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CREATIVITY ∙ FREELANCE ∙ WELLBEING

Branching Out

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Branching Out

The first time I made a website, I was at school. To get to grips with a web-building software, that I cannot recall the name of and therefore must have learnt a lot about, my year had IT lessons dedicated to making a fan-site of our choice. Naturally, I made the most extravagant Paramore website I could, basing it’s look on the very busy Misery Business/Riot! era. Making the navigation links orange and red to match Hayley’s hair, as well as the band’s uniform skinny jeans. I’ve had to forget what it looks like in order to sleep at night.

The second website I made was on, the now defunct, Piczo; “a social networking and blogging website made for teens”. Founded in the same year as Myspace, I would bounce between the two. Taking the self-taught coding skills gained from painstakingly tinkering around with Myspace themes, I would mostly just save and upload those wonderfully cheesy quotes from Photobucket that I felt most represented ~me~. He gave her 11 roses, 10 real 1 fake… =]

I became aware of blogging when I was in my mid to late teens. Ready to take things more seriously and dive into long-form content, the commencement of the Summer holidays provided the perfect opportunity to start up a Blogger account. I uploaded almost daily. Rambling about what I had been up to in the hours prior, making sure to note important events like popping to Superdrug for a couple of Barry M polishes, and even trying my hand at outfit posts if it meant having something to share with the world that day. To match the quality and randomness of the content on it, I named the site Cheese and Crackers. Absolute genius.

When I returned to school, GCSEs, and then A Levels, became my priority once more, and blogging took a backseat. But somewhere during my scene-hair phase (no questions, please) I decided to give my site an overhaul. I opted for an ever-so-chic basic Blogger template, a hand-drawn header I scanned in, and a hot pink background with matching accents to boot. At this point, I had become more fixated on making the blog look cool, than I did on actually putting content on it… And so, much like when you spend hours making the perfect house on The Sims, before logging off, never to return, my relationship with blogging went stale.

Branching Out

When University came to an end in 2016, Blogging came back to me naturally. I had dabbled in posting on Sian Blogs during breaks from studying, but when I finished my course, it became a constant in my life for the next couple of years. I loved having an outlet for sharing my photography, thoughts, travels, and, mostly, the relationship I had with my mental health. I opened up about my struggles with social anxiety, the impact depression had on my life, and documented all the things that were helping me out of a dark patch.

It wasn’t long before social media was making a positive impact on my life. Going from a timid, shy girl - who would ask her parents to order in restaurants or to ask shop assistants the real, pressing questions (i.e. Do you have this top in my size?) - I made friends with people who were in the same position as me, attended multiple irl meet-ups, and got involved with every Twitter chat I could find. With the amount of tweets I was sending, it’s quite surprising I wasn’t flagged as spam.

Even though I continue to work on my mental health, and the relationship I have with it to this day, as I found the weight to lift, I ran out of things I wanted to write about. I had reached a place where I didn’t feel a need to open myself up any more than I already had. That chapter had closed.

Last year I began blogging again, but with a sole focus on my photography work. I had so many photos stored away that I didn’t want to go unseen, photography has always been something I enjoyed, and portraiture was just starting to enter my life in a big way; it just made sense. I came to find that I enjoyed having a platform to make things for again. It was comforting to make content where the imagery did most of the talking, rather than spending hours on written content, that I had compulsions to check over and over. I felt like I had finally found ‘my thing’… for a while. Overtime I became uninspired. Not because I have “gone off” of photography, or because I have run out of ideas, but because I need variety.

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I have a busy brain. It can do really neat tricks like find new things to wind me up about on a daily basis, or prioritise my least important To-Do and get me excited about working on that first. It’s top notch at not wanting to sit still, focus or relax. And recalling embarrassing moments is my brain’s speciality. Joking aside though, I am able to resolve most of these obstacles by taking practical steps, but my busy brain also makes understanding myself and who I am very difficult. Which, unfortunately, is not something I can resolve by visiting my GP or grabbing a copy of Finding Yourself for Dummies. (Note to self: Sian, coin this idea before someone else makes a similar series.)

The connection between my busy brain and need for variety is simple; I have a lot going on up there and finding outlets to express myself is the most productive way of relieving that. Looking back on all the ways I have taken up space on the internet is an indication that I need a site I can be creative on. That will not restrict me, or tie me to a single art form or topic, as I forever change. So, with this all in mind, I am branching out and formerly announcing that Sian Blogs is going to be my destination for everything.

You may be wondering why I have just taken you on an online version of This Is Your Life. You may be thinking “Sian! Less announcements, move moves!” And I get that. But the need I felt to write this post was so strong, it all tumbled out of me within the space of a couple of hours. Yes, I tore myself away to cook sweet potato fries and Quorn nuggets, of course I did, but I took the drive and I ran with it - which is something I had stopped doing. It was a cathartic trip down memory lane, a reinvigorating way of wiping the slate clean, and, in some senses, a helpful reintroduction of myself and this space. Understanding who I am has become a big part of who I am, and as I move towards a career that relies heavily on that, it feels important to share things like this with you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. You rule!

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