‘I feel like I know everything about you’ is what a reader once said to the memoirist Frank McCourt, to which he brilliantly replied, ‘Oh darling. It’s just a book’. The same could be said for this blog. This is a topic I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time, because not only do I like to blog, I like to write; intimate anecdotes are what I prefer to share in the words I type here. It isn’t such a common combination for fashion bloggers, I juggle between professional sartorial lover and internet best friend. I’m asked for relationship advice as often as I am about a lipstick I’m wearing. It’s a lovely but strange juxtaposition ; one I am ultimately grateful for. It creates an intimacy between me and you, and it is this depth that has fuelled my never ending desire to share everything here, from the messy emotions to the pretty clothes. My identity is a force I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember.
This blog, which has been turning weekly for almost a decade now definitely complicated the perception I had of myself. You see, when you share your life online, the edges begin to blur. Screen and off screen melt into one another as you pull open your life for public view. I started Frassy in my final teenage year, meaning my self-perception was still confused and cloudy, driven more murky by a University too traditional for strange people like myself. I will always be grateful for the online community I discovered back in those days, girls online loved the brogues and hats my peers at lectures laughed at. The drawback, was that I grew up too heavily reliant on the internet to make me feel comfortable with myself. I was dependent and as my blog expanded into a full time job, my self-identity grew increasingly precarious. Building your entire identity on public opinion is quite like building a house on sand. It will fall down a lot.
The cruel comments used to leave painful purple mental bruises, the compliments were essentially a highly potent drug; the steroid to my self confidence, and if I’m brutally honest, there have been long periods where I lived vicariously and solely through the things I shared via screen. They were what made me feel most alive and it was all I focused on; showcasing a day that seemed better than it was ; dramatizing experiences as a means of emotional capitalization. I’d jump from shooting to editing to blogging with not much in between. I suppose we all do this as bloggers or writers or artists of whatever sort; spinning the mundane into something more enticing. Perhaps this is the essence of art but then again, there must be a separation between the things we create and our inner selves. A concept I epically failed to prioritize for many years. I still see many bloggers I meet struggling with this, their online presence pushing as the pivotal focus of their lives. Not much other than blogging seems to be discussed whenever I find myself awkwardly hovering around at an event.
I’m asked for my instagram handle before I’m asked my name. I watch bloggers cluster for grinning group selfies at a party and then spend the rest of the evening in silence beneath the glow of their iPhones. This is especially interesting given that my friends of other professions rarely speak of their jobs, the topic of their professional lives is loose and primarily centered around a few quick complaints over a glass of wine. But bloggers, or many I’ve met tend to babble all day. I think they mistake 100,000s of followers to mean that the entire world is fascinated , but really, people generally don’t want to discuss their jobs unless they are actually at their job. Now, I’m not condemning anyone, I know dozens of fascinating, multi faceted women who are bloggers, some of which I am proud to call best friends. I’m also not criticizing anyone, I’m an influencer but for years, the person I was influencing most heavily was ironically, myself.
So, my self view and worth dipped up and down like a graph. It took me a long time to rip the two apart, to value all my many, less photogenic traits ; qualities both pretty and ugly impossible to capture on a camera. It took a long time to not work all the time, weekends especially. It took me a long time to realize that this website is simply just a job and not the parameters of who I am. It took me a long time to realize that the best moments of my life aren’t shareable in instagram format. My life doesn’t revolve around content creation ; while pivotal for work, it isn’t the driving force of my existence.
It took a very long time, it took years but in establishing a stable sense of self identity I found freedom and a tranquility I unknowingly craved. It was this self-exemption, that Frassy is just a ‘job’ and simply a blog; not the foundation of who I am, which empowered me. It propelled me to write truthfully. Now that I know exactly who I am, I have no qualms with sharing both the good and the bad. Because ultimately what I share online is but a tiny fraction of who I am. I do wish I could meet all of you, I’d look less pretty and would undeniably be far goofier than you’d expect. But ultimately, most of me, most of what I really cherish about myself exists beyond this screen that links us. There is so much of me, there is so much of me off-screen – an affirmation such as this one is a slice of immense personal growth I’m proud of.