This year february doesn't just mark my fifth wedding anniversary. In a couple weeks, it'll be exactly five years since I started this blog. If it seems like aeons ago, that's because it is. In internet time this blog is a goddamn dinosaur. At the time I started it was working on my somewhat doomed bachelor's thesis, on the computer all day, but procrastinating for most of it, looking for any excuse to spend time online.
I was completely enamored with online style blogs and "lifestyle" and wardrobe remix, but felt timid to start my own. It seemed too self-obsessed, too forward. Instead, I was excited about the idea of using a blog to pour some of my obsessions into. It was so novel, before pinterest, tumblr, any of those online mood boards to be able to gather little digital tidbits and tag them on to one's own musings. It was a perfect receptacle for the obscure preoccupations I'd been fostering for years and for which no one in my real life had the time of day.
I wrote about horse girls, Gunne Sax Dresses, witches, feminism and the Gibson Girl, the 90s, the state of newspaper writing and peppered my posts with cute images hoarded from all corners of the internet.
It was a respite. In so many ways that was a really hard year for me, and this was the one place where people didn't constantly ask me how the immigration process, or my thesis was going. Where I could talk about something else even if no one was listening. That was a big part of why I didn't initially post a lot about my personal life.
Over time (and another blog later), I began to post more about myself, my style, my life, my values and aspirations. The blog's content got more personal, and then even more personal. It started serving as a sort of journal for me, one that I can look back on and go "oh yeah, that happened". In some ways it's like a family album for us.
In the beginning I never actually expected anyone to read my posts or told anyone I knew that I had a blog. After all, I was writing for myself, but lo and behold, somehow I gained a few readers, and then a few more. I made friends. I got a community. Still, being a relative luddite, I didn't exactly know how many people read this blog, until I discovered the stats button about two years ago and was shocked, shocked I tell you, to see that there's, well, a few hundred more of you than I'd imagined.
Five years ago things were very different in blog-land. People still obscured their faces and took outfit shots through the mirror, cute awards and memes were big content, no one made, or expected to make money or get swag from blogging, it was just a fun hobby for socially awkward, or overly self-obsessed people. Most blogs looked equally homespun, since their curators had no html skills.
Blogging was intimate, written by and for a small circle of people; and there were certainly no more than a few degrees of separation between someone who had a lot readers and someone who had just started.
It took me years to even consider whether this blog might have a somewhat wider readership, than I thought. And while I was surprised to discover, that indeed it did, I was initially unmoved to consider that in my writing.
While much has changed in the wider world of blogging, this space has remained remarkably same, even down to linklists and design. Like I said, I'm a bit of luddite, that way, wary of change for its own sake.
Reading back on those old posts, I've realized that while this blog has gone through some evolutions over the years, its content and tone remains constant. At its very barest bones, it's about how to be a certain kind of girl/woman in this world.
I still feel like no one reads these entries, but small the pool of folks who comment regularly, even if the stats tell another story. However, lately I've realized that I no longer write just for myself, or even my little circle of online friends, I also write because I feel like someone's reading, listening to what I have to say.
For someone who's been writing all their life, without really having anyone outside friends and professional connections to read their work, it's a weird feeling.
A totally schizophrenic one actually.
I think a part of me can only really keep writing if I imagine, no one reads it. Yet another part of me is curious about your responses. I would be lying if i said I didn't notice what kind of posts generate the most traffic. If I didn't anticipate the lack or onslaught of comments based on what I'm writing about.
That part of me feels like I should use what little influence I may have, to talk about the real things I care about. Yet at the same time, there are many other things, ideas, dreams I'm invested in and not all of them are that serious at all.
I'm also curious about who exactly am I reaching. Most every week, I get an email or a comment from a long-time reader that's making themselves known for the first time. These emails and comments are a surprise every time, but make me thrilled to know that there are so many other women with similar thoughts, dreams, aspirations and dress-senses.
So, what I guess I'm asking is, why do you read this blog? And who are you (I love meeting readers who haven't previously commented, so if you feel like saying something either here or on an email, consider it an anniversary gift for me. If you don't, I totally understand and thanks for reading)? How long have you been reading it? And why do you blog? How long have you been blogging? Who do you write for?
And don't worry, regardless of your responses, I will continue to write what I write, because that's all I know how to do.
Here's to five more years! (I'll still be here posting my little pictures and long written notes, while everyone else hangs out on cyberspace video life or something.)