Dropping the Label

So there is something that has been weighing on my mind lately.

I know that I am not obligated to write about anything in particular. It is my blog, and I can do with it what I want to, but I feel like I have carved out a niche for myself in the healthy living blogging community, and now I feel like I may want to backtrack.

I don’t think I want to be a healthy-living blogger.

I have kind of touched on this before, but I want to write about it in further detail.

I started my blog for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I love to write. I have always loved to write, and I have always loved to tell stories. I love that I have a place where I can go at the end of each day and write about the stuff that I can’t write about at work. I have my own space.

Secondly, I DO love food. I love it a ridiculous amount. I really do have two moods, happy or hungry.

I stumbled randomly one day across the blog Peanut Butter Fingers, and it opened up a whole new world for me. It led me to finding a whole slew of other healthy living blogs, where people wrote about their food, and posted workouts, and wrote random things about their day, and these blogs inspired people to live better.

I was immediately intrigued. I loved to write. I loved food. These girls were leading healthy and active lives, and I also wanted to do that, so I thought to myself “I can do this too! I can be like them!”

These blogs taught me how to create a healthy, balanced meal, and how to not be afraid of exercise and running. They showed me that I too could live healthfully and actively, and I could write about my journey! It gave me the jump start I needed to create my own blog.

And I followed in their footsteps. Here is what I did. Here is what I ate. And here is what I think about that. I followed the cookie-cutter template. And for a while I was really enjoying it.

But then something started to happen. I started to obsess over what I was eating, and whether or not it was blog-worthy. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I would start to second guess what I was eating because I believed people would scrutinize me or judge me based on it. No more french fries, for example, and no oatmeal two days in a row. Silly things like that. And if I did post food that I felt I may get judged on, I would feel like I had to defend or justify myself.

I felt guilty for eating a bunch of cookies when I am supposed to be a healthy-living blogger. And no one should ever feel guilty for eating cookies.

I also felt pressure to post interesting food pictures, and I don’t particularly enjoy photographing my food. I do a lot of sport photography for work and I am MUCH more interested in that. It is a lot more exciting than food.

I love food yes, but I have never been one to obsess over my food choices or food attractiveness and the fact that I was starting to do this started to bother me.

At the same time, I wanted my blog to excel. I wanted it to be good. I felt an obligation, to myself. To make my blog the best. And since I started out on the healthy-living journey, I felt the need to continue it.

Sometimes I will post a recipe, for say, vegetable soup, and I will check my traffic and see that someone found my blog for the first time and they read that post…and then they leave. And I almost feel embarrassed. I want to say “No! Come back! I am more than just low-calorie vegetable soup! I can hold your interest and maybe make you laugh! Just read this post! Or this one! THIS is what I am proud of!”

I am not proud of my recipe posts. I am proud of my stories. They are more me.

I love to eat, but I don’t often create original recipes. I love to sweat, but I don’t often create original workouts. And that is totally fine. But that means I am mostly regurgitating the content of other people. Sure, I’m putting my own spin on it, but I am not truly writing what I want to write about.

I would love to inspire people to live better, but I will never be as good at writing about healthy-active living as the big healthy living bloggers are. Because it is their passion, and it comes through in their writing. But it isn’t my passion. It just isn’t me. I will never be known for my recipes. I will never create my own kind of granola, and that is okay.

But I feel like I have given myself a label and it is boxing me in.

I like to tell stories. I like to make people laugh. That is my passion. When I was a kid, I would spend hours writing comic book stories and I would give them to my neighbours as presents. And now that I have started integrating my stories into my blog, I have found that that’s what I truly enjoy writing about.

I want to tell you about smashing my face off a bar at the gym, and falling out of a tree and landing on my face. I want to tell you about the time I told my parents I saw the ghost of an Indian Chief because I was too embarrassed to tell them I was really crying because my friends all ran away and left me alone in the forest. I want to tell you about the time I almost got arrested for trying to save $2 by sneaking on the subway. I have so many stories like this.

This is what I want to talk about and I’m getting bogged down with the other stuff, the stuff that I feel obligated to write about (and I know I am putting the obligation on myself, I know this). And it is funny how once you feel obligated to do something the enjoyment factor is taken down a notch…

But honestly, since I have been moving away from the food posting and drawing more cartoons, and telling more stories, I have been getting more traffic and comments. And I like to think you guys aren’t here for my recipes and my workouts, but you are here because I’m me.

There are already so many healthy-living blogs, I don’t want to be just another mediocre one. I want to stand out and do my own thing.

I also know that I do not owe anyone any sort of explanation. But I want to write this. These thoughts keep entering my head and I keep ignoring them and continue to write what I have been writing about. But I want to officially drop the label I have given myself.

I don’t know what exactly I am doing yet, but I hope that you will bear with me while I discover my own blogging voice. I am also posting this on a Friday evening because I feel apprehensive about it and I’m hoping not a lot of people will read it ;).

