March 24, 2015

Hey there.



This is the first time there's been any hint of a pulse on this blog in awhile and it's taken me a few attempts at writing this post because it's pretty personal. In the past, I wouldn't have written something like this, but I can't continue to blog if I can't be more real with the few people who read this space.

I've come to realise that taking a 'digital detox' has become somewhat of a pattern for me over the course of (almost) 5 years of blogging; I get really into it, then I stop posting altogether. My hiatus is then followed by a post explaining why I've been 'such a bad blogger'. This time, it was a bit different, and life got in the way of things.

I've always considered myself to be a happy and positive person, but towards the end of last year, I was frustrated and stuck in a very unhappy, negative frame of mind. It started to affect my life; from the decisions I made to the words that came out of my mouth and how I treated those around me. I was caught in a downward spiral of negativity. It felt similar to losing my temper; my judgement became clouded and my emotions took over any reasoning - I started to blanket everything in a bitter, dark clothe of resentment. I was confused about my career, my friendships with people and my life's purpose. It was very unnerving, especially because it felt like everyone around me had their shit together.

Instead of cheering me up, social media was actually making me feel even more depressed and confused. I've written academic essays about the negative effects of social media, but I never thought that I myself would fall into the trap of comparing myself to others and thinking that everyone was having a better time than me, and living a more fulfilling life than I was. I know that most twentysomethings go through this at some point or another [I had a very public, 'quarter life crisis' a couple of years ago] but social media was pushing me deeper into a negative space, rather than inspiring and exciting me like it used to. I started to resent my Facebook timeline because it was a daily reminder of how exciting 'everyone' else's life was and how boring my life seemed in this little island. Instagram became an emotional game of minesweeper for me; I wanted to know what was going on with everyone, yet I felt really sad when I saw too much fun happening without me. I got frustrated with how little I was traveling [I'm spoilt, I know] and instead of focussing on what I do have, I was obsessing over what I didn't have and what everyone else seemed to have.

Another 'bloggy breaking point' was when J and I took an amazing trip to Europe last summer. We love traveling together and shared 3 weeks of non stop fun, food, friends and exploration. We came home on a high, and I couldn't wait to share some of the stories of our trip on this blog. We hit the ground running as soon as we got home though. I then started to panic because I wasn't on top of my blogging game...and I didn't have the time to do it properly. . I then started to break my own rule of doing things 'half assed' and posted a few things here and there just for the sake of keeping it up. I got so worked up and upset over this that I just decided to ignore this blog altogether. Being a bad blogger was then added to my growing list of failures.

Social Media also forced me to reconsider certain friendships and how it gave me a false sense of 'connectedness' with a lot of people. My birthday at the beginning of December was a turning point, because people I considered to be good friends of mine were writing on my 'timeline' instead of calling me, sending me a private message or email. It felt shallow and fake, and there were losses in translation wrought by a format that favors brevity. Social media should be complementary to other kinds of interaction, not in place of it. And birthdays are a good time to pause and reflect—off-line—on the important relationships in your life. I'm not blaming them for that at all, but I realised that I was craving something more and that the only way for me to change that was to be the change myself and to make more of an effort offline.

It took me some time to recognise what was going on, and when I did, I started to resent myself for it. 

Why couldn't I just get over myself and be happy? 

Augh. I wanted to crawl into a hole to sulk and never come out again. 

Finally, with the help of those closest to me, I started to fully recognise what was happening towards the end of last year and sought help on ways to heal and make things better. I took some time to be selfish and reflect on why I was feeling the way that I was, and how to make it better.

I decided to ease some of the pressure I put on myself and this blog by taking some time off from blogging and certain social media accounts. I 'deleted' Instagram [I removed the App and had a friend change my password for me] Unfortunately I couldn't delete Facebook from my life altogether, as my business is very dependent on it, so I swapped to a separate professional Facebook profile, which was limited to everything work related. I purposely didn't delete Twitter, because I noticed that Twitter wasn't affecting me in the same way. It was more selective, and I ended up using it throughout my 'digital detox' as an outlet, and a way for me to record certain events that were going on in my life.

These simple steps helped me tremendously, and I couldn't believe how easy it was to do. It took removing myself from these channels to realised how they were a constant distraction from my immediate surroundings, and the people in them and how much of my time was wasted through Instagram and Facebook. Stepping away from it all helped me gain some much needed perspective, especially when it came to this blog.

Throughout all of this, I really missed writing and sharing certain aspects of my life and I decided to give it another shot, without the pressure

I just want to be myself. I want to write about things I find inspiring and to share stories with those who cared to listen and to share their own. 

I want blogging to be fun again.

With that, I decided to re join the world of blogging, Instagram and Facebook, but with a different, more selective and realistic way of handling it. 
This blog may never become the what I had originally envisioned, but I've accepted that now. I’m just a sporadic, haphazard blogger; I’ve made many promises to write about a gazillion different things on here, only for them to never materialize. I've made a lot of mistakes, and people have made fun of me for continuing to do this, for putting myself out there the way that I do. I have no idea what I'm doing but I seem to enjoy the process, most of the time.

I've been inspired by other bloggers who keep it real, and though I won't have the time to develop this blog as much as I would like, I'm going to do my best to keep it real, and to keep it constant. This is a life blog, and I would be doing myself and others a disservice by only talking about the fun, and the colourful aspects of my life. 

