When I was a kid there was a school wide competition called "Reflections." There would be a different theme every year, and you'd submit an entry, whether it was a dance, a song, a painting, a sculpture, ect. The winners were the most creative entries that best embodied the theme. Me, being a natural born over achiever, entered every year. In every category. My first submission was in Kindergarten. It was a short story about two snowmen named Rose & Jack. (the fact that Titanic was my favorite movie at age six really explains a lot of things.) It was a tragic romance about the two snowmen and their love for each other and of course, their inevitable death once springtime came. A truly riveting, beautiful, heart wrenching piece that was straight ROBBED by the board of judges who probably gave the first place trophy to Craig, the kid in class who ate glue by the bottle.
Here I am with my participation ribbon. Freaking joke.
I look darling and innocent of course. But Mr. Bowman was about to catch a swift right hook to the eye.
Anyways. Yeah. A participation ribbon. What an insult. But I wasn't going to let Mr. Bowman, or Craig's stick figure family portrait stop me. I was determined to win. So I entered. Every year. Every category. Testing my creativity and my mothers patience at an early age. For three consecutive years, I lost to the likes of craig, my best friend tristen, and my older brother Jake. Jake won EVERY YEAR, in every category he entered!! His shelf was lined with first place trophies, while mine was collecting dust. So by the time third grade came around, I was sick of it. Sick of the embarassment I faced at home from my mean older brother and my street credit that was taking a hit due to all the losing. Third grade was different. This was my year. I was going to show everyone.
So once again, I entered. This years theme was
"I wonder why"
and I knew exactly what I was going to do.
I got my pen and my paper, and I did what I knew how to do. I wrote. A poem was my entry of choice. A poem, three long kid years in the making. Blood, sweat, tears, and endless torment from my brother (a 5 time Reflections winner) fueled me to finish. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Hours were spent on this piece. Days, weeks even. Because it had to be perfect. It had to win.
And it did. This is what I submitted:
This is where I discovered two new things about myself. I was a writer. And I was a manipulator.
Thus, my love for writing was born. I used my talents in all areas of life. I wrote pop songs, dramatic journal entries, plays, short novels, love notes to Seth Pratte, ect. Writing was my outlet, it was how I expressed myself. Sometimes I used writing, or big words to intimidate others. Like the time my mom was called in for a parent-teacher conference after my first day of fourth grade, because I wrote on my "goals for the school year" paper:
1. I will not be the teacher's victim.
Also around that same time, I combined my three talents of writing, manipulation and verbal intimidation and convinced the 6th grade teacher who was in charge of the school newspaper to give me my own column. It was an advice column. I set up boxes all around the school, where kids could fill out a form asking me their burning questions, or confess their deepest darkest secrets and I would respond with my advice. And it was a great little gig while it lasted. But I abused my power when the class mean girl wrote in, asking why her friends stopped playing with her at recess and I published "Because you're a big fat jerk, Jessica"
(names have been changed, cause tbh I think her mom reads here)
So as you can see, writing was a definitely passion of mine. But I don't think I knew it yet. It was really something I just did. I didn't think about it. I didn't think I was good at it, I wasn't necessarily aware that I even enjoyed writing, It's just who I was. So when I discovered the internet.... GAME. CHANGER.
At 12 years old, blogging was just coming onto the scene. And I, always needing to be one step ahead of my adversaries, made my own.
( A cringe worthy title, but brand-able to say the least. I was envisioning t shirts. world tours.)
My first blog had a lifespan of about 5 years. A wide audience of about 5 readers (mom, grandma, aunt hil, my young womens leader, big fat jerk jessica from the fourth grade) But I didn't care. I wrote everything a 12 year old could write about. School lunch. Justin Bieber.
And the blog itself, it was painful. It was grammatically disturbing. It was awkward. But it was my friend. And Yes, I just admitted to the internet being my best friend. Put that on my grave.
