Since that day my dad came home with a crappy old PC when no one could use the phone or call the landline because back then, only dial-up existed, I've always loved the Internet. I've always had my own little space somewhere in the online world - from creating my own "homepage" on Geocities and Angelfire, to a forum called Friends Boards (Ross&Rach4ever was my username), to LiveJournal and to the present day of my blog - I don't know whether it was a form of escapism or a creative outlet, but it's always just been something I've really enjoyed.
While I've always maintained a relatively good social life, I've never been the most outgoing person and maybe that's why I get enjoyment from talking online to people with shared interests. Perhaps it's more acceptable now, but back then, talking to people on the world wide web wasn't exactly the most conventional way of making friends and the Internet wasn't necessarily considered a hobby. For this reason, I always felt hesitant in sharing this part of my life with "real life" people and I was scared of my friends thinking I was weird, anti-social, a nerd or whatever. I didn't want to link my blog on my Instagram profile in fear of people finding it, but as I had more followers there, I wanted to promote it a little. I was terrified.
I've grown up a lot since then and I've learnt so much about life, myself and being happy. As I've probably mentioned a thousand times before, blogging is something that brings me a lot of joy into my life and one day, something sort of just clicked and I thought, 'How could I feel ashamed or embarrassed by something that makes me so happy?' So I kept my blog link on Instagram and when I made the decision to stop caring about what people think, I realised it was also the decision to accept myself for who I am and truly be me. When it comes to putting yourself out there on the Internet, of course it can be a little daunting and you will worry about what people think, but one of the best pieces of advice I've read is, "What people think about you is none of your business". My main worries used to be people thinking that I spend too much money and whether or not some my blog posts were too personal, but hey, if people think that, there's nothing I can do to control that and I'm not going to be a part of it because I choose to only surround myself with people who love and support me. My money is my money and sometimes I like writing more personal posts not only to express myself, but in the hopes that some of you may take something away from them.
When I finally started being more open with my blog and my real life friends began reading it, they only had positive things to say and that really melted my heart. One of my really good friends said my blog was amazing and how proud she is, which made me realise how truly blessed I am for the people in my life. I think when it comes to fear, we create it ourselves in our minds, but in reality, nothing is ever really that bad when you make the choice to let it go and overcome it. It feels really nice to actually talk about blogging in person and while I don't outright say to people, "I have a blog", if they happen to stumble upon it and like my blog, that's cool. And if they don't? That's cool too. The moment you stop concerning yourself with what other people think is the moment I can guarantee you'll be a lot happier. Just keep focusing on you.
In the past, I have always been worried about what kind of responses I'd get from people about my blog, but you know what? At the end of the day, if you enjoy it, you should feel like you want to share it with the people you love and if they don't understand it, that's their problem. You should embrace all those things you love in life and be someone who you're proud of. To find something that truly brings you happiness is so rare and whether it's blogging or not, you should keep doing that. While blogging is more accepted as a hobby these days (hell, it's even considered a job!), you should never feel like you need to hide something that makes you proud and happy. Through my countless hours spent online, I've made some incredible friends - some of who I've been lucky enough to meet and can call real life friends now. There's so many more of you who I'd like to meet too and go on massive shopping sprees with!
Not caring about what people think is easier said than done, but as I go on this journey called life and discover who I am and who I want to be, I've gained a lot more confidence in myself. From my taste in music, film, fashion, beauty and everything in between, the Internet has helped shape me as a person and as I've found a hobby I truly care about, I'm now proud of my little blog and to call myself a blogger.