1 year of Matriarch
Oof. Where do I even start? Begin at the beginning I guess.
A year ago, I was fresh faced out of my first year at Exeter studying English. Before University, it’s fair to say I lived a sheltered life and I didn’t really have much of a life at all. I went to school, town at the weekends but that was it. I didn’t really have hobby’s or things I was interested in, opinions I held and even if I did, I kept them extremely close to my chest. I was a nerd who liked school and learning and was comfortable with that, I didn’t seem to yearn for much more. I didn’t really reach any further than that. I think perhaps it’s because I was so comfortable and content that I didn’t do much else. And then I went to uni.
Uni was an absolute game changer, I can honestly say I have changed drastically since school. I finally experienced the ‘big wide world’, a busy social life, meeting people who came from very different places and backgrounds and I found all my confidence. I think pre-uni I was externally confident and extremely loud but internally, I was a nervous wreck that someone might realise it was all a front. Now, at uni, I am both internally and externally confident. I finally back myself. Last summer, maybe for the first time ever, I had ideas and thoughts on things I’d learnt in my degree that were helping me shape my understanding of the world – I wanted to talk about them, even if no one wanted to listen. I wanted to discuss them but I felt like I didn’t have a platform to do that on. So in true Virgo fashion, I thought f*ck it and made my own.
On 15th July 2019, I launched Matriarch. Unlike me, it was quite quick and off the bat and really not a lot of planning went into it. I chose a theme on WordPress I liked, to be quite honest I have absolutely no recollection of where ‘Matriarch’ the name came from and I had no plan or idea of where it would go or what I wanted to do. About 6 months in, when someone pointed out that my name ‘Ria’ was in the middle of ‘Matriarch’ – it was a happy coincidence. All I knew was I had things to say. I had the WordPress blog for big thoughts and the Instagram was nothing more than a place to let people know that I was writing stuff, and that’s all she (quite literally) wrote.
And yet, here we are: 43 blog posts, 8 community posts, 136 Instagram posts and 836 Instagram followers later and I honestly could not be more proud. I had absolutely no clue of the scope of what was I was creating. I had no idea that it would lead me to finding my voice, teaching me how to use it effectively, creating educative resources, creating and nurturing this amazing community, platforming other voices, becoming an editor. And there’s lots more on the way…
I think some people don’t quite get Matriarch and that’s completely fine. Sure, on the face of it it’s a blog but what I can’t quite dictate, out loud at least, is what it really is and where it’s going. What I can be certain of though is that it is not limited in any form. One of the things I talked about so much is labels and how they limit us, so my logic is that doing this – labelling Matriarch, hypocritically limits us.
Things can change so quickly. You can wake up one day and by the evening your world has changed. And in a year, the change in my life, in who I am has done a 180 in everything from my health to my vocabulary – team we got a fringe for Christ sake! It hasn’t always been sunshine and daises – far from really. We have really gone through hell and back, every peak and trough together but you know what, I am so glad it’s been documented at least to some extent because that’s what keeps me driving forward. I have got so, so much more from Matriarch than I ever thought I would, which is why when I talk about Matriarch, it can feel quite selfish. It has completely changed the way I work on and feel through my mental health as well.
I hate the mushy stuff and I wish I could not have emotions sometimes. I don’t know what it is about this blog thing, but it gets to me. I think it’s such a particular feeling when you create something off your own back, from your own resources (and lets be honest, your soul) There’s something so satisfying and thrilling about it. Sure, we don’t have thousands of followers or views but what means so much more is that all of those 836 people are there because they really care and want to be part of this community and that, I wouldn’t trade for the world.
So to everyone and anyone who has been here watching from a distance or taking part, thank you all so much, it means more to me than I could ever describe. You are all beautiful people, so much more than you realise.
So here we are: Matriarch, the Positivity Platform that strives to create change, empower and build human connection.
All my love,