22// Freshman year to senior year //

Isn’t it crazy how there are some ways you can visually, physically see your growth? That’s one of the things I love about blogging. I recently flipped back through the early, prehistoric days of Pure Bliss, and I found myself cringing, laughing, and–surprisingly–smiling quite a bit.

On one hand, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I just knew I loved photography and wanted a place to share it. I also loved writing more than almost anything, and I kind of wanted to share that, too. But I was scared. I was just a little freshman, and no one else around me was blogging or sharing their writing, so why should I? It felt weird and intimidating and vulnerable. Writing is something so personal to me that I felt like I would be exposing myself if I posted too much of it on the blog.

In the early days, this was so obvious. I clearly shied away from the writing. There’s hardly ever paragraphs or thoughts, let alone captions, for anything. As I was browsing and approaching more recent content, it was gratifying to see the ways that I blossomed, both as a blogger and as a woman. As I grew more comfortable with myself as a person, I grew more comfortable with sharing that creative, thoughtful person in my writing and posts. Anytime that I ever read other blogs, I always gravitate towards the sites and people that open up their lives for their audiences. So naturally, I want to do the same. There’s no point in creating something empty; it’s not authentic.

At the same time, I’m proud of myself for having the ambition and courage to do what none of my peers were doing at age 14. I loved taking pictures and sharing my thoughts and ideas, so I found a way to do that. Even if the quality was poor–read: embarrassing, dorky, unorganized–I was doing something that I loved. At that age, not many kids can pinpoint their passions, and while I certainly didn’t know exactly what it was that I enjoyed doing–I started somewhere. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and try something, even if you don’t know exactly where it will lead you.

Looking back, I was right where I should have been. I shouldn’t have had it all figured out… that’s how I learned–through the (very) awkward and sometimes embarrassing posts. I still don’t have it all figured out, and I shouldn’t. I’m always learning, always working my way towards what I should really be creating. Through the years, it’s quite evident that I grew into my voice. I got more comfortable writing, I got more comfortable sharing my writing, and I got more comfortable writing things that actually matter (at least, to me). Bland writing sucks. If there’s nothing personal or heartfelt or genuine in it, then what is it? Boring. Empty. Hollow.

Our experiences shape us. The good, the bad, the awkward–they propel us towards a brighter, more successful future. We can’t truly, fully learn something until we live it. This is the thing I wish I would’ve known years ago:

No two people are going to have the same exact experiences, passions, or paths. So you don’t need to be doing what everyone else is doing. In fact, you probably won’t be doing what everyone else is doing–and that’s okay. Just take your own experiences and passions and use them to the best of your abilities. Make, do, and be something and someone real. Don’t shy away from what you love, because even if no one else is exploring it, you were meant to. That’s all. xx


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