Truthfully, I started this blog out of fear. I didn’t tell anyone that it was happening, besides my husband, who helped and still helps with pretty much everything that I do. The first people heard about it was when it launched, on July 6th, 2018. Before I launched, I was scared and embarrassed. I felt as though I was being judged for what I was doing, even though no one knew what was going on. How could I possibly be judged for something that they knew nothing about? What would people say? What would they think? I’m not worthy enough for this. I’m supposed to be starting and focusing in on a “normal” career. I’m almost 24, I’ve been married 2 ½ years, shouldn’t I be more worried about getting settled and having kids. All of these things were running through my mind as I became to work on the content for what is now, “Altogether Beautiful”.

I think a part of me was waiting for everything to be perfect before it launched, another part of me was scared to launch and fail. I was afraid that people would see this goal that I was reaching for and think that it was dumb. There are so many other bloggers out there, what makes me special or qualified? People won’t always understand what we're doing or why we’re doing it, but if we’re waiting around to be understood, them we’re never going to start.

What if I never started? I think about all the ladies that have be touched by the stories of hurting women (you can read these stories on the blog under “Her Story”), all the divine appointments and conversations that I’ve had with through DM’s, all the ways that I’ve been able to give advice on beauty and fashion, and all the opportunities I’ve had to encourage and support other women. If I never started, life would have gone on, but I would have missed out on so many opportunities to love on people.

What if I was still waiting for everything to be perfect? I’d definitely be missing out because honey, it’s never going to be perfect. Most days I have no clue what I’m doing and may times I’ve wanted to give up. I’d still be waiting around from something that is near impossible to achieve, perfection. I would also be going against my mission completely of wanting to build a real and authentic community. Don’t get sucked into the unreal world that is Pinterest.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest. I’m in the process of buying a house, I’m pinning stuff on the daily, but I also have to filter what I’m seeing.

The more that I compared my starting place to my Pinterest board or someone else’s Insta feed, the more discouraged I became.

What if I launch and fail? Girl, you get back up and try again! You will fail, It’s apart of life. As a blogger, my failure may be public, but then I remember, once again, that I wanted this to be a place of authenticity. I never want to be anything but honest with you guys. Since I’ve launch, I’ve failed time and time again. I’ve missed deadlines on blog posts and I’ve been behind on getting content out with collaborations. I’ve forgotten to get back to people and respond to emails or follow through with some of you through DM’s. I’m a mess, I know, but life happens and you have to roll with it. Let what you want to achieve be so much greater than the fear in your heart.

What if there is already someone else out there doing what I want to do? I thought about this question time and time again while I was preparing content before the launch. There are so many women out there blogging, but what I learned is that I could look at everyone out there and get discouraged or I could use what is out there and learn from it. I choose to learn from it. I started to research and study other bloggers that I loved. I went through Instagram feeds and websites and began to create a pros and cons list. This is where the start of my blog began. I was able to use what was already out there to decide what I wanted my blog to look like. I was able to see where others tried and failed and learn from their mistakes.

Some days I still struggle with getting past the thought that I’m being judged for what I do. Social media can be highly looked down upon, but I firmly believe that it’s a tool God’s placed in my life that will help me reach others. I've had to learn to fight past all the insecurities and all the judgment and remember why I started this in the first place.

What are you waiting for? What if you start? What if you say screw it to all the people who are judging you? I guess you won’t know what’s on the other side of the what if-if you don’t ever start in the first place. So sister, just start!

- Samantha Richard