100th Post, and new 20 something musings

I realize this picture is totally random and does not correlate with the post whatsoever, but I love it, and this is my blog so I can do what I want. So there.

"This as real as it gets" (10 pts for anyone who knows where those lyrics come from). I realize this picture is totally random and does not correlate with the post whatsoever, but I love it. Plus, I really wanted an excuse to make reference to the "I'm on a Boat" music video, hehehe...

I have a confession. I have been putting off my 100th post for over a week now, ever since I realized that it was the 100th Shopaholica post. The enormity of the milestone post weighed on me for some time, and I didn’t want it to be wasted on a random hair piece or a few trivial sentences about eyelash enhancing mascara (which, if you are interested in the topic, is on the posting horizon).  However, as the days dragged on and I grew increasingly busy with other work (you know, the painfully dull kind that pays the bills), I realized that unless I just sat down and started typing, Shopaholica would never have a 100th post.

So it is without earth-shattering news,  stories involving wedding planning hilarity or a fabulous must-have frock that I begin my 100th post. I thought perhaps I’d spend the post reflecting on the twists and turns of Shopaholica and my life, and see where it takes me. Who needs a well-planned post when random musings will do, eh? Well, I suppose I’ll let you be the judge of the method’s success.

February 9, 2008 is the fateful day Shopaholica was born into the webiverse. At the time I found myself newly engaged, sitting at home all day and utterly, hopelessly lost as to what my next career move might be. Just two months prior the fabulous fashion startup company I was euphorically climbing the ranks of imploded with a sudden bang, absorbing with it my aspirations to become a young fashion VP selling the virtues of our blog and trend stores to the retail world.  The first day after finding myself jobless I took out every Manolo, Jimmy and Prada pump in my closet and busied myself by hand cleaning and polishing each one to an impeccable gleam. Career be damned, I was going to step out in style regardless of my employment status.

But then one month turned into two, and two into three. And while I floundered around looking for my next career move, I found it hard to accept job offers (more like job pittances) that involved one third less in salary and ten times the boring corporate culture.  Knowing that I loved to write, I stayed on top of bills by utilizing my stabbing wit and entertaining humor – or at least, that’s how it goes in the glamorous, romanticized version of my freelance writing career. Reality consisted more of a few fun articles overshadowed by the dreary production of keyword-heavy web content for someone random company’s search engine optimization: useful, income generating content… just the type I’d rather gouge my eyes out than spend all day writing. 🙂

Shopaholica was, at that time, a breath of fresh air that enabled me to write what I wanted to write about without anyone telling me what to say or how to say it. I began the blog in hopes of adding carefully handpicked retail advertisers whose well-edited inventory would delight my faithful readers, but soon gave up hope that I’d ever have time to manage it all on top of my paid work. Much like myself, Shopaholica stumbled along blindly for a year until I fell in love with weddings and went into further shopping-induced debt thanks to my own nuptials.  Suddenly, instead of regularly gushing about $500 shoes and Net-A-Porter’s latest selection on Shopaholica, I began feeling like a fraud. How could I sincerely write about shopping when my own financial reality barred me from stepping foot into a boutique?

In one year I went from charging Louboutins on my Saks plastic to scouring eBay for $35 Cynthia Vincent (NWT, woot!) dresses.  The only glimmer of hope in my shopping life has been the 70% off sales at struggling upscale department stores, which has allowed me a small amount of wiggle room – not so much in my budget, but in my justification of pulling out the plastic once more to revel in the deeply satisfying feeling that comes from slipping the perfect new dress over my head. Call me crazy, but if you’re a true shopaholic you know what I’m talking about.

So while friends and family who (claim to) enjoy reading Shopaholica are requesting more posts, I am here to sheepishly admit that I’ve been avoiding such posts. Perhaps I’m afraid of opening the shopping floodgates once more, or maybe I’m just using a self-indulgent excuse to avoid blogger accountability. I don’t know, all I know is that the idea of adding new posts to Shopaholica leaves me with a small, hollow knot inside that feels a little bit like regret.  Regret for past purchases, regret for the items in my closet that I’ll never wear again, and regret for starting out this blog so ambitiously while failing to nurture it with fresh content.

I didn’t intend for this 100th inaugural blog to turn into such a pity party of a post, but then I suppose that is what I get for writing this while feeling overworked, underpaid and shopping-deprived. 😉 As for the future of Shopaholica, it is undecided as of yet. Perhaps it can move forward as a blog of style inspirations, since I can convince myself that inspiration does not necessarily lead to shopping.  And besides, everyone needs a little inspiration in life, especially the overworked and underpaid, am I right?

In writing this, I am reminded again of the nagging strains of suffering through the Quarter Life Crisis; QLC if you will. My love of writing has lost its Cinderella slippers only to be turned into a dreaded chore that pays the bills, my love of shopping vanished alongside with my corporate aspirations, and I’m left feeling just as confused as ever. I know what I want to do, but now I’m left struggling to find a means to do it.  Just how does one reach their target client base to start a brand new career? Especially when so many newbies are willing to offer their own planning services for nothing (literally, zero dollars) just to get a jump start in the field. Perhaps it’s stubbong 20-something vanity on my part, but I simply cannot reconcile working over 100 hours to make someone’s dream day come true without being compensated.

My only consolation is this: I know I’m great at it, and as long as I keep working relentlessly in the right direction I will eventually be successful. The wanting to succeed feels like a gnawing ache inside my soul, and it’s maddening that I just can’t reach the people I know will love what I have to offer.  I am suffering from a severe case of the Veruca Salt syndrome – “I want the world, I want the whole world… and I want it NOW!”  Cue the tantrum, sending Willy Wonka’s buckets of carefully stacked candy flying against the wall. Or in my case, dogeared wedding magazines, carefully crafted party inspiration boards and my emergency wedding toolkit, safety pins and white chalk gracefully arcing across my apartment as Rambo and Bentley dash for cover.

Does it ever stop, this wanting more? Or is the ceaseless need to have it all just a curse of the mid 20s, stuck somewhere in the middle of having parents hand you the world on a platter and successfully finding your own way? At any rate, both Shopaholica and I are in the middle of transition, doggedly trying to prove ourselves worthy of someone else’s time and money. Never one to slack, I know that eventually we’ll both make it in one way or another. So after a 1,300 word post of self-loathing and mindless musing, my parting question to you, dear readers (if any of you are left after a posting dry spell that rivaled California drought season), what would you like to see Shopaholica become?


1 Comment

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One response to “100th Post, and new 20 something musings

  1. teja

    Dear Jena, you know you have extreme talent and gift, just give it a time, practice being patient. If it was easy everyone would do it. You are already blessed, take moment to appreciate that. I love reading your blogs and many others enjoy it as well. Direction has to come from you and it will come to you. And it will come in stillness and quiet of your mind – no rush.
    Love you

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