to clarify: yesterday i felt like giving up. and the feedback that i got stopped me from doing so. nothing more, or less, than that.
but it IS hard. and i would hate for people to think that what i’m upset about is losing followers, or that i think the support i DO get isn’t enough. i have never been obsessive about my instagram following. i have never actively tried to boost it, or maintain it, or analyse it. for a while, it was steadily rising and, at that point, it was simply enjoyable for me. it was that following that allowed me to start GRLCLB but, by extension, the future and success of GRLCLB is now more or less solely down to an app and the attention that my account receives/attracts/nurtures. and that terrifies me. not only because it is an app that is unreliable and works off an algorithm that is genuinely catastrophic for anyone trying to cultivate sales/drive traffic, but because it means that i now have to care about the little numbers at the top of my page. i need to worry if people start unfollowing me. am i doing something wrong? am i losing touch? worst of all: has it just gotten boring?
i have never wanted to be a blogger. i have never wanted to have to care about the overall appearance of my feed. i like visually stimulating posts and i don’t like uploading things that are blurry or out of focus or have odd colour balances, purely because i don’t like half-assing things. but, i want to make things with my hands and create designs and think up new slogans and pour myself - day by day - into something that is bigger than me. i don’t want people to care about my outfits, or my makeup, or my brunch. i want to make something that is more than just me and my little life. i want to reach people and change people and comfort people. and it is SO hard to do that when you have to rely on instagram. it is hard when you have to think about ‘creating content’ and having nice lighting and things having to *look good* rather than just that they *matter*.
and as petty and childish as it may seem, getting upset, or worried, or stressed over instagram - when it is literally responsible for your livelihood, it does matter. we’re a drop in the ocean, but the internet is a powerful tool. and when instagram fills your explore page with things that, according to your browsing history, you’re interested in - and more often than not this is stuff that is very closely related to what you’re creating - it very quickly gets very disheartening. when you’ve sat planning out designs for days, and then you go on and, in the space of a few minutes, see 4 other people making more or less the same sort of thing, how can you force yourself to feel inspired or important or original?
and i know that i’m not alone. i know that i have support. i know that pretty much everyone trying to carve out a creative mark on the world experiences the same feelings. i know that people DO care, and that i DO get orders, and that my trying isn’t for nothing. but yesterday knowing all of this wasn’t enough. i think new year can be hard for a lot of us. there’s such a strong focus on a fresh start and new opportunities and change that it can be really disheartening to reach january 1st and realise that nothing has actually changed. if you were stressed before christmas, you’ll still be stressed by new year. if you were struggling with your mental health before christmas, you’ll have felt no automatic respite purely as a result of an arbitrary calendar date. if you were broke before christmas, you’ll likely be even more broke afterwards. the problems that exist, and the failings or shortcomings that plague us (justifiably or not), do not disappear just because gyms are offering discounts and you feel socially conditioned into being positive/optimistic about things.
i hope that, if you feel shit about things at this time of year, you know that a lot of us are with you. and i hope that it gets a little easier for us in the coming days. i hope that we learn to take things one day at a time, and with it we grow. and maybe on april 17th we’ll feel brave and we’ll do something that makes a change. or on october 4th we’ll take a positive step for ourselves in the right direction. but, here & now, i just hope that we’ll get a good night’s sleep and tomorrow we’ll feel ready to do it all over again.