I want to start off by saying this is not an easy post to make.
This is still very much a raw subject for me and I hope that everyone who reads this will be respectful of me and my experiences. I’m writing this not because I want pity, but because I believe I cannot move forward if I do not first acknowledge where I have come from. Bear with me, this is going to be a long one.
So, without further ado: Why I Left.
Two years ago, it was summertime and I decided to try something new. I had followed so many bloggers for so long, all the while dreaming about my own blog. I wanted a space where I could freely talk about my passions while simultaneously building a community of people who love those topics too. I created my first WordPress account, my first blog-dedicated Instagram page, and read up on all of the Pinterest articles explaining how to do this whole “blogging” thing. I named my brand “Yours Truly Erin” and I entered the world of blogging wide-eyed and bushy tailed.
I enlisted the help of my boyfriend, family, and close friends to help me take pictures for the blog, but aside from a select few people, I didn’t tell anyone about Yours Truly Erin. The reason was that I was embarrassed and nervous about what I thought the people in my life would say. I thought that people would make fun of me for my blog. So I kept it a secret.
Things started out okay, but eventually I fell into a spiral. After a few months, I was unhappy with my follower growth and engagement, so I turned to Google to search ways to build your following overnight. In retrospect, putting that much pressure on myself to grow from 1,000 to 10,000 followers OVERNIGHT was insane, but at the time, I was comparing myself to other bloggers who had much larger followings than I did. I thought I was failing.
I became obsessed with growing my follower count, gaining likes, and having plenty of comments on my posts. So much so, that I stopped physically writing blog posts, and instead directed all of my attention to my Instagram page. I was making brand deals with businesses and not always following through on the agreements–something I’m really not proud of–because I became so overwhelmed with the unrealistic expectation of a successful blog I had convinced myself I needed to maintain.
At this point, my content didn’t even look like or represent who I am. I was mimic-ing the bloggers I idolized on Instagram whether through appearance, captions, or general personality traits… I wasn’t Erin. I wasn’t acting like myself. It led to some seriously tough mental health days. I developed a negative self-image of myself and hated who I had become on social media, because I knew it was dishonest. The period I entered was so dark that I knew something had to change.
So I decided to take a break. I stopped posting, stopped answering DMs, left engagement pods, and removed the yourstrulyerin Instagram account from my phone. Initially, the break was only supposed to last a month or so. I kept telling myself I was going to come back eventually, but every time I tried, I thought about all of the people I believed I had let down or disappointed by ghosting completely. I felt a pit in my stomach when I thought about blogging again, not excitement.
Why I Came Back
This summer, I took a leap. I moved to New York City–a place I had always dreamed of living. While I was packing my things in Buffalo, for the first time, I got excited about the possibilities of blogging in New York City.
However, it wasn’t until I was having a conversation with someone close in my life that I finally decided to overcome my anxiety and restart. At this point in my life it seemed silly to be scared of doing something that I know I love so much. Sure, I had a negative experience, but I realized that all I could do now was learn from it and do better.
Writing, style, travel, and teaching are all passions of mine. I want so badly to be able to share them with the world and build a community of readers to enjoy this journey with.
It doesn’t matter if that community is 5 people large. It doesn’t matter if the only people who read my blog are my parents. I write because I love writing, not to have 10,000 people follow along. If 10,000 people find me interesting, awesome! But they need to be seeing the real me, not the one that I invented to become popular.
Last weekend, I rebranded and created a new website from the bottom up. This weekend, I went on my first shoot in a year. Today, I am finally burying the mistakes of my past so I can learn & move forward in my future.
I hope you will join me in this new, improved, but most importantly–authentic–version of me. This time I’m not hiding it, everyone will know. Welcome to Girl Meets New York City. Your source for all things NYC, style, travel, lifestyle, & everything in between. Stay awhile. I know I will.