(the question I’ve perhaps been asked the most, ‘is this what Olivia does?’)
This year marks ten years of first starting my blog.
Each month I’ve been putting off sitting down and writing this post, because like most things- I’ve built it up too much, made such a task of it and believed it had to be all singing, all dancing, full on glitter suited cabaret to commemorate something, that actually can be as little or large as I want it to (one thing I clearly haven’t learnt in the last decade).
But as this year comes to a close, I decided it was now or never to write a little commemorative post over here. I had dreams of a fancy icing laden heart shaped birthday cake with an italic ‘10’ written on it like the gorgeous ones you see on Instagram, or even me awkwardly standing somewhere with some balloons in a party dress- but like the whole tone and tempo for my blogging outlook over the last ten years, I’ve settled on something a little less planned, and something a little more higgledy piggeldy and pulled together using what I have around me (which is code for unorganised, but let’s pretend it’s something deeper)…
Anyway- ten years in any career will teach you something. Whether that’s patience, a new skill, communication, perspective, life lessons, working with others or something else- and I can’t believe that over the last ten years, I’m pretty sure I’ve taken away all of the above in some capacity- which is something I never would have believed when I first registered at blogger.com way back when. Little did I know shooting things from a birds eye view could lead to half of the things it did and has.
I have vivid memories of coming home from my Sunday 12-4 Topshop shift to write up about my outfit. Quickly get some photos stood often awkwardly against my parents garden wall, roping in whoever could spare a few minutes of their time so I could document this very important sartorial moment. Changing the name of my blog numerous times from ‘Liv is Listening’ (my musical foray) to ‘Olivia Grace and the bobby pin shortage’ (a brief and not so brief name which is quite self explanatory in it’s demise). It feels like forever ago and not long at all- and strangely, although so much has changed- it still doesn’t feel that different.
So often I’m tempted to delete old posts, the big hair, bad hair, ill-coordinated outfits and broken paragraphs of jumbles and thoughts, but I don’t. I don’t feel ashamed of those posts and that girl, but actually I feel proud. Proud that she stuck at posting when she wasn’t sure what else she was doing. Proud for putting herself in situations where she felt out of her depth, anxious and overwhelmed and not worthy- and proud that she kept it up when sometimes the internet became a difficult place to be. Christ, writing a blog isn’t the most important, dramatic or wild job in the world- far from it. But to carve out a career and a life from a page that has connected so many dots in my life is- and for that I am so grateful. To feel embarrassed of any of the small steps that led that way would seem a little redundant (even if I could have gone easier on the Silverkrin at times).
I recently found a box tucked in the loft filled with mementos from the last decade of this funny little job. From faded train tickets, photo booth photographs, trip invites and receipts from meetings I couldn’t believe I was having. In many respects, and all the more in 2020, I still can’t believe it. There are so many things I look back on which shaped where I am now, and actually looking back- if anything, I’m surprised at my consistency. My style has evolved in many ways, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s changed. I still love the same things- albeit in smaller doses (I’m not sure I’m quite as committed to sixties dressing as I was here, but kudos small Liv for going there). I still have many of the same viewpoints, terrible musical tastes and interests as I did then- arguably with a bit more of a rounded perspective and hopefully some added wisdom to take forward. I’ve grown up from a teenager to a woman on this space- publicly making mistakes, documenting successes, ‘failures and blips’ (if we’re being positive and Elizabeth Day about it) to milestones and everything in between. And in a way, it feels significant documenting this in 2020. In a year where perhaps my photography went fully full circle on itself (except garden walls became ill placed bed sheets and table cloths)- I learnt a lot about who I am, who I want to be and the kind of world I want to live in, and it’s the start of a new chapter too- this time with another little member of our family and a lot of important lessons to be taken forward, in both life, business and working online. I don’t think my 16-year-old self would have believed she’d be sticking around here long enough to document this, but I think she’d be proud- and I’m definitely proud of her too.
I know this sounds gushy, and it is. I’ve never had an appraisal in a job so I suppose this is my little personal ten-year review, with a little thank you thrown in too. Thank you to everyone that’s stuck around in some capacity over that period. Extreme kudos to anyone that has been here the duration of that time (willingly or not) and thank you even if you’ve just dipped in and out over the years too (because ten years is a long old time). Working online is a funny, challenging (at times) and hugely rewarding thing- but mostly because of the people and community that come from it. The messages of connection, relation and reassurance are priceless, as are the familiar handles, faces and screen names that appear time and time again too (even if I’m terrible at replying, which I vow to get better at in the next 10). Being online and working solo can be lonely and overwhelming, but also the most fulfilling, privileged and satisfying thing in the world- and it wouldn’t have happened without you. I’m so excited for the next ten years, but just wanted to document this little chapter with a trip down memory lane, a small thank you and a rummage in the ol’ memory box.
Thank you again for being brilliant, as always- you’re the cats pyjamas, bee’s knees and everything in-between.