Oh hi. Did anyone miss me?
I’m not going to sit here and give you a ton of apologies for being gone because… I needed it.
I needed the absence, the time away from most of my social media to clear my head about everything I’d been doing up until that point, and I thought long and hard about this blog post before writing it, but decided to write it in the end—even if it was just to get it off my chest.
(Phew! Run-on sentences, anyone? Bueller?)
The truth is: I have no idea what I’m doing or what my goal was when I started this blog.
I thought I wanted to go into advertising after a near-death scare with my husband the summer of 2017. I thought if I just went back to school and went into a new career field, I could keep up with the bills and maybe even try to give my daughter a decent life should something happen to my husband.
This information probably comes as a shock.
You see, during the (nearly) three years I had my Planners and Polish Instagram, I never shared anything too personal.
What you (and some of my friends/former colleagues/acquaintances) don’t know is: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Like Agatha Christie. Or Stephen King. Or Judy Blume. Or Dean Koontz. Or (screw it, laugh all you want) E.L. James.
However, I was told I shouldn’t try to do it full time because it wouldn’t pay the bills and I wouldn’t be able to make ends meet, etc.
I can’t blame the people who gave me those warnings; in the end, they were just basing their advice on what they know and their own personal opinions. “Be practical,” was a phrase I heard so often it became ‘mantra-esque.’
But the fact is: I was unhappy for DECADES. I graduated from college (the first person in my family to ever do so) with a degree in journalism and communications. The only place that hired me was a health insurance company, for a telemarketing sorta job. Hated it. I knew that I needed more education but taking on student loan debt literally petrified me. (Especially that part about how you can never bankrupt out of them and you’ll be paying until you die? Yeah that.)
So I never took a loan out. I paid my way through school and that’s how I stumbled upon Adult J-O-B Numero Dos: I applied and was hired at a major university in my city, one which offered its full-time employees part-time tuition waivers.
I took classes at night and on weekends and that lasted almost three years until I met the wrong guy, got engaged to him, left the job (and the free tuition benefit—I know: stupid) only to end up seriously heartbroken and working part time at a dental office answering the phone, making appointments, and billing insurance companies.
I tried to go back to the university but it was no use; after about 12 interviews, I gave up and went to an employment agency. In the meantime, I got a job working for the government as (you might’ve guessed it) a secretary.
After some budget cuts, which sadly included mine, I ended up working for a literal Little Cuban Napoleon (LCN). He was a nightmare sadistic A-hole of a boss, in fact the worse one I’ve ever had throughout my working life.
Several years down the road, and way after I’d finally left LCN, I met my husband through an online dating site.
We’ve had a lot of things tossed our way, things that have threatened our marriage in many situations, but we’ve managed to work past them. These have included: job losses, parents dying, many moves to other cities/other states, moving back again to our original point of origin, and then yet another move to a whole other state, working freelancing gigs and trying to come up with business/self-employment ideas, and even two stints with me returning to school. (For the curious: I graduated from one program, and I left the second one, and still don’t know when or if I’ll be back.)
While all this was happening we also had a daughter. She appeared to be developing normally until her speech regressed just before her second birthday, and after getting a second opinion from a child neurologist, we confirmed she not only had a severe speech delay, she also had autism—something neither my husband or I were prepared for. (Who ever is?)
We’ve endured family members’ unsolicited opinions about her behavior, diet, and schooling. We even had to hear that a relative said we’d probably just made the whole thing up (i.e. her autism diagnosis) to get attention.
Suffice to say, the people I consider my true family are my husband, daughter, one brother and my father-in-law.
Initially when I started my P&P Insta, it was purely as a hobby.
I had another Instagram account where my hubby and I very briefly hosted a You Tube channel and that Instagram account was tied to that channel. It was about finances and getting out of debt—we used to be big fans of Dave Ramsey. However, I wanted a place free from all the debt discussion, and that’s why I started P&P.
At some point, I began feeling really uncomfortable with publicly sharing our debt free journey with the world. In my mind, it was sad and depressing and not a subject I wanted to talk about freely with strangers anymore.
