At the beginning of 2016, during my much dreaded return to work after maternity leave and state of near financial ruin because said maternity leave was unpaid, I had a brilliant idea: I would take my love of pinup and vintage, make a blog devoted to everything pinup and vintage, finally get an Instragram page on which I’d pose in all my vintage glory, develop a following, and eventually turn my hobby into a business selling pinup and vintage clothes and accessories. I’d work for myself doing something I loved. The fantasy of it enveloped me as I worked to make it all happen. It boosted my mood, filled me with hope, gave me a goal to work toward, and made the transition back to work a little easier.
My husband was working a later shift, so after the kids went to bed, I’d put on makeup, fix my hair, and try to take the perfect selfie while modeling whatever piece of jewelry or clothing I found and loved. I developed my blog, called it Allura’s Playground, a name I had always loved and wished I had used for my erotica blog, and tried to resurrect the Allura Fox persona I had developed around the time I started that blog. Allura Fox was who I wished I could be: a sexy, confident, modern-day pinup.
My business plan was much harder to effectuate than I thought it would be. It was difficult to develop any kind of following on Instagram as I wasn’t posting all day long and didn’t have the time to devote to finding followers. Plus, I couldn’t fully commit to taking the type of borderline risqué photos needed to become Allura Fox. My law career may suffer if anyone realized that I was posting pinup photos of myself and the law career paid the bills. The fact that Instagram is forever linked to my Facebook didn’t help. I came up as a suggestion to all my Facebook friends. Given that fact, I felt stupid pretending to be someone I’m not.
And then there was the blog itself. No one read it and I didn’t know how to get anyone to read it. I posted on Twitter. I had it listed as my blog on Instagram. No one cared. I was accustomed to the erotica blog, which people always found and read, no matter if I was actively posting on it or not. People will seek out porn. No one gave a crap about my Steady Clothing review.
To add to all this, I had very little time or money to transform my hobby into a career. My days started at 5:30 am and didn’t end until 8:30 when the kids finally went to bed. I was exhausted. It was all I could do to stay motivated to work on the blog, let alone get photo ready to take a photo of whatever vintage piece I wanted to show myself wearing on Instagram. I didn’t even have the time to scour the internet looking for items cheap enough to allow me to continue showcasing new items
As the long Chicago winter stretched on, I spiraled down into a depression. It wasn’t just the unsuccessful blog. It was the general lack of money. It was loneliness from never seeing my husband. It was never leaving the house without a kid unless I was going to work. It was exhaustion. It was everything.
The worst part was realizing I didn’t have it in me to become Allura Fox. I had wanted to create an idealized version of myself, but I knew that person was a lie. I suffer from crippling insecurity interspersed with brief glimpses of confidence. The vision of myself I see during those fleeting moments of confidence seems like a fantasy when the insecurity inevitably returns, an unrealistic fantasy I feel stupid for having. I would spend way too much time trying to take a selfie that I didn’t feel ugly or fat in. I was trying to put myself on a pedestal on which no one else put me. I felt like a dumpy mother who never left the house and who was wasting money buying things I never had the opportunity to wear or even had the confidence to pull off if I did.
I never made the decision to stop working on the blog. I just slowly began to work on it less and less. I had already realized I didn’t have what it took to make it into a successful business. I stopped exhausting myself putting in the effort. That’s not saying I didn’t feel bad due to my overall lack of effort. Every time I hear a successful entrepreneur speak about what it takes to be a success, they say things like, “If you really want it, you’d sleep in a shack. You’d work on it every free minute you have available. There are no excuses.” Well, I’m full of excuses and unwilling to live in a shack. I probably don’t want it bad enough.
Despite giving up on my “business,” I’m not giving up on the hobby. I have started writing again and plan to start posting on the blog again. Maybe someday, I’ll be that confident, successful entrepreneur I’ve always wanted to be.