(Sorry, couldn’t think of a good title. It was too funny to pass up.) ;)
As many of you have read, over the past year or so, I haven’t felt “quite right” about my blog. At first I thought I needed to put more effort into being a “real blogger;” investing in ebooks, blog schools, web buddies to coach me through some of the areas I was having trouble staying committed to. And while I truly enjoyed everything I learned, I still felt like I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere. I found myself repeating this phrase to “in real life” friends, in private FB messages, direct twitter messages, and in emails from readers: I don’t think I’ll stop blogging, but it’s just not serving me the same way it used to.
It’s just not serving me the same way it used to. Up until recently, I didn’t really know why that was. When I started blogging (six years ago in total, four years ago here on FF/E), it was to reach out. To find anyone that might be going through the same thing I was – trying to lose a massive amount of weight. At this point I had no idea what counting calories was all about (phone apps [and the iPhone] didn’t exist back then), I had never set foot in a gym, belonged to no social networks (outside of Facebook), and had very few real life friends that could relate to what I was about to embark on.
Flash forward six years, and I’m sitting in my therapist’s office looking around thinking “how am I still in the same place?” (mentally/physically)
Oops, I did it again…
Dr. K: Do you think you could ever NOT take part in these activities? This daily weighing, reading all the new diet books, talking to people all the time about weight loss, listening to all the “experts” in your life – hopping from one way of eating to another, one new workout to another? Do you see how that supports your eating disorder and disordered preoccupation with weight loss?
I sat there kind of dumbstruck. What is this chick talking about? I don’t surround myself with that kind of stuff all day, do I? But, I said, doing all that is kind of my part-time job, you know? With my blog, I have all this attention on me and my posts related to weight loss. When I don’t lose weight, people call me out. You know how everyone has that one friend constantly saying “you should do THIS diet. I’m Paleo! Vegetarian! Raw! Crossfitter! This is how you’ll be successful!” Well, I have hundreds of friends like that. It’s all I hear every day. But it’s okay, I like it – I like to read about different ways to approach weight loss, You know? And, it’s not like it’s all for nothing – I do get paid a from views and stuff, so it really is a nice little hobby. I guess it is a lot to think about and a lot to manage and I sometimes do feel like all the walls are closing in and I have nowhere to run and that I’ll never have it figured out, but, I think that’s normal, right? ….
Dr. K: (silence)
Me: (stopped rambling and actually heard how I was rambling.) Oh. no. Wait, what?!
It had seriously never crossed my mind. Never in a million years did I think that blogging was something that actually contributed to and supported my eating disorder and struggles. The more I sat with the thought of shutting down FF/E, the more relief I felt. I cannot remember one day in the last four years of this blog where I haven’t spent at least 25% of my day (and many days, let’s be real – more like 50%) involved in the Fitblog community. Things like interacting on social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, with other bloggers and brands, returning emails, processing contracts and invoices, trying to keep up with the latest news/trends/stories hitting the weight loss industry so I don’t seem irrelevant, trying EVERYTHING – platforms, gadgets, books, weight loss programs, way of eating, exercises, etc.
Somewhere along the line (I’m guessing when I stopped binge eating regularly – it’s common for the void to be filled with an other compulsive behavior), this blog started to fuel my disorder view of food/weight loss and negatively impact my self-esteem, and not help it. 100% self-inflicted; I created it all.
And it makes sense when you think about it, right? I can’t quite compare it to an alcoholic working in a liquor store, but you can see the idea, right? True – most of the people in the community I surround myself are ACHIEVERS. They’ve succeeded! I see their successes and I’m inspired and motivated. Why would that be harmful to me and my recovery? I definitely let myself get stuck in the comparison trap – years of dealing with depression, abuse in various forms, and an eating disorder will do that to you. And, if we’re being 100% honest here, a lot of my friends in the community have a lot of issues. Don’t we all – I’m the perfect example of that. It’s probably not a great idea for addicts to be trying to give advice to another addicts. While they may have good intentions, these “experts” often are in the same boat I am – hopping from one idea to the next, grasping for what works. They’re up up up one minute, and down and depressed the next (and I’m right there with them, with my own struggles). Not a great idea to build your foundation on the shaky experiences of others.
Yeah, no duh…
Which lead to my next thought: who the hell am I to be giving people advice when I so very clearly have nothing figured out.
A lot of women look to this blog for inspiration and hope in Binge Eating Disorder recovery. Frankly, I just can’t offer it any more. I wasn’t even addressing my disorder when this blog started. In a major way, I was still in massive denial. Blogging and the Fitblog community is not to blame for my disorder, but my compulsive (obsessive?) mental state and relationship with the things this community is about – – for sure the problem. It wasn’t until I opened up about myself and my disorder that I realized how deep its hold on my life really was (is). I need to step back and focus on getting myself 100% healthy (mentally and physically) before I can hope to be a source of information for people. This isn’t to bash myself – I actually feel really empowered and lightened by this. As much as I want to help people, I can’t help myself – and that needs to change.
It’s just not serving me the same way it used to.
The more I sat and thought about letting go of blogging, the more at peace I felt. I know from a non-blogger perspective, this might seem a tad dramatic – but it is really like going through a divorce. Something (and many relationships) I’ve worked so hard to build over the past four years are either ending or vastly changing.
There are many factors that went into this decision, and for the sake of not boring you all to tears here on the blog I’ll wrap it up; because in the end – – it doesn’t really matter. It was a perfect storm of “the comparison trap” of blogging, stress of handling FORTY DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS associated with this blog (social, networking, advertising platforms, stats, monetizing, etc.), the overall climate of blogging (there’s just no such thing as the little journals we once had online), putting myself and my family on the back-burner, using work time to try to keep up with everything, etc.
And with that, I’ll see myself out…
So there you have it, friends. As of this moment, I do not plan to come back to FF/E. The hosting closes out in three months, and at that time, I’ll probably let it expire. It’s just… time. I feel like the awkward girl at the party who’s obviously overstayed her welcome. In the process of “closing up shop” this past month, I’ve stopped posting to my social media accounts and started opening up personal ones to replace them (sad that I didn’t have many “just Emily” things online, it was all blog related, right?). In fact, I had to cancel/notify/change over FORTY networks/platforms/groups. FORTY things every day I was trying to keep up with. *sigh* I won’t be updating on anything FF/E related, but I will be keeping my YouTube channel open (dumb google+ won’t let me change it).
And trust me, this farewell post isn’t to drum up sympathy or pretend like I’m some “big deal.” I just thought y’all were owed an explanation. It’s definitely not you – it’s me. I can’t express how thankful I’ve been for your love and support these past four years. I’m sad to be losing my cheering section. In many ways, I feel like I’m throwing myself back into isolation all over again. But in the end, I know I’m a much stronger person now than I was when I started on this journey. And that’s because of you.
(*Will only add you if we’re friends “in real life” or online (as in, we’ve interacted before). Trying to keep pictures of the little one a bit more private)
ps: I know this blog might read a bit rambly and disjointed. Truth is, I’ve sat down a dozen times to write this. I’m afraid if I try to make it “perfect,” it’ll never get posted. SO, cut me a little slack in that department, yeah? ;) xoxo