Around this time, almost 6 years to the minute, I was staying up “late” in my childhood bedroom searching my Mac Book: How to start a blog. I had woken up in the middle of the night with the title, theme and everything I felt I needed to start a blog. Isn’t it crazy that sometimes our minds work that way? You may not believe me, but blogging was not really a thing when I started Southern and Thankful. You didn’t have all these influencers on social media offering you 20% off codes. There was no “link in bio” or “swipe up.” It was mainly college kids studying abroad creating a blog for class credit and/or to keep their families and friends back at home up to date on their travels. In my head, blogging always will be the modern day version of journaling. Like pen to paper, but keyboard to screen. Funny how journaling has come back in full swing as it has become trendy. In fact, one of my goals in my 25th year of life starting soon is to journal more.
*i’m off topic now… I digress*
Southern and Thankful, to me, will always be plain and simple like that. It’s very easy to have all these things you want to with a blog that morphs into a lifestyle brand. I did the whole t-shirt thing (excuse me while I pat myself on the back for that success), I sold in stores, I added social media channels… I did everything that I believed was necessary to survive as blogging took over the internet. Looking back, the issue with that is I lost sight of why I created this online journal. I wrote something every day for two years and I was burnt out. Following that, I had an identity crisis as far as the brand and myself are concerned and then I felt the pressure to compete. Might I add that I really don’t like competition. Therefore, I am not sure why I spent all this money and time and energy trying to be this “influencer.” I don’t consider myself an influencer because at the root of all this, I didn’t do this to change your way of thinking. I created this as a space to deal with my insecurities, fears, trauma from being bullied and in an attempt to bring myself closer to God’s light. If others wanted to come along on that journey, they were welcome and still are.
Fun Fact: Southern and Thankful was an “anonymous” blog for about a week. By “anonymous” I mean I didn’t put my name on it or share it anywhere for fear of being made fun of. It was only later that I told my family on the deck at our lake house and they encouraged me to embrace it. (may or may not have been watching Gossip Girl at the time, which influenced that original decision)
Today, all these years later, I want to remind us of a few things:
- Find a space…journal, blog, piano, microphone, whatever… to get out your feelings and emotions. Right now, the world is a scary place and I promise you, for most people, writing it down or at least getting it out, helps. Southern and Thankful has been that for me, despite my lack of spelling and grammar expertise (I have really improved and the day 1’s know it, but still sending this to an editor as we speak). I express myself, all of me… the good, the bad, the ugly, the sad… and top it off by finding something in the story to be thankful for because for me, that is healing and healthy.
- It is never too late to start accepting yourself for who you are and sharing that with the world. I have a lot of things I am always working through, but the minute I learn something about myself I write it down and make sure everyone knows exactly who I am. I can’t have anyone getting that twisted.
- It was this way 6 years ago and it will be this way 60 years from now: there is always something to be thankful for.
While you are here, take a second to look around on the site. IT’S BRAND NEW and has been for a few months now. I think I kinda forgot to announce that?! For a while I have been putting off writing and announcing the new site because I am learning and the “influencer” in me felt it needed to be perfect. WARNING: it’s not perfect, if you are chasing that… You are never going to catch up to it.
If you read this post and feel something telling you to let it out, I have the perfect space for you. I am going to start introducing guest blogging. Basically, you write something up and send to me to post on the blog. I can put your name on it, or it can remain anonymous… That is totally up to you. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, what you believe in. You are Southern and Thankful too. I want Southern and Thankful to be for you what it is for me, a place to breathe.
Side note: I am really hoping at least one person takes me up on this offer (lol) Consider it an anniversary gift.
If interested: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on social media
Did I have bigger aspirations for Southern and Thankful than what it looks like today? Of course, that is the dreamer and naivety in me. Am I pleased with what I have done in the short 6 years? Absolutely. What’s coming next for Southern and Thankful? That’s a secret I’ll never tell (I had to throw in another Gossip Girl reference for the nostalgia factor).
Thank you for 6 wonderful years. Thank you for being thankful with me.
6 years later and, well… I am still that same Southern and Thankful.
Southern and Thankful