#HBDToBB - One Year of Brena's Breakthroughs I know I usually post on weekends, but this one is different. *in my Tony! Toni! Toné! voice* IT'S MY ANNIVERSARY! My website is a year old today and if I'm honest, it seems a little unreal. I want to start by thanking everyone who reads these and supports me. There are still times where I feel unsupported or like I'm doing all this for nothing, but the random messages, compliments, and words of encouragement continue to remind me why I'm doing what I'm doing. This blog is my baby and sometimes it can get a little scary being vulnerable on the internet and never knowing who may see it or how it will be received. Y'all are the bomb. Thank you so much. Y'all will never know how much it means to me. Life has been a little crazy lately, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on my first year of blogging. I want to talk about a couple different things, so I'm just gonna jump right in. Getting Started So why did I want to start this blog? In short, to be what I needed. I've spent the majority of my life feeling unseen in a number of ways, and I decided to start. I'm not gonna lie. I was scared. I didn't know if anybody would read what I had to say. I just wanted to put some things out there to help other people feel less invisible and less alone. My first post, #SingleShawty, came out of a place of me being tired. I was tired of how things were working out for me and I was tired of feeling like I was the only one going through. I sat down in front of my laptop started writing. I had ideas of things I wanted to talk about, so I wrote them down and slept on it. After putting out some feelers on social media, I launched the website. When I put the feelers out, I knew I was going to start the site. I just wanted to see if I was shooting in the dark. There wasn't anybody to show me the ropes. I did a lot of research, asked a few people some questions, got a few opinions, and started putting it together. It was up to me to figure it out. It was up to me to promote it. It was up to me to stop being scared and actually do it. I had an idea of the vibe I wanted to put out, and so I did my best to achieve that. Of course things have changed and been added since the beginning, but I love what I've been creating. I have a vision for where I want to be, and it took a while for me to realize what I'm doing is building a brand. I am putting myself, my feelings, and my opinions on the internet as a representation of me. That's something that took a while to understand. Now I do want to figure out more ways to grow it and get a larger following, but only time will tell what's in store for brena's breakthroughs. To anybody who is thinking of starting a blog or a website, DO IT. Don’t be afraid. Somebody is going to appreciate what you put out there. It can feel a little overwhelming figuring out how and where to start, but you aren't alone. If you have questions, feel free to ask me and I'll do what I can. Some things will come by trial and error, and some things will come by watching others. The most important thing, however, will come from YOU. You have a voice, and there is somebody out there who needs to hear it, even if that first somebody is you. Use it. I'm rooting for you. Growing & Glowing This last year of my life has been quite interesting to say the least. Since starting the blog, some things have changed and some things haven't. I've grown a lot in terms of how I see myself, and I feel like my blog is partially responsible for that growth. I've never really thought of myself as the blogging type, and it's really unlike me to put myself out there like this. I'm an introvert with an extrovert's lifestyle, but that doesn't mean putting myself out there has gotten any easier. I didn't think people would like or care about the things I wrote, much less tell people about it. One thing I really struggled with for a long time was promotion. I felt like I was bothering people by asking them to read and share the posts on my website, and I didn't want to be a nuisance. I would find myself getting discouraged because it felt like I know people who can breathe and get reposted to everybody's timeline or story, while the only person I saw posting or sharing my stuff was me. I'm not gonna lie, it still gets to me from time to time, but not nearly as much as it used to. I've been telling y'all about my "take care of business & heal thyself" mantra for a while now, but applying it the way I have over the last few months has honestly started changing my life. I apply it to my personal life of course, but it also applies to the brand I'm building. I had to stop being scared to promote myself. I had to learn this: If I don't promote myself, nobody else will. I have to be as unapologetic about promoting myself as I am about my personal growth. The worst thing that could happen from me asking someone to share my stuff is that they say no, so why not? I've also reached out to women who are doing what I want to do. I don't want to come out and ask directly if they'll be my mentors because that just seems forced to me. You can't be what you can't see, so you have to go search for what you need or become it. I have no idea what the future is going to bring for this website or for my life, but I'm obsessed with my own growth. I know as I grow, this website will grow too because it's an extension of me. I told y'all. Helping other people feel seen is a priority for me both personally and publicly, but seeing myself had to become one first. Now that I have finally started seeing myself, I have become desperate in my pursuit of the version of myself that I see in my head. It only took about 21 and a half years, but finally coming into my own feels SO DAMN GOOD. Boss Brena is coming soon, so get with it or get out of the way. What's New I've made some changes to the website that I like. Check out "the breakthroughs" to see what I'm talking about. I also decided I'm starting a weekly newsletter. I'll be sending it out to my subscribers on Monday mornings to help give a positive start to the week. It will include "words for the warriors", which will be some encouraging words for the week, an update on my most recent blog post, and a section for things that are coming soon and other updates on things I've added to "the road to dr. black barbie" section of the site. Speaking of coming soon… I will be having a giveaway at the beginning of August, so stay tuned! Again, I just want to thank everybody for their support over the first year of breakthroughs. You are so appreciated. Please subscribe & share, and encourage your friends to do the same. Feel free to let me know if there are things you'd like me to talk about or if there's something I've already said that you want me to elaborate on. It's only up from here! See y'all soon! Live life. Be great. Flourish.