I’m Alex Tomlinson, a blogger and interior designer based out of Charleston, South Carolina. After studying both Architecture and Interior Design while battling a severe chronic migraine diagnosis, I made the decision to leave the job of my dreams and postpone my education to focus purely on my health and developing a life worth living, despite any diagnosis or circumstance that may come my way.
I strive to be a voice for people lacking representation, while helping to educate the masses on the reality of chronic illnesses and the tremendous barriers we face living in a society built upon our exclusion. My passion for design hasn’t been lost throughout this journey, but it has shifted to have new meaning. I hope to one day work to reimagine the requirements for disability access and ADA guidelines, while also share new ways of viewing design as a tool of intention and mindfulness.
Why Did You Start Blogging?
I’ve been blogging on and off since I was in high school. My current blog – My Life. My Migraine. – started in early 2018 and became a sort of oasis for me.
At the time, my health was declining rapidly, and I lacked the support and understanding from people in my life. Having lived across the Midwest and the South-East, I had friends and family spread across half of the country and desperately needed a way to communicate in a more effective way than a Facebook status update.
There was this huge turning point for me when I realized that every update I shared about having to miss another day of classes or having my medication not kick in only brought in people offering solutions and expecting me to drop my whole life to explore them. In hindsight, many people were coming from a good place, but they were often angry at me for not having the money or time to seek out alternative care.
One of my closest friends actually suggested that I take up writing – we were in an English class together and she helped me to understand that I truly had a gift for story telling and sharing experience through my words. Out of this, my blog was born. It was truly a space where I didn’t feel like I was searching for pity, but more a space where I could be open about what I was going through and what I needed.
Tell Us About Your Niche & Your Blog
Over the last year and half the blog has really shifted in focus. The title: My Life. Migraine. has really taken on some new meanings and helped guide me through life.
The first few months were rocky. I was angry at the world and angry with myself and although some incredibly educational pieces came out of this first chapter, I really only look back on this time to see how much I’ve grown.
That first chapter really had an emphasis on the “my migraine” part of the title, and in December of 2018 I considered abandoning the entire blog. I’d moved home at the end of summer to live with my parents and apply for disability, and as that process dragged on I truly felt like migraine had taken over my life. It wasn’t until I went on a really bad date that I realized how consumed everything was by my condition, which pushed me to reinvent the entire blog and start chapter 2.
This new chapter was truly a closing of one door and opening of another. I wanted the world to know and understand how migraine impacted my life, but I wanted them to know about all the other wonderful aspects of my life – my love for sunsets and old vinyl records.
With this new chapter, I fell easily into the niche I am in now. I feel like I occupy a space full of people on their own health journeys, either suffering from chronic illnesses or mental health struggles, or people who are striving to support other’s journeys.
The educational and encouragement portion of my blog really took off, and in the process of learning to educate others through my own story I’ve been constantly learning as well.
This Spring has been a giant healing journey for me as I learn new ways to minimize my pain and symptoms and foster all corners of my life from relationships, to emotions, and spirituality while allowing myself to be unapologetically me. As a result, I’ve started in on Chapter 3 of this blog. This chapter is about healing, growing, and really building a space for myself and others to come together and uplift one another.
What's Your Favorite Thing About Blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is that it serves as a release. I can always turn to writing and just get all of my emotions out. I’ve created an incredible space for myself by capturing both my life and my migraine in a shared space.
I have an educational aspect intertwined with my own journey, but also have spaces to showcase what I’m passionate about: painting and interior design. Having all of this in one space allows me to really be myself, while also allowing other people into my life on a level where they can truly know the person behind the words.
What Would You Say To Someone Interested In Blogging Or Just Starting Out?
I’ve encountered a few people who want to start their own blogs or get back into blogging and my biggest piece of advice would be to write about something you love or that holds tremendous meaning in your life. You need to have a certain level of passion towards your content otherwise as challenges come up or you’re met with harsh criticism you’ll quickly abandon it or conform into what other people want to see.
We don’t create a blog for other people, we create a blog to allow ourselves to take up space and be heard. And yes, there’s a huge percentage of bloggers who focus on money and clicks, but if you start out with goals revolving around how many people are clicking on your content each day you’re going to be extremely disappointed. You have to blog for you, that way when you see all the countries you’ve reached and have incredibly personal connections with your readers it becomes invaluable. And that isn’t to say there’s something wrong with monetization or click based goals, it just can’t serve as your driving inspiration.
What Is The Most Challenging Thing About Being A Blogger In Your Opinion?
A lot of the advice I have to offer comes from my own experience and challenges. It’s hard when one day you’ve got thousands of people reading something you wrote, and your next post only gets 20 hits. Take the time to enjoy the process. Spend time creating and researching platforms, find some friends who can offer feedback, and don’t be afraid to try something new or change directions. When you’re coming from a genuine place, people don’t stick around because you’re talking specifically about a subject, they stick around because they feel connected to you.
What Do You Do When You Aren't Blogging?
I only blog on a part time basis and I don’t really stick to a schedule when it comes to posting. My primary focus is currently on a lifestyle program that I embarked on in May that runs through August that really is working to shift my perspective on health and healing, so a lot of my time is dedicated to learning, trying new things, and exploring areas of life that interest me.
Being disabled is as much of a full-time job as healing is, and I’m really taking my time to be intentional with life and my decisions so that I can find real fulfilment without compromising my health like I did for years.
I’m currently working on a few projects. I’ve got a collaborative educational coloring book that is in the works with a close friend of mine, along with two other books that I’m writing. I’m in the early process of trialing out some various business ventures. Right now that’s all in a very educational, take it all in space as health wise I’m not ready to fully commit but learning about my options is something I know will benefit me when I am ready.
Who Is A Female Who Inspires You?
My all time favorite blogger is Virginia, founder of the LiveLoveDIY blog. She inspired me to really embrace my passion for interior design and provided a foundation for looking at life through a creative problem solving lens. Virginia has taken a step back from blogging since having her daughter, but she’s still active on various social media platforms and following along with her journey of being a mom and a wife is really inspiring.
To me, she represents a strong women who has taken something she loved and made something incredible out of it and when life through her in other directions she embraced it and continues to inspire people. I think what really drew me to her is that she is raw and honest about her life and about projects that go astray. Sure, she creates Pinterest perfect spaces and furniture, but she doesn’t shy away from sharing the setbacks and hard times.
Anything Else You Want To Add?
If there’s anything left to add, I’d say it’s to always remember you are in charge of your life and you are an unstoppable force. There is no one right way to go about life, one spiritual practice that will make you whole, or one story that you can tell. We are constantly evolving, and we don’t have to write the ending of our story, it’ll write itself. Remember to spread more love and encouragement than you receive and always remember the abundance of life that is around us that can inspire us each and every day.
Want To Stay Up To Date With Alex?
If you’re looking to learn more about me and read some of the highlights of my story, you can find my blog at mylifemymigraine.com and look for the Featured Stories tab.
Information specifically for people looking to learn about migraines can be found under my Migraine Resources tab.
I’m also present on a few social media platforms.
My Instagram is @mylifemymigraine
My Twitter is @cornfairyalex.
You can also find me on Patreon as “My Life My Migraine” where I offer exclusive vlog content.
If you’re present on The Mighty, you can find my author page at @alextomlinson.
A huge thank you to Minnie for giving me the opportunity to share my story and be apart of this wonderful community she is building. I cannot wait to watch this community grow and connect with more inspiring and talented women.
Links to mentioned accounts:
Mighty Author Page: https://themighty.com/u/alextomlinson/
Virginia’s blog - Live Love DIY: www.livelovediy.com