Lately I've been feeling really burnt out. There's been that shortness in my breath when I feel like anxiety is about to take hold. I've felt overwhelmed by the blogging world and felt like it wasn't a particularly welcoming space at times. I've worried a lot about my impact on the people that engage with me, am I being a good person? am I sharing a mix of the pretty and the important? If I'm posting about buying things am I part of the problem, do I make people feel good or bad about themselves?
A friend was saying she took a break from Instagram as whenever she logged on she felt like she wasn't good enough. She didn't have this or that, she wasn't working hard enough, had a nice enough house, looked fashionable on the school run.
Another part I don't really want to go into TOO much is the mean aspect of a sometimes competitive industry. I was never one of the cool girls, always the shy one, always the one who would feel sick before entering a class, who didn't want to be noticed for fear of being different or picked on. My confidence has grown massively in the last few years and I finally felt like I was in a great place doing something I loved making friends and being creative. There is a bitchy side to blogging, there are Facebook groups and private messages and 'I heard she said about such and such' (my friend Morgana actually wrote about it recently here). The people that make you question yourself or not feel good enough. I started to feel like I was drowning in it, like I couldn't work out who was genuine and that I wasn't in a good place or around good energy. So I took myself out of those situations as best I could, stopped worrying (so much) about the numbers (I wish I couldn't care completely but I do!) and reavaluated about what I wanted to get out of this strange industry.
And just at this point in my life when I was feeling the most anxious I attended Weekend:In
I was invited over for a weekend away (or a Weekend In rather) by Oliva Tripp, a lovely Bristol based freelancer who had a vision for a gathering of creatives. Myself and my friend Lucy took a little road trip to the location, the beautiful Chicken Shed in Monmouth where, after a good old moan and a lot of laughs in the car we were greeted on arrival with hot coffee and pastries. Whilst I knew a few girls there (Lori and Lyzi) I was excited to meet the other ladies and get stuck in with the workshops. It was just what a needed after feeling a bit like I'd 'lost my way'.
What set this event apart immediately was just how beautifully it had been thought out, from the location to the relaxed atmosphere. With workshops from Papersmiths (where we wrapped beautiful presents) and wreath making from the fantastic Talulah Rose Flower school we chatted and laughed together and learnt new skills.
In the evening after a spot of wine tasting with 'More Wine on Tap' (fizzy wine in a can anyone? Yes please!) we listened to an interesting talk from Caro Somerset where she talked us through 'trends and forecasts' and how there is a trend for people wanting to learn skills, for bricks and mortar stores and for moving out of the fast paced city.
It really hit home to me that one of the reasons I've been feeling quite overwhelmed in my life at the moment is how isolating sitting behind a screen can be. Of course I have friends and a great support system in my 'mum friends' (who are a lifesaver!). I've also been missing that work socialising and support. I miss bouncing ideas off other creative people, sharing skills and just being supportive of each other.
Although being a mum is OF COURSE the most important and fulfilling part of my life, I also have other parts of me that crave that kind of grown up creativity. Getting my hands covered in dirt making wreaths for no reason other than that they are beautiful and make me smile whenever I pass mine on my front gate. Getting back to those kind of basics was a reminder of what I want, I need to not feel like I'm drowning or feel like I'm working towards the wrong goals that are driven by the wrong motives.
Wrapping gifts and geeking out over pens and pencils whilst we chatted about everything from travel to ambitions to baby names! When Sid from Papersmiths talked about her own childhood dreams and her Christmas wishlist of stationary from a wholesale magazine. It reminded me of my own childhood ambitions, how I only ever wanted to be an artist or design clothes. It inspired me to remember these parts of me that might have got a bit lost lately.
My Seven Boot Lane Freya Boots (old season but these toasty ones will be appearing on the blog soon!)
I did actually plan to stay over and attend the second day but I was actually feeling a bit too anxious about leaving Mabli overnight. It's funny as she's almost a year old now and I thought I would be so ready for something like that, but after stewing it over I knew that a day was enough. Thankfully everyone totally understood and was so kind about it! I'm only sad I missed the lovely workshops the next day and that I didn't get to meet up with Seven Boot Lane in person (an ethical shoe company who I've worked with a few times on the blog).
Thank you so so much Olivia for inviting me to your brilliant event! I feel recharged and excited about my little blog again. For supporting women and local business and remembering who I am and what I'm inspired by.