Also, I promise this is the last I will ever speak of this.

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35 responses to “Dropping the Label

  1. I read your blog because I love reading what you write. It doesn’t matter what it is. You make me laugh on a daily basis. Your writing is amazing! Keep it up! It’s your blog so write about whatever you like! 🙂

  2. I read your blog cause there are millions of ”Healthy-foodie-Gym-rat” bloggers, but only a handful are actually really funny, and few of them draw their own comics.

    I hate emotional posts. Good thing it’s the last. If I hear you complaining about how you’re not cool enough, I’m gonna get real bitchy. (Jk…of course.)

  3. You know I love LOVE your stories. I find them the best part of your blog and its what brings me back. You keep on doing that and your voice will SHINE. Hugs! And great post. 🙂

  4. I love your blog for 2 reasons (ok ok much more than 2 reasons but these are my top two): I love your cartoons, and I feel like we have a LOT in common.
    I has this dilemma when I started my blog just a few months ago BECAUSE I love fitness and food and both are a big part of my life but I knew I had a lot more random stuff to talk about (Insert cowgirl wallets, YouTube, brown dogs, and pulling muscle from NONE exercise related things). I’m glad I kept it semi general or I believe I would have the same predicament down the road. And though i will always consider you a healthy living blogger because you are a healthy normal womaaaan (duh) I love the other aspects of your bloggy!!

  5. Write what you feel. You write well and always make me smile whether it’s your food or your stories about your “adventuresl

  6. Write what you feel. You do write well and always make me smile

  7. Your storytelling makes you stand out and you’re right, don’t stifle it by trying to adopt a label or mold that isn’t quite you

  8. Having caught on to your blog pretty recently, I think your blog is awesome. So you are a girl who loves cookies and you try to live a healthy lifestyle but its obvious there is more to you and that’s what I enjoy reading most. The humor, the cartoons, and the memories are hilarious. Keep doing what you are doing and your voice will shine.

    FYI, I’m reading your blog on my way to nyc for a party. That’s how much I enjoy your blog.

  9. Your stories are one of the things that I love about your blog. Sure, healthy living is (at least now) a big part of it, but it’s the cartoons and the humor that set it apart from the other blogs…and the reason I love it so much! I think everyone is the best writer they can be when they are writing about something they are passionate about, so just roll with whatever pops into your head…I for one will keep coming back for all of the hilarity, whether or not there is oatmeal or salad or french fries tying all the posts together!

  10. I started off the same as you, with “healthy living” stuff, because most of the blogs that I read fell into that category. But I quickly got bored. I’m trying to lead a healthy life, but I eat pretty much the same thing every day and I mostly just play outside for my exercise. I hate taking pictures of my food and I don’t run and I can barely dress myself in matching clothes…so all of this body-focus just wasn’t inspiring me. And, like you, it was also making me feel a bit inadequate at times.

    I was considering quitting altogether when I realized…hey, this is my blog. I can write about whatever I want. So I changed the name, and I changed my focus (to…ummm…no focus at all), and I started having so much more fun with it. And the thing is that as my focus (or non-focus) expanded, so did the kinds of blogs that I started reading. I still love healthy living blogs, but I also discovered humour blogs and foodie blogs (people who like to cook food without worrying about calories or fat content. Shocking, I know.) and even Mommy blogs. I lost some readers at first, but I honestly think that the readers that I lost weren’t terribly interested in my blog anyway. This is going to be kind of an unpopular opinion, but I think the whole “I’ll comment on you in the hopes that you’ll come back and comment on me” attitude is so present in the healthy living community, because there are just so many millions of healthy living blogs. Since I changed my focus, I no longer get very many of those “Hey, looks great! Have a great day!” non-comments. I have the best readers in the world, some of whom are HLB bloggers and some of whom are not, and I love the thoughtful comments and discussions that I have with them.

    (Oh wow, this is the longest comment ever. And it’s also all about me. Oops.)

    So all that to say that you have to write about what makes you happy. If you write things that make you happy, people will read it. I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and I love it. I’m always interested in what you have to say. If you tell me that there will be even more varied topics…well, great! It means that I’ll never know what to expect when I open your blog. And that’s a good thing!

    • This was the best comment ever! This seems to be happening to so many people who start out writing a healthy-living blog. I only discovered you recently, but I love your blog! I find that I skip through a lot of the eating and workout stuff on other blogs anyway, so it’s probably not even my favourite thing to read about. I much prefer randomness and humour!
      And yeah, the commenting thing, that attitude IS so present, because I guess we feel the need to support each other. Which is great, but I would rather have a thoughtful honest comment like this one than “everything looks great!”
      Thank you!

