Last night, I refused to go to sleep, instead, looking through old photos on my phone for almost an hour. I had started with the intention of searching for a photo of my dad, but instead, ended up scrolling through my old pictures. Photography is a major part of my life and I know that my emotions are often reflected in the snaps I take. Looking back, it was funny because I could see how each change over time, reflected through my photos in 2016. Sifting through these memories brought back a lot of emotions: pain, both physical and emotional, tears, anger, and many smiles. 2016 was full of lots of changes, but was it my year?
A lot of things happened in 2016. I completed my first year of college, finished my last year at my summer camp job, saw Hamilton for my birthday with the original cast, and visited Anguilla, Barcelona, and France. I was doing work that I loved and it shows in my posts. Like my 2016 shots were good. Really fucking good. Probably the best throughout the existence of my blog. I was actually vlogging weekly and not just sitting on 6 hours of footage like I am right now.
I hosted an event for Topshop and Her Campus in Atlanta…for TOPSHOP. 19-year-old Jordan was dying because it was her dream to work there. I got to host an event at the store that wouldn’t hire me, so major win. I went to London Fashion Week with accreditation for the first time. Fashion Week sent me new friends, like Adrienne who has gone on to done some amazing things and is really an inspiration. Did I mention I met Tom Daley at a party? I went to Amsterdam and got to work with an amazing hotel in the process. I finally met Victoria Metaxas, who has helped me so many times while I was in London with her amazing photos.
YA GIRL GOT A CAR. A 19-year-old who got her first car, my adorable Kia Forte, which I hope my brother hasn’t killed while I’m in Paris. I went to event launches, perfected my flatlay design, and somehow convinced my dad to take pictures of me on the beach, even though I knew he hated helping me take shots in swimsuits. But as I get to the end of that year, I notice a shift.
I stagnated, leveled out. My face stopped showing up in the shots and instead hid behind the camera. I went through a deep period of depression because I felt so alone at my university. For a period of a couple months, felt like I had no friends. My fear of getting hurt by others caused me to stop doing things that I love. My efforts into the blog were waining going into 2017. When my dad and grandmother passed in April 2017, all of my motivation went with them. I’ve been searching for ways to redefine it, but nothing seems to be perfect.
My fear of rejection has prevented me from putting myself out there. I used to be able to swallow my anxiety at blogger events and go up to new people and introduce myself, which opened so many doors for me. Now, I’m lucky if someone comes up and talks to me because my anxiety is so crippling that I often want to cry at events as I have become scared of reaching out, for the apprehension of failure and rejection. Nothing scared me in 2016. But why wasn’t I afraid then? Was I just young(er than I am now)? Was I naive and unhurt by the world?
Since 2016, I have become frightful. Afraid of dying, scared of feeling pain, nervous about failure in things I put my love and time into. I opened myself up to people who in turn used those feelings to hurt me, with no remorse or apologies. I’ve lost some of the dearest people in my life and I’m forever scarred by that.
I’ve let my angst define who I am. This has led to a series of posts I’m not proud of because of their level of quality. I can go around and say nope, the only thing holding me back is fear, so screw it, I’m going to just breeze through it and not let it hold me back anymore, but I cannot. That’s not honest and I know that’s not where I am in my existence. It’s a process. In 2016, I knew my goal and I knew myself, but so much has shifted since then, that I’m not sure if I truly know who I am or want to me.
My goal in 2018 is to find myself. When I started this blog in 2013, I was working to explore and guide myself high school craziness. I found an old quote that I must have put on my Instagram stories from Linda Poindexter – “One small crack doesn’t mean that you’re broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart”. Well, I have been cracked many times, not just once. Even so, I’m still here.
I’m fighting to restart my motivation, I’m fighting to remember who I am and be better at this job. I want to do something that I’m proud of. Part of doing so is me being brutally honest. I’m a broken human, but it doesn’t mean that I’m weak. I’m working on myself in order to make content that I’m proud of again and ready myself for the future. I’m learning how to forgive and tackle my anxiety because I don’t want to be trapped inside of a little box. I don’t want to be a victim of my worries. Instead, rise above it and do things greater than I have ever imagined. 2016 was awesome. It was, but 2016 is in the past. I don’t want my best year to be behind me, I want it to be in front of me.