A year is a long time. So much can happen in 12 months & it’s easy to forget. Blogging has always been a way that I have documented my life & where I’ve been since I was 19. I’ve written parts of my story on the internet for literally anyone to read, I’ve invited everyone in. From starting out talking about only outfits & sounding like the teenager I was, to sharing real life sadness & encouragement on the days that I just needed to get my emotion out. My voice has changed over the past 6 1/2 years, but writing has always been an outlet for me to explain myself. I am grateful that because blogging is my job & that writing a year in review post is a trend in my field, it allows & even forces me to pause & reflect on all that the year has brought me in finance, opportunity, experience, love, & growth. Here’s what it all looked like.
This past year was my first full calendar year of working entirely for myself. Even though I have technically been self-employed since I was about 20 when I started being a nanny, this year is the first full year where all the money I made solely came from blogging & photography. Every single check that I received was because I said hey so & so, I can do this or that for you or your company, & they all trusted me & my creativity enough to allow me to do it AND pay me for it. All of the money I made & used to live with this year was given to me from people who trusted me & my work. That blows my mind. As someone who started sharing her life, what she bought, her favorite things, etc., with photos she took on her phone & then shared online for fun, to now being so good at it that people hire me to take their website photos, run their social media, write blogs for them, create content, share products, & more, it’s truly humbling & a dream come true. I will forever be grateful for 2018 & my first full year of making it on my own.
Opportunity started for me as soon as the fireworks stopped going off last year. I entered into the New Year last year with so much coming my way. I had the privilege of getting to plan & help host a Yelp Elite Event with Whole Foods & their Clean Beauty products & got to hand pick the guest bloggers for the event. It was wild every step of the way from having my face all over my local Whole Foods talking about my favorite beauty picks, to my dad building donut dowels for the event. It was something I’ll never forget & forever be grateful for having been a part of. I was a part of so many photoshoots that I modeled for in this past year, & as someone who walks away feeling so inspired from them I’m grateful for that chance. I was gifted AND paid to be a part of so many campaigns both big & small. Yes, I have the exact number of projects I worked on, but I don’t feel the need to share it, just know that I am humbled by the number & extremely grateful for that opportunity as well. When a company wants to give you something & sees value in what you do, words just simply can’t express the gratitude that I truly feel. Giveaways, takeovers, features, they’ve all exponentially grown in 2018 & I can’t believe the opportunities that come my way. I am happy to have been invited to events & to have even reached my product photography new client goal for the year. If you truly want to know numbers, you can ask. I just don’t ever want you to feel like I’m bragging. I put in a lot of hard work, so these opportunities are well deserved, & if you put in the same hard work I know you could be right where I am too! Truly, I’m just still in awe of the year I’ve had & it makes me cry tears of joy.
I experienced a whole lot this year. I found friends who are in the same fields as me, who care about social media as much as me, & who are actually there for me as friends & who are my versions of coworkers. Having done blogging alone in Reno for so long it’s 100% refreshing to finally have people in my life who get this part of me because they care about Boomerang’s & creating content too. I went through heart ache in more ways than one can imagine & understand. I learned more about me & what I need, & am finding a way to voice it more loudly. I lived days & moments that I look back on & wished I handled differently. And I worked on projects that I didn’t like the outcome on & now I know to be bolder & more firm in what should be expected. I got to live out my Instagram dream by going to The Museum of Ice Cream & visiting one of my favorite stores in SF, Everlane. I experienced adding & subtracting people in my life this year. I figured out ways to be on guard to own emotions & I protected myself for what I knew was truly best. I’m a firm believer that you don’t truly know what something is like until you have experienced it yourself. We as humans can try our best to be there for people, but it’s really our experiences that tie us together. Experiences are bonding. Sometimes I think even just talking about our experiences can help us to better understand one another. I’m also all for that. Don’t just experience trips, concerts, & excitement with one another, but experience loneliness, sadness, & the happiness of the every day with those around you too.
This was the year that I truly loved myself more than ever. I talked about this all year long, that even though I am at my biggest size yet I have never loved myself more & been more comfortable in my skin. I’ve been more honest & real & have surrounded myself with people who don’t view me as a size, but just see me instead. There is no pride in being a technical “plus size” girl, there is only pride in being me & loving me. I think a lot of women hit a point in their life where their body does a drastic change & it’s one that they are not prepared for. Whether it comes after marriage or after giving birth, I can see that a ton of women go through these natural changes & have an identity crisis. I for one, have always had a body that has constantly been changing. I have always been curvy, have always fluctuated in weight, & therefore have always been okay with whatever my body looked like. My encouragement for you would be that you would learn to love your body & be proud of what it does every single day, which is allow you to live & breath, despite the look of it.
Last but not least, let’s talk about growth from the past year. There comes a point in your life, or at least in my life, that excuses just don’t work anymore. Things can describe you, your behaviors, your actions, your thoughts, but they don’t have to always define you. This is where growth comes in. You have a choice to change & be better. You have a choice to look back at your past, see the things you did or did not like, & work to improve on them. Whether it be in your business & being better at responding to emails more quickly (guilty), or saying no to more projects & giving better quality to less of them, or knowing you react a certain way to change & choosing to acknowledge that you can be be better, or even waking up every day & choosing to show up & not let the sadness win. This past year I have grown a lot. I have grown emotionally. I have grown in responsibility. I have grown in my business & personal life too. Life is all about willing to see who you’ve been, who you’re wanting to become, & making sure that the person you are today is a healthy combination of both who isn’t afraid to face their past as long as it helps them achieve their future. Growing pains hurt, but they’re worth it in the end.
Thank you 2018 for giving me all you had to offer. I am who I am right now because of all the opportunity, experience, love, & growth you allowed me to have. Cheers to 2019 & even more of all of these things coming my way! I hope that this next year brings me things I am not ready for, things I never dreamt could be mine, & more that is disguised as less.
Always know that you can’t force things to be. They will happen when they are supposed to happen & all you can do is be ready for when they finally come your way.
– abbey kay
*brought to you by a girl who is now ready for the new year to begin