Friday, 16 November 2018

5 Stupid Things I've Done To "Fit In" To The Influencer Community That I Now Regret

I've been doing this "Influencer" thing for almost 6 years now. Back when it had the much less cliche title of just "blogging".

And I'll be totally honest, I've spent the vast majority of my time in this online world feeling like an outsider.

Whether it's my content not being slick and stylish enough, my photos not being as glam as everyone elses, not being able to rock the trendy outfits, or just standing at events never feeling part of any clique...I've always felt that, for whatever reason, I just didn't quite fit.

I'm no stranger to that feeling, it's one I've felt during most phases of my school, work, in Mum & baby groups...for some reason I always feel that sense of being on the outside looking in.  I always feel that, for some reason, I just don't really belong.

I've made my peace with being, or at least feeling, a bit different over the years. I've come to expect it now and I'm ok with it.

But I feel that this is something that comes with age, and it's only really since I turned 35 that I finally feel as though I've stopped giving quite so much of a shit about what other people think about me.

Before then, I gave ALL OF THE SHITS.

I carried the emotional baggage of not fitting in at school around with me like a tonne weight around my neck, and the memories made me desperate to fit in, to be liked, to just be accepted.

And as a result of that desperation, I did certain things to try and force it.

At the time I don't think I even realised that I was doing these things purely to try and be like other people, or to make people like me - I honestly feel that I got so lost in it all that I genuinely lost the ability to make my own decisions. I lost sight of what was real, and started to find it impossible to differentiate between my own likes and dislikes....and what was "on trend".

It's only now that I look back on the last few years, that I've realised just how lost in this world I became.

Here are just 5 of the many things I did to try and "fit in"...

*Stupid Thing #1 - Bought Things I Didn't Like

Namely, I bought a Selfish Mother sweater...

It seemed at one point like every blogger in the world owned Selfish Mother sweaters in every colour under the sun, and I swear that I actually started to panic about the fact that I didn't have one.

I asked Jon to get one for me for my birthday, and I was so upset when he didn't that I ordered one for myself that evening.

The sweaters cost around the £50 mark, which was WAY more than I have ever spent on any singular item of clothing in my life. I am someone who shops at Primark and New Look.

To me, spending anything over £25 on a top is pushing the boat out. I've never been interested in brand names or labels in the slightest, and honestly? I absolutely could NOT afford to spend that £50.

And the most ridiculous part is...I didn't even like the sweaters.

I'm not a sweater sort of person, before I started blogging I'd never even owned one, and there was nothing about these that made them appeal to me any more than any other bog standard sweater.

But everyone else seemed to have one.

And I started to convince myself that the reason my submissions to the Selfish Mother blog were never replied to was because I wasn't in that Cool, Edgy Mum Blogger clique....and...aha!...that MUST be because I didn't have a sweater.

Ridiculous, I know. I realise this now. But at the time, it seemed plausible.

When the sweater arrived, it was a really bad fit. Because lets face it, they're not made for fat working class women, are they?! They're made for yummy mummies to wear at Waitrose.

So I sent it back...but not before taking a load of photos of myself wearing it for Instagram!

Unfortunately this wasn't the only occasion I did this, the same thing also happened with other pricey items including Pink Lining Changing Bags & a Canon g7X Vlogging camera.

Stupid Thing #2 - I Let Myself Be Used

You know when you're a teenager and you have a boyfriend, and you KNOW that he's actually a bit of a dick who's just using you and is absolutely going to dump you as soon as it suits him?

Well...imagine that instead of a teenager, you're a 30 year old woman trying to make her blog into a business. And instead of a boyfriend, it's a business owner trying to make as much money out of bloggers as possible by being well paid for organising brand campaigns in which the bloggers do all of the work but only receive a tiny percentage of the pay.

Now imagine that business owner also see's fit to talk to you like crap, belittle you, expects you to work when you're in a hospital bed or be punished for not being able to, and then expects you to still jump every time they dangle a carrot.

Yep...I allowed that to happen for a good 4 years, because I thought that if I dared to stand up for myself and say "Actually I want out" then I wouldn't get any work ever again.

Thankfully I eventually saw the light....and have never looked back. 

