In all honesty I sat here this morning, ready to write this post and I literally had no desire to open my laptop. I’ve always tried to be honest on my blog or on social media, but these days it sounds silly but I occasionally feel a little stifled. Afraid to post something in case it is taken in the wrong way, or I upset anyone, or make any feel bad. Does that make sense? Because I know I am incredibly lucky, so incredibly lucky to be leading the life we do, and a huge result of that is because of social media, because of this blog and all I have worked for.
Five years ago our life was very different. Jon had just got another job in a little design agency in our town, having been made redundant from his previous job, I was working part time at my job in the travel industry after going back for three days after having Mads. We had a tough year from a financial aspect, there were times when we had to go to family and ask us to help them because we didn’t have the funds in our account to pay our mortgage. I remember crying at our table because we couldn’t afford to pay our bills. Of course this is all relative, there will always be people in a worse position than you, whether that’s financially, emotionally or just generally, but you can only experience things from your point of view and the life you are leading. Just like there will always be people in a better situation too.
Over the last few years our life has changed dramatically. For the first five years of Jon and I’s relationship he was working 70 hours a week and was gone most evenings and weekends. He then switched career very much due to being in the right place at the right time, and then a couple of years ago he got a lucky break in the terms of a long contract (it was due to end last year and they extended it another year, but whether they will do so again remains to be seen) and decided to set up his own business and work from home. He’s been doing it two years now and it still makes us nervous every single month, two of us working for ourselves supporting our family, but it was the best risk he ever took.
I didn’t go back to work after maternity leave with my middle daughter, I started freelancing and doing social media marketing and blogger outreach for clients, while also earning money as a result of this blog. This in itself is something which regularly still makes me stop and be thankful for on a regular basis. When I first started it six years ago, no one was making money as a result of blogging, and if they were it was because of other strands of income like ebooks, or photography courses. I still remember the very first time I was contacted by a brand, it was to see if I wanted a little pair of their soft leather baby moccasins for Mads. I actually rang Jon at work saying ‘Oh my god, how exciting and amazing is this?’ I remember my heart pounding when I got that email, that a company had actually read my blog and wanted to send me something. It was so different then to how it is now, but over the years it has changed dramatically.
I still get those ‘Oh My God’ moments. All the time. The thing about me is that I am a heart on my sleeve person and I am a grateful person. That will never change. I will never be one of those people who is too cool to be grateful. I am grateful for every single bit of this experience. Every single day I say to Jon how lucky we are. I’m the person who will cry down the phone to a PR who wants to send us away because I can’t quite believe they want to invest in our family. Which is silly because they aren’t doing it because they think ‘oh those guys fancy a holiday,’ they are doing it because for whatever reason they can see that by working with us it will benefit them. In December of last year I gave up my final freelance social media client (although I still do a bit of blogger outreach occasionally) to work on this blog full time, that thought in itself still blows my mind. I have worked on this blog every single day for six years, worked so hard, but sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t say that. How can being paid to take photos be hard work when there are people out there working 60 hours a week saving people’s lives? Or educating our children? Again it’s back down to that whole point of being it all being relative, we may work really hard but it’s not hard work in the literal sense. It’s genuinely the best work I can be doing and like I’ve said a million times I am so grateful for every single second of it.
For all of the above reasons, I therefore often feel like I shouldn’t say how I am really feeling because yet again I know how lucky we are. But that’s not the point, I know that constantly, being honest doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful. The thing is at the moment I am feeling a little bit like I have lost my way recently. I’m finding social media really quite hard. I’ve never been one to feel the need to grow, to feel the need to have the highest numbers or the biggest followings, I’ve been happy doing what I have been doing and coasting along. I have some wonderful people who have followed me on my social media, since the beginning, who have been loyal and kind to me always. But recently I really feel like social media has changed. Of course from day one there have been people ‘tricking’ the system, buying followers, buying subscribers or whatever other latest thing comes along. I’ve just carried on doing my own thing and letting people do theirs, we are all trying to do what we can, however which way we do it. But recently it all has got a little bit too much for me.
