4 years ago I launched this little corner of the internet. I had approximately one reader, me. For three months I didn’t tell a soul. Eventually I drunkenly told a friend (#truthbomb), and then C, and then finally my friends and family. I was absolutely terrified to share this piece of my life, but I was also desperately in need of it. I was miserable in my job, had just moved home from a whirlwind couple of years in NYC and was living in my parents basement. Change was necessary, though I could never have expected I’d be sitting here today.
Over the years I’ve heard from so many of you about how THM has helped you feel a little less alone, get creative in the kitchen and transform our society’s very narrow definition of health. And while these things completely fill me with joy, what you don’t know is that I needed this place more than you. As dramatic as it may sound, THM saved me.
As my recent podcast guest Natasha Adamo shared, “you don’t need to be healed to help others” and this statement could not be more true. While I’m certainly not healed, sharing my journey on the internet has made me better. To know I’m helping you is just icing on the cake.
I know I’m on a very long journey and certainly have plenty to work on, but I’m no longer that scared, self-conscious and completely lost 23 year old that was living in my “basement apartment”. I’ve found purpose in my day-to-day life and in the process, also found myself.
Along the way, I’ve achieved a thing or two. But as I sat down to put together this list, I was surprised by the memories that came to mind. Some of them, like my first TV appearance were a no-brainer, but more often than not, it was the smaller, less extravagant experiences that roll past me in my highlight reel. I’ve had my moments when I get too wrapped up in the numbers, but the reality is that they’ll never give you the same kind of personal gratification that knowing you did your best will always give you. Yes, even if you feel like no one acknowledged it.
What strikes me most about my journey in blogging is not the fruits of my labor, but rather how sweet it’s been to earn those fruits. It was the purpose I was seeking when I started the blog and I’m eternally grateful that I succeeded.
Each year I’ve posted some kind of reflection on my blog’s birthday, so I thought I’d share those before I jump into my list of highlights from blogging:
Here are my highlights from the last 4 years of The Healthy Maven!
This is the first time I can remember being truly vulnerable on the blog. I’d definitely opened up before, but this post just felt so raw and real and I still look back at the girl who wrote it with deep admiration. She’s my inspiration when I feel too scared to talk about things.
It’s funny because I don’t even submit to Foodgawker anymore, but at the time it felt like a huge accomplishment! I had never picked up an SLR before starting the blog, and honestly didn’t love photography so it felt very validating to know that something that didn’t come naturally to me was seeing success because of my hard work.
I had this deep feeling inside of me that video was something I wanted to jump into. I was terrified to do it because I’m a perfectionist and I hated the idea of having to produce some crappy content to get better, but I’m so happy I went for it. Filming my first video was a total spur of the moment decision. I literally just walked in the door, set-up my camera and started shooting. I then locked myself in my apartment for two days while I taught myself how to edit. Is it perfect? Definitely not. But I had to start somewhere and I’m so happy I did.
For my first LIVE appearance on National TV, I didn’t tell the brand or the PR firm that I’d never been on TV before (that is if you don’t count the time I played the recorder on TV in 2nd grade…). Only Jess and C knew and they were my ultimate support, fan girl/boy that day. I’m so happy that the segment went well (minus the whole getting my blog name wrong!) and even turned into something longer term. After that I made appearances on the Dr. Oz Show, E!News and most recently, an Israeli TV Show.
This moment is hilariously memorable not because of the feature itself, but because I was so excited I started dancing like Beyonce and threw my back out. I’m assuming it was the universe’s way of telling me to chill out and not get a big head.
Having a podcast was something I dreamed about during my long commutes to work while living in NYC. I was dumbfounded by the process of doing it so it held me back for a long time, but I’m so fortunate to have my girl Cassie helping me out and amazing people in my life who have been willing to give me an hour of their time to interview them. It’s been such an incredible adventure and one that I’m beyond excited to see where it goes. You can catch up on all the episodes HERE.
This place would be nothing without the people. The relationships I’ve made with other bloggers, the brands I work closely with, and you guys mean everything to me. I’ve made real, long-lasting friendships through this space that I know I’ll keep with me even if the blog disappeared tomorrow. To all of you who have showed kindness, lent a helping hand or who I can now call a friend, thank you.
I did it.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of all is that this space still exists. Not only did I find the courage in me to start THM four years ago, but I’ve showed up everyday since. Maybe not with a blog post or a social share, but the blog was never far from my mind. I showed up here every single day. Even when no one was reading. Even when people criticized me or shared hurtful words. Even when I was overwhelmed with the work. Even when I didn’t feel like I was good enough. I showed up. This act, this simple act of showing up will always be my proudest accomplishment. I can’t believe I freaking did it!
I say this every year, but THANK YOU SO MUCH for allowing me to pursue this passion of mine. I may need this space more than anything, but this space also needs you. To those of you who comment, like, hang out in the tribe or secretly read, watch, listen but have never done any of the above, this place exists because of you. I’m grateful beyond measure and I hope you’ll stick around for as long as you’ll have me!
Happy fourth birthday THM! I can’t wait to see what the next four years have in store…
*All photos by Bettina Bogar (B – thanks for being my unofficial photographer over the past few years! I love you!)
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