It’s not uncommon in blogging (or life for that matter) that once you’ve built up a voice, exposed your brand until it’s memorable and found yourself a following that you will attract unwanted attention. Life’s balance: good/bad, negative/positive, ying/yang and all that kind of jazz. Throughout the ride you just have to be grateful, thankful and grounded, truly connect with the ebb and flow.
This gloriously bad photoshopped version of myself was discovered by one of my readers this morning and they shared the Tumblr link with me in horror, hoping I’d be able to report or remove it in some way. The reason I avoid Tumblr is purely for this reason, you can’t. Once it’s on Tumblr it’s gone, you have no rights and I highly suggest that if you do use the platform that you look into it a little deeper. I also suggest you read Bronny’s experience, it’s one I can definitely relate to.
In all my years of blogging (est. 2006) I never really came up against any backlash or smack talk. I was in this hazy bubble of loveliness with my readers but the few that did manage to pop through really hurt me, I’d be left in tears. Crippled by that fact that someone out there didn’t like me, it left me wounded and unable to write or share my feelings the way I once did as I felt I was being constantly belittled or scrutinised.
“It doesn’t take a talent to be mean, words can crush things that are unseen. So please be careful with me, I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way.” – Jewel
Over time my skin got thicker, my walls got higher and it was hard to share. I became very protective, not only of myself and my emotional state by also of my family. I lost a lot of readers, they could no longer connect with a glimpse of my life when they were used to viewing the whole. It was sad because I truly missed sharing the way I once did but I knew myself and my limits.
Limits is also a strange thing with blogging. Some don’t share their children’s names or faces because in the end they’re not really necessary to get their story across. I find it weird to talk about self esteem, body love and fashion confidence without leading by example. If I tell you the world wont stop spinning if you wear a swimsuit I’m going to strip off into one with you. If I tell you big arms, wobbly thighs and jiggly bellies don’t need to be hidden I’m going to expose all of that because I like to think that I’m your friend, holding your hand letting you know that everything will be ok.
I get attacked a lot for that, some find it attention seeking and I guess in some ways it is. My thought process is that if it reaches someone who really needs the boost, connects with them in some way and inspires them then I’m ok with that. I’m also greatly aware that I have teens, some as young as 12 reading my posts and seeing my photos. I’m not a model, I’m just me and despite my size I’m enthralled by fashion, beauty and glamour and that resonates with a lot of people who don’t feel entitled to those things due to lack of self worth.
It was hard to pull the walls down at first but I started sharing in different ways and new readers came. I think bloggers sometimes forget that a blog can be organic and ever changing. My “niche” has changed many times over the years and whilst that might not be the best business sense it makes sense to me to write passionately. To let the words flutter to the keys on any topic that takes my fancy.
Readers know that when they come to my site they get me, in all my many forms and unlike a lot of blogs created in the last three years it was never designed to be a business, just a reflection of myself. I’m lucky now that it generates an income that allows me to focus on it full time, I never take that for granted. I’m thankful to those who stop by every few days to see what I have to say, those who support my overall message of self positivity and keeping it real and yes, even the haters because I appreciate balance.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow when a snarky comment pops up or a joke photo is made of you, no one ever wants it to happen but what you choose to do with that situation leaves the power in your hands. I showed Steve and we both cracked up laughing and then I stared at it for awhile and this post sparked like electricity onto the screen. Within this photo I found the key to unlock thoughts worth sharing. Words that will hopefully remind you that others don’t set your value or gauge your self worth, you do… and you are awesome.