Updated: Mar 30, 2022
Before I offer you a tour and roll out a fancy toast to my shimmering new beginning, I'm going to rewind a bit in order to explain how I arrived here.
About a decade ago, years before I'd ever interviewed a celebrated figure or expert, or had a byline in a top women's magazine, I launched a beauty, wellness and lifestyle blog entitled The Daily Doll.
This humble venture came a few years after earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism, and I saw it as a playground of experimentation in terms of the direction I wanted to take in the world of media and content creation.
Almost immediately, it became my happiest place on earth.
To my delight (and surprise), others fell in love with it, too. It attracted impressive clicks and shares, and killer traction on Pinterest. And, in a matter of a couple years, I'd grown a faithful list of subscribers who appreciated the cheeky, newsy narratives, the confessional and introspective essays, the snarky, no-nonsense column, “I’m Just Being Honest” and the quirky product reviews.
It wasn't an internationally viral corner of the internet by any means, but it was successful enough for me to know I was onto something. Readers often responded to my weekly newsletters, gushing with sentiments like, “I’m kind of addicted to The Daily Doll” and “You have no idea how much I look forward to your articles each week” and “I need my Daily Doll like I need my morning coffee.”
And, interestingly, to this day, I continue to spot quotes on Instagram, plucked from some of my old The Daily Doll articles (oftentimes without credit, but such is the nature of our oversaturated digital world, yes?).
. Anyway. During that era, I began blogging for The Huffington Post (this was a time when being a contributor was still exclusive), followed shortly by essays published in small magazines like Skirt!, and then landing a contract with Hearst where I crafted essays for brands like Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day and Marie Claire.
In the years that followed, as I continued to refine my craft, I became a beauty editor for Mirabella magazine and Editor-in-Chief of The Connect, an inspired living magazine. I championed cover stories and features with celebrated entities like Betsey Johnson, Deepak Chopra, Daymond John and The Smithsonian.
Truth be told, professionally, I'd found myself soaring amongst altitudes that had once seemed far-fetched and elusive.
As it happens, I decided that, in terms of my personal brand, I didn’t want to be a blogger anymore. I wanted to be taken seriously as a journalist and an editor who sparked interesting, meaningful and evidence-backed conversations.
So I bid farewell to The Daily Doll and dreamt up a colorful, gutsy media source that I named The Wonder Report.
It would be my impassioned side hustle that would compliment my career as a media professional. And it would be a space of enlightenment, edutainment and self-love–where I could also give other talented writers the opportunity to stretch out and discover their voices.
I conceptualized the whole thing—from the sunny color palettes to the retro-glam fonts to the spunky brand language. “We celebrate women with curious hearts, free spirits and big, beautiful brains,” I declared.
I was shimmying with pride and madly in love with it. It was my radiant, brand-spanking-new brain baby that would speak to the nuances of empowerment, feminism, popular culture and personal expression. And I’d make sure it was punctuated with style. It would be engaging and sprightly and solution-oriented; never rant-oriented. I just knew it was "it."
Except it would go down in history as one of my most colossal, disheartening and embarrassing failures to date.
Instead of clicks and shares and pins and exuberant newsletter responses, I got crickets and disinterest and unsubscribes. Even my closest, most supportive girlfriends stopped reading after a while.
Seriously, nobody cared. Like, nobody. WTF. You know?
It baffled me. I was more focused than ever...and, as a whole, more successful than ever.
I was regularly getting love letters in response to so many other aspects of my work. My magazine articles were being featured on top social channels, and syndicated by AppleNews and Yahoo!. I'd had an O, the Oprah Magazine (now Oprah Daily) story selected for the front page of Oprah.com.
I'd successfully championed a controversial and weighty story for Marie Claire on Breast Implant Illness, interviewing Harvard Fellowship-trained epidemiologists and surgeons, 40+ potential feature subjects, a representative from the FDA and a former member of Congress. I’d been a featured guest on a variety of top Forbes podcasts–with stunning feedback most of the time.
I thought, “For the love of God, Why is The Wonder Report getting snubbed? Why doesn’t anyone care about my darling little offspring??”
I was scratching my head as to why it felt like I was standing over a gorgeous body of work that had absolutely no pulse. I just couldn’t make The Wonder Report cool or magnetic or relevant as far as the world was concerned, no matter how hard I tried to resuscitate it.
I couldn’t convince people to connect with it the same way they connected with so many other aspects of my work as a magazine writer and a journalist.
No matter how hard I tried to breathe life back into it, it was sinking further into its deathbed. And I was bitterly disappointed.
Until I started remembering.
You want to know something I've learned, again and again? If you’re going to make things, you’re going to fail at some of those things–at least in the public eye. That’s the risk you take when you decide to show all the way up and be a participant in this world. That's the risk you take when you decide to be who you are.
And it's a risk that's so worth taking, I promise you.
Failures don’t define you. Not ever. But, if you're willing to pay attention, you’ll allow them to refine, redirect and guide you.
