my life is a nightmare” arena, and I want to use it to help others who are going through it. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and all those things that send you on a one-way trip to therapy land? Yep, been there. Social media making your life a living hell? Join the club. It’s all here friends! I gotchu. I just hid all of my psychosis behind a veil of bacon for social media purposes…guess I wasn’t ready yet. But if you go back and read some of my old captions, you’ll see it. Cleverly hidden in sarcasm and dry, slightly morbid humor, but trust me, it’s there.
I don’t know for certain, but I have a feeling this is my true calling: to let you all know you’re not alone and then make you work/laugh your way through it. I wish I had someone to do that for me sometimes, so allow me to be that person for you.
I’ll be sharing more about my personal “journey” (I hate that word) and how I started my consulting business (which was nearly destroyed thanks to COVID), and I promise to still provide you with delicious recipes/guides on food & travel along the way. So yea…anyway. That’s that. Cheers to the remainder of 2020. You’ve been a real bitch.