Stupid Thing #3 - Let People Treat Me Like Shit

In a similar vein to above, there have been a fair few occasions when I've let other people walk all over me.

The one that really sticks out in my mind was the time I was standing at a coffee station during a Blogging event, along with a friend of mine.

Another blogger appeared next to us - someone who I knew casually online but hadn't met in person -  she looked at my friend and greeted her warmly, all smiles and hugs. She didn't say anything to me, so I smiled at her and said a friendly hello.

She turned to me, slowly looked me up and down, turned on her heel and walked off without acknowledging me at all.

Now you might think perhaps she just didn't know who I was, but I am 100% sure that she did - and I then went on to watch her and her friends do the same thing to numerous other people who approached them to say Hello that day.

It was quite sickening to watch.

However, at no point did I ever stand up for myself or the other people that they treated that way.

Because this woman and her friends all had large followings online, and for some ridiculous reason - I worried that if I called them out on their behaviour, they'd turn it around somehow and make me look like the bad guy. I thought that nobody would ever believe that they would behave in such a way.

So I never said a thing about it.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no intention of naming and's not my style.

But I DO wish I'd called them out on their behaviour at the time.

Stupid Thing #4 - I Almost Did Myself Out Of A Friendship Because I Thought I Wasn't Worthy Of It.

This one was actually one of the most recent and most embarrassing of all.

After the experiences I mentioned above, I started to genuinely believe that I wasn't "good enough" for certain people in blogger circles.

I saw imagined hierarchies that don't really exist, and told myself that the reason I had been treated the way I was by those women was because I had no right to be in their company.

I believed that I needed to "stay in my lane" mix only with people who had similar follower numbers to me, who weren't dramatically cooler or more glamorous than me, and who weren't of a higher social class than me.

I genuinely believed for a long time that the fact that I was an overweight, average-looking, working class woman with a Northern accent and no university education meant that I simply should not attempt to mix with anybody who was one of the "Beautiful" crowd, the Stylish Insta mums, or who was well educated and middle class.

So, when a blogger living locally to me - who I considered to be all of those things - reached out to me on social media and asked me to meet up, I panicked.

And I actually said to Jon "I can't meet up with her, I'm not good enough".

And by that I meant not well spoken enough, not well educated enough, not Insta-cool enough - all things that I realise are completely ridiculous for a grown woman to think, but I did think them.

Infact I believed them to be 100% true.

As it happened, when I did meet her...she was lovely, and I didn't feel at all out of place.

Infact, this was around the time that I started to realise how much my desire to fit in to the blogging world had damaged me....

Stupid Thing #5 -  I Measured My Worth In Likes, Followers & Comments

 This is the one I've struggled with most, and it's the one thing I see so many other bloggers doing too.

There comes a point when you do something like blogging where there is always so much focus on your engagement and the number of followers you have, that you start to measure your own self worth in these things.

If a picture tanks on Instagram, if a blog post doesn't get many hits, if you don't get many views on a YouTube video - you start to tell yourself it's because you're not good enough, it's because nobody likes you, it's because - for whatever reason - YOU are not enough.

And it is incredibly hard to pull yourself out of that mind set once it starts.

I can't even tell you how many times I've cried over tanking YouTube videos as I compared my stats to my peers, or how often I've made plans to completely re-design my house to try and fit in more with how other bloggers homes look in the hopes that it will be the key to my success as a blogger.

It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to mould yourself into something else, to become a carbon copy of those out there who are already doing well with their blogs in order to succeed...and it's SO HARD not to tell yourself that you're a failure if your numbers don't compare.

But trust me when I say that it's a very slippery slope and it's so very easy to lose all of your self worth and your sense of self once you start walking that path.

Blogging can be such a fun and rewarding hobby, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities it's given to me...but its so important that when you feel that you're losing yourself, you know when to pull back.

When to switch the laptop off, turn off the notifications on your phone and come back to reality for a while...until you start to remember that you're a whole person who has value and worth beyond Instagram followers and YouTube views.

Until you start to remember that these things are never a true measure of success, when they can so easily be manipulated.

Until you remember that fitting in is incredibly over rated...why fit in, when you can stand out!?

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