Success lies in sorting through the failures. And you’ll continue to fail at the things you refuse to examine and change.
Sometimes, failures are guardian angels.
Through my disheartenment, I had an epiphany: the magic that had been missing from The Wonder Report was my own.
It didn’t have my pulse. It lacked my breath and soul and heart and mojo and vulnerability. I was trying so hard not to know it, but I didn’t love it any more than it loved me. I’d been reborn since its inception. My creative and entrepreneurial juices were flowing wildly in other directions.
I’d undergone a mental, physical and spiritual metamorphosis since I’d created it–beyond the professional accolades. After four crushing years of infertility, and after what felt like a lifetime of indescribable longing, I’d become miraculously pregnant.
My body had served as a holy vessel between the supernatural and natural worlds, and I'd become a mother to the only thing I'd ached for most in this life: my delicious, magical godsend of a daughter.
I’d juggled breastfeeding and meeting tight deadlines from my bathrobe and fuzzy slippers in the midst of a global pandemic. And, during that pandemic, as if the loneliness of social distancing hadn't been enough of a recalibration, I’d been full-body run over by a speeding car in a mall parking lot, experiencing a bloody, life-altering, traumatic brush with death.
I couldn't un-know what I'd come to know: I wasn't the same woman who'd dreamt up The Wonder Report. Not at all. She was still inside of me, and I knew she was proud of me, but I’d been stretching out far and wide in realms she’d never seen, with a much different vantage point.
The Wonder Report, no matter how hard I’ve tried to make it work, and no matter how much creative stimulation and joy it had brought me in the stage of its development, kind of felt like hanging out in my little sister’s bedroom. It had helped raise me to new creative and intellectual heights, but that was part of the problem: I was raised. Which meant I needed to take my training wheels off.
Here’s the point: So often we keep ourselves hostages to relationships or careers or beliefs or projects that are expired. They no longer fit into who we’ve become or who we want to be.
And, yet! We keep on investing because we've invested so furiously much for so long. We keep trying to force ourselves into tiny straws. We keep clinging and praying and trying because we think surrendering and reimagining means we're a quitter, or that all of the time we spent was a waste.
But, you know what? It doesn't necessarily meant that.
Just because you’ve invested thousands of precious hours into a love story or a project or an idea doesn’t mean it deserves one more of them. Maybe it does. But maybe it doesn’t…
I share all of this for any and every ambitious and creative spirit who might be languishing under a veil of what feels like professional rock-bottom.
If so, know this: Some things you create or toss out into the world might fail to resonate with your desired audience. And, hey, it's okay! The world doesn’t owe you the reaction you think you want. No one, no matter how clever or suave or genetically blessed, bats 1,000 every time. The people you admire most have taken nose-dives to their egos and bank accounts, too. And, when that happens, know that the undesirable outcome doesn’t define you or your skills and your talents as a collective.
But, then, if you’re like me, sometimes you might also consider that something isn’t working because you’re unknowingly shrinking yourself within it. Maybe it’s not getting the best of you. Maybe it’s missing your breath and magic and pulse–the truth and fullness of your big, beautiful evolution.
As a result, you might be keeping yourself a hostage to a completed purpose. Maybe it's time to accept that you're raised. And, in such case, maybe you just need to take your training wheels off.
All of that reflection is ultimately to say, LaceyJohnson.com is officially the reigning kingdom for all of my work as a mental health and empowerment-focused author, content creator and journalist.
It’s a one-stop shop where you can access my latest magazine articles on topics like identifying toxic behaviors and setting healthy boundaries in relationships, collaborating with grief, reconceptualizing trauma, and educating yourself on complex women-focused issues.
I'll keep you in the loop on all new podcast and video appearances, and announce any speaking engagements I've got on the calendar. It's where you can purchase my books and courses, as soon as I create and release them.
And, alas, there’ll be a blog section in support of it all–including cozy, soulful story times, book and product reviews, and juicy, behind-the-scenes tidbits of some of my most high-profile interviews with experts and public figures.
I'll always be honest about not only my triumphs, but my failures as well–including the frustrating delays, rejections and lopsided obstacles in between. I'll show you why, no matter the plot twists life tosses me, I'm going to create beauty and providence on the other side of whatever might come.
Oh, and, in response to a few long-time readers' requests, the “I’m just being honest” advice columns might be making a cheeky comeback as well.
So, welcome, kindred spirit!
Please make yourself at home in my sparkling, new haven. Whether you found me during my blogging days many years ago, or stumbled upon one of my magazines articles or podcast appearances, it's an honor to be graced with your presence–one I'll never take lightly. Life is a complex journey and we need each other for the highs, lows and unremarkable moments in between.
I’m raising my virtual glass in your direction, grateful to get the opportunity to do life with you, and buzzing with excitement for all that's to come.
I hope you'll ring my doorbell often. The lights are always on here.
With so much celebration, giddiness and love,
©2022, Lacey Johnson, LJ Media, LLC
**No portion of this content is to be used without credit to its owner, and a link back to laceyjohnson.com.