When I decided to pursue my blog full time this year and dropped both my magazine and my fashion photography careers, I got a lot of questions why. It’s fair to ask why I would leave two seemingly successful careers behind and start from scratch, again. The question upset me a lot though because I just didn’t quite know how to answer it.
I started working on this blog post a few days ago. I was laying awake at night thinking about the future of my blog, that question, my insecurities, the fashion industry and everything else under the sun. I started to thumb thoughts into a note on my phone. It was some stream of consciousness bull shit that I’m trying to string together into this post. Bear with me.
I’m struggling to figure this out. The answer to this question was like a rollercoaster.
Something has changed in me. It’s been a slow burn for years now. I thought for a long time my shift from my magazine and photography were correlated to my mental health problems. I wasn’t working hard enough because my meds were out of whack, so that’s why my career wasn’t all it could be. Or just other things all together! Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. I’m not fully pursuing this because I’m in a depressive cycle. This market isn’t right for me. Blah blah blah. There were a lot of differing thoughts. I just need to get to New York! When I’m in New York things will be better.
But I got to New York and it wasn’t getting better. I couldn’t figure it out. The magazine is growing and I’m booking photography clients. It’s slowly growing into something more. So, why isn’t this making me feel better? Why don’t I love this anymore?
I still get this little ping of jealousy seeing all my industry friends posting new work. It makes me sad that I’m not doing it. However, the more I think on the matter the more I realize that I’m not jealous that I’m not doing it. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that I didn’t reach the goal before quitting. I may not want it anymore, but not seeing it through somehow makes me feel less than, like I’ve let down my teachers and friends and peers by stopping, even if it’s what I want.
Getting to this point, the point where I made the decision to shift career paths, has been really hard for a multitude of reasons. It took me ages to think that being an influencer was a real job. It almost feels like a dirty word to call myself that. It’s silly. If somehow feels like selling out. I fought the idea. I fought the idea hard.
It’s the best fit for me, though. The things I want in a career feel a bit like a puzzle to me, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to put together the pieces my entire life. I want to take photos, wear beautiful clothes, travel often, write my stories, shop and engage with others in a safe environment. Also, a job that fit my social needs. The internet is like a safe haven for extroverted introverts. Turns out that job has a title and it is influencer. That wasn’t even an option when I first became an adult or even years later when I started photography school. At least not that I was aware of. So, that’s why I’m doing this. I think I finally found the missing piece to my puzzle. So, let me bounce some more thoughts off you in that vein.
Once I got over the hurdle of accepting that, then the real work began. The real work is unraveling every day. How do I grow my Instagram? How do I connect with my fans in a meaningful way? How do I figure out what people want, yet still be me? Just curating a feed in and of itself is wildly challenging for me. All successful influencers have color palettes and similar content that strategically creates an aesthetic. People like that. They like to know what they’re getting. Well, this is a struggle for me the same as an aesthetic was for my photography. I was never good at model portfolio updates because I hated doing the same thing twice. Agencies know what they want the final product to look like and no matter how hard I tried, I veered every time. I can’t pick an aesthetic, but fuck. I really need to.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching and trying to figure out how to make my blog and IG cohesive. If I make a list of things I like and what is aesthetically pleasing to me, I run into a new problem. Me.
Let me break it down. So, I’m making a fashion/travel/lifestyle blog. Cool. I keep doing these photos for my blog that I hate. It keeps happening. When I was just a photographer, I LOVED shooting editorials. It was my favorite. I still love that. I have these ideas of what my ideal feed and blog would look like, but then I run into a problem again. Me.
I’M the problem. I’m seeing these images in my head with another human. It can’t be me posing like that or wearing that because I’m too…fat. I’m too…pimply. There are problems. How do I make myself the model in the image when I look this way? Guys, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with my size or the way I look. I’m saying my perception of myself is what’s wrong. How do I run a successful blog with this terrible self-image? How do I get the courage to create the imagery I want when this is what I see in the mirror? I keep regurgitating this imagery based on other people because I think this is what a plus-size fashion blogger has to be and I end up hating it. AND THAT MAKES ME SO ANGRY AT MYSELF. It’s not ok.
I’m what’s standing in the way of creating something that I think can be great. So, how do I work on this?
Also, how do I marry my interests?
