As I alluded on Friday (and before), I've been thinking about this blog. It feels like every Sunday I sit down and write a Sunday best, with the best of intentions to publish other posts throughout the week, but then I blink and Friday rolls round and it's link round-up time.
I've also been thinking a lot about integrity. I mean, I know integrity became this awful term marketers use in ways that strip the word of real meaning. But I mean the way we talked about integrity before: the gut-check, I'm doing this for reasons I deeply care about and treasure way.
The truth is, I'm not blogging with integrity.
When I started this place, it was somewhat about reconciling disparate parts of myself. I believed that we had been forced to compartmentalize ourselves; smart or stylish, deeply reflective or profoundly shallow. But those things weren't so at odds for me, they were equal parts of me. Bluntly, I wanted to get comfortable having a brain and having an aesthetic sensibility, being sometimes prone to frenzied fits of lusting after shoes, or a new sofa. I wanted to reconcile all of this, but also to represent it, figuring many women my age felt a similar friction between being smart and being style-oriented.
I still believe this must be a friction for many people. But for me personally, the reconciliation has been accomplished. I don't really need the outward show of a blog to force these things to become comfortable parts of me any more.
But there's another part; at the same time as accepting these disparate things, I've also matured. It's not that I no longer care (I'm still thinking a lot about sofas), but frenzied fits certainly don't happen as much any more, if at all. My style has become settled, banal, just mine. It's not really worth editorializing. My home is eminently important to me, but not a design feat worthy of feature or comment. My style is unremarkable. Not in ways that make me unhappy — precisely the opposite; in ways that I don't need to examine and proselytize about.
I think this has even become evident in my Sunday bests. I mean, they're totally basic. And I don't say that in a way to dismiss my style; the simple, effortless look I love. But part of its being basic, means it doesn't really stand up to telling and retelling or to deep reflection other than the occasional trend thinkpiece (which I'm certainly not going to write).
I think too about how so many of us have grown up blogging. So many of the bloggers I first started following have been on journeys of marriage, divorce, having children, moving cities or countries, changing jobs, book deals, quitting the cubicle, shop launches or turning their small personal blog into a media empire. It's been remarkable to watch (mostly) women go on these very public voyages. Some bloggers I once featured here have become mega-stars. Others, have quietly quit or sidelined their blog into something else. If there's anything I've loved it's how this label - blogger - that bonded us and was also often used to dismiss us - could grow to mean so many things.
But back to me and my integrity: I don't think blogging is the most value I can share with the world any more. Which isn't to say that I'm indifferent to the fact there are people who value what I write. But I don't think I'm putting the best value I can share into this medium any more. There certainly isn't a business case for what I do here, so if I'm not both transmitting and getting tremendous personal value from what I do here, the point is hard to see.
As you likely know, I turn 40 in June. And as you also likely know, I'm subject to moments of deep reflection when I'm approaching milestones. Lately, I feel that my integrity is much more found in my smaller world, in my connections with individuals (not excluding online friends — this intriguing form of modern friendship). It's not in broadcasting to a vague group of people I don't really have equal exchanges with. It's not in making my quiet style seem remarkable, or turning my quiet thoughts essays for public examination.
If you're one of the people who has come to consider me an [online] friend, please feel free to stay in touch through e-mail jane[at]janeflanagn[dot]ca. Of course, I'll also always have a connection with the online world, through social media and other outlets. You can also follow / connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Thanks, you guys :)