Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. —Brené Brown
When I first started writing this post, I wasn’t sure of what the title would be.
All I knew was that I wanted to be straight forward with y’all, to give you a piece of my heart. If you’ve followed me on social media since I launched this blog nearly a year and a half ago, you may have noticed that a lot of my posts have recently disappeared off my Instagram.
The truth is, I archived a lot of my images. Why?
I wasn’t happy with my feed or myself.
Some posts I “had” to create for brands. Were they my absolute best? No. Other personal posts were half a**ed and I posted them anyway. I guess I felt the need to try and beat the ever-changing algorithm. As I went through some of my images, I wondered if I was truly representing myself online as I would in real life. Did I really create content that I’m utterly proud of? Am I really being me? The honest answer for both questions? No.
I wore outfits that I didn’t 100% love. And I did it just so I could have an “outfit post” because my budget didn’t allow for new clothes at the time. I didn’t even smile authentically in my photos either. Why? I felt like I had to smile for my images to show that I was happy yet the best ones to me are the ones where I’m legit laughing or when I’m not smiling (when I was really happy too). My captions were becoming less “me” and as I read them, I felt like more of an announcer. I wasn’t engaging with you the way I wanted to because I was busy talking at you.
So, I archived every image that I wasn’t happy with and left it at that.
Then I read something that I resonated with me so much.
It also confirmed what I had been feeling about social media and being an individual in a very saturated blogger market.
A few days ago, I read Kristina Bazan’s blog post. And in case you didn’t know, after following her for years, she became one of my main inspirations on why I chose to step out and finally stick to what makes me come alive: blogging.
She was my favorite influencer for the sheer fact that she was a real blogger, a big dreamer. To me, not only did she share her style and inspired me through her makeup and outfits, she wrote full posts, sharing her heart. Honestly, that’s what I loved most about her. It didn’t matter how long her posts were. I was just happy when she published an article even if it had been months since her last post.
As I read Kristina’s article, I learned about why she disappeared from social media and the fashion world within these last few years. I definitely noticed that she wasn’t blogging as much anymore and her Instagram posts had slowed way down too.
When she first changed the feel of her Instagram feed, I didn’t understand this “dark side” of her that was emerging. Until I read her post, I realized that she was expressing the very principles I embodied myself.
And although I’m sad that Kristina is closing the fashion chapter of her life, I understand her heart to the core. I mean, the woman took so many fashion risks (feel free to do a search and check out my pins of her) for seven years. Why not leap and take the risk on the next chapter NOW?
Reading her article felt like it was perfect timing for me.
Last Spring, I talked about lessons I’ve learned as a blogger when I relaunched my website. I was honest when I said I found my voice and my blog topics. I also wasn’t kidding when I talked about my struggles with my personal style. To this day, I still struggle with my style/aesthetic.
In comes Lydia Elise Millen. I had followed her on Instagram for a while, but didn’t really pay attention to her at all. One day, I decided to check out her YouTube channel. As I watched her videos and got to know her better, I felt it was absolutely insane to think that there’s a British version of me out there. Her personality, eye for fashion, home style, code of conduct, everything is the spitting image of me and who I am! I literally became addicted to her videos as if it were an actual television show. I was strongly drawn to her.
That’s when I realized that I had been holding back the real me. I wasn’t unapologetically me.
It was as if I was watching Lydia be me for me. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to her videos.
I wanted to be me and that includes the blogger side of me too. Maybe that’s why a lot of me hates shopping at certain stores because I don’t want and refuse to look like every existing “basic” blogger. From straw bags to the Hermès sandal dupes to white nail polish, it just repels me. Yet at the same time, this is the reason why I’ve also struggled with my sense of style. I don’t want to look like everyone by buying inexpensive, terribly-made things, but I feel bad if I like high-end, designer things too.
As a Christian, I’ve been taught that I shouldn’t “lust” after material things because in the end, I can’t take anything with me. I believe that to be very true because I firmly believe money cannot buy happiness. However, I love the high-end aesthetic and feeling designer brands evoke.
Yet, I really know that addiction to material things will lead to an unsatisfactory life.
However, I question the idea of why I “can’t have nice things” because of the why-can’t-I-have-balance mentality? I mean, I no longer buy everything in sight or piddling my money away just because something is on sale.
Another big part of me holds myself back because I don’t want to look like I’m trying to “copy” Lydia and her aesthetic. However, the more I thought about Kristina’s article, I realized that there’s a lot of Lydia in me and that’s okay. We can be kindred spirits to a degree. Because a lot of who I am isn’t in her either and that’s what separates us as individuals.
Whether this little corner of the internet becomes popular one day or not, I’m pushing hard to be unapologetically me. This goes for my personal style, the images and content I create and the way I run my social media platforms. I don’t ever want to regret hitting ‘Publish’ on a blog post or ‘Share’ on an Instagram image because I want to feel immensely proud of what I create.
Most importantly, I want my work to be unapologetically me and feel that sense of true freedom.
I never want this blog to be a place where I share the unrealistic me or trends I detest. With all my heart, I never ever want to tell you what looks good on you and what doesn’t. I want you to “do you” because that’s the main reason for this blog: to provide you value and to encourage you to confidently step into your identity while nerding out on fashion and beauty.
You will always see style and beauty brands that I absolutely love and want to wear/try. Yes, that even means the high-end side of things. For far too long, I held back on that because I wanted to be relatable.
I now realize I was trying to be relatable too much.
Don’t get me wrong, I love certain drugstore beauty brands and inexpensive fashion too. I just don’t want to lose my entire identity by sharing what I don’t really love just because it’s affordable for most people.
With this said, I’m working on doing a complete self-audit.
Additionally, I’m going to start chipping away at doing a complete overhaul on my wardrobe to hone in on my real style. The topics I currently write about aren’t going anywhere, but the way I share what I love is going to evolve. In fact, it’s already begun with my beauty shop page.
As time goes on, I want to share with you what I truly love and feel like a million bucks in, products I love even if I have to budget/save for them and show you my true self with a bit of rebranding and more videos.
And as things start changing around here, no matter what you choose to do, I’m going to be unapologetically me. If you continue to choose to follow me, thank you. Should you decide that I’m no longer relatable, that’s okay. I thank you for following me in the first place and completely understand your decision too.
I’m still going to be unapologetically me.
It’s the only way I can be free, use my gifts at the same time and share with you who I am and what I love.
RachelMay 11, 2018
I love how you are you Huong! You inspire me daily and I am so happy to hear you are going to be more you and truly feel it. I respect people who just want to be themselves and this encourages me to just be me. Thank you for sharing true self and your amazing style with us each week. I pray blessings over your blog, fashion, and life.
Huong VoMay 23, 2018
Thank you, Rachie! I’m glad I could be of encouragement to you and will strive to be me as much as I can. Thank you for your prayers! I greatly appreciate them and your support! xo