I’ve always wondered what it might be like to have not been a child, teenager and adult of the Internet. When I first signed up for MySpace because my cool older cousin had one, I had no idea of the impact it’d have on shy, slightly reclusive Michelle.

Like I’m sure you’ve worked out, I’m a deeply introspective person that thrives on noting down all of her thoughts and recording every moment under the sun. I fondly remember coming home from school and immediately logging onto MySpace every day. I’d feel empowered by those bulletin board quizzes and the clunky blog functionality. Pleasingly, there were little boxes to fill up with my favourite music, movies, TV shows, books and heroes. Where I was far too shy and intimidated by school friends to open up about the K-pop idols I adored and the Cantonese TVB dramas and K-dramas I so avidly watched – or, later, was bullied when I did – here I could proudly display my interests with the cocooning protection of a digital wall. I could connect with likeminded people from far-flung towns, cities, countries.

That only continued when I discovered LiveJournal, a glorious place where I made several friends I’m still in contact with today. I could hear all about the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, of lives of strangers and leave my own thoughtful advice and comments in return. I’d often feel buoyed by sharing my experiences and realising that, yes, there were people that felt the way I did, even if they weren’t from my school or town. In fact, there was a rich and colourful world out there. A world I was desperate to become part of.

Naturally, over time, I became a blogger. It was different back in 2009 when I started a Blogspot account. The same LiveJournal community feel filtered through to this newer space, and we all sought to share stories, experiences, reviews and more in a bid to break away from a popular media that didn’t serve us. I’d take shoddy photos of my daily outfits, of my everyday adventures, eats and hauls, and upload them at a random hour in the evening before bed. I’d spend a few hours chatting to fellow bloggers and seeing how they spent their days. Most of all, I remember just how thrilled I was to discover British-born Chinese fashion blogger Susie Bubble! And I loved knowing that all of us felt just a little bit outside of the ‘It Crowd’.

As the community became an industry and words became pictures, I’ve struggled to keep a hold of the parts of this world I loved most. Branding myself didn’t feel natural and so Daisybutter has always sat here as a little scrapbook of all of the iterations of me. We’ve got the Uni fresher days, the beauty blogger phase, the London intern diaries, juggling a blog alongside my first job, moving countries, intentional living… Everything is right here in one gloriously messy, authentic puddle. These days it feels as though genuine connections are, on the whole, few and far between, although I pride myself in having cultivated the most wonderful community here. And I’m starting to consider the huge impact that sharing my personal life with wild abandon has had on me. I had the luxury of hopping from platform to platform growing up, but Daisybutter has become my home of sorts.

After plenty of overthinking in the classic Michelle manner, I’m starting (almost) afresh and many of my old posts are now archived. I’ve kept all of my favourites and refreshed others that I didn’t feel I’d done justice the first time ‘round, and I feel really excited to write posts and create content here again.

I’m still hoping to share important thoughts and non-important moments here, but with a much better filter – for my own mental health. 2021 has been a journey towards stripping things back and going with my gut. I ended a long-term relationship that I’d been unhappy in for a while. I went against the grain (again) to pursue a self-built career. It’s never too late to start again. There’ll be longer think-pieces again (with a bit of luck!), a little creative writing and some of my everyday adventures too. Like I mentioned a few weeks back, self-preservation remains one of my biggest passions and I’m looking forward to continuing a version of that here. It’s never too late to start again.

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