I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just say it. I hate what Orange Juice and Toothpaste has become. Or rather, I hate what I made it—what it’s been from the beginning.
In 2012, when I first thought about starting a blog, I was honestly quite nervous. I mean, I had been out of school for two years. I was working a dead-end job. I was in an unhealthy, unsupportive relationship. I almost never read or wrote anymore—in any form. But I felt this sort of desperation: if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.
I had to start writing again. And I wanted to do it in a public manner, so I could create some sort of accountability, an obligation—to others—to write consistently. It would, I figured, be a great way to get used to the idea of publishing my writing. Maybe I would even make a few connections, get a little following. A writing job here or there. Maybe someone would see my website or my Twitter and say, “Wow, that girl is talented. Get her a freelancing position at Pretentious Magazine, and stat!” My imagination went wild with possibility.
I didn’t know where to start: who would read it, what it should be. That question itself—what kind of writing do I want to do—seems, in hindsight, laughable. That I even had to think about what my voice would sound like, I think, says it all. I was already over-thinking what other people would want, not what I wanted. Every successful website out there had some kind of unifying theme—cooking, parenting, crafting, humor. Movies, pop culture, politics.
“You need a brand,” my friend told me. She gets paid to brand websites, run their social media accounts, write SEO-rich content. I figured she knew better than I did.
But even the word “content” seems, to me, to miss the point. I’m not writing content to fill a website. At least, that’s not what I wanted to do. I write because I have to. Because there’s something in me that, if I don’t get it down, in some form or another, will rot and make me, in turn, rotten.
Though I hesitated, it still seemed like a win-win. I write content that other people (theoretically) want to read; I gain an audience in turn. I provide, you consume.
It’s not a popular blog, though. Not even marginally. I don’t post very often, and when I do, it’s out of a sense of obligation or impending doom, not because I want to. OJ and Toothpaste, to be frank, isn’t me. It’s snarky, flirting with downright mean, and try-hard-y. It’s the mean, insecure middle schooler inside me, worried about what other people are going to think about me. Except, instead of writing Good Charlotte fanfiction (seriously), I’m writing about shitty movies I couldn’t care less about or bumper stickers that, in reality, I hardly notice.
It was never supposed to be about getting a certain amount of followers or writing about a certain sector of pop culture or society or whatever. I don’t know why I painted myself into a corner, but I’m not doing it anymore.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I’m done trying to brand myself, trying to give myself a certain voice. I don’t know where this is going—if it’s even going anywhere—but I’m not Snarky Lisa or Funny Lisa or Let’s Talk About the Issues Lisa. I’m just Lisa. And this is the new Orange Juice and Toothpaste.