Friday, July 13, 2018

Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An 'Influencer' In Difficult Times)


Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An 'Influencer' In Sad Times)

When I posted back on July 2nd about taking a break while we were in the mountains of Colorado, I fully intended on the blog being nice and full this week. I did share a really fun post about my favorite summer snack food, but shortly after hitting publish on it, I got a call that my best friend of 23 years, who had been battling ALS since early last year, had just passed away. I knew that call was coming any day now. But it didn't make it any easier. It hurt really, really bad. I'm crying as I type this, to be honest. I feel very depressed. It sucks. So I just couldn't post about anything else today (or yesterday) other than what is happening - yet I struggled with whether or not to post this too. And I want to explain why.

I get more emails and messages asking how I became an "influencer" (so not a fan of that term but "blogger" sounds outdated these days) than any other topic. And honestly, I don't have an answer. It's not something I planned by any means. I worked in the fashion industry for 14 years as an eco-friendly designer, and then I started this blog as a side project to promote a new Etsy shop I'd opened back in 2010. Much to my surprise, the blog took off more than I ever imagined, and eventually evolved into a full on lifestyle site (which was completely different than how it started). A few years later I had Essley (my first babe), and shortly after that I decided to close the clothing line and work full time on my blog and social media accounts. In the past year and a half, they have become a solid way to support my family. I work a lot, and I work hard, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a really great gig. I get to stay home with my kids and still support them monetarily through creative work. I get to partner with some really great brands. I get some seriously fantastic opportunities for projects and campaigns. There is a lot of work and a lot of reward. I am very grateful.

In times of loss or tragedy, however, I feel torn about how to go about things around here. The weird thing about being an "influencer" (again, not a fan of that term) for a living is that even when you keep the vast majority of your life private (which I do), you want to remain authentic. (Or at least I do, and I know most of my friends in the industry do as well.) Yes, I partner with brands when I tell my stories, but I am always genuine, and I always incorporate my true self. And that makes it really difficult when something really shitty happens in your personal life. Blogs are not journals like they were 10 years ago. But they also aren't (or at least shouldn't be, in my opinion) commercials that lack soul or substance. When something like this happens, do I just keep posting and treating this like a job in an effort to be professional, even though my friends and I are heavily grieving? Do I not post at all and just allow myself a break, even if that means risking income my family depends on? Or do I find a place in between, where I am sharing with my followers (who over the years have become friends!) what is going on, and pay tribute to one of the greatest people I ever knew, without getting too personal or crossing a line?

Really, I can't pinpoint the "right" thing to do when it comes to my weird job in times like these. So I'm just going with my gut. I posted about Goki on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, and I'm also posting here - both because I want to pay tribute to him, and because I felt it would be almost disrespectful to him to pretend things are okay right now. I pushed back some sponsored posts, because even though this is a job, the most important thing in my life right now is focusing on this great loss, and sending all of my love to the beautiful inside and out wife Marissa, absolutely amazing 2 year old daughter Mika (seen in the photo above), and wonderful parents that Goki left behind when his battle came to an end on Wednesday. Because this isn't about me or my completely insignificant ramblings about what I should share here. It's about them. His close friends are really hurting right now, but his daughter, wife, and parents are the ones who were really left behind. (I can also confidentially say that Goki would be shaking his head and laughing at me reading this. He always made fun of me for overthinking everything. He was/is a true free spirit. I'm just a wannabe.)

I want to share with you guys something my 4 year old daughter said to me yesterday morning when I woke up: "Mommy, don't be sad. Goki is fine! When he died yesterday, the universe sent a bubble, and it took him up to the stars, to heaven, and he feels much better. I promise he is so happy! Mika knows this too." Those were her exact words. And I believe her. He suffered for a long time, and now he is free. If any of your happen to be grieving a loss, I hope her words help you as well.

I've been thinking about addressing this subject here for a while, and my mind is so overwhelmed right now that I needed to address it, but I don't want it to overshadow the main reason I'm posting - and that's that the world has lost one of the most incredible people I've ever known. Goki, thank you for years of adventures together (all over the U.S., Costa Rica, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc. etc. etc.), phone calls that lasted for hours (and always with wine), endless laughs (usually late at night), and for always being so protective of me. I love you forever.

And to all of you, thank you for letting me ramble on with my thoughts, and share pieces of my life and heart here, in between the posts about pretty things and family projects and food and fashion and the things that make life fun but ultimately aren't nearly as important as relationships and love. In the end, those are the ONLY things that matter.

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10 comments:

  1. I am so deeply sorry about the loss of your friend and also appreciate you sharing this insight into your job. I always wonder what it would be like to blog for a living and can see how it would be challenging at times like this. Love and prayers.

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    1. Thank you so much Shelly. He was the very best.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you decided to share. He sounds like a wonderful soul.

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  3. This is such a beautiful, insightful post. I appreciate you sharing. Goki sounded like such a wonderful person loved by so many. I know he is watching over his little girl and all of the little ones now.

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  4. I really appreciate you sharing this, in fact, it helps me through a recent loss. Your friend sounds like a really wonderful person. I hope you can find comfort and peace soon knowing he is still with you.

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  5. I'm truly sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it must've been to share this story, but thank you. I appreciate your honesty - and your daughter is wise beyond her years. Sending love x.

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