I Quit.

I do not consider myself a quitter. I have never been one to quit projects I'm working on, stop in the middle of an argument, or give up on something that seems really hard. I will never quit a relationship or stop pursuing a dream just because it gets difficult. I believe in endurance and finishing strong in everything I do, because life can get pretty messy and dare I say, unbearably hard at times. Thus being said... I am quitting my fashion blog.

WHAT?! After everything I've invested in?? The effort, the money, the connections, the time... Why would I choose to throw it all away after an entire year dedicated to this dream? 

You may think that this is my perspective on it, heck, it may be your perspective. But I feel quite the opposite. It came to me within an instant.

If you hadn't noticed, I haven't been posting anything on my blog recently. A couple months ago I started to feel distraught, a loss of direction, an uneasiness in my spirit about it, so I decided to take a break from my fashion blog. After 2 months, I now feel quite differently than I did when I started it all. I went in to this blogging world looking for something. I had always wanted to pursue some sort of fashion hobby, and I knew that blogging would be a great start to that. And it was! For a while I was really pushing myself to break out of my reservations towards self expression, to try things that I would usually be afraid of trying because of what people would think of me. I really did find freedom to become bold and unafraid of what others would perceive of me based on what I wear or write. But, as I continued to learn more about the fashion blogging industry, I learned it was much different than I expected it to be. I had been craving some deep freedom of expression, and though I experienced that for a little, I started to find a lot more boundaries and equations to creativity... which is why I want out. I want out of the realm of Social Media that has created a monster, dressed in boutique-branded clothing. I know, that's a pretty harsh thing to say. But I really mean it. What I thought was going to give me a sense of self expression, actually started making me feel like I had to look and sound like everyone else. And I didn't even notice it was happening! I wanted my blog to be successful, I wanted to be able to reach as many people as I could with my message of freedom. Wouldn't you? Well, I have learned that we cannot look like the thing we are trying to fight against if we have a completely different message than what that thing represents. There are lines you just cannot cross with the world if your message is not of this world.  

I will not speak for every fashion blogger. Through my experience, I truly did find some women and companies that I still look up to today who have changed my perspective of self-expression forever and given me hope in deeply believing in myself. But I also found a lot of sadness through my fashion blogging experience. There are more women these days that struggle with deep rooted insecurity than I have ever experienced in my entire life. And I blame social media. Completely. I love photoshop, it's literally my job to work within Adobe to create awesome stuff. But COME ON PEOPLE! Now, women have been using it to literally lie about what they look like to the people scrolling their Instagram pages and blogs. There is now a completely FALSE expectation to all girls that they should look a certain way. It's not realistic. It's close to impossible without obsession or self-mutilation to reach these body-image goals, and it is corrupting the women we interact with everyday, the women we love. My sisters, my friends, my co-workers, young girls I babysit, moms, all the women you know are susceptible to the lies of social media that tell them to be skinnier, have a teeny waist and a huge butt and big boobs and fat lips. Oh, and at the same time, you can eat large cheeseburgers and "Netflix and chill"  all the time and drink tons of Rose and always be tan and spend all your money on contour kits and shiny new shoes with feathers on them that you can only wear once and then they get destroyed...does this seem realistic to you? I didn't think so. I'm still trying to figure out how these women do it all, it seems so exhausting! 

To get down to it... I realized that I really do not fit into the category of women I was representing. I am not someone who cares about makeup or having all of the latest trendy items or getting a waist trainer or representing brands or anything like that. I AM someone who cares about pure and honest freedom of expression, not fitting to a mold, taking GOOD care of your body and LOVING it. I really care about the women around me, and I don't want to encourage these standards that are unreachable and that do not at all look like the woman that I know God made me to be. I care about adventure, and maintaining a sense of wonder and awe. Life should be filled with new experiences, deeper peace than you knew before, humble friendship that grows old, oceans of unquenchable love felt by our tender Father towards us. I care about injecting magic into eyes of unbelievers and encouraging stale souls to find their wild. 

So with that, I quit. I shed the skin of the old, and I embrace the rawness of the new. I do not think this journey was a failed attempt, I still needed to find out about the tension between the two worlds I was straddling. Now I know what I am NOT. 

So here we are, at the end of the road. The moment I knew it was time. It was a Sunday morning, and I was at church. During worship, I asked God to say whatever was on His mind about me, to tell me what He was thinking. As I listened, this is what He said, "Anna, you are an artist. I am so enthralled by the way you express yourself through things you create. I love that you like to get messy with your hands, making things that are spurred on by your desire for wonder. I love your spontaneity and uniqueness and the way you fill life with color. I love to watch you seek the beauty of the earth with a deep peace in your spirit. You, my daughter, are a dreamer. Your dreams are much too big for you to carry alone, and much too lofty for earth. Your dreams are the beginnings of many stories that are to unfold. And you, Anna, are a story-writer. Your words are your greatest weapon, and your greatest source of marvel. It's time. It is time to give in to this woman, the one I see in you. You have explored the this land for long enough. It is time to move on, to focus your eyes on the bigger story unfolding. The bigger dream. MY dream for you."

In an instant, I knew. I knew it was time to put this journey to rest. I had been feeling it for a little while, the tension. And finally in that moment, I felt deep in my spirit a release. The tension lifted. I now have a new journey in front of me, another discovery to make with Him. What will it be next? Who knows. Maybe all that really mattered anyways was the journey. The process to find truth, to find what He truly says about me. Maybe this whole thing was the crescendo that lead to the moment when I finally asked Him, "what do you think?". I know that He would plan anything to get my attention, just so He could show me how He feels about me. And for me, that is more than enough. It is poetry. It is the greatest kind of story, the kind that humbles the traveler through the masterpiece of the Earth-maker. It really is all about Him in the end...

What is to happen to my blog? I'll leave it running. I'm almost convinced that this blog was created so that whoever is reading it could just watch me go through the cycle of being imperfect, trying all sorts of weird things that may or may not succeed and always ending up getting floored by what God has to say and how it always contradicts the path I choose for myself. I think my stories are meant to bring light to the bigger one He is writing, and I want to share that process with whoever will listen.