Mental health awareness day seems like the perfect day to come clean about something that’s been bothering me for a while.
I feel I’ve lost my authentic self.
Let me explain.
Earlier this year my blog began getting the attention of a few brands and PR agencies who were willing to send me things in exchange for featuring them on my little piece of the internet. I’d always known that bloggers were sent free stuff in exchange for a post, mention or link back to a specific website but I’d only really dreamt that it would happen to me. On some occasions, people would even pay money to have their item featured or for a link to be inserted under a specific word, this was absolutely brilliant! I was earning a little bit of money towards my bills and receiving free packages of things I’d genuinely use whilst doing something I enjoyed, that is until the need for financial assistance and the lure of gifted stuff led me to betray my authentic self.
I applied for and accepted opportunities for some items that weren’t really in keeping with who I am and then felt obliged to mention them in a positive way as was expected by a brand in return for gifting you their product. Sometimes I truly loved the product and I raved about it completely naturally, but sadly that wasn’t always the case and I found resistance and negativity from brands when I tried to return items to them. By gifting me an item they expected a positive post or mention and as someone who avoids confrontation at all costs I felt it my duty to hold up my end of this silent agreement and I found myself mentioning items or including links to sites that I wouldn’t have chosen to endorse.
As someone who prides themselves on honesty, this began to eat away at me, I started to view my blog as a separate space, a space that portrayed an alias of myself and I found myself censoring the content I put onto it in order to keep up this appearance.
On top of this guilt, I found my social media channels to be saturated with fellow bloggers, supporting each other to grow by ‘following back’ had essentially meant that my feed was filled with strangers, strangers whom I compared myself to daily. I no longer derived happiness from being online, I wanted to hide, to stop pretending and to just go back to zero and start over again. In fact, I wanted to switch off altogether, to unplug from the internet and go back into the dark ages where people talked to each other and memories weren’t all collected on a phone.
So today marks a change. I’ve already begun a mass cleansing of my social media channels and will be returning to the kind of content that I enjoy, warts and all, regardless of how I think it will be received and whether or not in conforms to what society likes to see. I’ll still rave about products I love but will be much stricter on any products that are sent to me in order to stay true to my authentic self and not be swept away by the promise of ‘free’ or the extra cash I could have in my pocket.
I know I’m not the only person to feel like this in the blogging community, as someone who has dreamt of blogging full time I was swept along in the wrong direction by numbers, money and gifts and in the process lost the pleasure I had gained from blogging in the first place.
So please accept my sincerest apology, ‘As said by Sophia’ is about to take a new turn as I begin to re-kindle my relationship with who I truly am and what that looks like online, and I hope you stick around for the ride.