MY FRIENDS. I am really, really jazzed to have Panda Head Blog back in effect, and in a new online home at that. The last nine years of archives are accessible at pandahead.blogspot.com; I may or may not move all things relevant/recent over this way – but re: personal bandwidth, that's likely wishful thinking. So for now, let me just say hello. Or more accurately: hello again – I missed you, and I missed this space. I dropped off the Panda Head Blog radar in July, after a solid four years of d a i l y posts and a rigorous strategy of mining my whole-entire-life for content and images and things to talk about online.
Every work opportunity I've had has come from a religious commitment to Panda Head Blog. When it first launched, in 2006, I was working part-time in a coffee shop, spending a million hours a week reading street style blogs and wishing for the DC that I knew/loved/lived in to somehow be reflected online. And it was within the month of launching Panda Head as a street style blog that it was featured in the Washington Post, and shortly after that my three part-time jobs were able to live snug between freelance style-writing gigs and projects with my friends. From there? Seven years on and off in creative corporate retail, the final years of which saw a lag in all things Panda Head – from the blog to the arts magazine it had become, because personal projects had taken a backseat to the need for health insurance and a reliance on a certain amount of steady income.
Let it be known that my cursor sat BLINKING for a few minutes between this paragraph and that last one, and not just because I'm a little rusty in the area of writing about myself. The last nine months have seen A Creative DC go from funsies side project to actual, real, demanding almost-full-time-attention project, and it was in July that all of the ACDC statistics – social media followers, daily website views, work-related inquiries – surpassed all things Panda Head Blog. And when I say surpassed I mean that in the following few months they doubled, tripled, and have now almost quadrupled across the board – and I have no shame in telling you that the moment it happened, I cried. Like, actual + absolutely necessary (also: very happy) tears came out, because the one million tons of pressure I'd unknowingly been carrying around – to constantly be creating Panda Head content - was gone.
AND THEN? And then I peaced out. On insurance and steadiness and most definitely on income – my husband and I made the decision that I was WAYYYYY better at all the things I'd put my time into on the side than I actually was at the job that paid me. And so I saved up money, abandoned my visual merchandiser posish (salaried and 60ish hours a week), and stayed on doing markdowns, meaning that I woke up at 5AM every Tuesday to go in and put orange stickers on the stuff that was on sale. I also got a job checking IDs at a bar, and I did admin work for a family friend's photography business. It all required zero thought, demanded zero ego, and put me in the position where I was able to spend every fucking second that was mine on Panda Head Blog. I got REALLY good at creating content. I push-push-pushed on the distribution and promotion end, and like magic (very hard-earned magic, but still, it felt as such) people started hiring me to do the same for them. And then freelancer-fear (based, I think, on rightful logic) became an all-prevalent thing: A led to B, and B is great, and because of B we can afford to go out to dinner again, so therefore I must never, ever stop doing A.
Where once a 24 hour gap in blog-posting led to intense guilt and those freelancer-shakes, after A Creative DC took off I had immense chill. Because for the first time in my career I was focusing on a personal project that was bigger than just me. I could (and can!) officially hide behind a "we" and an "us" (huge s/o to Cortney and Ayana and our amazing team of interns). I now spend ALL DAY LONG talking about the project, and while talking about myself and my background is an inevitable part of that, the fact that my blog was sitting dead for a couple of months never once crossed my mind as problematic. It still doesn't. But what I did have the opportunity to realize, once I'd stepped away from being PANDA HEAD MORGAN all the time, was that I actually really like being Panda Head Morgan. I like documenting my life; I like showing what MY creative lifestyle looks like in DC, even as I've moved on to showing perspective that's provided by the rest of the city's emerging + established creative contributors. I like having a place online that's 100% mine and for me but maybe also for you, too, should you want to come and partake. And while there's still some domain-sorting to do, this is that new-new and also the old-old. PandaHeadMorgan.com is a new roof for my blog and portfolio and project 411 at large, with the same vibes you've come to know and if not love, then at least endure. Welcome back. To both of us. More soon.