Musings

Figuring out your niche? Or figuring out yourself?

Art by Hayley Sheldon

“What’s your niche?”

It’s a question that any writer is familiar with. Having a niche topic as an Internet writer makes you more easily discovered, helps you cultivate an engaged audience, and makes you more desirable to brands. There are many benefits of having a niche, and it is certainly important to have one. Having a niche makes sense, who doesn’t want to be surrounded by like-minded people?

But a long time ago, I decided not to stick to a particular niche for my blog and social media. Instead, I made the decision to write about anything or anyone that interested me, and to post what I enjoyed on social media. Sure, I still consider myself to be a “Philly lifestyle blogger”, but give myself more wiggle room. This might not make me the most ideal blogger for brands to work with, but it makes me happier and more absorbed in my writing. A big win in my book.

When I relinquished the idea that having a niche would make me a more “effective” blogger, I began learning so much more about myself, which carried over into my real life. As humans, we love to put labels on things. It makes things more understandable, and we crave to understand things.

Our desire to understand and comprehend has a sneaky way of trickling into our subconscious in other ways. We find ourselves asking, “How do I want to perceive myself?” and “How do I want others to perceive me?”. I’ve attempted to tackle the topic of perception before, it is something that has been fascinating me recently.

Let’s imagine ourselves as Rubik’s Cubes – an assortment of colors and complex layers, that when combined together after struggle and with determination, creates something beautiful. When we allow ourselves to view ourselves in this way, we are open to a world of possibilities.

Art credit

I’ve been recently referencing my old poems and writings I’ve been uncovering, which have been very telling in how I’ve viewed myself, even as a kid. One of these poems reads the following: “I’m not pretty, I’m not ugly, I’ve average. I’m not athletic, I’m not lazy, I’m just OK”. Pretty heavy stuff for an eleven year old to be writing, right? But I’ve realized that even at a young age, I desired to have a fixed label for myself.

“I am constantly shape shifting, adapting and evolving” shirt by SighSwoon. A mantra I enjoy living by.

Of course we go through changes and different stages in life, it’s what we do as humans. Much like Madonna, we reinvent ourselves. Which is why we shouldn’t limit ourselves to our fixed views of who we think we are. We have a tendency to beat ourselves up when we commit an action that is against the person who we perceive ourselves to be. We all make mistakes that we can learn from, and we should also allow ourselves to examine these actions or words that go against who we think we are. We are not one-dimensional.

What if I decide to view myself as an enigma, a mysterious being who can’t be understood? (Perhaps I am living out my Lady Gaga fantasy by saying this, let me live.) I don’t mean this in a coy or pretentious way. I mean viewing myself as an intricate being with many nuances who cannot be limited. There are so many parts of myself (and yourself) – my emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical being – that I cannot be contained to one or a few things. And neither are you. We are multi-faceted, complex creatures, and we should allow ourselves to explore and experience every bit of our being without limiting ourselves. The good and bad, positive and negative (yin and yang baby).

As I’m typing out this blog post, I’m listening to Mimi Bouchard‘s podcast, where she is discussing her “superwoman self”. She describes the superwoman or superman self as being the “best version of yourself, your super alter ego”. She’s mentioning that it is impossible for her to be her superwoman self at all times, that this alter ego she has created is evolving constantly and negative emotions are a natural part of life. How fitting to be hearing this message as I’m tying up this post.

A psychologist could obviously explain what I’m trying to express much better, but I hope my point comes across in my less-than-eloquent manner.

Allow yourself to explore your mind, your emotions, your interests. Don’t hold yourself inside of your box – it is so liberating to let go. You are not a niche.

I would love your thoughts on this post, as well as on any of these “Musings” posts. Let a gal know what you think!

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