Somedays, my heart would just hurt. HURT. My bank account was low. My stress load was high. I was in graduate school, trying to pay down my debts and live off of a very humble paycheck each month. My apartment, which was in my price range, was more humble than my paycheck and often, I felt nothing but shame when looking at the glamorous Instagram feeds of my favorite bloggers.
Wow, their lives looked so pretty. Their outfits were so polished and their hair was perfect. I knew that someday, I’d be able to afford a handbag without the gut wrenching guilt or maybe I’d be in an apartment that was pretty enough to take pictures in (at the time, my walls were a gross shade of band-aid fleshtone), but that someday seemed impossibly far away.
There were days I dwelled in despair. Everyone seemed to be living the lifestyle, but me. Paying down my student loan debt, living within an $800 budget and trying to get my blog and freelancing business off the ground when I had no resources made my stomach turn and my heart pound. I know some bloggers “fake it til ya make it” but I didn’t even have a credit line (or the desire to go into debt over pretty things) to fake it.
3 years later, I feel blessed, and though I’m far from where I want to be, and my Instagram feed is decidedly not filled with fancy new outfits and tons of trending hashtags to describe my brunch outings (which I really don’t do all too often mimosas are delicious but expensive dude!), I am happy. I look around, and though I still have so far to go with my savings, with my personal and fitness goals, but this is my life, today. It is to be treasured, appreciated and savored- the joy is not in the destination, it has to be found journey.
That’s exactly why I’m going to be uploading little bits of inspiration each week on Instagram with the #LiveBeautiful hashtag. I know most of you, like me, are working very very hard on having a better life- a life that is debt free, a life that is healthy, a life that is beautiful.
Years ago, my dream was to simply be debt free, and have a little bit of money to afford a nicer apartment so that I would have a small workspace and lighting appropriate to take better photos and grow my blog. At the time, I had two roomies and yes, some cockroaches (yay city living!) that made my goals seem so far away, and that situation so frustrating- all I dreamed of was some fun money and a little space to grow with.
Someday, I told myself, someday I will be happy- when my posts on social media are as pretty as the other bloggers I follow. I couldn’t afford new makeup, fresh flowers, and I sure as hell didn’t have a living room to myself to set up any trendy gallery walls (you know, the stuff Pinterest gold is made of). I was working two jobs, going to school and everything was a challenge (even being able to budget in a happy hour excursion for a Friday night.)
The dream seemed so far away, I working so hard- and I struggled to not completely hate my situation on those hard days. It was sometimes painfully stressful, but I wish I had been more mindful not to waste those days, pining away for the future- to take time to be grateful, to be present.
To me, that’s powerful. If you do not time to own the ugly, to celebrate the struggle, to own the gritty, you will be robbed of the beautiful when you finally earn it. That slimmer pant size you’re working for, that new business success, that final debt repayment- will it feel as good if you don’t take time to smile along the way even if it really challenges you to try?
Y0u will be amazed at your success, I know you’re working for it. Today though, even if the journey seems ugly, totally unglam and you’re feeling stuck- you can still #livebeautiful in the moment. That’s what this is all about, and I hope we can journey together. You’re beautiful, doll- I hope I can remind you of that each week.