NINE years? Get out of here… has it really been that long? Who knew that a little blog idea, that was to be a home for my boutique would evolve into an award winning digital fashion site? Who knew that I would find my purpose through words? Who knew that I would be able to make a living doing what I love?
Man. Nine years.
It has been a seriously long journey, one that I still feel is just beginning! As I enter nine years of The Curvy Fashionista, I thought I would get a little personal with you and share some of the things I learned about chasing your dreams, finding your purpose, and walking in faith.
Is that alright?
Okay, here we go…
Nine Things I learned these Nine Years of Blogging
Self-Care is Number One
So, last year… I fell apart. All the way. I was at my lowest, sat with dark thoughts, and was emotionally a wreck. High functioning depression is what it was called. I was happy to find a name for it. Happy that I had been surrounded by a group of friends and family who helped me back up. Happy that I started therapy.
I had been carrying this weight for a long time. Trying to put on a face and be who I thought folks needed me to be, rather than deal with past emotional trauma, stress, and emotions, that I had so carefully buried, that I had not even seen it.
However, throughout this year, I have learned what it means to care for me, truly. I have learned that if I am not okay, neither is my brand. I have learned that it is okay to open up to others and to show YOU who I am. I have learned how to stand in my mess, clean it up, and tend to Marie.
Cleaning the house, going for walks, taking that dance class, going out for drinks, creating a real grown up budget, organizing my life, and facing fears, fallacies, and reality are all part of this journey I am on to Take Better Care of Me.
Scarcity Mindset Is Real
I never really truly understood this, until this year. For the longest time, I had been operating with my own scarcity mindset, and at times, social media has fed this for me. Having to regroup, sit with myself, and walk myself through the lies, reasoning, and flawed thinking had me thinking that any of my success was contingent upon X.
This is not true. I had to (and still am working on this) check myself when I fall into this stinking thinking. It can consume, cripple, and detract from you operating in your gifts.
There is more than enough room, more than enough resources, and more than enough blessings when you find your purpose, operate with gratitude, and realize that the only thing stopping you? Is you.
Currently a work in progress with this!
You Are the Company You Keep
There are many ways to say this saying. But one thing for sure is as I have grown, so has my circle. There have been Day Ones, who are still here, and new amazing blessings along the way. I will say that when you surround yourself with empowering, challenging, and “watch me work” sisters, you are only more inclined to reflect this in your daily moves.
This year, I have been blessed with some really amazing women who have pushed me to do, be, and live better in EVERY facet of life. Some are extremely close, others who are colleagues in this social media life, and others who are family who cheer, push, and kick me forward, when my tank is low or have lost my way!
Get you a squad of women who inspire you! You will inspire in return!
You Never Know Who is Watching
This has been one of the realest lessons I have learned early in my career. Whether it was on twitter, Facebook, or out and about, you really never know who is watching you. Watching how you interact, respond, and grind. Many of the opportunities I have had the opportunity to have, have come from those who have been watching from a distance, clocking my moves, and watching how The Curvy Fashionista gets down.
While you may not always get the opportunities you have wanted, the ones that have your name on it, may very well come from outside your purview. Outside your “network.”
This does not mean put on a front or morph into someone you THINK the world wants to see. Quite the opposite. This means to be authentically you, keep grinding, and be kind!
Sometimes, You Need to Fire Yourself
Girl. Girl. Girl. I know a lot. But I do not know everything. While Google is your best friend and mine, and time is money, some things I should not be fussing, stressing, and agonizing over. Especially now. Yes, I could probably get half of those tedious or menial tasks done, but at what cost? For what purpose? I will be stressed, frustrated, and spent… looking for my Rumchata, Port, or Jack Daniels.
I have to be smarter with my resources, my time, and my sanity… for reals! Digging myself into a hole with work that $50, $100, or $250 could have alleviated could have saved me from a lot of things. Yes, I know a little code, know how to update my site and it’s plugins, know to make sure all of the meta is filled out for posts, but not everything has to be done by me, and learning to fire myself to free up my mind and time to actualize the bigger goal and picture is critical to the success of the brand!
