A few days ago I made a very important decision but when I sit & think about it, I should have made this decision a while ago already. Things have been a rollercoaster ride for me lately, and as I sit down to write this blog post I don’t even know how much detail about my personal life I want to share. I have so much I want to say, and yet I don’t know where to start.
I recently read this article titled ‘Being special isn’t so special’ and it really got me thinking…
I’ll apologise in advance if this blog post is a bit all over the place, I’m feeling under the weather and I’ve only had one cup of coffee today (no food, no snacks, just coffee).
I’ve always struggled with anxiety and depression, I was very nervous as a child and never quite understood my feelings of anxiety and despondency. I thought it was normal to feel stressed and uneasy all the time, but secretly I also hoped that it was just a phase I would grow out of. I know high school is very stressful for most people but for me it was more than that. I felt isolated most of the time, and although I had good friends with whom I could laugh and sometimes cry, I still felt quite lonely. I never showed people who I really was on the inside, I tried to share only snippets of my personality – the parts I knew people would be able to tolerate, or maybe even like / love. I’m not going to go into too much detail about my childhood, but let’s just say I had to deal with a lot at a very young age.
I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, and family & friends who know me (really know me) will all agree that I am the last person to ask for sympathy. I am writing this blog post because I have always tried to keep it real here on the blog and I have always tried to include you (as much as I can) in my blog-related decisions. The last thing I want is for anyone to think I am a lazy sack of poo, who can’t be bothered to make an effort anymore. It’s not like that at all, I still love blogging but something has got to give…and at this moment in time, that ‘thing’ is YouTube.
Vlogging (blogging in the form of a video) has been stressing me out a lot lately – I constantly feel like I need to film a video and once I’ve prepped and filmed the video, I’m not always happy with what the footage looks like. Prepping for the video takes about 1 to 2 hours, filming the actual video takes about 45 minutes to an hour (yes, even a 10 minute video on YouTube takes that long to film), and then we get to editing of the video. Editing is extremely time-consuming, editing 40-minute footage down to a 10-minute video can take up to 6 or 7 hours.
Imagine sitting in front of a screen and watching footage of yourself for 5 or 6 hours. Non-stop. You start to see all the unattractive things about yourself. You take note of things that you never would have noticed otherwise – the double chin, the uneven bottom teeth, the tone of your voice, the way you say certain words, the asymmetrical features. It’s not pleasant, and although I’ve always had insecurities, my low self-esteem has been exacerbated in a major way because of this.
I can’t tell you how many times I have filmed a video only to see the lighting was completely off, or the video was out of focus or I had lipstick on my teeth. Working so hard on something only to have to scrap the whole video is disappointing to say the least. And each time I feel like a failure.
I have an extreme Type A personality, and although I am thankful that it motivates me to be better every single day, it also means I’m very self-critical, and always want everything to be perfect. It often feels like I strive toward goals (which is a good thing) but then won’t feel a sense of joy in my efforts or accomplishments. Being more laid back and not caring so much about the quality of my videos / photos / blog posts is just not an option for me – it’s not who I am as a person. I like being detail-conscious, I like feeling proud of something I created.
I can still deal with being a perfectionist when it comes to my blog content and photos because I feel like I have control over the photos I post and what I write. When you film a YouTube video, it’s very different. You spend time preparing and setting up for the filming of the video, then you film the actual video but have no control over the weather outside (i.e. cloudy weather means dull grey-toned footage that cannot always be fixed with editing software), external noises like airplanes or barking dogs, and worst of all: It’s almost like I enter a twilight zone as soon as that camera starts recording. I’m so nervous, I struggle to explain or describe things the way I would if I were writing a blog post. I’ll look back on footage whilst editing and think: “You’re such an idiot. You could have explained that WAY better.” or “Stop saying ‘uhm’ and ‘awesome’ and start speaking like a bloody adult.”
It all has become a bit too much for me, and I’ve decided to step away from YouTube for a while or maybe even forever. It’s very difficult for me to write this blog post, because I feel like I’ve given up. I am a failure. I know you’re thinking it’s just a video and it’s just YouTube but for me, it’s something that has become part of who I am as a blogger. And being a blogger has become part of who I am as a person. I take pride in the blog posts and videos I create, and in a way it’s my day-time job.
I received a very nasty hate comment on my latest video a few weeks ago, and although I didn’t really take what the person said to heart (they don’t know me personally), I feel like it’s so unnecessary. Why hate on something someone else has poured their heart and soul into? Me? I have a soft heart, I could never EVER leave a negative comment on someone else’s work (whether it’s a blog post, a video or an Instagram photo). When did the blogging and vlogging world become so competitive, so hateful, and so vindictive?
I need to take a step back – all this stress and negativity isn’t good for the soul. Neal and I have tried (and failed) to fall pregnant for the past 2+ years. The operation I had in December 2014 was necessary for my overall health but it was also supposed to increase my chances of falling pregnant. The specialist said the best chance of me falling pregnant is within 6 months after the operation, we’re on month number 4 now…and still nothing. I initially didn’t want to share this part of my life here on the blog, mainly because I felt ashamed. Falling pregnant should be easy, I mean heck, women do it all the time. I’ve come to the realisation that struggling to fall pregnant is nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and it sure as heck doesn’t make you a failure. Sometimes some things just aren’t meant to be, sometimes you need to let go…but we’re not there yet. I need to do what’s right for me – I need to remove the things that are causing me stress and I need to focus on the things that make me feel happy and relaxed.
I’ve been feeling uninspired and less passionate about vlogging for a while now, and I’m very scared that how I’m feeling right now is going to affect my blogging. I’m struggling to be creative with my photos, and it feels like each photo I take sucks balls. I was going to load my ‘April 2015 Favourites’ blog post today but I just can’t seem to take decent photos for the blog post. So I decided to load this blog post, get everything off my chest and hopefully I’ll feel more inspired tomorrow or next week.
I’m just in a bad space at the moment, and I hope you understand… I didn’t just want to stop doing YouTube videos and leave you wondering when the next video is coming or why I’m not loading videos anymore. You’ll still see me in a couple of other YouTube videos in the next few weeks, I filmed with other YouTubers for their channels. Fortunately they have to sit through editing all the nonsense that comes out of my mouth – haha!
I’m very sad about all this because I have so many ideas for videos that I wanted to film, but I’ve lost the inclination to actually sit down & film them. Who knows…perhaps I’ll start filming videos again in a couple of months’ time. Perhaps I’ll only do voice-overs for my hair- and makeup tutorials. Perhaps I won’t do haul videos or talk-though videos anymore. Perhaps I’ll be known as ‘The Mute YouTuber’.
I’m interested to hear what your favourite types of videos are, and whether you actually have time or data available to watch videos. I know YouTube isn’t nearly as popular here in South Africa as it is in the UK / US and if you’d prefer an extra blog post here or there instead of a YouTube video, let me know. At the end of the day, I started blogging to share my thoughts, experiences and passion for beauty products with beauty lovers everywhere. And if you prefer reading a blog post, rather than watching a video, let me know.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt of the article I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post: “Instead, focus on simplicity. On nuance. Slow down. Breathe. Smile. You don’t need to prove anything to anybody. Including yourself. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in: You don’t have to prove anything to anybody, including yourself.“
That’s it from me, I’m getting back into bed now. I woke up this morning feeling like death warmed up – scratchy throat, swollen tonsils, congested sinuses and a headache that will knock a small child off their feet. Anyone mind bringing me some warm chicken soup?