THE LAST BLOG POST I NEED TO WRITE
It’s been a while since I picked up the metaphorical pen and wrote something for this blog. I have to admit, my blog is more of a ‘side thing’ for me, and was always going to be the first to take a hit if I ever ran out of time or stopped creating content on other platforms. The latter is why I haven’t posted, and why this is probably my last post. If you follow me on Instagram or YouTube, you’ll probably (hopefully?) have seen by now that I stopped making videos on both of my channels. The reason for this is multi-layered, but it’s mostly because I was being bullied online by some ‘anonymous’ trolls. I figured out who some of them were pretty quickly as they chose identifying usernames or said things I’d read in previous comments left by them on YouTube, but it was the final straw, as they say.
I do miss the actual video creation part of it sometimes (I’m a sucker for editing), but the whole ‘influencer’ thing was never what I wanted, even though I was doing YouTube as a job. People treated me as a CEO and held me accountable as one – I was never allowed any human feelings without getting inundated with disapproving messages or comments and I certainly wasn’t ever allowed to feel sad that a video or my channel wasn’t doing so well – even though I was just a normal girl sitting in my spare room playing with makeup, trying to make my dream happen.
I think the way we look at online creators is strange. We expect them to behave like professionals at all times, not make any mistakes or show too much of their real selves. Oversharing is definitely what people moaned about most with me. I, like everyone else, share probably too much about how I’m feeling on my Instagram Stories. But because I was a YouTube Person (kinda), it wasn’t allowed. Now I’m a Normal Person (?) again, I don’t think people care as much. I’m not ‘alienating’ anyone anymore because I don’t make videos on the internet. Or something.
It was a harsh wake up call when people I had considered my friends messaged me to tell me to shut up when I was having a depressive episode back in May. I had, perhaps naively, thought of my followers as a friendship group. I thought we were able to share our feelings with each other. Turns out I was wrong, and no one actually wanted to hear about how I was feeling or how my channel was failing. No human emotions. No anger, sadness, grief or even PMS allowed. Unlike most people, I don’t have any ‘in real life’ friends to talk to, so I didn’t know how to deal with things. So I made a video. That didn’t go down well.
On the internet, people twist your words and take them out of context. For example, you could announce that you loved waffles and some Twitter account could reply and ask why you hate pancakes and neglected to mention cereal or eggs at all, so get some humanity, you c*nt. The online bullies that talked about me did that to me. When I turned 24, I mentioned that I couldn’t believe I was 24 already and I still felt 17. One of the trolls took that and said that I (medically) had a mental age of a teenager. When I talked about having a miscarriage earlier in the year and how I had come to terms with the trauma and was feeling okay, another troll said that I was happily chatting about all the unplanned pregnancies I was fine about ending. It’s easy to tell people not to take these things to heart, but when it’s your words being twisted to say something else and then used against you, it’s difficult.
I decided I couldn’t live like that. My mental health was circling the drain each day; every time someone would tell me there was a new comment on the forum, my stomach would sink. I deliberately didn’t search for it, but then someone sent me screenshots. I’d block people and new accounts would get created. I’d try and explain myself (and take all of the blame) and people took my words out of context again. Although I wanted to make YouTube my career – and I worked on it for 60 hours every week for nearly 3 years – it wasn’t enough. I failed. And I couldn’t deal with the hate. I knew it would only get worse if miraculously I got more of a following, so I deleted everything. Literally every video. I deleted my Facebook page, privated my Instagram and Twitter and sunk into a hole of anxiety.
After a while, I reinstated some videos (honestly, I just wanted to get enough adsense to be able to withdraw the money in my account), made my Twitter and Instagram go public again (but the Facebook page stayed deleted) and began to feel okay about that phase of my life ending. The trolls stopped, which was the aim. I feel bad that they ‘won’. They made me quit. But you can’t always battle on, you have to know when to retreat.
This isn’t a pity party; I’m not trying to gain sympathy. Don’t feel sorry for me because, generally, I’m happier now than I was. There’s no pressure (mostly from myself) to grow a failed channel, I don’t have to buy countless products I know I’ll only end up decluttering, and my mind is less occupied with video ideas and the constant worry about if I’ve said or done something that people will hate on me for. I don’t have to worry about disagreeing with opinions in my comments section. I can defend myself against hate without fuelling more hate. I can tell people ‘no’ without people calling me defensive. Nowadays, the only pressure is to find a ‘real job’ (I hate that term – I worked longer hours as a YouTuber than I will at a physical job). I do still feel like I’m not being productive enough – I started learning French and even though that’s a productive activity, I’m concerned it’s not productive enough as it’s for me and not something I’m making money from or doing for someone else – but that’s something I will work on.
I know some people are sad that I no longer make videos, but I know they’ll get over it and find other channels to love. I appreciated all the support and wish it had gone a different way, but that’s just life. We learn from our mistakes and grow from our life lessons.