I always felt like “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore is my theme song, but only if the next line of that song was slowed down to a demonic pitch. Just imagine it. It’s brilliant! I’m not monotone. I’m not binary. I contradict myself all the time. I love cookies and tulle and pink and Audrey Hepburn, but I also want to wear my Marilyn Manson tee without a weird side eye. I would like to think that’s perfectly normal, but maybe it isn’t because I can’t find other influencers that speak to me. Fuck. I don’t fucking know. More likely is that people don’t show all of who they are on social media. Pity.
To be honest, I’m not sure if airing this will give me the push I need to just be myself unapologetically or if it will make me crawl back into the hole from whence I came. Who knows?
I think sometimes that a big part of the reason why I fell out of love with photography is because I was forcing myself into a mold because I thought that was the way it should be. I don’t want to do that again. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I hate this feeling where you’re torn between what you’re told something ought to be and what it actually is. Break the mold, Lynzi. Break the mold.
This has evolved since starting to write this. I’ve thought about these things. I’ve watched multiple movies about beauty pageants, which is just a coincidence and totally unrelated, but they struck a chord. I’ve reminded myself of the things I love about photography. I’ve become even more angry about the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. I’ve been letting these thoughts whirl around my head for days and it’s reached a fever pitch. It’s created a clear goal. I just hope I have the gumption to follow through with it. I finally know what I want from this blog and I know the imagery I want to produce. So, here we go!
When I was a photographer, especially early on, I had a very black and white view of the industry in regard to the way things should be. Sample sizes are a 2 because it’s the best blank slate for clothes. Models should always be this size because they need to fit samples. Editorials are shot with samples, so models in editorials must be a size 2. Uniformity is important for streamlined content. It’s better this way. It’s this way for a reason.
I was wrong. I’ve been wrong my entire career and it took me gaining a ton of weight to realize how wrong I was. I’m joining the body positivity movement way late in the game, but now that I’ve arrived, I can actually see where I could fit in the scheme of things and try to make a difference.
I’m not a model. I won’t ever be a model. I’m not trying to be. What I can try to do is change peoples’ minds. Like I said before, I’m good at editorials. So, I want to bring that realm of content to my blog using myself because EVERY BODY IS EDITORIAL AND EVERY BODY IS ART.
Working shit out in this blog has given me permission for an artistic license I didn’t know I needed. Errrrkay. Here we go. I’m starting today. I’m approaching my work differently going forward, and I really hope all of my followers enjoy the aesthetic shift because I think for the first time my feed is going to start feeling like me. At least I hope it will.
Also, I will definitely continue with the blog content in the same way. I’m just wanting to shift the photo content and the way in which I style myself. It’s really a strange thing. I want to put this in perspective a little. I’m a pretty avid Pinterest user and I’m constantly adding clothes to my boards for outfit inspiration. You know what I’ve found? My wardrobe looks nothing like my boards and my outfits look nothing like my boards. It’s not because I can’t afford designer wardrobe. I mean, I can’t afford 99% of the things I love on the internet, but you don’t have to spend the big bucks to have style. No, the reality is that I don’t dress the way I want to because I don’t think I can. I don’t think I should with my weight, body proportions, face, etc. Dude. What a load of bull shit I’ve been telling myself my entire life. Do you realize I’ve basically been on a diet since I was 12? 12! For two decades of my life I have mentally told myself that I don’t look good enough. And it’s not because I’ve always been a size 14. I was a size 4 in high school and I still thought I was fat. It’s in my goddamn head.
Back to the point. I will continue to blog about favorite clothes, products, bucket list checks and all the good stuff. There are still, like, 80 bucket list checks I’ve completed and haven’t added to the blog. I’ve been running into this problem with really feeling disenchanted with these posts because I don’t love my imagery. You see, when I did these things, I wasn’t thinking about putting them in a blog, so I didn’t take the time to photograph them properly. I still want to get them all on the blog, I’m just not going to post them on my IG story and whatnot. Shameless plug: please subscribe to my blog if you want to keep seeing these posts! Anyway, I’m shifting my approach going forward, but I’ll still be adding those bucket list checks and other exemplary travels to the blog, even if I don’t share elsewhere. And going forward, hopefully, I can do a much better job with imagery on future travels now that my vision is clear.
Wish me luck!
Side note: I’m wearing my favorite new dress from ASOS in these photos. I keep putting off buying and LBD because I was so convinced I would be skinnier. Well, here I am, just the same, so I finally said fuck it and bought something fun. AND it’s currently half off, so double win! You can shop the full look below. 😀