  11. YAY!!!!

    I don’t think I need to tell you again how much I love your stories 🙂

  12. Linds I love that you posted this!!! I read your blog everyday for your stories and yes the recipes are fun and hearing about your workouts are neat- but it’s the way you describe them that are fun! No matter what you do I will keep reading because I love the way you write and I love how funny you are. Sometimes I feel like I am stuck with a label too and I don’t really know what to do about it- hopefully I will figure it out eventually haha. Love you! And you do what is best for you!!

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  14. I love your blog because I feel like you’re very relatable, down to earth, and funny as hell.
    Labels suck, because then we feel like we’re forced to conform to the “HLB” community, and I have spoken out against this a couple of times of how I don’t really think it’s healthy at all.
    I think your blog is refreshing! It’s funny and most importantly, it’s real. I’d bold/italic the word real if I could haha.
    I’ve dropped the label too and couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice.
    I love your blog and I love your personality so whatever you choose to write about, I’ll be here reading it!

  15. I love your blog because it’s funny and unique. Cookie cutter is boring and I don’t want to read the same thing over and over.

    Keep it up 🙂

  16. Dearest Buzz,

    Having had the pleasure of knowing you for half of our lives, you are far too fantastic to be boxed in to just food. Yes, in high school, you certainly were the one who was passionate about food, particularly Neil’s cookies, but you are a hell of a lot more than that. It would be very sad for the world to not experience the many adventures that you have had and that I have often shared with you. They make me pee my pants and it looks like they have a similar effect on your readers.

    In closing, you are one of God’s special creatures and you need to let your light shine. These are the infamous words of Pastor Todd Steele, who I’m sure is also very proud of you.

  17. Well said. I love this point – I don’t think you should have to force yourself into a label that you feel doesn’t fit you.

    I’m the same way – I write my blog because I love writing, my current job mostly involves staring at spreadsheets and the blog is basically my only outlet for creative writing. It just happens that two of my favorite things are food and yoga…but I don’t think that makes me a “healthy living” blog…just a “living” blog if that makes any sense.

    I read your blog because I enjoy your writing, your cartoons are hilarious…and I enjoy the random stuff you post about just as much, if not more than the food/fitness posts…actually I enjoy the random stuff more on most blogs. Ramble ramble I’m done. All I’m saying is – keep on rocking it, don’t worry about labels.

  18. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    I’m just catching up after this weekend, but I’m so glad I came across this post! This is definitely an issue that I’ve struggled with in the past too– not necessarily because I want to tell stories instead of posting about healthy living, but because I tried to fall within this “cookie cutter image” of blogging. It was stressful, time-consuming, and it made blogging into something that I resented rather than enjoyed and looked forward to doing.

    I support you 100% 🙂 To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of comics or anything like them– but I LOVE reading your stories through pictures! They are so unique and really portray your voice through them, so please do NOT stop posting them. I already feel like your blog is very different from others that I read on a normal basis, and I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us 🙂

  19. I didn’t even know you had the healthy living label! I started reading your blog because you don’t post your food. I can only read so many of those. But then again, I’m a little newer to you so maybe I missed out on all the vegetable soup and oatmeal 2 days in a row.
    I have an idea. You should post your food but draw it instead of take a picture of it. Now THAT would entertain me. 🙂

  20. yes, yes, and YES… honestly, I don’t enjoy the blogs that try to be like all the OTHER blogs. the ones at the top of my Reader are the ones that do their own things. I’ve always told you I like your silly ones the best (like your most recent two posts… yes!), and I agree, that’s what you’re best at. who wants to read the same thing over and over again? 🙂 yaaayyyy for you!

  21. Awe, muffin! Great post! We all love you because of your stories. They are my fav. The healthy eating label was a way to help you get started, something to give you a direction. Now you have found your direction and it’s different but that’s ok. Life isn’t a straight line. You should be able to change. It’s no good to lock yourself into something.
    I am so proud of you for starting a blog and for the effect it has had on your life. Writing about healthy eating and exercise has helped you be healthier, which is great. But you don’t need it as a motivator anymore. You have changed your habits. You have done good kid.
    Go forth and story blog, it makes us all Lol as they say.

    • You totally summed it up with the healthy eating label being a way to help me get started! That was perfectly put and exactly correct. I feel like I have learned very valuable healthy lessons doing that, and now I am ready to move on!
      Your last sentence made me lol, as they say 🙂
      Thanks for being such a supportive blog reader! I love your comments!

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  24. Hi from Norway, another country where we “live in igloos and ride polar bears to school”. Followed a link on Running off the Reeses to your blogpost about the creepy guy from the internet dating. I also read PBF daily, but that´s mostly because of Sadie. Why am I telling you this? Because I think your blog is AWESOME, and much more interesting than PBF, BECAUSE you don´t blog about food and exercise. (I´m not saying that PBF is a bad blog – it´s just that you´re funnier.) I think I´m going to stick with you. 🙂

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