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Cultivating Femininity | Bowing Out Gracefully

If you've been on my (now nonexistent) YouTube channel recently, you'll see that things look just a tad different. And by different, of course, I'm referring to the fact that I've removed my videos and stopped posting.


I explain all of the details around this decision in my recent podcast episode on Patreon, so we won't get into it too much here. What I'd like to talk about here, is the idea of bowing out gracefully. When to do it, how to do it, and why to do it.

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in situations where we're just not quite winning. Maybe things aren't going smoothly, or maybe you feel less comfortable in a scenario than you'd like to. Maybe you're constantly fighting with a friend or significant other. Or maybe an element of your life just doesn't feel right anymore.


While our culture often encourages us to stick things out, (even the things that hurt us), often, an unpleasant situation can be an opportunity to practice quietly removing ourselves from people and places that are no longer adding positivity to our lives.


There is something mature and elegant about bowing out gracefully. Taking the time to reflect on whether or not you want to continue doing something, and not making a big fuss out of why you've changed your mind.


The concept of "quiet quitting" entered the zeitgeist last year, with many people expressing that it's okay to quit something. To move on, and to do so without bringing copious amounts of attention to yourself.


How many videos haven't we seen on YouTube with a thumbnail that says, "GOODBYE" or, "WHY I'M LEAVING", only to see the creator continue making content a week later? There's something immature about constantly tricking your audience, or people around you into thinking you're leaving, simply so you can get more views and more attention.


But it is okay to look at different facets of your life, and take stock of what is working, what isn't working and why. It's okay to look inward and ask if what you're doing in your life is in alignment with what you truly want and who you truly are.


A few weeks ago, I was watching a video from Nicolas Fairford. And in it, he said his life motto is, "Never complain, never explain." And I thought that was such a succinct, yet eloquently put way of describing how to approach certain aspects of life.


Not everyone deserves an explanation as to why you're making the decisions that you're making. And you don't have to explain yourself to anyone you don't feel like explaining yourself to.


With YouTube, I often fell into both of those categories. I would complain about my views, or the lack of views at certain points, and I would over-explain myself about why views were important in keeping my channel up and running. Or I would over-explain why I was moving my content to Patreon, or why I was shopping at higher end clothing stores to avoid fast fashion. Or why being a Black content creator was so difficult. The list goes on and on.


I spent so much time complaining and explaining. As I think many of us do when we're trying to defend our art, our work, and most importantly, our character.


But as I took the time to reflect on my journey into and out of YouTube, I realized that I no longer desired to explain myself to strangers on the internet. And I didn't have to.


I realized it was time to bow out gracefully. To remove myself from the rat race, and focus on what is truly important to me. And it's the best decision I've made in years.


It can be hard to know when it's time to leave something behind, so here are a few ways to recognize that it's time to move on.


When the situation begins to affect your personal life.

With YouTube, I started to notice how heavily it was affecting my personal life. My whole life revolved around trying to figure out how to stay relevant & how to keep my content fresh and new. A lot of my conversations with my husband, my mom & my friends surrounded my work, and how it was going. And at a certain point, my brother even began questioning if I was inviting him over for dinner because I genuinely wanted him over, or so I could create content & blog posts.


I never would have thought that social media would have infiltrated my personal life in such a tremendous way.


If a situation is starting to affect your personal life, the people around you, and your relationships, that is a good way to acknowledge that it might be time to take a step back and look at whether it's impacting your life positively or negatively. If all you're doing is thinking about this one thing, and it has taken over your joy, it might be a sign that it's time to re-evaluate whether or not this thing is beneficial for you.


When it doesn't bring you joy anymore.

This one is a bit tricky, because sometimes you have to do things you don't necessarily love, out of responsibility. Like staying in a job you're not thrilled about because you have bills to pay. But if that's not the case, it's important to assess whether or not something is bringing you joy. Life is so incredibly short, and it goes by so quickly. We really don't have that much time to spend hours and hours doing something that doesn't make us happy.


If you are in a relationship, a job, a city, or anything that is not making you happy and you've exhausted all of the other options - it may be time to reassess.


