Community Over Competition
It's crazy to think that I began blogging almost 5 years ago; and yet somehow, this year has been undeniably the most significant for me in this industry. This time last year, I connected with Elise from Caturday Style through Instagram. I discovered her page though a popular hashtag and we ended up chatting about color walls in the city (she is the queen of finding the best ones). Little did I know that my friendship with this sweet, talented, and inspiring human would ultimately lead to meeting a whole group of amazing Baltimore bloggers who I now call friends.
For the longest time, I hadn't personally connected with a single blogger beyond surface level; which is SO sad, right!? It makes you feel pretty damn alone in this creative space - you feel like every hurdle, every mistake, every celebration is experienced in solitude.
In contrast, since I've been introduced to this amazing group, I have never felt more supported. It's immensely gratifying to have a "girl gang" that you can lean on, discuss the hurdles and ever-changing algorithms, and celebrate your successes with.
"Supporting your competition: an oxymoron to most. What if they surpass me? What if I never become what they are? What if I fail and they succeed? These are all questions we deal with regardless of the industry we are in. Imagine this, all of a sudden someone you know surpasses you in followers, gets that raise you wanted, or does something totally new and unique. Naturally, most of us will automatically bring ourselves into the equation and play the compare and question game. Not only is it discrediting you, it is terribly narcissistic" (Morgan Lillian).
Starting out in this industry, this was my reality. In the past, I had absolutely fallen into the social media trap of comparison. It is difficult when you don't know the souls behind the accounts. You unfairly assume that their lives are as perfect as they appear on Instagram. You assume that everything has been easy for them and they don't spill lattes all over themselves while driving, or stay up until 2am editing a new blog post, or live in yoga pants 99% of the weekend.
I'll be honest - this constant comparison that I was living in was draining. And, I felt like it may never change for me; that I would always feel "less than" in the blogging and social media industry. I felt this way until I was introduced to these Baltimore bloggers about a year ago. Until I got to sit down with them at dinner and discuss the reality behind getting the "perfect" shot, compare horrific middle school photos, and laugh about the strangest emails we've ever received. It is much easier to support your competition when you can talk and relate to them on a genuine level.
While others may view us as competition to each other, I truly don't see it that way anymore. I'll be the first to jump up and cheer a fellow blogger on, and feel absolute happiness from their success or inspired by their creativity. We each have a unique aesthetic, voice, purpose, life experience, personal sense of style, and audience that supports us for different reasons. As mature women, paving our paths in this city that never sleeps, we know that it's best to build a longer table, not a higher fence. We know that there is more than enough to go around and that competing with each other will not bring any of us happiness, growth, or love.
These ladies (and others not pictured) never cease to inspire me, motivate me to step outside of my comfort zone, and above all, they shine a positive light on an industry that can be very cut-throat. Let's continue to truly celebrate each other's successes, lift each other up, and allow our friendships to grow beyond social media.
I look forward to continue blogging alongside these incredible, Baltimore bloggers in the years to come!
Meet Taliah, with Fashion Was Here! Taliah is best known for her incredible, vintage steals and taking New York by storm during fashion week. Check out more of her work here.
Meet Taylor, with Stylishly Taylored! Taylor is best known for her colorful style, being super smart (she's a scientist!), and always knowing the best places to eat in the city. Check out more of her work here.
Meet Carisa, with Legally Charming Style! Carisa is best known for her stunning red hair, kicking ass in the courtroom (she is a lawyer!), and always, always providing a smile in her presence. Check out more of her work here.
Meet Alice, with Always Alice Joy! Alice is best known for her sweet personality, gorgeous makeup tutorials, and owning the crop top space in Baltimore. Check out more of her work here.
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Are you searching for an amazing support system in your area or industry? Reach out to someone you love following or feel connected to on social media or via email! Find a common interest and start there. You never know who'll you meet or where it will lead you.
xo Anna Elizabeth