Underneath it all I’m actually a very self conscious person, bizarrely I really lack in my self belief and I don’t have much confidence. I will never be one of these people who will shout from the rooftops that I earned this or that from blogging, or write blog posts with my top tips, because that just isn’t me. I still can’t believe I am actually doing this sometimes. There is a part of my personality that loves to over analyse and as a result recently I have been questioning myself. I’ve also been comparing myself which is most definitely not healthy. Of course I have done that before in the past, but recently it has become almost unhealthy. Why is that person growing faster than me? Why has she got more likes than me on that instagram photo? Why can’t I look like that in a photo? Instagram especially, which used to a place of joy for me, a place that I loved to go on and look people’s lives in tiny squares, has become something which has completely changed. I now often get nervous posting a photo because I am worried it won’t do ‘well’, or I can see accounts I used to love obviously feeling the same. I can’t put my finger on it but something has changed over there, it all feels very strategical nowadays. And I hate the bloody algorithm they are using too. But then at the same time, I think ‘Katie you are being absolutely ridiculous, who cares? Just keep posting your memories like you have always done and who cares what ‘likes’ it gets?’ The problem is that of course when your passion and your hobby becomes your job, there is a need to always be growing and doing well. And when that job is down to posting about your personal lives, you can see where that unhealthiness can really come into play.
There again is the argument that you could just stop, do a different job, or cut back on the amount of time you are working. But the problem is, much like other things, it’s a bit of an addiction. You get used to this being the way you earn a living, you get used to the incredible perks. And the thing is I don’t want to stop, 99% of the time I adore this world I have weirdly stumbled upon. I adore the community, I adore the friends I have made, it is an absolute dream come true for me to be able to work doing something I love, to be able to express my creativity doing this. For so long I felt a little lost, I had a good job and a good career but I didn’t feel fulfilled in my work. I feel so fulfilled doing this, I am thankful every single day. But I guess like with anything, every so often you have a little blip, a little moment of questioning yourself or not feeling good enough. I have had a couple of little ones over the six years I have been doing this, but this is probably the biggest so far. Plus I am well aware I won’t be doing this forever, there will come a time when it will stop, so I need to enjoy every moment while it lasts.
When we look at someone’s social media accounts it is really easy to compare ourselves. Its also really easy to cross the line between admiration for what others do and wishing what you do was better. I am sure I have made people feel that way in the past, just the same as I get it on a regular basis. But we need to remember that we are seeing just the tiniest part of a person’s life. You might look at that person with a shiny new car, but for all you know they got it on a ridiculously expensive loan that deep down they can’t afford. Or that person with the big new house might have lost someone dear to them who left them inheritance. Or that person posing against a wall with brand new gorgeous clothes, might take them off at the end of the day and get into bed and cry because her and partner are having relationship problems. They might be far fetched scenarios, but I think it is important to remember, I need to do this too, that we are only seeing a small part of someone’s lives and that we all have many layers. We all have things going on that we don’t always share- thats life, and for many although they may write honestly, social media is still their highlights reel.
Anyway I have gone off on a complete tangent, but we have lots going on behind the scenes here. Some really exciting things that I will talk about soon (no I am not pregnant- why do people always think that when women say that? I do too), some not so good things which hopefully will get better soon, and also we are really busy. We have an exciting work trip coming up and some very big life changes too which I haven’t really spoken about for fear of tempting fate. It’s going to be a busy few weeks for us so I might not be around as much for a while on here, although I do still have my California posts to keep putting up. But I will be about on social media and making some videos, just hopefully not comparing myself to others as much as I have been.
Do you ever compare yourself to others? On social media or otherwise?
A photo from yesterday- we went to Margate and had a lovely day together. Our baby boy was asleep when my friend Alison took this.