When I was little, I used to play this game with myself. I pretended that someone--maybe my latest crush, someone cool I wanted to impress--anyone--could tune into my life and see what I was doing, as if they were standing behind an invisible wall that they could see through, and watch my every move. I'd think to myself, "Okay...start now" and then proceed to summon the coolest, most fun version of myself so that whoever was "watching" would think I led this effortless, perfect life.
I was like...6. And yet even at this age I felt the pressure of the social eye, a need to be perfect, a need to be envied and accepted by my peers.
This was before social media was even a thing, too. I remember when I created my (first) Instagram account. It was like the manifestation of my strange childhood game, a game I recognized all too well. I didn't need anyone to explain it to me. Here was where I could post my best moments and put them on display for the world to see, to envy, to relate to, to validate.
And when I was playing this game, and my mom would come in my room and tell me to do chores, or I would accidentally pick my nose without even thinking about it--you know, the outtakes--all I would have to do is say "ok, resume" and then whoever was tuning into my life in my imagination would never know that I had edited out the outtakes, instead just viewing my best moments, seamlessly cut and pasted together.
Man. My 6 year old self could have invented social media.
This is all to say, society has taught us value through the acceptance and validation of others. Through some self-psychoanalysis of this game I played with myself I decided that my 6 year old self must have thought that my life wasn't meaningful unless it was being experienced by someone else, too. Whether this is true, I don't know. Maybe I was just a vain child and liked the idea of my life being like a movie or TV show. I did grow up in Theatre, after all. Who knows. Maybe I was just weird.
But the irony of it is all too sweet and relevant, and also, I don't think I've ever shared with anyone about this game I used to play when I was alone, so, points there too for vulnerability, I guess.
This blog has been untouched for almost exactly a year now. It began (twice) as a food blog, first as a way to mask an atrocious eating disorder, then as a platform meant to inspire and share my recipes that for a time I was so passionate about creating and so sure would lead me down a career path as a food blogger and recipe developer.
But, we are constantly changing and evolving. Developing recipes really started wearing on me. Cooking turned into constant experimentation, and I stopped eating for enjoyment and more for what would look good on a plate. Not to mention, I was a poor college student spending way too much money on food.
A lot happened in 2017. Like, a lot. Most notably, I met someone who brought me out of my kitchen and back into the real world, of eating out and adventuring on the weekends and as the months progressed I started feeling like myself, my real self, for the first time in a very long time. I truly lived and experienced throughout the past year, and while I still cook (see: meal prep) every single week, I've started doing it more for myself and less for the public eye. I have dismantled my little photo studio, and my Canon comes out of its case only for special occasions and travel. And I'm happier this way. I actually enjoy my food, whether its healthy or not, and nobody has to know what I'm eating.
However, I do still have a passion for food, health and wellness, inspiring and motivating others, and writing. And hot damn y'all, I have not written, really written, in a year.
I've been going back and forth on making Soul + Spoon, my food blog, live again for a few months now. I made my home page a cute "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" landing page that would appease those who checked in from time to time while serving as an effective stalling method for me. No one asked questions. I was "working on it."
So here I am, re-branding and re-launching the blog. This time, however, things are different. This blog, to be frank, is more for me than it is for you. Sorry, not sorry. Writing is my creative outlet and often how I sort my thoughts out. It alleviates this particularly vicious case of anxiety that has recently hit me extra hard, and it keeps me inspired and grounded.
I still want to inspire. To teach and educate. To connect with a community because at the end of the day, that's what life is all about. And yes, I'm still putting my life in the public eye, and probably will share more of the good than the bad. But this time there's no pressure, no one to impress or convince of anything. I'm here to share my thoughts, my recipes, my adventures, what inspires me, and who knows what else will pop up on this blog in the future.
This feels good, feels right, feels so, luxuriously satisfying...because I'm doing it for me, now.