Happy first birthday, Sweet Tea Epiphany!
One year ago today, this little blog went live.
One year ago today, I hit the publish button on a site I had spent a month researching, planning, and building.
One year ago today, my first few posts were pushed out for all to see.
I threw myself into this completely new world (hello, blogosphere), knowing absolutely nothing about what I was doing. I’d never heard of SEO, didn’t know the first thing about copyright laws or affiliate marketing, was completely against Instagram (whaaatt, I know), and had only seen HTML/CSS briefly in an introductory course freshman year (of which I retained nothing).
What I did know, however, was that I needed to write. Being in engineering, I had little opportunity to write papers and, honestly, I kind of missed it. I was living by myself (like completely by myself) for the first time in a fairly new city. I had just bought my first car and started my first real job. I was learning, growing, finding myself, and, let’s be honest, sometimes struggling. I wanted somewhere to put the thoughts I was alone with every day. I had a tendency to craft these lecture-style monologues in my head and, hey, sometimes I felt they weren’t half bad. I wanted to be able to remember them, to be able to go back and reflect. I wanted to start a conversation, I wanted to connect. Really, that never changed. That’s still my goal here; being a place of conversation, connection, and inspiration is still what I hope to achieve with Sweet Tea Epiphany.
Looking back at my writing from this time last year compared to now is definitely an experience to say the least (aka cringe). I was in a completely different place in my life, having yet to meet a lot of the amazing people I’m close to now. I had a completely different outlook on the world and how we live in it. I had completely different career goals. I was still learning how to accept myself.
If you read pieces from last fall compared to this past spring, you’ll see the transition from trying-to-be-helpful practical advice posts to more philosophical life posts. I’ve always been a very informal writer, but throughout that same time comparison, you’ll see the progression in tone, the shift in the emotion behind the words.
I share some of the most intimate parts of my life experience on here. It’s healing for me to write sometimes and especially to know that a lot of you read those same words and are able to understand what’s in my head. I’ve shared hurt. I’ve shared overwhelming stress and I’ve shared my daily battle with anxiety. I’ve shared my road to overcoming low self-esteem and self-doubt.
But I’ve also shared my epiphanies ( 😉 ) with happiness and gratitude. I’ve shared family and friends and the team-turned-friends-turned-family. I’ve shared why and how I fell in love with mornings. I’ve shared adventure, spontaneity, and leaps of faith.
You guys are on this journey with me, you’re a part of my story. I opened myself up, sometimes light-heartedly, sometimes with vulnerability, and let people see a different side of me. Many of these people I knew and saw every day had never really “heard” me in this manner; they, along with the rest of the world, had yet to really experience my voice.
What has this crazy adventure taught me?
The biggest thing I learned is that you can’t sit around and wait for inspiration. Motivation is not a catalyst, it’s a direct result of action. There were periods of time where, I’m not going to lie, I just didn’t want to write. I would have pages and pages of ideas, but I would still scroll through them all and nothing would stand out. Even if you feel unmotivated, even if you’re in a creative rut, and even if you don’t believe you have anything to offer, you have to do the thing anyway. This is my 87th post…that’s a lot of words. I write almost every day; it could be a sentence I’m really feeling or it could be two blog posts in one night, but I still get some words on the page and I still accomplish something.
Believing in yourself is half the battle. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, how can you expect anyone else to? I’ve frequently sat with a post for weeks because I didn’t like it. I’ve put out pieces I thought were missing something, but they resonated with people anyway. Really, you just have to go for it. You can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You’ve got to bare your heart and soul. You have to experience life to write about it, but in writing about it, you have to be honest with the blinking cursor in front of you.
Sweet Tea Epiphany is a representation of this new chapter of my life. It defines my new home and my progression into a better version of myself. Writing has really helped me learn to actually like who I am and helped me deal with a lot of my own insecurities. I gained confidence. I found my tribe. I learned what it means to be happy and I changed the way I see the world.
Y’all, blogging is hard. It takes so much more time than I ever expected, but it’s been so worth it. I’ve grown throughout this experience and I’ve learned an incredible amount. I have a newfound appreciation for writers and professional bloggers because I now know all that they put into their work. For a lot of people, it’s basically running a business and those who do that all while still working a typical job are just incredible.
I’m so happy you’re here to go through all that is this crazy, messy, beautiful, and simply amazing life with me. Here’s to another amazing year! <3
~What would you like to see from STE in the coming year?