In light of the recently tragedies this past Friday November 13, I almost find it trivial to write this post. However these events have really made me reflect and taught me to celebrate the small joys in life, even in the the face of tragedy. So, first off I would like to send out my condolences, thoughts, and prayers to those affected all over the world. Please stay safe out there and know you are not alone in your solidarity.
Tomorrow is the official 1 year mark of me hitting publish for my first blog post; I’m in utter shock that I’ve come this far and stuck with blogging for as long as I have. Typically, I’m notorious for starting hobbies and not keeping with them, but blogging has been a different story for me.
When I began, I had two intentions; first, I promised to make it about me having fun & sharing it and not the followers, and second I vowed to stay true to myself. I’d like to say that I’ve stuck to these as best as possible, even if it wasn’t how or what I expected.
A year is a long time, and I’ve learned so much along the way. My first lesson goes along with my first intention. I learned to be stubborn about my goals and flexible about my methods. If this year has taught me anything, I’ve learned that you can’t plan life- you have to be able to roll with the punches. Nothing is ever (or ever will be) black and white. Looking back, I never would have expected to be where I am today, blogging or otherwise. That said, I learned that building a following doesn’t come easy. Although I wanted my focus to stay on creating quality content, I still wanted to cultivate a community. What good is your work if you can’t share it with others? So, yes, while I have hoped for more growth and community around my blog than I currently have, I still haven’t made it the focus of what I do. The goal remains to create the best possible post I can each and every week while and hoping that that simple fact will eventually lead to the community I aspire to have. Yes, I don’t have as many followers I would have hoped for, but I will eventually get to where I need to be; I’m stubborn about that fact, and learning to bend on the methods that I use to get there.
I never want to be that person that leaves spam like comments, follows to unfollow, or works with brands to get ahead. In fact, I believe that Marlena Stell (the CEO of Makeup Geek Cosmetics- one of my idols who has inspired me for years) said something along the line of “It may take me longer to get to the top, but that’s because I’m carrying my self respect with me,” (I can’t find a reliable source, so don’t quote me on that- but the sentiment remains the same) which is something that truly resonates with me. So while it is taking me longer to grow, I’m glad to have quality followers over quantity.
In addition, I know that there is a lot of (trivial, in retrospect) controversy regarding not only beauty influencers, but even the beauty industry as well and I wanted to input my two cents on the subject as I experience first hand what it is like on both ends.
When beauty influencers work with brands, audiences can get suspicious if the beauty influencer refuses to say negative comments or seems to be supporting a product for the sake of pleasing a brand and getting more popular. I can’t speak for everyone, but this is what I originally wrote when I published one of my first sponsored posts:
- “I solemnly swear to never sell out and promote anything that I don’t believe in. I know that there is a large stigma around beauty bloggers, and the online community in general, that people do this for the fame and the fortune and work and collaborate with brands in order to get ahead. I can’t speak for everyone, but as for me personally, I am nowhere near famous and I’m hardly bringing in a fortune. Those are not my goals. When I started this blog I started it for me. It’s why it’s called The Chronicles of Megan and why my tagline is “Documenting life one day at a time.” In my interview for College Fashionista, I made a statement saying that I started this blog as a way to record where I am, right now in life. It’s also in my About Me page. So please believe me when I say that makeup and beauty is a huge part of my life right now and so is this blog. I love being able to bring you guys content, but it does come at a price. Collaborating with brands and networks allows me to keep doing what I do for all of the crazy and amazing people who have been following me on this journey so far. However, like I said before, I promise that I will always be 100% honest when it comes to these types of posts, and all of my posts in general. Everything I write I genuinely believe.”
This remains the truth for me today. It’s the exact wording that I have in my Disclaimer on Working with Brands that I put in every sponsored post. What good is a dishonest review? It doesn’t help the company improve, it misleads people spending their hard-earned money, and it makes the person advertising it to appear as a sell out.
Makeup and beauty are a completely individual experience- unique to the person using the products. I can only share my perspective and experience when using a product, which most likely will be a different story for someone else. Nonetheless, I honestly disclose the information about my experiences in hopes that someone else can make an informed decision when debating to make a purchase. I know that it can be very frustrating to read such good things about a product online, only to have it not work, look, or feel like you expecting. As a consumer, it’s annoying and I understand, which is why I try my very best to write a thorough and honest review every time I do so.
Working with brands can be such an exciting thing for a beauty influencer. I know that, at least for me, it’s very rewarding because it feels like I am gaining recognition for my work, especially when they reach out to me first. So yes, while I do really enjoy collaborating with brands, I still disclose my honest opinions because that is what this community truly needs more of.
