I hate the word "blogger."

There, I said it. If blogging crimes were a thing, I just committed one. Escort me to my cell.

What has happened to me? Am I leaving my blog? Have I outgrown it? Have I become too full of myself? The answer to all of this is no; despite how inactive I've been, I still fully intend on keeping this blog. (At least it saves future me the energy of telling life stories to the grandkids—I'll just send them a link and they can read all about it from their portable holograms.)

But I've been on the Internet long enough to recognize that there is a difference between writers and bloggers. Not all writers are bloggers, and, much to my dismay, not all bloggers are writers. Even though the two may correlate, writing and blogging, I've found, can be two very different practices.

---

The most obvious rule of thumb is if you have a blog, you're a blogger. At least that's what I thought, until recently, as we've been introduced to the marketing force that is Instagram, with its rapid rise in brand ambassadors, influencers, and, yep—"bloggers."

Today, it's possible to be a blogger without having a blog to begin with. By writing impressive captions, taking stunning photos, and engaging with your followers through daily livestreams or video Stories, you can have just as much (if not more) of an influence. YouTube also has its power, with their wave of video bloggers overtaking pop culture as we know it.

This "blogging" trend has become aspirational, and for good reason. You document your life, share it online, create whatever you want, gain revenue from brand collaboration, and get thousands of people to genuinely care about where you had your coffee this morning. And sure, what can be better than having teenage girls look at your profile and decide they want to be you when they grow up?

Aside from my sarcastic tone, I think it's an interesting phenomenon to witness. So because of this (and because the world continuously tells you that hate is a strong word) I'll rephrase what I said at the beginning of this post; I don't hate the term "blogger", I just no longer enjoy identifying as one.

---

What I continue to love about blogging is the sense of community it brings to a mutual love for words and images and sharing life. I adore the bloggers I follow and the content they create. I adore writing about my experiences, and having people from different parts of the world read and resonate with it.

But the rough truth is, we can't all offer 15% OFF promo codes on beauty subscription boxes. We can't all have picture-perfect Sunday brunches, flawless nighttime skincare routines, and minimalistic homes. I don't wish to call bloggers shallow; there have been plenty of occasions in which blogging has opened discussion for things that go beneath the surface. However, sometimes I wish this wasn't so interlaced with all these other clich├ęs we seemingly have to live up to.

It's untrue to think that these are the requirements of being a blogger, because they aren't. But I'd be lying if I said I never felt like I would never thrive in blogging if I didn't emanate those traits.

Of being photogenic and perfectly comfortable with having my picture taken. Of filling my Instagram feed with golden-hour selfies and pretty breakfasts in bed. Of passionate networking; engaging followers with sheer, glittering confidence. No matter how hard I try, I can't wave a camera in front of my face asking people to subscribe to videos of me putting on makeup or showing them what's in my bag as if I'm so important; who the hell do I think I am?

As a girl with a blog, I see these things as necessary for its growth. But even then, it still didn't concern me as much. I still couldn't be bothered to try to grow my numbers each month. I'm aware that I have a blog; I simply could never morph into a blogger.

So if that's all taken away, what does that leave me with? Just the stories? Just the words? Just the act of having things to say and pouring it into this little space of the Internet no one is obliged to visit, and leaving it at that? Just writing?

Exactly. That's exactly what I'll do. Just writing.

And that's all I can be. Just a writer.

---

After four years of owning this blog, it seems that I've come full circle, and now I'm only settling back into the heart of why I truly began this journey. I just want to write.

I want to paint pictures with words, and I want to visualize these words through images I take.

I want to write essays; long, heart-wrenching essays of stories that had never seen the light of day. In fact, a collection of essays. Essays like the ones we see in the papers, or the ones I listen to in the Modern Love podcast.

I want to write articles that make people question the society they live in, or the ideals by which they were raised. I want to make articles that question those in power, and tap the shoulders of those with privilege.

I want to use words to evoke emotions, invite opinions, and initiate conversations.

I want to write on behalf of those who feel the same way or share the same experiences; I want to be vulnerable so that others don't have to.

A writer is what I am. A "blogger" is a persona, at most.

---

Therefore, I no longer want to make myself write twice a week on this blog just for the sake of it. Just because that's how bloggers typically do it. I don't want to talk about a weekend roadtrip if I don't see how it'll make people think deeper about themselves. I don't want to talk about an afternoon spent at a cafe with a friend if I'd rather hold onto some small memories myself. I don't want to give "tips on staying organized" and watch it disappear amidst a million other similar articles within the vast orbit of the Internet.

I know that life tosses me around like a lifeboat, while I'll have to anchor my feelings down in order to turn it into something worth reading. Easily I'll admit that I still have so much to learn. Like how to give myself permission to write the stories I'm still too scared to even talk about. To portray in words what I couldn't even utter in real life. At 19, I'm clearly no Virginia Woolf. But it's always nice to start somewhere. And however challenging it'll be,


at least I'll care about where I'm going.

---

To priorities,