Five years ago today, I launched Thrive In Chaos and sent this post out into the world.
I established this blog as a means of dealing with a difficult time in my life. I wanted to create a place where I could foster positivity and find a way to thrive, even when I felt that all around me was chaos. Over the last five years, Thrive In Chaos has changed and grown, albeit in subtle ways.
In that very first post, I wrote that I wanted to share the following:
- Crafty projects & tutorials
- Resources for work with young people
- Things that inspire me and things to reflect on
- Personal stories and projects
- Recommendations for books/music/films/blogs/websites etc
Some of those are still things I share and focus on. I still share recommendations and reviews. I still write about things that inspire me or things I want to reflect on. I still create posts around personal stories and projects.
The things that have changed in what I post about very much reflect changes in my professional and ‘hobby’ lives. My work with young people continues but is now firmly set in formal education setting. I do produce a lot of resources for this, but they support the study of English Language and Literature, rather than general work with young people. (Shameless plug alert: if you’re interested in these resources you can see/buy them here!) I do occasionally write about my work but it tends to involve wider reflections on the education system. This was not something I envisaged when I started this blog but it is something I have come to feel passionately about.
I also no longer share ‘crafty projects and tutorials’. Honestly, I can’t actually remember the last time I did anything I would consider ‘crafty’ or anything I could have written a tutorial for! Five years ago, I think the thought of no longer crafting would have made me sad. That I would have felt like I lost something. But that is not the case at all, now. In fact, I actually feel like I have gained a lot. The time that I would once have spent crafting I now spend writing. And that, it seems, is where my creative heart truly lies. In place of the craft posts I now share snippets of creative writing, or reflections on the writing process. This is something I have loved venturing into and something I sincerely hope I will continue to grow in.
Another change is that I now post much more frequently and openly about mental health. When I first started Thrive In Chaos, mental health and mental illness was something that very much affected my life. But on my blog, it was something I initially skimmed over: wanting, but not knowing how, to voice those experiences, and fearing that doing so would turn my happy corner of the web into something dark and negative. In this, I am glad to have been proven wrong. From my first, hesitant venture into mental health blogging in February 2015 for Time To Talk Day – where I completed my first blogathon of 24 posts in 24 hours, and where most of the posts were me sharing other people’s posts or articles I had found – to this year’s upcoming Time To Talk Day blogathon – which has it’s own hashtag (#thincblogathon), my own much more frank and personal accounts, and (for the first time) guest posts from bloggers around the world – there has been an extraordinary amount of growth. Far from creating darkness or negativity, I feel it has been empowering. It has helped me own my experiences. It has helped me connect with others. If anything, it has helped me create my own light in the darkness. In that time I have also become a contributing blogger for an amazing local mental health organisation – ECBC Manchester – and although it is still often challenging to talk about my experiences of mental illness, the vital importance of those conversations compels me to do so. I continue in the knowledge that if even one person takes comfort from my words or decides to tell their own story in response then it will have been worth any difficulty I might have faced in putting it out there.
The one thing that most definitely has not changed in the last five years, is the name: Thrive In Chaos.
I spent a long time considering what to call this blog and I decided on Thrive In Chaos because I wanted it to reflect what I wanted it to help me do.
I wanted to thrive. Despite the chaos of life.
That decision is one I stand by to this day and the name is one I am confident will stand as long as I choose to keep blogging. I don’t think life will ever stop being full of chaos. But I also know I won’t ever stop wanting to thrive.
To you, my lovely readers, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you.
Whether this is the first post of mine you have read or you have been quietly following for the last five years: thank you. That you are here means the world. You help me thrive. I hope you find something in the virtual pages I have written to help you do the same.