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All Of The Things 2017 Taught Me I’m NOT

…And Why It’s Important To Let Realizations of Authenticity Like This Guide Your Own Journeys of Self-Improvement In 2018

Twenty seventeen was a year of many firsts for me. It was also a year of many lasts. It was a year of losses and of wins, of friction and of growth. It was one of the toughest years of my life, but it was also one of the most rewarding. I now truly understand the phrase my parents used to repeat time and again throughout my adolescence: you will never be able to truly appreciate your successes without having felt the depths of your failures. I don’t consider myself to be “a success” by any stretch of the imagination, but I can certainly feel that I’m making personal and professional progress on a path that fits my passions, and there is no realization more satisfying while I work toward much bigger goals.

The second part to that lesson was to never let the things that don’t work out slow you down or define you. You can, however, find meaning in what isn’t right for you and let it shape you to be better. As I reflect on 2017 in appreciation for the things I’ve learned, and as I look forward to 2018 with some additional insights regarding my truths, these proclamations (although they may seem surprising) are leading me to reevaluate my niche – who I am as a person, as a professional, and as a creative artist:

  • I am not a traditional fashion blogger.
  • I am not a destination for online shopping.
  • I am not a true source of #fitspo.
  • I am not a true beauty blogger.
  • I am not a true food blogger.
  • I am not a true travel blogger.
  • I am not always “on brand” in my daily life.
  • I am not an Instagram / internet “cool girl.”
  • I am not a creator of quick-read content.

I have tried all of these things on for size in my exploration of content creation, and I’ve grown a lot by doing that. This year, however, it is my goal to bring substance and storytelling into my work as I re-calibrate my focus and redefine the purpose of my platform(s). When I think about continuing to develop as a creative, I remember this quote I first read years ago by Ira Glass:

This quote has not resonated with me in the past quite like it does today. Basically, all we can do is a lot of work over and over again until we figure out how to make what we feel is truly good, and in alignment with our taste and purpose. (I was a guest on a friend’s new podcast over the Holidays called Creative Underneath, and we discussed this quote as it relates to journeys of self-exploration. It was a great conversation and I encourage you to listen to it HERE.)

As a result of creating things every day for the past year, I have been able to shed another layer of what I’m NOT and learn more of what I AM:

  • I am a storyteller: In my opinion, stories create the meaning behind anything and everything we do. Profound meaning can even be discovered in some of life’s simplest moments. That’s what I like to talk about, and in those discussions, I find fulfillment in the digital space.
  • I am a performer: Well…this goes without saying. But when a performer isn’t on stage, they’re off stage preparing for their next show. I enjoy my off stage quiet time as much as I enjoy my public-facing on-brand time. Unlike many “Insta-famous” influencers I follow, I need my quiet time to be blissfully imperfect, low-key and off-camera.
  • I am a motivator: So much good can be accomplished with a captive, trusting audience. I don’t take that lightly, and I want to mobilize this community more as time marches on.
  • I am a leader: I have always been drawn to serving in roles of leadership among my peers and in the community. In the digital space, I’ve now realized how my interest in service can manifest as a source of positivity and encouragement for others, and how I can use my voice to support and share things that are truly meaningful and important.
  • I am an observer: I am very easily fascinated, and I am very easily distracted. I live in the moment, and I get lost there when something really grabs me. This means I notice a lot of things that others around me might not. I think this causes me to work much differently than a lot of other bloggers / digital personalities. My posts are not transactionary – they’re exploratory.
  • I am a (thought) influencer: During the month of December when I participated in the Dressember campaign (ICYMI, read about that HERE), I felt a true sense of social responsibility for the first time in the digital space. The digital footprints we leave are lasting, and so many of the users on social media (Instagram in particular) are young and highly impressionable. For that reason, I want my content to be a positive influence on someone’s day. If it’s just as easy to spread some good as it is to spread some bad, why not practice spreading the good?
  • I am a seeker of truth and self-improvement: This is the basis from which my interests in wellness and self-care have developed over the past few years. I’m just trying to be my best self and live my best life so that I can be SuperWoman to everyone who needs me, and I enjoy encouraging others to do the same. To be honest, this is the fundamental belief I share with by best friend Satchie, and what inspired our entire podcast project. (ICYMI, we launched a podcast for women at the beginning of December and you can find it HERE.)
  • I am a cheerleader of the modern-day woman and everything it means to create a life well-lived: This is more personal than anything else. Fully leaning into all of the complexities of womanhood is akin to constructing a house of cards: you have to have enough precision and purpose to get all of the cards into place (a life that you love), and then you have to balance them all day, every day so that everything doesn’t come tumbling down. I’m fascinated by the art of this, and the many female role models in my life who have seemed to master balancing their towers with ease. I want to be them one day, and I am still a complete amateur. That curiosity continues to inform my Grit + Grace series, and also my off-duty historical fiction character studies of women who either failed or succeeded at this (often publicly).
  • I am a bridge to the women in history who got us here: We can learn so much from the past. It is an incredible time to be female right now, especially with all of the digital movements resounding the roars of feminism loud and clear for the world to hear (and see). My deepest appreciation, however, is for the women – the ones we’ll always know and the ones we’ll never know – whose strength and sacrifices day in and day out have made it possible for us to live the way we do today. I plan to honor them in future content features, and preserve their progress with positivity and purpose.
  • I am an advocate of using my voice and platform(s) to impact others and inspire positive change: I think this is my “WHY” in the digital space. And for that matter…it might be my “WHY” in life. For that reason, my content has to have enough substance to say something.

To ensure that it does, I will be streamlining what I continue to define as this platform’s unique purpose, as opposed to trying to mimic influencers whom I admire and fit the mold of what you’re looking to them for. If that means I become, in essence, the anti-lifestyle blogger and share less “daily life” content as a result, it will be a deliberate and thoughtful redirection. As a creative artist who plans to tell stories that do some good and make a difference, I am excited to evolve and begin making some big changes happen on Oh, Eleanora this year. And remember: you can always contact me HERE to be part of the conversation.

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With much love and appreciation, and with best wishes for a meaningful 2018,

 

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