I know what you’re thinking: what a harsh return to the blogging sphere, McKenzie. Don’t you want to, I don’t know, lighten the mood a bit? Maybe.. remove the word “fuck”?
I’ll be honest, I totally considered it. I even considered the more obvious, “Hello, I’m back! What a long time it’s been. Look at this newly refurbished blog we have here. Take a seat. Enjoy the couch. Don’t sit on that cushion, I just plumped it” sort of approach.
For some reason, it just didn’t fit. You see, the whole point of this refurbishment is to bypass the small talk. To move that cloud of conversation I’ll use (and have used) to distract from the elephant in the room — and to go and actually talk to good friend, Ellie.
Ellie is one of those friends who means well, but doesn’t really know how to show it in way that’s not fucking annoying (again with the profanities — I promise the new and improved Currently Loving is not simply a relocated cuss central).
The point is, she’s been trying to tell me something for a while. And I’ve been no less discreet in ignoring it. She’s attempted to wave me over at parties; to catch my eye at coffee shops. Each and every time, I’ve found a reason to look away: my coffee’s arrived, someone’s started playing Dua Lipa — you know, the typical excuses.
Anyway, several weeks ago, I decided that my ignorance of Ellie was actually getting in the way of my life. I understand that sounds pretty selfish, and a lot of me wishes it didn’t happen this way. But it did. It took Ellie’s interference in [what I thought was] my path, for me to actually acknowledge her importance [or, even more ashamedly, her existence] in my real one.
It all changed one, seemingly ordinary morning. I woke up at 5.53am to my alarm [because I don’t need 10 minutes to get ready, just seven). I curled up for another 20 minutes anyway, before pushing myself to get ready for the gym. After smashing a HIIT workout, I came back, made some breakfast, got dressed, and headed out the door.
I made my way to a semi-local coffee shop (by an ordinary person’s standards, it’s probably not local — but I’m willing to walk for specialty coffee). From the exterior, everything about me seemed normal. On the inside, however, I knew exactly what was on the cards for today. I knew that today was the day I would finally pull out the trump card.. on myself.
It was GOALS day.
To clarify, GOALS day can also be referred to as “sort your life out” day; “suss what you’re doing with your life as best you can in about an hour with your current knowledge and ability to conceptualise your future” day; or more simply, the catch up with Ellie you’ve postponed far too many times.
Like most occasions that seem initially daunting, this one wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought it might be. In fact, I walked away from that semi-local café feeling more inspired, motivated and direction-filled than I’d felt in a long time.
So what was it that Ellie said to me? Or more fitting for this scenario, what was it that I was finally willing to discuss with her?
The truth is, I’d avoided this word like the plague — particularly when it came to Currently Loving. While others stressed its importance, I was over here like, why would I ever want to limit my content — not just on my blog, but on any of my neighbouring channels?
Why would I want to stick to one Instagram preset when sometimes my food looks better highly saturated.. while my coffee flat-lays win best dressed in neutral and brown?
Somewhere along the way — perhaps when I was evaluating every other influencer I admire myself [not just in the blogging sphere but in life in general] — I realised that whilst also concepts of their own, direction and niche are innately intertwined.
The truth is, you can’t expect to source direction from being vague and stubbornly indecisive. In the case of Currently Loving, I was choosing to cover everything. In turn, I was offering no indicator to you guys [the readers] as to who I wished to be positioned as.
Don’t get me wrong, I love and have always loved what I’ve been doing here on Currently Loving. I’ve loved the content I’ve created. I’ve even identified the overlap between what you love to read and what I love to put out there. I’ve just failed to do anything with this information.
I haven’t applied it to being a more succinct, interpretable online persona. I’ve simply ignored it in favour of being this brunch-loving fashionista, who, completely contrastingly, takes inspiration from Martin Luther King and Eric Thomas, the hip-hop preacher.
I’ve been seen frequenting the spacious vicinity of track pants, whilst also coveting Zimmerman; heading to the gym almost everyday whilst also opening the Uber app and ordering vegan pizza on a few too many Winter’s nights.
I get it — it’s probably been hard to follow.
