This week, Gem answers the question: Why do I blog? Answer: That is a rather loaded question. Let me update you about what’s been happening in my life.
I need to tell you a secret, my dear.
And after I tell you, it will no longer be a secret, will it? I have a secret that is so obvious, yet I have not directly said anything about in my blog.
I don’t really have any pictures to go along with this post, so enjoy a few of my nature and New York City pictures. I love still life photography, but rarely get to share it (at least when it’s not food).
Anyway, this secret is the very backbone of this entire blog and the answer to, why do I blog?
Up until last Friday, I have been unemployed for the entire lifespan of Food Drinks Life.
Now that you think about it, it makes sense, doesn’t it?
I didn’t do the best to hide it, posting Instagram Stories at 1 in the afternoon of me cooking in real time, being able to always shoot in decent natural light (which, that could just be good planning, really), and always seeming to be able to pull together a post, no matter what the week was like.
This is the very real side to my blog, and why it has brought me both joy and pain.
I was let go from my job. I went in like it was any other day, but left halfway through it with all my things packed in boxes, driving off into the midday sun.
It came without warning, though I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I wasn’t really needed there. I thought it was anxiety playing tricks on my brain, but it turns out it was actually a hunch.
One day I will tell you the story. I have it all written out, on the day that it happened. I wrote it so it was all fresh in my mind, remembering them telling me it was my last day at this job I really came to enjoy.
But as I was driving home from my last day of work, I thought about the blog project. It’s something that I thought about a lot when I was at work, but never fully implemented it. I didn’t have a name and it was holding me back.
But, after about two weeks of slinking in a depressed stupor, I finally came up with the name that has become synonymous with me: Food Drinks Life. Though this blog has evolved into mostly a food blog, no topic is off limits. I want to talk about anything and everything that I am passionate about.
And on November 11th, 2016, Food Drinks Life launched.
I mean, no one really paid a whole lot of attention to it, but it gave me purpose in an otherwise bleak situation. I used it as a platform to learn and “keep me sharp”, as I said at many, many interviews.
As time progressed, I made posts. 2 a week for about 5 months, until it burned me out. I was still searching for jobs while I was blogging, as well as taking care of various errands and house chores.
And as a side note, you no longer own your own schedule when you are unemployed. You might think you do, but you’re kidding yourself. If you made plans with someone but a place called you up for an interview, it is yes to the soonest time they can get, even if it means changing your plans.
Unemployment isn’t all gumdrops and lollipops.
Since then, I’ve balanced the blogger and “job seeker” life, looking for jobs while writing posts.
So, I’m going to answer a few questions that are probably running through your head about now.
Gem, if the blog has been going that long, that means you’ve been unemployed for the last year and a half??
How were you able to fund being unemployed for that long? Have you been on unemployment benefits the whole time?
Come on, I know you’re thinking it. And even though I didn’t want to answer this question, I figured I’d address the elephant in the room.
And the answer is… don’t you worry your pretty little head. Haha. I had been saving for a time such as this.
And as for benefits, that is a big no. You only get unemployment benefits for 6 months. And you don’t just get handouts; there are certain things you have to do every week. I’m going to get into that in a different post that is going to address some of the big myths around benefits and unemployment.
Why didn’t you tell us?
This is for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t want anyone thinking I was mooching off the government and benefits to start a blog. I wanted a fair shot of proving myself and I didn’t want any bad stigmas surrounding me as an unemployed blogger. I was still doing everything I needed to be doing and more to find a job while running the blog.
Two, I was ashamed.
A lot of the shame came up within this year. I lost count of my interviews just in this year alone. And with each passing interview, you think, this could be the one. I had several weeks where I had 2-3 interviews. I thought, there is no way I’m leaving this week without a job.
But I did.
I started to feel like no one wanted me, that I was undesirable because of how long I was out of work. There was always someone better than me, had more experience than I did, or was still currently in work.
And though I know I shouldn’t seek validation in this, but I felt worthless. After all, there are people who are literally sending you rejection emails, or nothing back at all. Kind of like going on a first date and never hearing back from your date again, even though you thought it was a good date.
Nevertheless, I continued on.
It was never a pity party, just pick yourself up and go to the next interview. I knew I had a lot to offer and there had to be someone who could see it.
I lost touch with people. There were very few times I went out because I didn’t want to frivolously spend my money and I didn’t want people to judge me for being broke, but apparently not broke enough to go out. Y’know what I mean?
Like, when people see others with fancy designer clothes, but they’re on food stamps. It’s easy to make a snap judgement, but you don’t know what their life is like. That could be the only outfit that they have. Or, they bought it when they actually had money. I know what that’s like.
So, yeah. I had my reasons.
I did my best to stay upbeat, I hope. No one would want to see me be a downer all the time!
Where do you work?
I don’t think you would really expect me to answer that question, would you?
What does this mean for the future of Food Drinks Life?
Honestly, I don’t know.
All I know is that I want to continue blogging. I’m hoping that through this new job, I am able to afford some better equipment and tools for Food Drinks Life to get a lot of the repetitive motions out of the way.
This blog has been such an amazing opportunity and gift. Yes, it has come with it’s hurdles and challenges. But really, I don’t want to give it up and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
It might mean posts are a bit more sporadic. Maybe I won’t be able to post for a week or two. It would be better if it didn’t come to that, but I think you all understand how life changes. I have so many ideas and concepts I want to try, but it all comes in time.
I also would like to ask you for a bit of grace when it comes to these coming weeks.
With my birthday on the way and me going from no employment to full employment, this is a big adjusting period for me. I want to keep creating great content, but it is going to take time. I’ll take quality over quantity every day. And if it means missing a week or two, then so be it!
If there is something that you want me to try or make, please let me know in the comments down below!