It was awesome you guys, It was the past five years of my life all in one place. My own 12 year old ideas, my own 13 year old thoughts, my own 14 year old memories, my own 15 year old problems, my own 16 year old boyband obsessions. And its all there. So I'm glad 12 year old indy did that for me.
But like I said before, it wasn't an after school hobby, or something I even considered fun. It was just apart of my life, and I was so completely unaware that I might even be good at it, or that I could make it a career someday. It was just me. I was the girl with a blog.
High School came around, and I had two things working against me on the social ladder.
1. My face
2. My hot best friend
Okay guys I'm not saying I was ugly in high school, i'm just saying I looked worse than Kylie Jenner pre-lip fillers.
Everywhere we went, boys referred to her as Megan Fox. I'm not making this up. And guess what they called me?!
"the funny friend."
THE FUNNY FRIEND!
And I mean, that might offend anyone with any sort of self respect, BUT I TOOK IT. With pride! The way I see it, You can pay money to be hot. *see: kylie jenner post lip fillers*
but you can't really buy a good sense of humor.
So I wore my "funny friend" badge with honor, and used it to my advantage. You guessed it. I wrote about it! In addition to my blog (which had grown to about 16 avid readers, might I add.) Social media was becoming a thing. Twitter was my drug of choice, mainly so I could stay updated on what color of socks Harry Styles was wearing that day, but also so I could document my daily struggles of being a Tina Fey in a school full of Megan Fox's.
I didn't think anyone read my twitter, but by the end of the school year I was actually KNOWN for it. I was no longer "the funny friend" I was "indysev from twitter, the girl who gets really emotional about one direction"
And that was my legacy. And I was happy.
I still blogged throughout high school. But back then, and even still today, bloggers have a bad reputation. It's just too easy to make fun of a classic utah blogger. Even I do it!
My junior year I was friends with some older girls, who I still love and admire to this day. the funniest group of girls I'd ever met. But they would always make fun of girls our age that blogged. Like I said, it was a popular topic to joke about. And I was SO insecure about it. I remember asking them one time, "Do you guys know any cool blogs? Like any bloggers who are funny and cool and not totally annoying and self centered?" And in unison, they all said "NOPE" and informed me that those kind of blogs didn't exist. It was all about photoshoots up provo canyon, wearing a sponsored outfit from a local boutique, and maybe a paragraph about how your boyfriend is coming home from his mission soon and you haven't found your wedding dress yet.
So I took a break.
For about an entire year I stopped posting on my blog completely. I used instagram captions, tweets, and taylor swift hate mail to fill the void. But looking back, I can't believe I really let the opinions of other people stop me from writing. I wish so bad that I didn't listen to them because they were wrong! Its totally natural to want to please others, to want to fit in, and if something you like doing is considered 'uncool' then you're not crazy for wanting to stop. But if you're reading this and you feel the same way I did, about anything. It could be blogging, it could be acting in plays, it could be dungeons and dragons, it could be learning to perfect the 'nae nae'! I support you babe!!! People will always have opinions, and not everyone is going to think you're cool. But if you can get past that, then you're GOLDEN. And life is about to get so much better for you. I promise. Because it did for me. Here's what happened.
A question I get almost every single day is "how did you get such a big social media following?"
And even my closest friends couldn't tell you the answer. It's hard to pinpoint how and when it all started. I don't even know how to explain it. Social media 'influencing' didn't really even exist yet. I just had a normal high school girl instagram. I wasn't a model. (we discussed this already. lets move on.) I wasn't a photographer, or a world traveler, or a youtuber, and I didn't even start posting videos until after I graduated. I just developed a following out of nowhere!! Thats truly all I can come up with. People thought my captions were funny, and would tag their friends in my posts, and it kind of snow balled from there. And I'm not talking crazy numbers either, I only had like three thousand followers. Which might not sound like a lot, but for a below average looking girl with no notable talents IT WAS MIND BLOWING.
