It’s a question we answer in different ways depending on where we are, and it’s a question that has different answers at different times of your life or even different times of day or different windows on your laptop.
I’ve been Gemma the temp, Gemma the Student, Gemma the Receptionist, Gemma the Team Manager, Gemma on the IT Support Desk, Retro Chick the vintage fashion blogger, Gemma the Fitness Blogger, Gemma from Vintage Norwich, Gem Warfare from the Norfolk Brawds, Gemma – Mummy & Daddy Chicks daughter, Gemma – Mr Chicks wife, Nurse Gemma, and a whole host of other different Gemmas, Gems and whatever other names people know me by.
But none of them are me, or maybe all of them are me. Since way back in 2010 I’ve been bemoaning the way that blogging can have of trying to tidy you into a little box, and at the moment I am struggling with it a little. I love writing this blog, but I know why people come here. I know because those are the posts that get the most views and the most comments. My occasional opinion posts are popular but mostly people want beautiful things, they like the outfit posts with quirky or vintage accessories, exciting hair styles and how to’s. But at the moment, I’m not feeling like that person, or I haven’t had time to be that person.
Oh, don’t worry, she’s still there! The girl in the red lipstick with hair she made an effort with and the sparkly shoes, she’s still me, but since Christmas it’s been a struggle waking her up to post 3 times a week. The other me, the one with the bruises and the gym kit and the protein shakes has been on a bit of a mission. *That* me has been posting every single day. Getting back in shape after last years injuries and illness has become a priority. I want to play Roller Derby, and I want to play it well and having nice nails and setting my hair has temporarily taken a back seat. I want to get back in running shape, and I love the weight lifting sessions at the gym, and my weekly yoga. My weekends have become packed with gym sessions and practice and the few times I’ve been out I’ve got ready in a rush. Dark evenings make outfit photos difficult anyway, and I’ve been feeling a little guilty about the lack of interesting material I have for this blog as I know most of you don’t want to read about my first Co-Ed Roller Derby game, or how excited I am to have a spot skating in Eastern Sur5al, or how I’m training to get back in shape for a 10k in April.
Although most people don’t make the frequent wearing of red lipstick into a job and are therefore allowed to take a couple of months off obsessing about which is the most long lasting, my Facebook and Twitter feeds suggest that this isn’t a phenomenon specific to bloggers. So many of us seem to be filled with guilt as to how we can best fulfill our commitments and whether our personal priorities are all wrong at this time of our lives and we’re letting others down.
I see people taking up new hobbies or new ways of life seeing resistance from friends, family or work colleagues. Whether you’re a blogger or not, people will always be trying to fit you into a little box. It makes life easier to understand if you can define the people in it as one thing or the other, and sometimes people get uncomfortable when you try and get out of your box. Good/Bad, Girl/Boy, Passive/Aggressive, Feminine/Masculine defining people as one thing or the other might make them easier to deal with, but the fact is we can all be all these things because we’re not the same person all the time. At work we might be aggressive and go-getting, whilst our home relationships are defined by softness, passivity and stuffed toys.
Life is a perpetual balancing act between our responsibilities and our passions but at the end of the day living YOUR life, YOUR way, is something only you can be responsible for. As I’ve got older I’ve got even more determined to live my life my way, and that means stockings and wet sets, comic book prints and crazy tights and mouthguards and bruises are all accessories I frequently sport, and that’s exactly the way I like it. People who put me into the vintage box are surprised when I’m not very vintage, people who think of me as a well groomed fashion obsessive are surprised to see me running in the rain and those who’ve got a vision of what a Derby Girl is like are surprised to see me worrying about a broken nail.
So forgive me if being pretty has taken a temporary back seat to being sweaty, if my nails aren’t polished in my outfit posts and my hair isn’t set, forgive me if some of my posts aren’t what you came here for, there will come a time when I’ll swing back to feeling more passionate about those things, but in the mean time I hope you’ll come along with me for the ride.
Fact is we are all multi-faceted human beings, and today I want to know a bit more about those facets of YOU.
You might normally come here for pretty frocks and fancy shoes, but what would surprise people about you? Tell me your most surprising passions, and how you make space for them in your life.