I subscribe to podcasts and blogzines. My inbox pings with the latest offerings from The Pool and Selfish Mother. I’ve followed a range of personal blogs for years. This community of women is one I like to frequent. I want to know what people are up to, but I do it from afar. I was the same at school and university; I have a photographic memory for girls I knew but who, for various reasons, I observed from a distance. Professionally, I can recall women I knew of, far across the corporate landscape, and think back fondly of the times when in the toughest of meetings, with a London cityscape outside the window, I would glance across the table and give a knowing smile to a female contemporary. Now it’s the school pick up or the match sideline, which is swollen with possibility of woman-watching.
Isn’t woman-watching what blogging is all about? Isn’t that why Instagram is populated by so many women who now have their own definition: micro-influencers? Two third of Instagram’s daily 400-odd million users are women.
But what I notice about the women who blog is there’s generally a quiet, assured metamorphosis going on. One that is rarely shouted about but is whispered softly, but confidently. Can one be soft and confident at the same time? Turns out, yes. Good bloggers, by definition, have steady followers. Whether it’s a hundred or a thousand or fifty thousand, followers give form to the medium. Good bloggers feature a certain truth about life which people like to read about, observe, absorb and comment on. I’ve seen over the years, good bloggers who have evolved and changed; turned what almost universally started as a personal outlet into something approaching a brand identity. Some start because there is a brand to promote but on the whole, those blogs lack as much honesty and heart.
There’s those who go from stylist to influencer. From litigator to interior designer. From mother to yoga teacher. A design company. A Horsewoman. A Photographer. I’m fascinated. I am a fully paid up member of this club.
There’s something about the change I like; dare I say – the ‘journey’. I relate to it because I went from being an employment law expert to a student to a writer. The path was not always even underfoot. My path became treacherous because I could no longer make my corporate life even remotely fit with my home life. Or if I did, I was sending myself slowly but surely insane in the process. What is it they say? The definition of insanity to repeatedly do the same thing, but expect a different outcome?
Yesterday I returned to the college where I did my Masters, expect now I am a graduate. I went to speak to the new intake of undergraduates who sat before me looking simultaneously frightened and invigorated. So much ahead of them, and by contrast I suppose, so much behind me. I’ve done it and I’m out the other side. Now I just have the real world to contend with rather than the hyperbole of academic analysis. It felt…wonderful…to be back in this capacity knowing that I have done the work. I walked away smiling because I sense a tangible change.