At the end of the day, however, that person is me. There is undoubtedly a multiplicity of personality going on here. I should say now, that I’m not about to simplify that person into a single bullet-point like “fashion blogger”, simply to make her more digestible online. I’ve already debated my Instagram bio about 27 times [130 characters simply does not equate for a person].
What I didn’t realise about the whole “niche” thing, however, is that its not actually asking you to change who you are — nor is it asking that you ignore every other facet to that being that isn’t allegedly yours.
Choosing your niche — at least, in the way that works for me — is like choosing to walk down a path as opposed to wandering your way through the woods. It’s about telling yourself, as much as telling other people, who you are, where you’re going and why — in as many words as you have on hand.
I say that last part, because our vocabulary is constantly expanding. The words we overuse — and those which fall off our tongue as if they make sense to be there — are in constant fluctuation.
Who we are, where we’re going and our reasoning behind both.. will not always sound the same. And that’s okay. They sound right for now.
While for me, this epiphany has related strongly to Currently Loving as a platform, I feel like the importance of being open to niche can be carried across anything in life. I think we often distance ourselves from decision and direction; even from choosing a path, based on the fear that this path will later limit us.
Indeed, you hear many stories from people who go years down a certain path, just to realise it’s not them at all. They complete 4 years of a law degree to find out they can’t stand politicians. I think we’re all slightly scared of being this person: of wasting our time heading too far in a single direction. God forbid we get too far that we can’t turn back, right?
We never really consider why though — why do we hear so many of these stories? Could it be that even those who have travelled the wrong path, recognise that choosing one — at any given stage — is far better than choosing none at all?
If I recall, Martin Luther King didn’t stand up and say, “hey, I’m a preacher and I kind of think that civil rights should’t be contingent with race — but if you want to hear me talk about the best of fashion in Washington, let me know and I’ll integrate a bit of that too. After all, I’m totally a fan of the fedora.”
No. No, he did not.
He said I’m a preacher, and I’m here to preach about inequality.
[And then, he let his fedoras speak for themselves.]
My point is, when you present yourself on a public stage — whether that’s online or outside your front door — doing so with a distinction of who you are and your reason for being there is powerful.
It doesn’t matter if you, your place or your reasoning is subject to change later. What matters is that you trust the reasoning that brings you there NOW. And that you follow it too.
On that note, my discussion with Ellie went a bit like this:
E – “What do you like to write about?”
“Fashion, lifestyle, travel, confidence, fitness, productivity, lessons I learn, growing up..”
E – “Good. What do your readers like reading about?”
“Fashion, lifestyle, personal stories, confidence, lessons I learn..”
E – “Okay. Now, group those things under a single category.”
“Well, they all relate to becoming the best version of ourselves. So.. how’s personal growth?”
E – “That’s good. Now, decide three sub-categories that each relate to this single category.. while encompassing as many of the topics you’ve noted above.”
“Hmm. Let’s go with fashion, lifestyle and travel.”
E – “Perfect. That’s what you’ll post about. And finally, we need something tangible. If Currently Loving was its peak of success, what would it look like?”
My first confrontation with Ellie was focused on Currently Loving, and the second looked at my career path in general. Ellie asked me to name my current passions, and from those, she encouraged me to envision an ideal life for myself.
Before now, I’ve always had a next big goal — to finish university, to enter the media industry, to move to Melbourne. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering: what next?
What’s shocked me most is the way that discovering niche — even if only for a short time — has opened doors for me as opposed to closing them. Before speaking to Ellie, I struggled to see how my diverse passions could co-exist — never mind compliment each other — towards a single, bigger goal. I suppose I was either uncertain, or simply scared of naming what that bigger goal was.
When I removed the permanence of that goal from my head, it felt far less daunting to name it — and yet, far more important that I had. It was simple really: my answer was enough for now. It would drive me tomorrow, the next day and the day after that. As it turns out, that’s all I really need. To know myself right now. And to be okay with the fact that she may change again soon.
I share this little epiphany about discovering your niche and encouraging regular goal-setting, not solely as an introduction to the new and improved Currently Loving, but also in hopes that it will push you to sit down and talk to Ellie every now and then.
She’s in the room for a reason: its to help you find yours. Don’t worry, she’s not asking for your final answer. Just the current one.
And on that note, hello and welcome [back] to Currently Loving.
Photos by Marcelina Jasińska