Sunday, April 10, 2016

Imperfectly Painted Turns 6! *Personal Post*

*This is an extremely long personal post, so feel free to skip. 

I started this blog on April 10th, 2010. I think if you told me I'd be blogging for 6 years then I never would of believed you. I don't think I would of believed I would of lasted a year! I think what has kept me going is the gratitude I have for this blog and how it has changed my life. I had a difficult childhood. Not remotely difficult in comparison to many, but I struggled with self-esteem very severely.

I was bullied so severely as a child that I have diagnosed PTSD from the emotional abuse. I also lived in an area with a bunch of "one uppers" and  overachievers that no matter what I did I was never good enough. That abuse and childhood pressure left some very deep scars that really did not really present itself until adulthood. I lived with debilitating social anxiety and a constant fear of judgment and rejection from people. I barely left the house and often when I did it resulted in massive panic attacks. Needless to say, I did not have friends and felt very alone.

In December of 2008, I was at Target and came across this mini Sally Hansen Lacquer Shine nail polish gift set. I believe it was a set of 4 colors in mini bottles a shimmery blue, purple, pink, and red. I don't know what enticed me to buy it. I never really painted my nails often, but the colors just caught my eye. I bought it and that night I painted my nails with the pink color. The color was awesome, but I wanted to try the other colors too. So, the next day I painted my nails with the purple, then the next day the blue, and so forth. That's how it started. There was something about having this fun splash of colors on my nails that I could change whenever I wanted that I found joy in.

I then joined MakeupAlley and started following the nail board. I became aware of bloggers like All Lacquered Up, Vampy Varnish, Scrangie, and Kellie Gonzo through the nail board. I also learned that there were other brands of nail polish besides OPI and Sally Hansen. There was this awesome brand called China Glaze that had this amazing color called Ruby Pumps. It was early in 2009 when I took my first trip to Sally's Beauty Supply and bought my first China Glaze nail polishes, Ruby Pumps included of course. Throughout 2009, I changed nail polish on a daily basis. A new color every single day, and if I couldn't decide I'd alternate between two colors on different nails.

I had toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a long time before I actually started a blog. I had a lot of fears about starting a blog. The bloggers I saw had perfect nails and perfect polish jobs, and I knew I couldn't replicate that. I was afraid of that type of pressure getting to me and ruining my love of nail polish. I have spent my entire life chasing perfection that I never could obtain. I spent my life feeling inadequate compared to everyone else. I knew if I started a blog I wanted to break free of those expectations I've put upon myself. I wanted to be OK with being imperfect, and I wanted people to know when they came to my blog that imperfection is what they were going to get.

That's how the name Imperfectly Painted was born. It would be another 6 months before I actually bit the bullet and started this blog. This blog gave me the space and the voice to just be myself. I never in my entire life gave myself permission to just be me. I always was trying to be like someone else to win someone's approval or feel like I could be accepted. I told myself when I started this blog this would be my project for me and would be by my standards only.

It was through this blog that I actually made my first friends as an adult. It was through this blog that I felt supported not only as a blogger, but as a human being. I've shared a lot on this blog besides for nail polish and have realized how I'm definitely not alone in my experiences and feelings. I appreciate you, my readers, because you've helped me feel like valued person. You gave me the gift of kindness and friendship when I really needed it the most.

My biggest accomplishment I feel with this blog is that I've remained true to myself throughout it all. This blog has remained virtually unchanged since it's fruition. Yes, my nail polish painting skills have improved, but the content is the same. I admit, that it's hard. There are bloggers who have blogged as long as me or even much less who have become very successful and professional bloggers. I always knew if I went that route, this would become a painful journey of chasing perfection yet again. This blog and nails was my "me time". This has never been a career goal or aspiration for me. This is my outlet.

This blog gave me a lot of confidence in my real life. My first time getting out of the house for a real social event was to meet some local bloggers here in 2011. I remember being so sick with anxiety the night before, but I went and I'm happy to say that I'm still friends with some of those people. I have met some wonderful people in the blogging community and continue to do so. I've had amazing opportunities with local beauty shows and last summer attending Cosmoprof NA in Vegas. It's not the events or the nail polish that mean the most to me though, it's meeting people. I have such a fondness for this community because I relate to it so much. I feel so many of us share similar backgrounds and experiences outside of nail polish that brought us to nail polish so that the connection is very genuine.

I admit, that I do remain a fairly guarded person. I see so many wonderful friendships in the blogging community, and I'm so envious of them. I'm not an easy person to get know. I know that, but it's not because I'm standoffish or not interested. For some reason, I find it easy to reveal all of my feelings in a blog post, but feel uncomfortable doing it with a person on one one. I do still struggle with feelings of inferiority and worry about being a burden to other people. My biggest void in this blogging experience is definitely a lack of friendships. I have met many great people, but haven't really formed many friendships. I am so admittedly jealous of people who have close-knit nail buddies they have group chats with or text all the time. I do hope that will change, but that's something on me because it's my insecurity that is holding me back.

I will say my favorite aspect of blogging is reviewing. I enjoy speaking to you all as if you're my friend. If something is super duper sparkly amazing I will say it like that and add a million exclamation points throughout the review even though that doesn't sound very professional. If a polish is ugly and crappy, I'll say it's crap even though that's not very tactful. I appreciate you all being accepting of my writing style and how I chose to express myself on here.

Overall, in this nearly 1,300 word essay I'm just trying to say how grateful I am for this entire experience. I'm grateful to myself for having the courage to start this blog and to give myself that freedom to be myself. I am grateful to my readers, the people I've met, and the friendships I've formed for supporting me and being part of such a positive journey for me. I started this blog when I was 23 years old, and I'll be 30 this summer. This blog saw me through a time of really discovering and appreciating my identity. It's these meaningful experiences and of course my love of glitter and shiny things that keep me going.

Thank you for being a friend.

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