My name is Haley Sherif. I’m 25 and I live in Boston with my wife-to-be and sweet pup. I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years which feels sort of crazy and impossible, and at the same time just feels plain amazing.
My first blogging experience was writing for Eco-Chick, where I wrote about sustainable fashion. Following that, I started my own fashion blog called, The Fashion Dish. Since then, I’ve had two additional style blogs as well as a few lifestyle ones. I’ve been trying to find my niche ever since I figured out I don’t quite fit in anyone’s boxes. I tried really hard to fit in, but I always felt like I was somehow lagging behind or cheating. I went through a period where I lost my sense of self. I didn’t feel like anything I was producing felt genuine to me, I felt stuck, like I was trying to wedge myself into a carbon copy of every other blogger– particularly, style bloggers– I saw out there. The problem was until I came up with a better solution, I couldn’t wear the same clothes they did or afford the handbags they bought on what seemed like a weekly basis. I was also– well I am– gay, and that felt somehow wrong because I didn’t see someone else like me. I mean, I’m sure there are gay fashion bloggers out there (and if you see this, please reach out and say hi), but not in my immediate network and not in my real life. Again, I felt like a round peg in a square hole: lost, too big, and very unsure of myself.
Life has afforded me some pretty spectacular moments to be in awe of it all recently. My faith has been strengthened simply because I’ve started to see life’s plan work out right in front of my eyes and it truly feels like a miracle. I signed up for two online courses simultaneously last month, one of which was Style School, taught by Stasia Savasuk. Let me tell you, it is life changing. I felt something click in the first seven days– I went to log-on to check-in with other women and see how their style was coming along, and my heart would start to race, and I’d get a little teary-eyed. Was this what it feels like to find your calling?
Obviously, there is so much more work and expansion to come, but Not Your Normal Fashion Blog was born of a place of not fitting in and doing the ___________ (you fill in this blank) anyway. For me, it was knowing I could still looking amazing, unstoppable, and confident in clothes I picked out for my body, regardless of if anyone else would wear them. I’ve spent too many years trying to fill other people’s shoes, only to discover barefoot was the way to go all along. I mean, in all reality, I wear clogs EVERYWHERE, even though they drive my lady bananas.
What I’m starting to discover is this: I was never doing anything wrong. In fact, there is nothing wrong with me. I just needed to step away from all the noise and discover the person I was when I stopped caring what other people thought, and took myself out of viewpoint of what other people bought. I know people work really hard in the fashion industry to build their own brands and I truly applaud any woman who takes that on (I’m definitely not trying to tear anyone down, I love following the ladies I do on social media), I’m just trying to create my own niche in the fashion world, a place that I can show up honestly, without judgement (self-inflicted or otherwise), and rock my beautiful, bold, queer body.