A common concern for bloggers - in particular, style bloggers - is whether or not they should reveal their blogging to family, friends, and co-workers. It's ironic, that on the one hand, style bloggers who on a nearly daily basis photograph and publish their own images for the world to see, judge, and comment on, are also terribly self-conscious. There's a brashness to what we do - a willingness to make oneself vulnerable and put oneself out there with the underlying hope and confidence that we have something of value to share in our words and photos and our desire to connect with others. Simultaneously, it's terrifying to imagine what our family, friends, and colleagues might think of what we're doing - and that they might take advantage of that vulnerability to take us down a peg or two.
In this ever evolving virtual world full of anonymity and shadowy characters with the power to cut us down with their cruel comments and harsh words, it's those who are closest to us - those with faces and names and histories - who we often fear the most.
Sweater: Happy Morning Sweater, Anthropologie
Necklace: Idesia Necklace, Anthropologie (sold out online, but still available in some stores)
The tension between blog and work can sometimes be the most nerve-wracking. This is especially true for professional women. The fact is, most of us work really hard in our jobs and many of us have invested years of education and training to do the work we do. The vast majority of us still struggle against gender inequity in the workplace, even when it's not always obvious and overt. And for better or worse, fashion just isn't something that's taken very seriously, and that apparent lack of seriousness can be perceived as damaging to a woman's status at work. And while no one objects to someone having a non-work-related hobby, a blog is a pretty public thing. It occurs to me that there's a bit of a double standard here, that often applies to a female-centric issues or interests. It hasn't escaped my notice, for instance, that male-centric interests like sports are much more openly embraced in the workplace. Fantasy football, anyone? Or better yet, how about the office pool? What doing about doing deals over a round of golf?
Hmm...how great would it be to do deals while browsing Anthropologie or the latest offerings at Nordstrom? Yeah, I know. I like to dream.
Anyway, these pressures and fears can lead to a compartmentalizing of ourselves, where we adopt varying personas, depending on which compartment of our lives we may be inhabiting. Necessary? I'm not sure. Holistic? No, not so much.
It seems to me that this isn't the only way to see things. Nor is it the only way to respond to being a style blogger and a professional woman. Being a blogger isn't easy. It requires commitment and creativity. There's a measure of risk-taking involved, and written communication skills and a willingness to grow and get better at what we do. It requires discretion (because going public with your outfits is one thing. Going public with everything is something else entirely, if you understand what I mean). For a lot of us, there's a steep learning curve - when we start blogging, it's something new. We've got to learn to use the platform (Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, etc.), take the photos, design the layout, create content, find a readership, make time.
We are incredibly resourceful. And even brave.
So, a couple months after I started blogging, I did the thing that's taboo to so many bloggers. I told my co-workers. And yes, it did cause some confusion at first. Most of my colleagues didn't read blogs or do any blogging themselves, and they didn't really understand why I would be interested in this or be so into clothes to start with. I'm sure there are still a few who continue to be confused by it, and it's possible that the fact I do this has changed the way they see me (possibly in not the best light).
The good news though? Most people didn't really care after a while. It became something that I just happened to do, the way playing with a community softball league was something that person did, or refereeing youth soccer was something this other person does. And better yet, there was a small but discerning minority who recognized that I had and was continuing to acquire some very valuable skills through my personal blogging.
And this eventually led to a new assignment: to start a blog for one of the projects on which I work.
So, here I am, going public in a whole new way, this time, with you. I work in the field of education research, for a great organization called WestEd. WestEd does all kinds of work, and chances are, if you live in the state of California and have children in the K-12 school system or recently graduated from the K-12 school system, then you or your kids have come into contact with us or our products at some point in time. Specifically, I work with topics of health and well-being, school climate, youth development, violence and bullying prevention, and career technical education (CTE).
We've launched a new blog on that last topic, which I edit, coordinate, and co-author, and I'd like to share with you here, if you're interested in taking a look. It's called The CTE Central Blog, and for those of you who aren't familiar with career technical ed, it's about the programs and ideas and policies that allow kids, young people, and even adults to explore careers, develop skills, and see the long-term relevance of their educations as well as the wide variety of options and pathways they have to meeting their career goals. There are some really cool things happening in K-12 schools, community colleges, and at the university level that are and will be featured there. I hope you'll take a look, and if it's of interest to you, follow it.
We, as human beings and as women, are complex, layered, and varied creatures. We play lots of roles; we wear lots of hats. And sometimes, it's hard to know if the hat we're wearing is the one that fits us best, or if it's just the one that's in easy reach. And sometimes, a hat that fit us really well just a little while ago ends up suddenly being too small or too big or just out of style. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, except to say that I strongly hope that someday, it'll be okay - really and truly okay - to go bare-headed. To be who we are, as we are, without fear, without judgment and be valued for it.