It's been a long time. In fact, that could perhaps be a glaring understatement. Months have past, stories worth telling have come and gone and still this blog has remained devastatingly stagnant. It is not something I'm proud of, but more something that seems best.
Before I get ahead of myself, I'll start by saying that since its inception this blog has been a labor of love. Sharing my writing was not so much for all of you as it was for me. While it's nice to have a following, my goal began and continued to be a personal one at its core. I wrote not for the result, but rather for the act itself; writing was therapeutic, enjoyable and relaxing all at the same time. I wrote because I simply wanted to write and took joy from doing so.
Of course over time, my writing captured readers. And when that happened I couldn't keep the writing for myself anymore. I catered to my audience and I found continued enjoyment in doing so. But with that I drew even more eyes. Eventually, this even reached Hooters of America.
At some point, someone in Atlanta found my blog. They read what I had to say. They agreed. They shared with their coworkers. And that - as many of you know - lead to an amazing opportunity to write for Hooters Magazine which I appreciated greatly.
That one opportunity grew into many more. Not only was I writing here, but for a real publication. I was invited to special events and even thought I'd found a permanent position with the company. But times change. Hooters was sold and just a year after I started contributing to the magazine my world came crashing down. I lost the magazine, I lost what I'd hoped would be my career and I nearly lost this blog.
That last part I owe to you. Your reaction, sent to Hooters in emails and phone calls, saved this blog. I felt appreciated in a way I never had before. Yet, it never really was the same. I censored myself more and writing became less enjoyable because I felt stifled. I felt less creative. I didn't feel like writing because it wasn't just me anymore. Hooters was watching.
But then, I always knew Hooters was watching. I'd, as a woman with a marketing degree, always been very conscious of what I should and shouldn't say. I never wrote anything that I would consider defamatory or shared proprietary information. As many of you know, my purpose was only to show the human side of a Hooters Girl and in doing so show that Hooters was and is so much more than its sometimes popular image. Of course new management never really seemed to get it. That's why they tried to shut me down in the first place.
And that is what leads me to this. Hooters is experiencing a multitude of changes as a company. Now for the record, most of what I have seen thus far I agree with - it was time for an update. But while so many of the changes are good, they are also changes that make me realize this blog may be viewed poorly by the corporate office. That has brought me here. To the end of this blog. In the end I love my job far too much to jeopardize it with a bit of satyrical internet humor.
Sharing this with you in such a concrete way is extremely painful for me. It was a decision not easily made, which was precisely why it took me so long to write this. Ending this blog is like a breakup I don't want to be a part of. Sometimes even seemingly good relationships have to end.
Don't worry, I'll keep writing. I'm just not sure when or where it will show up. Maybe I'll start a new blog or maybe I'll revisit this one in a new direction. For now I just need to take some time to truly close this chapter and accept that this is not an opportunity lost, but rather simply one part of my journey. It's been a pleasure being on this ride with you. Thanks for being there.