As a lot of you have probably noticed, I haven’t been as active with writing new blog posts or sharing new content on Instagram since the start of the New Year. Maybe you’re thinking that I’ve gotten a bad case of writer’s block, have been busy traveling, possibly have gotten really lazy or have just been busy with life in general. But actually, it’s none of those things.
In the blogging and social media world, there has been a lot of talk in the past year about the challenges that influencers are facing in terms of growth – constantly changing Instagram algorithms, the competition of participating in sponsored loops, engagement going up and down, apps updating and changing, and the difficulty of driving your audience to your physical blog. Just like a lot of different types of work, there are a lot of factors that affect whether things go really well, or things completely suck. And unfortunately most of those factors are completely out of our control.
This is the first photo that I posted to my Instagram account, @kmiabellavita.
I have noticed a shift from the role of being a social influencer going from sharing life experiences, to being solely focused on ‘picture perfect’ content. (Which is almost always not real life.) It feels like people are often only sharing the best parts of their life in the most glamorous ways possible. But for me, that seems to contradict the whole of idea of blogging in the first place.
On a late December night of this past year, we were packing to leave for the holidays, and I’m not going to lie, I had a real deal meltdown. I felt like I was having some sort of quarter-life crisis. What am I doing? Is my work adding value to society? What am I giving back? Do people like and appreciate what I am doing? I felt lost, I felt unsure, and I didn’t know what direction to turn.
I always feel like I am able to think more clearly in Tuscany – life feels simple, and I love that.
I decided to keep my struggle quiet and push forward (actually, this was Ryan’s wise advice), trusting that everything would fall into place. But during those following weeks, I somehow found myself even more lost. I started comparing my work to others, I became extremely self-critical and judgemental, and I started feeling like I needed to change everything.
A lot of my pictures include nature, because that is where I most often find my inspiration and creativity.
I started working with editing tools and far too many apps, working with the idea of using filters for all of my photos (which I have almost never done), and generally rethinking my concept for everything. I felt like I needed my Instagram feed to be more cohesive and glamorous, more ‘picture perfect’. . .and honestly, more not me.
I spent hours trying to edit this photo that I had recently posted to Instagram. But in the end, I was less happy with this edited version than I was with the original photo.
I had convinced myself that I needed to be doing things differently, but then everything that I did differently didn’t feel like me. And so as a result, I pretty much stopped posting photos or writing blog posts. The new content that I was creating definitely didn’t feel like me, but I had gone so far off of the deep end that I wasn’t quite sure what “me” in the social media world was anymore.
This is a real (and unedited) San Diego morning – cloudy and overcast – but to me, that is beautiful.
But then (thank God) it suddenly hit me. I didn’t start this blog or my Instagram account to only show you guys the most glamorous moments, in fact, quite the opposite. I started this journey to simply share with you all a little bit of who I am.
I was originally unsure about sharing this photo because it is mostly brown – but for me, it was a happy sight because I was at home with my family, and this is what Fall looked like on that day. This photo reminds me of the joy of being together with everyone, and that is what is important to me.
I am someone who does not like to use filters or photo editing tools. Not because of the work involved, but because I want you to experience life just as I am experiencing it. Nothing feels more frustrating for me then having an idea in my head of what something looks like based off of a photo, and then getting there and realizing that it looks nothing like that in real life (because the photo had been overly edited).
Most photos of Cinque Terre look far more colorful than this one – but this is exactly what you will experience in person, and that is what makes this moment so perfect for me.
I am not someone who is concerned about my Instagram feed, about making the perfect flat lay, or having myself professionally photographed – because none of those things are really me. I am much more simple than that. I enjoy life happening naturally, and getting to share that experience with you.
This is an example of me trying to fit in with what a lot of other people are doing on Instagram.
But this is a true reflection of me – good food and good wine – no extras, just our life that day.
I want to share more real moments with you guys, and more of who I really am – an always laughing, goofy and mostly always wearing yoga pants and no makeup girl, who is proud of the mess in her kitchen because it means that she cooked or baked something delicious. I take my own pictures, I don’t buy props, I use my hubby, and that’s the way that I want to keep things.
This photo brings me so much joy. It reminds me of the beautiful Fall weather that we enjoyed in Paris, of our long walks along the Seine River, of our deliciously cheesy picnics, and of just being together.
Life isn’t about the moments that you created to look beautiful, it’s about the moments that are beautiful because you lived them. And that’s exactly what I want to share with you, and that is exactly why I started this blog, my beautiful life.