‘Are you and xy fighting?’
‘Why don’t you attend those other events?’
‘Did you guys fall out?’
Just a tiny excerpt from my Snapchat history of the past few days. Looks like my absence from most blogger events caught more of a stir than I thought, to the point that I felt a bit put on the spot to explain myself. At some point, there was even a rumor circulating that I’m pregnant.
Fact is, I attended far fewer events this season than last year. Fewer shows, fewer blogger brunches, blogger events, blogger-lunches, blogger-dinners and blogger-what-not’s. If you wanted smoke blown up your blogging ass, there was no shortage of opportunities.
The reason why I didn’t show up to many events is quite straightforward: I just didn’t feel like it. But please don’t get me wrong: this is nothing to do with the other bloggers – I’m just struggling a bit with the group dynamics.
The truth is, I like my colleagues, and if the group is not too big I can hang and chat for hours. But once a certain critical mass is reached, the dynamics somehow change towards the weird: everyone’s vocal pitch seems to rise, the conversations tend to get shallower, and the sense of competition grows.
At times, such situations can feel a bit like being in a lame social experiment: put 50 female fashion-aficionados in a room, girls who benefit from each other but are also in competition with each other, add some free booze, and see what happens.
Can you guess?
It’s a bit like seeking attention at a senior high-school yard. You have a group of cool and popular kids on one side, and the alternative bunch. And then you get some people that don’t feel (or – like in my case – don’t want to be) part of any group.
When I’m in it, the experiment does not tend to end well. My symptoms are headaches, stress and a drop in confidence. One minute all was good, the next it isn’t. Suddenly it feels wrong to want to be different, and every part of me is rebelling against being sucked into this entity. Wherever possible, I prefer to be my own, self-contained entity. I’d like to point out that bloggers who show up with their boyfriends have a clear advantage in that respect. It’s much easier to keep your own little thing up as a team. If you feel your safe haven by your side, you can always fall back on the knowledge that there’s somebody in the room who loves you without the designer bags and bling.
I will gladly concede that a lot is down to the actual mix of people. But yeah, in my case, those who ride on a similar wavelength also tend to flee these events more often than not.
So, to set it straight, if I withdraw, it’s not because I’m ‘fighting’ with anyone, or that I ‘fell out with somebody’. I’m merely protecting myself. My goal is to keep posting unique content, and to be creative with what I do. Staying true to yourself can be difficult as part of a collective, especially over time. My approach is to ride my own wave, to follow my own compass.
My boyfriend told me yesterday: ‘I’ve never seen you so relaxed during Fashion Week! You should always handle it like you did this season!’
I have a feeling he may be right.