In other words, “Let it Go, Let it Flow!”
You Are a BOSS and a Business, Get Your Ish Together
I have severely slacked here and this year, I am working on being on top of things, especially as I have a team. Delegate, empower, trust, and communicate. No more Marie going rogue. Having to learn how to entrust the vision and goals of the brand to others has been a process.
But ever more than that? Being able to say: I AM A BOSS.
I only first said this, this year. I have a business. I have a team that shares the vision, and whom I am responsible to. No more hiding my head in the computer screen when shit gets rough… I can no longer do that and in order for me to STAY in business, I have to face buried fears, reprogram my inner voice, and stand tall in what I have accomplished to date, knowing that is IS okay to pat myself on the back, without being bigheaded about it.
Organize, put processes in place, clean up house (on the inside), get out of my head- literally and figuratively, and trust this process… You got this Marie. You are a boss.
Growth never happens in places of comfort. Never happens when you overthink, second guess, doubt yourself, or walk without faith. For me, this year has been one of extreme uncomfort. Facing past hurts that I have run from, stepping into my purpose, walking in it, and owning it is no easy task.
Learning to let others in, to help run, lead, and execute tasks and goals is scary AF. BUT, you have to grow through it, to get to it. You do.
Bringing on interns, having a leadership team, allowing them to check me and my business habits? Girl… uncomfortable. Opening up to y’all? Getting in front of the camera? Doing more outfit posts? Believing that I can achieve goals that I have for myself?
But, ohhhhhhh so needed.
If you want to take this blog of yours to the next level, be prepared to embrace the uncomfortable.
I have learned that most of the uncomfortable feelings come from self-doubt, uncertainty, and fear. But what I have also learned is the on the other side of fear is confidence… I want that, so I charge full speed ahead.
Treat Yo Self
Girl. I need a vacation bad. However, with this scarcity mindset, I had convinced myself that I could not afford it, that I could not leave the site by itself, and insert whatever other reasons and excuses I gave to myself. Truth is, I never have prepared or saved for a vacation, never fully let go of the reins to my team, and only in small ways have done things that make me happy…
THIS? Makes for a dull, tired, cranky, sad, and isolated Marie.
Over the years, I got soooo used to grinding, head down, penny pinching, that I had forgot to live a little bit- WITHOUT the guilt. Because I have tried, but I may have been on edge a few of those times… I would look at friend’s IG or FB with envy as they post their vacation pictures.
But then therapy showed me that treating myself is NOT just vacations… it is adulting. It is not sitting in front of the computer. It is going to a friend’s house, having folks over, getting my nails done, going out for drinks, learning this city… it is LIVING without fear and celebrating myself along the way.
So for 2018, as I head into year 9 of TCF, I plan on LIVING more and Treating myself to LIFE! (corny, I know, but hopefully, you follow)
Think Big and then Think BIGGER
This one, I think has me the most hyped. As I am learning and truly understanding my worth, the places I can truly go… I find myself thinking “why NOT?” I do not need permission to grow, stretch, and walk in my purpose. This was probably my biggest inner dilemma. But, now as I can confidently say that “I am a Boss” and “I am an OG in this game” the places, goals, and dreams that I have for the brand both scare and invigorate me!
An office for TCF? Why Not?
A new Venue for TCFStyle Expo? Why Not?
A new 2018 signature event for The Curvy Fashionista? Ohhhh, yes!
Relaunching my shop with the proper support to make it pop? Come thru, Marie!
More off-line events and interaction? Girl, you better do it!
I mean, and these are only a few of the ideas that I have for the brand, that I can share. And as we optimize the site, organize inner operations and structure, and redefine the vision for The Curvy Fashionista, I hope that you stay with me (and us) and join us for this ride!
So, what’s next?
Over the next month or so, we will have some fun news, cool updates, and changes happening! All in addition to cool plus size fashion news.
Ohhhh I am geeked about this!
But, which lesson do you find yourself working on? Am I alone with these or can you relate? Let’s talk!