Today’s post is pure self-indulgence. As is this blog, to be frank. But I started fruitsandroutes FOUR years ago now, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on where it’s taken me. It’s been a wild ride, and I can’t believe how much personal growth I’ve undertaken in that time. Thank you for following along!
Let’s rewind four years
Four years ago, where was I? I was 16, approaching the halfway point in my first year of 6th form. After dropping down from 4 to 3 A-level subjects, I suddenly had some spare time on my hands. I’ve always loved to write, and had toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a while. However, the fear of being mocked by my schoolmates always held me back. Oh teen Em, how far you’ve come. When I first started my blog and Instagram, I kept it a secret from all friends and only told my parents. It was an accident when others discovered it by chance… but I got over it. And for the most part, everyone was supportive of it (or indifferent).
Running & wellbeing
At the start of my blogging journey, I definitely focused more on running. I hadn’t opened up about my experience with an eating disorder yet – that came later, along with my focus on mental health. I don’t necessarily regret basing this blog on running and “healthy” eating, but by the same token the world of “wellbeing” social media definitely added fuel to a fire. My exercise addiction and disordered eating made a come back for sure, and I believe it’s partly due to investing so much time and energy into an area of social media dedicated to being “healthy”.
About 18 months after starting my blog, I headed to university. No longer shy about my blog, people knew about it straight away – and the fruitsandroutes nickname stuck. It gave me a platform to document and share my experience as a fresher. It allowed me to connect with others with similar interests (veganism, blogging/ vlogging, sport) straight away. And it was a great conversation starter (for me and others). My following is small enough that I’m pretty irrelevant (in a good way!) and almost no one had seen my blog before meeting me. Which I see as a good thing, because then no one had preconceived ideas about me.
Unfortunately in first year – and into second year – at university, I found myself on the slippery slope of overtraining, under-fuelling, and RED-S. I’ve already written plenty about this on my blog, so I won’t bore you with more on that. All I will say is that this community and social media, as harmful as it can be, helped me enormously. I was able to connect with others going through something similar, and fight the fight to freedom with others. It also kept me accountable in lockdown when I decided to completely stop sport in order to regain my periods and heal my relationship with food and sport.
Admittedly, this academic year I have had a bit less time for fruitsandroutes. However, I am here to stay. No longer entirely focused on the “wellbeing” space, I just write what I want, when I want. Sometimes the emphasis is still on mental health, but rarely is it on food and/ or exercise. Why? Because I think that content can often (but not always) be more harmful than helpful. And social media is already saturated with it, so why contribute to the white noise in that space?
I’ve also met some incredible people through this blog, which I couldn’t be more grateful for. Big love to you all <3
Growing up online
In a way, I feel that I’ve grown up online. Not in the way that some influencers have – because I only have 4,000 followers or so. But, between the ages of 16 and 20, I have learnt and experienced so much. I am a more confident person – inwardly and outwardly. When I first started the blog, I thought of myself as shy and socially awkward. Now, I’d say the opposite (although still socially awkward at times… haha). It’s actually so weird scrolling back through my Instagram and seeing where I was mentally and physically ~4 years ago. So much has changed, and I’m so grateful it has.
So what does the future hold for fruitsandroutes? Well, the blog is here to stay. Although I’m posting less frequently on Instagram, when I do post, I like to think it’s worthwhile. I’m hoping to still post weekly or bi-weekly on here, because writing is what I like and do best. It’s my creative outlet, my safe space, my platform for self-expression. And hopefully, it means something to you too. Because I can tell you that you (reader) mean a lot to me. If you’ve been here since 2017, then I love you and cannot thank you enough for your support.
That’s it for now. Until next time!