So with this new found following, I decided to start blogging again. I was curious to see if more people would read it. And I decided that even if they didn't, even if I was the joke of all the edgy liberal 'I hate utah, but I refuse to leave' kids on twitter, It was okay. Because my blog was just that. MY blog. It wasn't to please everyone else. It was a way to document my life. And my unrequited love for Jimmy Fallon. And if other people liked it, then that was a cherry on top. But I was done hiding who I was to please other people. (okay that was a little dramatic. that quote sounds like something the shy girl who is really good at math would say in a disney channel movie. I should write screenplay.)
ANYWAYS within a couple months, my circle of 16 blog readers turned into 116 blog readers. It was amazing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think anyone other than my mom and mean girl jessica would read what I had to say.
Towards the end of my senior year I wrote a post titled "What you need to know to survive the teenage years" and for many reasons, it was the post that changed everything. It had a really good reaction and I wasn't expecting it at all. Overnight it was spread across the twitter world, inspiring other girls left and right. It was an overwhelming message of "thank you, this really helped me." and that was the first time I realized that I had a voice, or a platform. An influence, if you will. I figured out that people cared what I had to say. And they listened! I started getting emails, and comments on my instagram, telling me they loved my writing style, they thought I was witty, and they wanted me to blog more.
And I had a realization. I was good at writing.
All these years, from entering poems in reflections, to writing advice in the school newspaper, to writing one direction fan fiction, tweets, captions, blog posts, to writing hate mail to taylor swift. I finally realized that I loved writing, and that I was pretty good at it too. I'm not some critically acclaimed journalist. I write run on sentences. I misspell words. I'm self deprecating and sarcastic and I take too long to get a point across. But that wasn't the point. The point was, writing was apart of me. And that's what I was meant to do. I mean sure, my parents didn't raise me to be an olympian and I still kind of hate them for that but I had a different talent. I was able to write in a way that inspired other people and made people laugh. It was the best feeling in the world.
And I think writing, blogging specifically, will always be apart of me. I want to look back here when I have an overly dramatic teenage daughter and show her how I handled things when I was her age. she'll be able to read my own words and my own experiences. I'll look back on this someday and remember all of my adventures. all the missed flights, all the mean ex boyfriends, all the HOI YAS. It's all here.
And it's sad because blogging is a totally different world now. Today, it's just another platform to add to your list if you're a social influencer. It's not about content, writing, or memories, It's just a place to dump your outfit of the days, your skinny detox tea reviews, sponsored posts, affiliate links, ect. And I mean, I think its dang cool that bloggers even have the opportunity to get paid for their posts. Best job ever right? But it seems like thats all it is anymore, is just another money maker. And you know what??? thats FINE! There's honestly NOTHING wrong with that!!! like u drive that range rover hot utah mom. u earned it.
I just don't want my own blog to be confused as a money maker. I spend hours on my posts. days. weeks even! because it has to be perfect. I didn't lose reflections 3 years in a row to give you guys trash content!!!!! Little indy deserves better than that. You deserve better than that.
I'll try and end this terribly long post. I just wanted to give you guys a little background on why I started my blog and why it's such a big part of my life, and what you can expect going forward. And you guys who read it are awesome. I don't know exactly how many people read here, but I think it's a little more than 6 now ;) And thats about the only thing thats changed from my 12 year old blog. It's still just a place to ramble. To vent. To document. And listen, I can't promise a riveting, beautiful, heart wrenching post every time. I can't promise consistency. I can't promise I'll properly punctuate all of my sentences. But I can promise you I will never sit here and blindly promote something to you guys with a thoughtless caption, just to make money. I will never sit here and put up a post from the heart unless there's at least ONE harry styles reference. I owe you that much.
Right now this is just my 19 year old adventures, my 19 year old thoughts, my 19 year old moments. And its all right here. And you're here too. And that's really cool. You're really cool for that.
So here's to that.
I LOVE YOU ALL.
(except you edgy tumblr 'I hate utah but I refuse to leave' kids. please leave)