The problem was: several (I don’t know how many) of our debt-free community followers had migrated (aka: followed me over) to my P&P Instagram, and every instance I showed a picture of my planner in which I’d written “film video” would be accompanied by some variation of: “Are you guys coming back to You Tube? We miss you so much!” Etc.
The sentiments were very nice…but I wanted desperately to reinvent myself socially.
I can’t remember when I stopped replying to those comments, just stopped acknowledging them altogether. I wanted a fresh start. I told myself: If it’s not about planners or traveler’s notebooks or bullet journaling, I’m not going to engage! *pumps fist*
Some people were fine with it; others just stopped engaging with me, although I knew they still lurked. Maybe they thought I’d slip and mention something finance related? I dunno.
I know most—if not all of us—engage in some type of online voyeurism. Through this medium you ‘meet’ people you like, and it makes you think you know them on some level, and I’m not saying you don’t; I’m just saying, you don’t see the whole picture.
In fact, when it comes to social media: you never see the whole picture. Just fragments.
I don’t care how “transparent” people claim to be. The only people we are truly transparent with are those who live under the same roof as us, who see us daily at our best and our worst.
So where was I going with all this? Ah yes.
My last Instagram post from April 2018, when I got tired of teetering between 1490-1505 followers for the better part of six months, so I wrote the account off and literally posted a meme that said, “Peace out, cub scout!”
Man, I was tired.
I’d returned to school in October 2017 and it was tough. Everyone told me it was tough and I brushed it off cause what could be harder than managing an entire household (finances/meal planning and grocery shopping/laundry, cleaning) and one very overactive five year old with autism who isn’t toilet trained? I thought I CAN DO THIS, I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.
Cue my birthday, only two days after my first quarter at school had started. I came home from class at 10:30 at night in tears to a husband who had a red velvet cupcake and one candle lit, and who was singing Happy Birthday.
“I don’t think I can do this,” I sobbed.
That night, I’d been given what, to this day, I still feel is an absolutely ridiculous amount of homework: over 300 hand sketches to draw then photograph and upload to In Design—a program I knew nothing about—all due in a week…in addition to the other three classes I was taking that also had homework assignments due.
I trudged along as best as I could, truly. I don’t regret a single minute of the ordeal because I learned what I will and won’t tolerate, whether it’s at a school or elsewhere.
I launched this blog in January 2018 and tried to keep up with all of my other responsibilities including school, and did my best with everything. Only my numbers on Instagram weren’t going up or down; they were just stagnant. I was growing tired wondering when the last time was I’d posted a picture of my bullet journal that was “Insta-worthy.” I started keeping track of that while also trying to maintain the blog by posting here at least once a week.
And then I had a meltdown. Why weren’t my numbers going up? It was frustrating! Not to mention, I’d seen other bullet journal/planning accounts who’s numbers kept going up and up and at rapid rates.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
I needed to be patient.
I needed to keep doing what I was already doing.
I needed to just keep going.
But I caved. Because I was TIRED AS FUCK, like a hamster who’d been on a wheel for 12 hours and everyone expected should keep going.
Something had to give so I threw the towel in with Instagram. And I took a step back from the blog.
I realized it just wasn’t a hobby anymore—it was making me unhappy. I’d tried to conform to other people’s ideas about how I should even *be* blogging (i.e. ‘try to make your blog posts 500 words or less’ and ‘make sure you have photos to go with the blog post’ and ‘try scheduling posts in advance.’)
All of this was helpful advice from someone who’s blogged professionally, but I still felt like I wasn’t being true to myself.
And what might that be?
Well, I’m a writer. Just look at this blog post. It’s almost 2,000 words long. And while no, some people won’t read it, I am being true to ME. I love writing. Always have, always will. I’m not going to limit my word count to satisfy the status quo anymore though. (Or limit the amount of Oxford commas I use either, cause I lurve them!)
If you’ve made it to the end of this, I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me a little better. I’ll try and be a little more transparent (or as much as I’m personally comfortable with anyway).
Thanks for stopping by, and as long as I run things my way around here from now on, I’ll be back real soon.
PS: I don’t know about Instagram. Should I come back? Tell me what you think.
PSS: I just deleted almost 100 spam messages from this blog. HOT DAMN.