Settling Into a Mood
This outfit is not at all what I thought I would wear for day three of the autumn capsule wardrobe challenge. When I first started putting together the outfit, I had a plaid blazer with this skirt. It is a navy blue, with a muted red being the main accent, and alongside that is a small yellow stripe. In my head, the combination seemed perfect. But when I tried it on it was far too extra for my mood. I was feeling much more like wearing something that said “I’m wandering the moors in a dramatic dress.” Unfortunately, I don’t have a dramatic dress – but this hunter green cloak works well too and gives off some great Harry Potter vibes!
To be honest, I’m only just starting to read the Harry Potter books for the first time, so my knowledge on how to give off Harry Potter vibes is solely based on the movies… but hopefully that will be forgiven! This felt a little bit Bellatrix Lestrange – perhaps because my hair ended up a little wild – with a dash of Slytherin in the green coat. I am planning to do a Harry Potter lookbook once I’ve finished the books and this coat will definitely end up there! I also have an amazing vintage cape that you wouldn’t believe wasn’t created for a Hogwarts Ravenclaw but in fact existed before the books were ever written!
Coat, thrifted (similar and similar and similar) | top, Target (similar) | skirt, me-made (similar, similar sheet) | tights, Amazon | shoes, Modcloth (similar)
Considering The Blog
I don’t know how many of my autumn capsule wardrobe outfits I will be blogging. Every outfit is being filmed (and I’m probably setting myself up with way too high of standards here in the beginning with artistic shots), so I don’t need to photograph all of them… but the blogger in me will always take photos alongside video. Even though I’m planning a YouTube video, even though I told myself long ago that daily blogging was no longer an option (hello, being a mom), even though it takes twice as long and more effort to photograph AND film all at once.
Self-portraiture is just in my nature! I love photography, and I love being able to create whatever mood I like with whatever outfit I want and having full creative control. Plus, fashion blogging has been my thing for ten years now! I can’t even believe it’s been that long. Ten years, and I’m still not sure what I’m doing with this or where it’s going, but that’s okay. It’s been a really up and down journey in those ten years.
It hasn’t all been success
Not the success story of many early fashion bloggers I’ve followed, who got their jobs via their blogs, who succeeded at becoming wildly popular in social media and therefore making their blog their job, who are able to earn a living, or at least half of one, by doing what they love to do. I haven’t done any of that. I’ve become a better photographer – excellent in my niche, but always improving – and I know the ins and outs of blogging intimately. I could tell you how to earn money, even though I haven’t pursued that byway myself.
I know how to work SEO, how to pursue a collaboration with a company, how to pitch myself to a brand, and what numbers you have to have in order to collaborate or be paid for any number of brand sponsorships and collaborations. Spoiler alert, I don’t have any of those numbers to earn a cent from a brand collab, all I do is accept free products in return for my work and social media exposure if I like the brand and what they have to offer.
Most of the brands you see me talk about in a collaborative post? I emailed them myself, because I liked them and genuinely wanted to work with them. A few here and there have approached me. That’s always exciting, because once upon a time I was far more of a successful fashion blog than I am now. I’ve had a big case of “I should have…/what if I had…?” lately. What if I had pursued blogging more ardently than I did, back when my numbers were peaking and my readership was far larger? If I had pursued photography back when I knew I needed to? What if I had taken more time in the beginning days of Instagram to really learn how to utilize it, instead of only just in the past year or two?
What if, what if, what if.
Honestly, the answer is… I would have been even more stressed as a new mother going through postpartum depression. It would have felt like I’d let down myself and others even more than I did back then. I’d have had far more symptoms of anxiety, far more outbursts of PPD-related and postpartum anxiety related emotions. I would have been exhausted, unhappy, and so so stressed.
Perhaps I could have been successful online, but I would have been failing in real life.
This is a far more personal and reflective blog post than I anticipated. I meant to be talking about Harry Potter vibes and the wardrobe challenge! But much like my outfit changing to reflect my mood, my intentions with this post have changed to reflect and discuss what I think is important. And that is mental health, and recognizing personal boundaries.
Recently I discussed on Instagram that I have finally realized I struggle with mild depression and anxiety. I only realized this because of postpartum depression. The things I felt during those two years after my second child was born were exaggerated symptoms that I had felt before I ever had kids – and that I didn’t realize I was feeling until I experienced PPD. And looking back at my “what if’s” and my stats, the highest numbers and the decline of my blog posts and interactions and decrease in the numbers… I now know that it all happened when I was going through the darkest part of postpartum depression.
And that’s a good thing. Because that means that while I was at my worst, I was not focused on keeping up a perfect online presence. I’d started to focus on getting better. I wasn’t obsessing over numbers: I was taking care of myself, my new baby, and a toddler. I wasn’t trying to be some amazing influencer on social media: I was seeking help from those in my life and in precious online groups who could offer me support.
At the time of writing this, I have a dear friend who is pregnant with her first baby. I have friends who are going through the last months of pregnancy, and friends who are going through postpartum depression. It has been on my heart to share more of my struggles lately, so that I can, I hope, help others. Whether it’s as small as just being an ear to vent to, or as big as sparking someone to seek help, I hope that my story can be a beacon.
Whatever you are going through, I am here. Someone is there. There are still a lot of stigmas against mental illnesses, I know. But I hope that I can be one drop in the wave that is changing that, just by being open about what I’ve gone through, and what I still struggle with.
Hi, this post was not meant to be about this, but my name is Kristina and I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I am here for you if you need a friend. And as cheesy and cliche as it sounds: maybe not now, maybe not next week, maybe not even this year but… someday it will all be okay.