There has been a ton of hype recently about how “fake” people can be and how “real” they aren’t. This is where honesty comes to be a double-edged sword as I’ve seen “beauty gurus” be up front about their plastic surgeries or even that girl who quit Instagram get a lot of flak. But, the truth of the matter is we are multi-faceted people. We are all more than the one side that social media portrays us to be, more than all of the makeup, and more than our followers. We are how we conduct ourselves, we are our other interests, we are our personalities. We are all so much more, which I think is something that people don’t always realize on the other side of the screen.
So yes, while other people have altered their bodies to appear how they want, and they are not a “natural” beauty I say, “you do you, boo”. At the end of the day, it is that person’s decision to do what they want with their own bodies and as long as they understand that those surgeries, procedures, and products, will not change who you are on the inside, that’s all that matters.
The same thing goes for makeup, except you can always take it off, which is why I have a preference for this medium. Makeup is a powerful tool. You can make your eyes appear larger, lashes look longer, face look slimmer, eliminate eye bags, make your lips appear fuller, and the list goes on. It can inspire confidence and make you appear completely different. I know that this troubles many people, but I want to tell you it shouldn’t. Like I said before: it will always come off; but if you have ugliness on the inside, no amount of makeup can hide that or makeup remover can erase that fact. At the end of the day, it’s your intentions that really matter.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the nikkietutorials video on The Power of Makeup. It’s what inspired me to post these pictures of myself with only one side of my makeup done- to show you that there is more to the story.
I’ve always loved makeup since I started using it but struggled with expressing my love for it- sometimes almost feeling ashamed for liking something that could be considered “fake” or “shallow”: two things I never wanted to be associated with. In fact, I was almost vehemently against it in middle school because I saw it transform some people into mean and catty, which I didn’t want for me. However, I realized that their attitudes were not from makeup, but from the “confidence” that it gave them. I put “confidence” in quotation here, because while makeup can inspire confidence, it cannot give it to anyone. Makeup is not the source of confidence. The person choosing to wear the makeup chooses how the makeup makes them feel, and if you feel like you’re better than everyone else for wearing makeup that’s not confidence- that’s ego and pride. Same goes for those who feel superior for not wearing makeup and “not buying into it.” You’re just as bad. Whether or not you choose to wear makeup is completely up to you, but you are no better or less for wearing or not wearing makeup.
I remember reading this article from Buzzfeed where a woman who usually didn’t wear makeup, applied a full face of makeup for an entire week. Her epiphany really stuck with me as she said something along the lines of, “The reasons that women who wear makeup and the women who don’t are very similar. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin. Just as those who wear makeup feel uncomfortable without it, those who don’t wear makeup feel uncomfortable in it.”
Whether or not you wear makeup, is not the issue. It’s the person on the inside that counts. I’m far from perfect and I don’t claim to be. I have acne, acne scarring, lots of redness and texture in my face, my lashes are sparse and I could stand to back off the chocolate. I won’t lie- I’ve Photoshopped the occasional zit because I was so frustrated with my skin for not behaving. However, I never airbrush my photos, because I think that it’s important for you to see my flaws and know that I’m okay with you seeing my flaws. The lesson I’ve learned from all of this (that goes along with my intention of staying true to myself) is that it’s not about “real” vs. “fake”- it’s about authenticity.
I’ve seen people with boob jobs be entirely genuine while an “au naturale” girl be totally misleading. It’s not about how the beauty products or procedures affect your body- it’s about how you carry yourself. Authenticity is being who you truly are, with or without makeup, and letting it shine through. It’s about wearing makeup for the right reasons. Not because it makes you better than someone, not because it makes you look “beautiful”, not because it’s what you’re “supposed to do”, and especially not for boys. You should wear makeup because you want to and that’s it. You should wear makeup because it makes you comfortable, because it’s fun, and because you are still the same, genuine, authentic person without it and you let it shine through that makeup. Beauty always comes from within; everything true and good comes from the heart. That is not only my personal goal, but one I hope that the rest of the beauty community shares with me.
This is what I’ve learned from being in the game for only a year. It may be just one year, but best be sure there is more to come. I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve been taught on this journey and can’t wait to see what else I can learn in the future. Thank you all for helping me get this far. I truly do appreciate each and every like, click, and ounce of support you all offer me. I wouldn’t have the drive, motive, or inspiration to keep doing what I do if it weren’t for the wonderful people like you who lift me up and make it all possible. I hope that my lessons from this journey have been able to teach you something, and I encourage you to reflect on the kind of person you would like to be in a year. At the end of the day, it’s all about the kindness and love you give to others, and I hope that shows in my blog. Thank you all again for one wonderful year, and here’s to many to come!
All my love,