Sometimes I feel as if who I am is very hazy--if I'm in the South long enough I'll start saying "ya'll" and speaking with a slight drawl, but I lose it the instant I go North and interact with a different crowd. My behaviors also alter based on who is surrounding me and my wardrobe choices are dependent upon location, weather, the day's activities, etc. These externalities however don't really define me; the way I talk doesn't really change what I have to say and choosing to be silent doesn't stop my thoughts from racing. As a blogger for nearly five years I've received a number of comments stating that I've changed and so has my blog in that time--to which I just want to nod my head and cry "yes!" Even the recent editing choices I've made has received numerous critiques. Please don't mistake this as a "woe is me" post about how people are complaining because overwhelmingly people are kind and complimentary--rather I just want to acknowledge that I have changed (and am still evolving) and as long as I blog this will continue to happen. I'm not dressing as a college student on a limited budget with ready access to thrift stores who has to navigate a large and hilly campus, because I am no longer a student. That's just a simple sartorial example though, the changes I've gone from living at home and at school to living on my own, from being a student to being an adult--is much more complex. My mental and emotional state has changed much over the years; I'm getting better at telling people when they upset me and at being more vulnerable and open (perhaps that's why I'm writing this post which normally I'd not!).
If you had asked me four years ago if I'd still have a blog now, I'd probably say it was unlikely. I'm constantly amazed I stuck with blogging since it was my first foray into the world of online writing and sharing. But you could have asked me a year ago if I'd cut my hair and I probably would have said "no more than two inches." Yet, from where I am now the way life has led and the decisions I've made hold perfect sense to me. I feel as if I've always lived in a constant state of change--I think it comes from not only moving your home every few years but also your friendships; you start over constantly when you grow up moving. The way others see you help shape the way you see yourself and losing one best friend and making a new one brings out new qualities in yourself you weren't aware of before--some of my friends make me outgoing while others dominate conversation and I become more of a listener. This sort of change can happen in the space of a day: from a lunch out with a friend to dinner with someone else, or it can be the more significant change of a best friend in North Carolina who drives you to jump into new activities to a new best friend in Washington who you create a private world with that you retreat into together during lunch and after school excluding others from your secret language and anecdotes.
In regards to this blog it's a tenuous balance I try to maintain between allowing myself the freedom to explore new interests and maintain my "usual" style (not literally meaning fashion here) in order to keep those who visit this corner happy. My blog success is defined by the number of people who find it enjoyable to visit and like many other people--I like making others happy; a comment that someone dislikes my new editing doesn't make me think "oh no these pictures suck" but makes me pause and consider whether the change is better than how it used to be. Criticism is good and can definitely be constructive, especially since I don't blog just for me. I however don't want to let disappointing some people stop me from experimenting, since I think experimentation can often lead to growth. As I stated a couple of weeks ago: cutting my hair helped me to stop defining myself by my hair. Even if some mornings I miss my long hair and look at pictures of girls with braids longingly, I wouldn't go back and stop myself from making the change for anything--it was definitely the right decision for me.
So, if I am blogging in another five years (wow), you can expect a lot more changes between now and then--I'll probably live in another state, I imagine my hair will look differently, but I can promise I'll still be wearing clothes that make me feel good and sharing art and fashion that inspires me. No one's obligated to like the changes I make (or stick around and deal with them or be silent), but I do hope no one expects me to stick to a state of stasis, because that would be both impossible and unhealthy. It is likely I'll push repeat and talk about all this all over again down the road.