It’s coming on for two years since I started Pretty Normal Me and in doing so, totally altered the direction that my life was going in. At the time I was doing social media marketing for a small collection of businesses, working from home with my own company, enjoying what I was doing but never really feeling like it was my ‘forever’ job. And then one afternoon I was watching something on the television and an advert came on, for a company that will, because I am in a good mood, remain nameless. This was really before the start of the plus size or body positive movements (as far as I was aware) and I saw the skeletal women strutting around the pool, my jaw hit the sofa. I couldn’t believe how thin these women were and, with no real idea what I would do with my thoughts once they were on paper, got writing about it. In the weeks that followed I sent the piece that I had written to anyone that so much as looked at me for the months that followed, I was on to something and I desperately wanted to know why no one was listening to what I had to say!
Eventually, I think I had annoyed enough people that it was finally suggested that I started a blog to fight this fight properly, and that’s exactly what I did. Fast forward two years and the marketing business is history, I’ve been offered a book deal to spread the word even further and the blog has become my entire life. Which I am stupidly grateful for. But. There are a few realities to being a full time blogger that people who don’t blog will never understand, and so to those of you who think our lives consist exclusively of receiving freebies, writing with pencils in our hair and doing nothing more than a tweet every couple of hours, I’m here to set the record straight.
Right now I am sitting at the end of my mum’s kitchen table surrounded in part by my own bloggy things, my notebook, my coffee cup and my phone, but also a collection of other, less glamorous stuff; a salt grinder left over from breakfast, a packet of my brother’s rolling tobacco, a packet of 4 AA batteries because mum needs me to fix the clock, a packet of cotton pads, don’t know why, and a HUGE bow that came off a present from yesterday. And that’s just the stuff to the left of me. I am not, as you may have been led to believe, wearing perfect makeup, having done my hair, and wearing an Instagram-worthy outfit. Instead I am trying to contain my enormous hair with a stupidly small clip, I’m wearing a hoodie, I haven’t showered yet this morning and am yet to look at myself in a mirror… it’s noon.
I’m still recovering from the fact that two days ago I had one of my bimonthly breakdowns about the fact that I earn absolutely no money, that I feel that Pretty Normal Me has no growth potential and that, at 22, I really should have a better handle on the rest of my life and not be forced to run my blog from the back of a shop three days a week because it won’t even generate enough money for a cup of coffee. I kick myself for not going to university, for not finding an office job, for not working harder at the blog and I question everything that I’m doing… can I pack it in? Should I? Would anyone care? Who even reads it anyway? Blah blah blah. These usually happen when I am with my mum and she has to spend a couple of hours reassuring me that people do read it, it will make money one day, I won’t be in the shop forever, that I will make a success of it, that I am not crazy, that I am still very young. Etc etc etc.
I’m also facing the daily struggle of finding things to both blog and vlog about, things that I am interested in, that I know enough about and that I think that you, our readers will be interested in. I’m trying to find interesting content, people to colab with and am racking my brains to find a way to expand what I’m doing, all the while feeling guilty that I am not giving the book enough attention and that I have a big deadline looming.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE WHAT I DO. I am SO lucky to do what I do, I want to say that again and again as the last thing I want anyone to think is that I take this for granted, because I really really don’t. And I know that compared to a lot of people I am very lucky that this is my career. But I do also need people to know that this is not a cop out job, it is not an easy career path. It is in fact, 80% of the time, really fucking hard work and actually, pretty lonely.
Last week while my boyfriend was away in New York I was well aware of the fact that there were days when it would be 4pm before I spoke to another person, that there was no one to bounce ideas off, that actually there was just flat out no one who knew what I was going through.
Now by writing this I realise that I have broken my own golden rule; I’m whinging. Which is horrid, it’s not what the blog is about, it was never what the blog was supposed to be about and it’s very boring to all of you reading it. But I realise that blogging is still a fairly new concept to a lot of people and I did actually want to shed some light onto it. I also wanted to give you the chance to know me a little bit more… Pretty Normal Me. Recovering from tonsillitis, despairing at my life choices, struggling every day… just like the rest of the world.
So more than anything I would actually like to say thank you, thank you to all of you that do read what I write and to those of you that support me so religiously. The blog would be nothing without you and as a result, nor would I. The blog is my entire life, and although it isn’t perfect, it’s my baby and I couldn’t be without it. When I am feeling low I look back at the comments that you guys have left, I read the emails that I have been sent about various pieces and how what I have said has resonated with you on a level, and that sometimes, to a certain degree, the blog has changed your life. For this, words will never be able to express how I feel, all I can say is thank you.