I talk about food. A lot. It’s a casualty of being around me. What I haven’t really talked about on my own blog is me. I mean, you came here for the food, right? I too, came here for the food, but also for sanity.
Which you can’t eat, but whatever.
I have not always been a food blogger. I have no professional photography training, I’ve never been to culinary school. I originally got my education as a web designer/developer/graphic artist.
So why on earth would I start a food blog?
Buckle up, it’s kind of a long story.
I graduated college into a recession. I did some freelance work, to bring in some income while I looked for a full-time position with a company. I knew I wanted to stay local because I wanted to stay close to family. I finally I accepted a position from a local fitness center who needed a web and graphic designer for their marketing department.
I love fitness and health, and have an interest in nutrition, so when the opportunity to work in my field of study with the fitness and health industry arose, I thought “Hey! This seems like a really natural fit.”
Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t. Funny how life works.
I told myself I could get through it, and told myself the pros of the job outweighed the cons, and I stuck it out for about five years.
Fast forward to 2017, I was horribly depressed. I was dealing with grief from losing several close family members to illness in a relatively short time. I felt trapped by my day job, stifled creatively, and in a work environment that was frankly pretty un-healthy. (Ironic right?) I’d been feeling like I wanted to do something different with my life for awhile at this point and I’d been doing the things that they advise you to do as a career-minded adulty-adult, like revamping my resume, looking for other opportunities, etc.
I was hanging in there, but only just. I didn’t want to “be a quitter”, or let my friends and family down. But I am telling you right now, it is not a metaphor to say that staying where I was at that point in my life was eating my soul. Somewhere along the way I lost the things that make me, ME. I was totally burnt out. Funny, burnt out people aren’t actually design superstars – burnt out people use up all their energy just trying to make it through the day. Not good.
Bit by bit, the negativity got to me, and I had begun to believe what my crummy boss told me – that my degree was worthless, and that design was worthless, and by proxy, that me and my skillset must be worthless too. In spring 2017 I reached my breaking point after a particularly tense project at work, and realized that if I didn’t get out of the toxic environment, depression and anxiety would win. So I told my crummy day job, complete with crummy abusive supervisor, to shove it, turned in my notice, and silently pleaded with whatever Powers that Be that karma existed.
I was worried about what would happen to me. I shouldn’t have been.
Things that didn’t happen: I didn’t die. People didn’t shun me for leaving a steady job. I didn’t wind up homeless. My family and boyfriend were incredibly understanding about the whole thing.
Things that did happen: was almost immediately offered a better job, better pay, better boss, and better benefits. No screaming. That’s a win. Suddenly I looked forward to getting up and going to work, instead of dreading it.
Other things that happened: around this same time, I started a little food blog called The Garlic Hussy. It was a creative outlet which I desperately needed, and an opportunity to teach myself new marketable skills, which has always made me feel better in the past and gave me a MUCH needed boost of self-esteem. I clung to those small hours of self-improvement, research, and practice in the mornings before work, or listening to a tutorial podcast here and there while I worked out. I found I could get my emotionally exhausted brain excited if I dreamed up recipes to make and grilled my other design-minded friends about photography. I figured hey, going through all the steps (recipe creation, logo design, brand identity, copy writing, social media promotion, email marketing, photography, product creation, and all the rest that comes with running a food blog) would give me a crash course in developing a company that runs on internet marketing start to finish. The worst case scenario is I learn and get more experience and skills than I have right now.
Fast forward one year, while looking at google analytics (hey! another skill you get more familiar with when you do this!) I realized that one of my recipes has gained quite a bit of popularity. In fact, it was the #2 result. I did a little more digging and discovered that it’s been bouncing between number one and number two result on page 1 of google for awhile now. It turns out, a lot of people want to know how to make this kind of cake, and my blog, slowly but surely, has grown in website traffic over the past year.
This realization has made me realize how different (and better) my life has gotten over the past year. It made me realize what I’m capable of, and maaaaybe just maybe helped me banish a little of that fear and paralyzing self-doubt that comes with struggling with depression and anxiety. If I can make this happen with a camera, a computer, a blog, and my recipes in my spare time, what would I be capable of at full steam??
I wanted to thank you, readers, for coming to my corner of the internet to hang out, to read recipes, to read this long post, if you made it all the way through.
What would YOU be capable of, if you set actionable goals and followed your passions? I don’t want to get sappy – swearing is more my style and laughter looks better on me, but I wanted to tell you all about this because I am proud of myself for making the leap into the unknown; for walking away from things that were no longer serving me and walking toward things that did. Because maybe you need to hear that you too. You have permission to seek out your best life. You have permission to be curious, to explore, to better yourself, and to leave behind the things that you’ve outgrown.