Thank you to the few of you who spend a little of your day to read my posts, leave a comment, or email me privately. I am so incredibly humbled. I wish I could convey just how much it means to me. I’m not sure what direction this blog is going, but I hope you continue to follow along on my journey.

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17 comments

  1. Great read Malou!!!!

    I totally get what you mean in looking on social media and seeing what others post and comparing to what others post to what is going on in your own life.... But I try to remind myself that most of us only post the good things that are going on in outlives and what others see is not always the full story. We post the happy times not the bad... making it seem to others that life is great and all that we wanted... Very rare do people post all the negative things in life (yes there are some that are just the complete opposite)... We all have mask that we try to make others (and sometimes to fool ourselves as well) that all is hunky dory in our lives!

    And take a break from social media is something that I think all of us should do every once in a while! As I had started a blog and I have not been "inspired to write" in a few months but sometimes you just nee dot find yourself every so often as well!

    Sending hugs and kisses! xox

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    1. PS you have inspired me to start back!

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    2. Hannah your comments are so true. I think it's human nature to want to share the more positive things in life, and social media has amplified that to the point where we all start to believe that's the reality, when it's clearly not. We just need to learn to find a healthy balance! I'm super excited to read your blog, please share it when you're ready! :)

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  2. Malou! So many parts of this post resonate with me as I've felt some of these same feelings over the past year. I took a break from blogging this past December and felt so much better afterwards. During my break, I realized that I am in fact a "social introvert". I love to be social but it takes energy away from me. I get my "re-charge" by being alone and having time to reflect in a quiet environment. So when I finally got back to blogging, I created boundaries for myself when it comes to how much time I spend blogging and on social media. I'm still working on changing my blog to better reflect what I want it to be but it's at a snail's pace compared to amount of time I used to put into it and that's ok because that's what I need to do to stay more consistently happy.

    Speaking of happiness, Charles and I had a discussion about it recently because personally I've been in a funk with grad school and where I'm going in life career wise. One point I took away from our conversation was that "true happiness is only experienced after one overcome's adversity." I've always tried to focus on being positive but I'm realizing that without the negative, I wouldn't appreciate the positive as much so it's just as important to acknowledge the negative moments too. I'm realizing that it's all about balance because you literally can't have one without the other. Anyways, I don't know where I'm going with this except that I'm rooting for you Malou! Whether you decide to blog everyday or every other full moon, your blog was literally the first blog I ever connected with when I started blogging and I'm happy to have you back. :)

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    1. Setarra, I'm going to follow up on this with an proper email, but I didn't want to ignore your beautiful comment. You're absolutey right about creating boundaries too, it's so important. I also love the idea of 'needing' negative experiences to fully appreciate the positive and I think finding true happiness is only possible when you figure out the balance that works for you. As someone who I admire so much for keeping it real and true, your support is really appreciated :) xo

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    1. Thanks Ray! You neeeeed to start blogging again now that you're going back to the UK! I need to keep up to speed on your adventures! :)

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  4. Unfortunately I wrote this whole thing which was lost when I signed into my gmail but nevertheless I am so happy u wrote this!!! Keep writing and love life!! Ur a gem xx

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    1. Haha I could literally hear you saying that in a semi-joking-frustrated Bajan/Aussie accent G! Thanks so much for your comments.The response to this post has been so incredibly overwhelming, especially having friends from across the globe reaching out like this! Looking forward to catching up when you're next home! xo

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing! I love you...and please keep writing about whatever you want because it makes me feel closer to you. Miss you terribly! xoxox

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    1. Love you too Channy! Writing this post was the kick in the butt that I needed to re evaluate friendships and make communication more of a priority, hence the annoying voicenotes since Tues! haha xo

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  6. Happened across this quite randomly but it was just what I needed to read! Right on time!

    All the best!

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    1. I'm super happy that you came over to my little space on the internet, and even more grateful that you left a a note Aisha! Thank you! :) xo

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  7. "there were losses in translation wrought by a format that favors brevity. Social media should be complementary to other kinds of interaction, not in place of it."

    So true Malou! Bless xx

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    1. Thank you! How funny that you picked out those sentences, they were my 'favourite' and not my usual style. Thanks so much for your comment & feedback, I really appreciate it!

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  8. Love this post and I totally get it. After I returned to my little island after a trip to Australia last year I had a blogging slump too. I still rarely visit my personal Facebook and deleted the app from my phone. Social media really is something else! Wishing you all the best in blogging and life from now on. Sometimes we need a break and its best to take one when that happens.

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  9. Doubs! This is so real. I'm glad that someone finally had the courage to come out and say it. I too have experienced similar negativity because of social media.. And trying to keep up with everyone.
    I have since realized that its important to live and be happy in the moment. And take pleasure in the little daily events which make us smile.. Its nice to see the beauty in a flower.. And feel the sunshine on your face.. We have so much to be grateful for... Do what makes Malou feel happy and satisfied.. Not what others would think makes them happy.
    You are not alone doubs.. You have an awesome life.. And the friends you have are loyal cheerleaders of that life.
    I wish I could have more of you in mine.. I'm looking forward to when you visit Cali.
    I love you
    Zo xx

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