With my friend Jamie Stone at the VMAs thanks to CoverGirl. I pestered her every five seconds for intel on who the hell was onstage
Here are some things that have happened to me in the past few weeks:
— I went to the VMA Awards with CoverGirl, where a slew of “musicians” I didn’t know existed sang “songs” I’d never heard of. (The sole exception–Beyoncé–is somebody I respect immensely as being talented and pretty, but still genuinely do not care about in the slightest. I missed the memo where it was commanded that you must be obsessed with Beyoncé and refer to her as Queen B, lest you have no taste and no soul)
— I fell shamefully in love with the song “Bang Bang,” forcing poor Erik to listen to it on repeat until it was stuck in his head. (I then realized that “Bang Bang” was performed at the VMAs and I totally missed it because I was griping and grousing about the state of the music industry. Universe: 1, Nadine: 0)
— I got eyelash extensions that I immediately hated, because I looked like Tammy Faye Bakker and they kept interfering with my ability to wash my face easily (eyelash extensions require SO much maintenance…and I am lazy)
— I spent, no joke, HALF AN HOUR OF MY LIFE trying to artfully-arrange a bunch of Kérastase products next to a bottle of Moët for an Instagram post, because I have become worried about what my lackluster social media numbers mean for my financial future as a blogger
Here is the common thread amongst the above:
I am too old for that shit.
Birthday present from Erik: the Mulberry purse I’ve been coveting for years
My 34th birthday was at the end of August and life has been changing a lot ’round these parts. It’s almost all for the better, but as I’ve been working on my next book and redesigning my blog, I’ve been mulling things over, as you do. It’s been almost 10 years since I started blogging, and holy hell has the landscape changed.
I have been struggling with blogging, frankly, for a while now. You’ll remember I talked about my frustrations back in the spring.
My readership isn’t where it used to be, due in no small part to 1) my tendency to wander away from my blog for days at a time while I live my life; 2) the sheer number of beauty blogs out there: some lackluster, but many amazing; 3) the fact that my voice has changed.
We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond about five times last week. This is what our bedroom floor looked like at one point
Erik and I are currently redecorating our house from top to bottom, which involves pulling boxes out of storage and going through papers and photos. While cleaning, I found old blog post printouts from 2008 and 2009. As I re-read them, I was struck by how clear, honest, and funny my voice was back then. Sure, elements of my current posts and writing style were still there–product reviews, event recaps, an obsession with Kate Middleton way before it was click-bait–but I had many more How To’s and Tutorials, in part because I felt there was an actual need and market for those.
Now? These past few years? I’ve thought: Well, why get it from me when you can get it from Allure.com, or from that white-hot YouTuber, or by a simple Google search?
Nobody wants to be the last person at the party. For the past couple of years, I’ve been pretending that things are the same as they were when I started blogging in 2005: that I’m still 24 and fresh-faced and dewy-eyed and that it is appropriate for me to include smiley-faces in my emails and to create videos that start with a chirpy “Hi, guys!”
I go to events, and some cute young beauty blogger and I will be introduced, and she’ll look past me as she Instagrams her bangled arm holding a tube of moisturizer against a background of flowers, and when she finally deigns to give me her attention, she asks with a patient, condescending smile, “And how long have you been blogging?” like it’s a hobby I picked up on a whim last February. When I say nine and a half years (and if I’m lucky, somebody nearby chimes in and explains that I was kind of the first real beauty blogger), the smug smile fades, and I feel like a petty, silly person for even craving such validation from a newbie. Furthermore, it’s not like I can feel superior to her just because I’m older and did it first, because I certainly haven’t done it best–and while I have almost (only) 7000 Twitter followers, she has 125,000 who hang on her every word. So, the joke’s on me.
Considering how long I’ve been blogging and the fact that I do still have somewhat of a legit presence in the blogosphere, my social media numbers are abysmal. I’ve tried the Instagramming and the Tweeting and the Pose-ing and the Vine-ing, but it takes so much effort. (Cue violins.) It’s a full-time job, 140 characters and various clever hashtags at a time, and as my vocabulary has dwindled and my attention span has shrunk, I’ve started to worry about social media and technology’s effect on my brain. I want to be doing things away from my devices, not diving further into the madness for fear of becoming even more irrelevant.
Presenting three of my failed Instagram attempts, plus the winning Instagram version on the top-left.
This. Took. Ages.
I downloaded a slew of logic games and memory puzzles in an attempt to form neural pathways. I pulled out the Kindle, because even reading on a tablet (blech) is better than not reading at all. I’ve put the phone down when Erik and I go for walks, and I turn my ringer off (which has led to all sorts of shenanigans the past week when people haven’t been able to reach me RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE AND OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG), and rather than spending 20 minutes of Instagram-scrolling before bed, I’ve been reading Entertainment Weekly or Vanity Fair or The Economist (or, confession, US Weekly, because although I want to recapture my old mental magic, I am still a human being in 2014, y’all).
Guys, I could keep rambling for ages here, and I think this is the consequence of me not truly sharing with you for the past few months as I’ve been spinning the blog’s wheels and finishing my next book.
Life is good.
Life is so good.
I am absurdly grateful, and I cannot wait until I can finally open the floodgates and talk to you about it more (and show you photos from my wedding while I’m at it! Winter 2014, watch this space…)
Reevaluating what matters…
I’m working with a graphic designer to update this blog (what will it be, long-time readers? 5.0? 6.0? 9.0?) and I am beside myself with excitement to show you the latest version. For once, however, it’s not going to be merely cosmetic. There have been so many external changes in my life this past year that it’s only natural the inside has changed, too. The blog will reflect that. It might not resonate with advertisers or beauty brands or my manager or the vast majority of the blogosphere, and I’ve decided to (try to) stop worrying about that. My best hope is that it will resonate with my readers. This fall will continue to be a bit slow on my end, publicly at least, but come winter, I’ll be back in full force.
On a related note to the rambling missive above, I realized something basic and silly and rather obvious while in bed last night:
I AM HAVING A MID-LIFE CRISIS.
Technically, it might be a third-life crisis, since I hope my time won’t be up when I hit 68, but the fact remains: I just turned 34. I’m a year away from 35, that classic old “holy shit, what am I doing with my life?” milestone. And I work in an industry that, for the most part, is a young woman’s game.
I like Twitter. I like Instagram. I am the most shameless selfie narcissist you’ve ever seen, and if it were appropriate, I’d probably post photos of my hair on Facebook all damn day long.
But I’ve stopped wearing makeup or blowdrying my hair on a daily basis. I had a 20 minute discussion about hemorrhoids last week. I do not care about your Outfit of the Day. I have zero interest in your bangled-arm-holding-a-tube-of-moisturizer-against-a-background-of-flowers photo. I resent that I might be less viable as a writer because my social media game is not strong and my asides are no longer as pithy and zingy and sharp. I look around–at my industry, my peers, my world, myself–and I worry, worry, worry.
I have become earnest. I want extra sleep. I want to be a kind person and to leave a mark. I want a family. I want to take the time and mental energy to fight the uphill battle, to carve out a meaningful space for myself in the blogosphere again, and to say something that matters.
I’m in my mid-30s, and I like it.
I do not want to compete with 25-year-olds any longer. It’s time to grow up.