Of course, many times the things that are making us unhappy are not directly tied to something physical. They can often be emotionally linked, and won't be solved by breaking up with our partner or moving to a new town. But that doesn't make it any less important to ask yourself what is making you happy and what isn't, and acting accordingly.


When you don't recognize yourself.

I've heard many influencers say they stepped away from the spotlight, because they simply did not recognize themselves anymore. They started valuing things that they didn't use to value and began doing things to grab attention that they ordinarily wouldn't do. I recently watched a video about the Dolan Twins, who stepped away from almost 10 million subscribers on YouTube because they felt like they had lost themselves. They said that they felt as though they were doing things for their followers, instead of for themselves.


When you begin doing things to keep the people around you happy or satisfied, you automatically move yourself out of alignment with your hopes and desires. And move into the role of servant to everyone else.


Over the last year, I noticed a dimming in the joy and light for life that I once held. I noticed that I was constantly feeling pressure to keep my subscribers happy and keep my views up. And instead of just enjoying life, I was slowly losing that zest for living that I once had.


If you're in a situation where you no longer recognize yourself, or where you miss a former version of yourself, it could be a sign to look at what in your life you're doing to make other people happy.

 

The question of how to bow out gracefully seems pretty straight forward, but I think there are a few things to do in order to prepare yourself for what could be a major life change.


First, make a plan.

It's pretty likely that if you're thinking of leaving something or somewhere, it will be a large shift in your life. If you're hoping to leave a relationship or a job, chances are they might have been staples in your life for a long time. So a really important step to take beforehand, (if it is safe for you to do so), is to make a plan. How are you going to pay your bills if you leave your job? Where are you going to live if you've been living with a partner?


Establish what your plan is going to be, so that the shock of leaving something isn't as intense.


One reason why I feel so at peace with my decision to leave YouTube, is because I have a pretty solid plan. I know what my next steps are, and more importantly, I know why I'm taking these steps.


Write out your 3 month, 6 month and 1 year plan. Having this in mind, you'll hopefully feel more at peace with your decision.


Second, seek counsel.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - moving in silence isn't about not sharing anything about your life with anyone. It's about being selective about who you share your information with. It is perfectly acceptable and understandable, that you would want some guidance before making such a huge decision. So seek the counsel of people in your life who you trust, and who you know have your best interest at heart.


Speak to women who are older than you, who have more life experience than you, and can offer a different perspective than what you would ordinarily have. Community is so important when making important decisions. And taking the time to discuss big choices with people who you know love and care for you deeply, can be a great way to see the situation from another angle.


Third, don't look back.

It can be so easy in life to look at our past with rose-colored glasses. To look at that old relationship and say, "Well maybe it wasn't that bad." when we're single on Valentine's Day for the third year in a row. But I'm of the belief that it's important to trust yourself. And to build trust in yourself, you have to know and accept why you made the decision that you made.


There's a reason that relationship didn't work out. There's a reason that job didn't work out. There's a reason why you felt it was a good idea at the time to remove yourself from a situation. So try not to let your mind gaslight you into thinking that you were wrong or that it wasn't as bad as you thought.


Trust yourself.


Our mind likes to play back the good moments and the happy memories, and completely leave out the moments of despair, sadness and emotional turmoil. But remember, there is a reason why you chose to remove yourself, so honor yourself, by honoring the decision that you made.

Contrary to a lot of the content we see on social media today regarding femininity, I don't actually believe it's about being the most magnetic woman in the room. Nor do I think it's about baking your own bread and making cough syrup from scratch.


I think it's about having quiet elegance, and quiet confidence.


Not everything is everyone's information to know, and I think it's one of the ultimate elements of being a feminine woman, to maintain a sense of privacy in your life. To acknowledge that in a society where personal information is quite literally for sale, we opt to only share certain decisions with people we truly love and trust. We opt to be introspective about our decisions, instead of broadcasting them to millions of people online.


This isn't intended to be a bashing social media or bashing influencers style blog post, rather, my hope is that in reading this, you'll consider looking at what in your life isn't quite working. And whether or not it's time to bow out gracefully.



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