life in all its rawness

by ann


I was in Chicago, having fled Texas after an epic rough patch with Mat, and I remember sitting on a bar stool, staring into the too-bright light of the laptop on my sister’s marble kitchen island at two in the morning, mesmerized by food blogs. I don’t remember what led me to those sites but I was so taken by the writing, the photography and, mainly, overwhelming sense of peace reading those posts gave me.

So I meandered over to WordPress and created my own blog.


Before the rise of the Internet, I chronicled my daily life in journals and crafted short stories on an echoing typewriter in the public library. With a journalist for a father, becoming a writer seemed a very real career path. Yet somewhere between high school and college I decided to opt for “practicality” and become a doctor.

Still, I continued to write. I found that placing my thoughts into words helped me make sense of the world and allowed me to let go of whatever I had been ruminating.

When I created my first blog, I wrote about what inspired me to write again: food. After a time, I decided to venture more seriously into the food-blogging community, scrapping my first blog and entering with a second. I pushed my blog into the public eye and became involved in blogging communities; my piece of virtual space was monetized and even reviewed products.

Then I went to a blogging conference.

I was surrounded by people with the same curiosity and passion that I had. I could spot a perfectly flaky croissant and unsheath my enormous dSLR camera and be understood. Better yet, others with me were also busy taking out their cameras. It was thrilling.

Yet the conference also showed me how unhappy many of us were. We saw certain blogs being sought after. Idolized. We heard about bloggers that paid off mortgages with money from their sites. Who received book deals and TV shows. We wanted to know how to become like those blogs. We stopped caring about our voice.

I come to you now hesitantly. This post has been months in the making. I have started and stopped this post multiple times. It was easier before when I blogged more commercially. I would churn out posts, stringing words that made sentences but held no worth. At least to me.

See, I want to write about the violinist that plays the most haunting melodies on Walnut Street. How I can’t comprehend the incessant need for aloofness in people these days. I want to pick up a camera to photograph more than a well-arranged meal. I want to capture genuine laughs and crinkling eyes. I want to talk to you about my life.

But my life is not picturesque. I’m in dental school, surviving off of loans. I wear ceil blue scrubs five out of seven days. A dinner of reheated rice and preserved cucumbers is not rare. While friends are jetting off for weeklong trips to Europe or going on shopping sprees, I’m saving so that I can pay bills and visit home.

Let me clarify: I am not unhappy. Oh, I have ruts but I am beyond wild to have the opportunity to be in dental school and live in another city, grateful to my wondrous support system of family, friends and boyfriend, and delighted by my newfound dental school family.

However, at some point, blogs became less about connecting with others and more about promoting an aspirational lifestyle. Pushing products. We lost focus on writing and dwelled more on demonstrating how much more put together our lives were.

I was unlucky enough to be all too aware of the audience before me. There were achingly long times in which I felt unsettled because I wanted to write but stopped out of fear. Fear of the criticism and quick judgments that comes from unveiling your life to others. But I wanted to grab a heart-piece and thrust it towards you. To say to you I KNOW. I want to show you my life in all its rawness and to have one of these posts resonate with you..that is all I want.

So, at times, the blog will be morose because I will be morose. I will ache for my faraway family. I will furrow my brows over the years of schooling ahead. I will also talk about my unironic love for Taylor Swift. My sadness for the end of Gossip Girl. And share products. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes.” (Walt Whitman)

I will be inconsistent because there’s a world out there I want to live in and report back to you.