“Creativity takes courage”
― Henri Matisse
An accurate title for this post could have been “the longer About page.” If you’re dying to know the long and heartfelt origin story of this blog, read below. If you’re just here for the pretty pictures of food, I won’t judge, but this post probably isn’t for you.
Why “Almost Put Together”? It’s a rather odd name for a blog. So odd, in fact, that the .com url was available.
If you’ve read my About page, you know my heart. I intended to write a cool, somewhat detached post that made me seem effortlessly awesome and not too sappy. But the truth must always come out, and when I started writing the rainbows just starting gushing and before I knew it my heart had jumped off my sleeve and into the rainbow puddle. (If you haven’t read my about page, please do, It will give you a better perspective on who I am and what this blog is about. And will also make me feel like the hours I spent writing it weren’t wasted).
Let’s start at the beginning.
I’ve always been a creative. Since I was little, I would try nearly every art form I could get my hands on. When all the other kids were long done with their creations, I would still be halfway through my project, deliberating over every detail. When I had any free time throughout my pre-teen and young teen years, I would either be reading or doing some sort of creative thing, from locking myself in my room to scrapbook for 3 days or creating elaborate piñatas or cross stitching, card making, embossing…the list goes on. I tried every craft a Hobby Lobby gift card and an allowance could provide. I wasn’t always good at something, but I did my best and I truly loved making things. And when I was set on a project, I wouldn’t eat or sleep until forced (surprisingly, that hasn’t changed much. Except the person forcing me is now my husband instead of my mom).
Fast forward a few years. I went to college to study piano, but decided the intense, all-consuming commitment needed and stress that it caused me weren’t worth it. So after getting my Associates in Music, I decided to take a break from school. I married the most patient person alive, and the process of planning my wedding rekindled my love for creativity. I knew that I would never have an office job (cue Mindy Gledhill’s Pocketful of Poetry) and that my passion is to create and discover and inspire. A job in the creative world seemed worth a try. Thus began the hunt for my creative niche that has spanned this year. I scoured the internet for hours a day researching dozens of fields and spent $$$ taking courses in floral design, styling, photography, watercolor, and hand lettering. Over the spring, I interned with one of the best floral companies in the country (Bows and Arrows), and in the summer I emptied my piggy bank to attend The School of Styling in LA (It was completely worth it, by the way).
All these experiences had two things in common: 1) I was learning from incredible people 2) There was a gaping hole in my wallet in the metaphorical shape of a Nikon camera and 30 creative courses.
Despite the fact that all my time and money were being sucked into the creative vortex, I still didn’t know what my career should be. But I decided that even though I didn’t know what creative profession I would end up in, I would start a lifestyle blog. It would combine two of my favorite things: writing and design. And thus, Almost Put Together was born.
But I still haven’t explained where the name came from.
Throughout my creative pilgrimage, I had seen so many Instagram celebrities with flawless feeds. Lifestyle bloggers in particular seemed utterly put together, and were often tall, thin, insanely gorgeous women with perfect skin who seemed somewhat shallow. Being none of those things, I debated for a long time whether this was the right next move for me.
As cliche as it sounds, no matter where you’re at, you are already enough.
It wasn’t until I met some of these super successful people in person that I understood that they’re real people, with insecurities and struggles and flaws. That realization was so freeing because it made me recognize that I, too, had a chance at having a successful creative career.
On the other hand, I realized that many people who hadn’t been “behind the curtain’ of the creative world were watching in awe. Seeing creatives’ seemingly perfect lives on social media and blog posts only further enforced their insecurities. But I wanted my blog to be a place where women say, “me too!” and laugh at their imperfections, and don’t take themselves too seriously. A place to encourage people to live intentionally, find inspiration, and reach for the stars out of the joy of living…not out of insecurity and competition and not-enoughness. Because as cliche as it sounds, no matter where you’re at, you are already enough.
But still my insecurities mounted. At 5’1, with an imperfect body and a tendency to lay in bed makeup-free eating ice cream and watching Parks and Recreation, I’m hardly lifestyle blogging material. I’m still learning how to do my makeup the “right” way (if there is one?!) and I hadn’t spent more than $30 on a shirt until last month. I don’t get weekly pedicures, and I cry most times I attempt to blow-dry my hair (curly haired girls, you feel my pain. The rest of you, stop judging). Days after deciding to start the blog I thought to myself: if I can’t paint my toes well what on earth am I doing starting a lifestyle blog?!
And here it gets real. I considered leaving this part out, but my story wouldn’t be complete without it.
I have health issues that make my life very challenging. I’m pretty much the most ambitious person ever, but my problems keep my energy levels near empty at all times, as well as a host of other unpleasant symptoms.
In addition, I’ve battled depression and anxiety for the past several years. I’m an outgoing person, but these struggles took away my personality and made me want nothing more than to stay in bed. So for me, this year has been a year of making myself keep going despite barriers. Meeting new people while at a floral class was scary for me. Working on my feet all day for my internship when I felt sick was scary. Traveling halfway across the country to spend 3 days with incredibly talented people at The School of Styling was scary. Going to the grocery store by myself is still scary some days. And as awkward as it is to write these words, I have been brave this year. My victories have been so big for me because they took so much more for me to achieve them than they would a healthy person.
I didn’t want to wait until I had my life put together to start living.
I have seen a movement over the past several months to de-stigmatize physical and mental illnesses, and I’m so very thankful for that! If you’ve never struggled with a physical or mental illness, 1) Be incredibly grateful! and 2) remember that these illnesses are invisible. You can’t see them, and often people work hard to hide it because it can so easily become part of their identity. I have tried to hide it for a long time, but even though my sickness isn’t who I am, it is part of my story.
So how did I end up starting this blog? I decided I didn’t want to wait until I was healthier, or had a clear vision for my future, or beat all my insecurities – or basically had my life put together – to start living. I might never be “put together.” But depression, anxiety, and illness had taken hold of my life for long enough. I was ready to start living intentionally instead of just surviving. Even if being a lifestyle blogger isn’t my calling in life, I started this blog to help get me on the path of intentional living, and to do all those things I wanted to do. To try that recipe, to buy that outfit, to talk to that person.
Through my posts I hope to inspire other women to live intentionally beautiful, almost-put-together lives, too.