Being the Ugly Duckling

Abbey, a blogger, stands on a cute Cambridge street wearing floral trousers and an off-shoulder black top

I absolutely love going to blogger events. They're a fantastic way of meeting new people with whom you already have something in common, and of seeing in the flesh the friends that you've been chatting away to on the internet for years. However, every single time I attend a blogger event, the same insecurities niggle away at the back of my mind. A little voice whispers in my ear: "You won't fit in there." "You'll stick out like a sore thumb." "People will take one look at you and know you don't belong." A lot of the time, I feel very out of place, like the ugly duckling in the room.

One of the main reasons why I don't fit in at blogger events is because of my appearance. I never really feel like my outfits are that put together. I see the beautiful, well dressed ladies that I'm going to be meeting at events on Instagram and I can never match up. Even if I try really hard with an outfit before I make it to an event, within the first five minutes I have decided that I hate it and want the ground to open up and swallow me whole. First things first, I can't style my hair. I just can't. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn't look the way I want it to. Second, my forgetfulness means that I never accessorise! I suddenly remember that I had planned to put on earrings or a bracelet once I've already left the house. Third, I own literally one handbag. And it's falling apart. In summary, I'm a mess.

Abbey, a blogger, stands on a cute Cambridge street, playing with her hair with one hand
Necklace:  Debenhams (similar)
Watch: ADEXE

And I haven't even started on my face. *sigh*. I rarely wear makeup. I've tried in the past to do a full face, following YouTube tutorials and blogger recommendations, but I can never quite pull it off. My eyeliner is forever wonky and due to wearing contact lenses, my eyes water a lot, washing off a lot of makeup before I've even made it out of the front door. In the photo-set accompanying this post, I'm not even wearing concealer. This means that whenever I head to events, especially those focussed on beauty and skincare, I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb due to my bare face. When there's girls across the room absolutely slaying their cut-creases, fluttering falsies, and Kylie-esque pout, I want to hang my head in shame.

Now don't get me wrong, this post isn't intended to bash those who do dress immaculately and execute flawless makeup because hell, I wish I could be like those girls! My only intention when writing this is to show other people who may also feel like they're the odd ones out that this feeling is totally normal. Imposter syndrome happens in all areas of life - I experience it just as much in the academic world as a PhD student as I do in the blogosphere. HOWEVER, I would also definitely like to stress that feeling like you're the ugly duckling doesn't mean that you have to change yourself to fit in. Despite me feeling like I stick out big time at blogger events, I have only ever been welcomed by the other girls (and sometimes guys!) in attendance. I've never been sneered at by fellow bloggers for being bare faced, or for wearing an outfit that wouldn't look out of place on your grandma.

Abbey, a bloggerer, stands facing away from the camera, wearing floral trousers and a black off-shoulder top
Top: Boohoo
Trousers: Pretty Little Thing (similar)

Sure, I could try a little harder to fit in and make myself feel like a "true blogger". But with insecurities, sometimes you just can't win. If I'm not anxious about my face, it's my hair. If it's not my hair, it's my outfit. If it's not my outfit, it's my shoes. And by changing myself drastically, I also wouldn't be me. I don't really like the feeling of makeup on my face, to be quite honest, so to doll myself up to the nines just for a blogger event would probably make me feel just as awkward as wearing no makeup at all. 

What has really helped me, however, is seeing candid photos and videos from events that I've attended. For example, the event that I attended just after these photos were taken, organised at the Origins store in Cambridge by my wonderful friend Sally Morgan-Moore, was vlogged by her husband Lloyd. You can watch it for yourself down below. There are quite a few shots in this video where I appear alongside the other lovely ladies in attendance and it genuinely shocked me that I don't actually stick out as much as I had feared. In fact, I look like one of the gang. Like I belong there. So, if you feel like the elephant in the room at events just like I do, don't despair. The only person who thinks you stand out is you. After I watched Lloyd's video, I thought: 

"Maybe this ugly duckling is starting to become a swan after all."

As always, now it's over to you. Have you ever felt insecure at a blogger event? Do you suffer from imposter syndrome like me? Please leave a comment down below and share your experiences. The more we talk about things like this, the more we'll know that we're all in this together!

Until next time,

A x