I wrote this piece about a month ago, that I later decided I wouldn’t post. This is what I’m like: writing is my therapy. I go through phases of emotions and big life questioning that I’ll get over and may or may not revisit. I call it ‘life lethargy’. Depression and anxiety does this to me, but it doesn’t mean the feelings I’ve had at any moment in time are invalid. So I’m sharing it.
When I first started this blog at the beginning of 2011, I didn’t have any forecasting plan. I was merely a striving small time model just sharing my very regular life spent at home, planning for photo-shoots and living a day at a time. Back then tags and hashtags meant nothing to me. I blogged because I loved writing and there was no expectation of myself by myself or by other people. I was just me.
Turning my hand to reviewing lingerie happened quickly, and I was swept up in the blogging sensation. PRs pricked their ears and took notice of me and I lived for the thrill of exciting lingerie deliveries, press releases and special invite-only events. Being a blogger became addictive. I now had an audience watching, a readership to satisfy, and ultimately a game to upgrade.
I love writing; sharing my feelings and opinions comes naturally to me and it’s the simplest reason I continue to blog. I get a kick out of hitting the ‘publish’ button. Hours of labour spent writing, editing, proofing to perfection, with photos I’ve painstakingly taken in the best hours of natural daylight I could grab. A sense of satisfaction in sharing my latest creation, tying up another neat work of art ready to be unwrapped before the cycle begins again.
But now, blogging in general feels less about writing talent and more a numbers game, and I feel swamped; beaten in a race I’ve lost before I’ve begun. I clock the followers totting up, agitated when they unfollow, agitated when there aren’t enough. Get to 1K, get to 2K. I’ll feel accomplished when it’s 3K. Then I notice a brand share another blogger’s account who has 200K and I’m all of a sudden the useless human being who lost the relay race for the team.
I love blogging and I value each person who reads and appreciates what I write. I love the opportunities it gives me, what it challenges me, but not the disappointments. Sometimes I feel like I’ve not only lost my voice but confused my identity. Who do I blog for anymore? Who am I pleasing? Am I reaping more than I’m sowing?
The problem with blogging is that when professionalism compromises passion you risk forgetting who you are and what you genuinely want to achieve. It was never supposed to be about celebrity but somehow follower harvesting has become the latest addiction with many bloggers achieving that status and I am guilty of the same attitude. The genuine need for followers. I’ve never been part of the popular crowd, I’ve never had hoards of friends, so why it is unlike me, and disappointing, to find I’m still the same person who just not everybody gets on with?
If I stand back and look at myself from the outside, I’m unsure if I’ve exhausted my capacity. I just don’t know if I can better what I am. I don’t think I have anything new or big or special to offer what another blogger isn’t doing already. I am not a massive, well known blogger and this means I’m a failure. I can not compete.
Drawing followers, seeking approval and pleasing every brand I like or encounter, and feeling intellectually offended when feelings aren’t mutual. Is that why I started blogging? Is what I do do incentive enough to continue blogging? I don’t know if I’m missing the point or whether I’ve lost the way completely.
I love writing and this whole blogging thing. It’s the only piece of my life I’ve been able to depend on, it gives me reason to exist, be personally creative, belong. But put a label on me and stick me on the blogger shelf and I’m just small fry.
I went to a conference over the weekend and it made me realise something: the nature of social media conflicts with what’s good for us. The popularity game makes everyone the failure. A number of friends, followers, shares, unique visitors in their hundreds, thousands or millions – they are never high enough, never good enough. If you measure yourself up against the world you will always find someone better. This is the point where serious, competitive blogging loses me, and it begins to feel, like an addiction, it has control of me. If a post hasn’t been read enough, or a photo not liked enough, I’m a failure.
I don’t want to be a statistic or defined by a number.
This year I’ve had to face many changes, personally. Life has led me down paths only to pull the rug out from beneath my feet. It’s safe to say what I’m experiencing, living through and facing is affecting where I feel I’m leading to, and how my future looks set to form. I’ve been baptised, lost a baby and now face my Dad’s terminal illness. Focus and energy suddenly feels a different perspective and I don’t know where my loyalties and priorities lie anymore.
The problem is, I know I’m a perfectionist and I like control, which adopts a sense of fight or flight, and an all or nothing attitude. ‘No-one likes me so I may as well give up.’ Basically, I think I’m suffering from inferiority-popularity complex. (I made it up but it sounds legit.)
Yes, I do love writing, but I’m not prepared to jeopardise or trade who I am and what I do for fakery and trend led popularity. I just wonder whether I’m alone with this..?