“You do you; the rest doesn’t matter”

Before I begin, let me address the elephant in the room.

The last time I published anything, I had just celebrated my 22nd birthday. I was in my cushy hotel room in Langkawi, Malaysia, trying to find the energy to finish off a long blog post about a long day. Across the room from me, my then girlfriend was reading something off of her phone. I told myself, it’s your birthday. You don’t have to post this until tomorrow, so just take a break.

The funny thing about breaks, they have a habit of disguising themselves as temporary visitors. In my case, they didn’t even need to don the mask; I was feeling tired, not just from a long day, but from the expectations I had placed on myself. I’d set out to document my entire holiday trip, and told myself I had to be articulate, funny, and engaging. You want to write more, don’t you? Well, then, write!

But what I really wanted to do was to blog, not publish; I wanted the catharsis of taming my thoughts and feelings into consumable chunks. Yes, but who will consume it? I remember haphazardly (sloppily, even) trying to ‘market’ myself everywhere, to anyone who might feel empathetic enough to read. Your writing has always been good, so that should be your selling point. Yes, but the moment I started writing to publish, my writing stopped being mine. The moment I began to put on a show for the sake of appearances, it had already failed.

Earlier this year, my relationship ended. It was a four year relationship that had, during its course, been a relationship that the people around us had heralded as the epitome of what relationships should be. It wasn’t. After the break up, I thought back, and realized that the last moment I was truly me in that relationship, had been when we holidayed together in Malaysia. Somehow, somewhere and sometime after that, I began to stop putting myself into the relationship, and instead installed the version that everyone had expected me to be.

Like I said, the moment I began to put on a show…

So give that big elephant a wave. Yes, hello, I’m back again. There are quite a lot of you who may suddenly see my name in your inbox or feeds again, and think, oh, I thought she died in Malaysia. If we’re being melodramatic, maybe a part of me did die there. But the truth is, I had given up.

Pat that elephant on the trunk. Yes, I’ve removed every previous post from this site. I didn’t want to read them, and hear the echoes of a person trying to be something “ideal”. To me, those previous posts felt like the ghosts of my memories, resurfacing from every oily-skinned, shaggy haired, awkward teenager photo that ever existed of me. Those posts felt cold and reeked of the antiseptic of edits and re-edits.

Finally, look the elephant in the eye, and remember that it will remember you. Life isn’t going to give me redoes after redoes. I can’t select a handful of memories, and disappear them from memory. I’ve addressed the elephant in the room, and it is addressing me.

“You do you, the rest doesn’t matter.” The things I will do here on this blog, they’ll be for me. From the photos, to the captions, and each and every single joke – they’ll be for me. This was the advice given to me by a close friend during my breakup. I was so consumed with trying to do the right thing, and abide by the right people, I had failed to see that the only person I should answer to is me. It’s advice that I had given to others, without heeding myself: once you have figured out who you are, the people whose existence complements yours will naturally follow suit.

So let’s end this on a more positive note:

Why the wolf? I’ve always liked wolves. Ever since reading a children’s abridged version of Jack London’s White Fang, I have felt a closeness with wolves. I enjoyed their pack mentality, but I also felt drawn to their tenacity when forced to survive alone. I like wolves so much, I had one placed permanently on me last year.

Finished! 2 hours later… Much thanks to @smel_wink! #ink #tattoo #wolf

A post shared by Alex (@smuggypuggy) on

I thought about changing this blog’s name, and the tagline. But for some reason (perhaps laziness), I felt that what it used to be oddly still applied. I will still do things, and tell you about it here – maybe you, too, should do that (elsewhere. I welcome comments, but not necessarily your entire life story).

Alright elephant, alright wolf, let’s do this.

Alex.

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3 thoughts on ““You do you; the rest doesn’t matter”

  1. Welcome back Alex! I kind of understand how you feel about the whole blogging-versus-publishing idea. Like you, I’ve recently re-started my blog again after an entire year of accidental abandonment. Last April, I set out to start a personal style blog, but then after two posts back then, I got caught up in the whole “keeping up appearances” thing and kept trying to be an “idealised” version of myself in the blog and it just got too bothersome and tedious to write. So I lost interest… stopped for a whole year. But I recently got back into blogging and I hope to be more “authentic” and just blog/write whatever I feel like 🙂 We’ll see how it goes though. We can totally support each other on our respective blogging journeys haha!

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    1. I did notice that you tapered off a while back…! I’m glad I’m not alone in this limbo of expectations vs reality when it comes to blogging. Are you still posting your outfits and/or adventures on Instagram? I don’t think I’ve seen you in a while, but it may be because of the new Instagram algorithm pushing your posts down.

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