I’ve watched this little cursor flicker at me for the last 20 minutes. I’ve got up to make coffee and I’ve downloaded some ridiculous app that will pull my top 9 photos from 2018. For the last week I’ve found every excuse and reason not to write this blog post. Ironically, in those excuses lies the lesson that 2018 taught me.
I’ve lost my voice
“Content creation” (seriously, FML) was never a calculated or thought out process for me. It was something that I just did. I spat words into mics and smashed keyboards in a flurry – desperate to pull the million racing thoughts from my head and make sense of them. It all started with a blog called That place in my head. I wrote posts about how my then boyfriend didn’t have a door on his ensuite bathroom or how useless I was during first date conversations. I spent a night at a fancy phone launch, not networking or playing the room the way you’re now instructed to by every so called “media person” or “influencer”, but instead my friends and I used my thicc bum which had been squeezed into a pair of skinny jeans as the tester. We would add the newly launched and rather big phone to one tight ass pocket and then compare it to one of our current phones, which was placed next to it. We baptised it “The Smartphone Bum Test” and it became the first post on this blog.
But now? Now I cannot even write a blog post recapping a year without having to mull over every line and every sentence in my head. Can I say this? Who will this upset? How will this be perceived? Do I want to come across as negative? What if I come across as full of myself? God, am I full of myself? Shit, I don’t want to get an ego. You don’t deserve an ego, your community is tiny compared to your idols. You’re pathetic. How dare you think you can have this opinion. No one cares.
That’s a regular conversation in my head these days and when I type it out I’m hit by a large bout of sadness. What happened along the way? It’s an evil twisted scenario isn’t it? You start sharing online. You’re open, you’re honest and you’re completely yourself. You show the raw bits and the squishy bits. Over time more people join your community and join in on your sharing. And then suddenly, you have to stop sharing. You have to hide the raw and squishy because now when you share you inevitably upset someone, or trigger another – causing a wave of drama you could not have imagined. Words have become weapons and they’re freely open to interpretation. Anyone can pull a trigger from what you say.
And that is, I suppose, the biggest lesson of 2018
You can’t please everyone. You won’t. And most importantly, not everyone will like you. That’s been a bitter pill for me to swallow. I’m a people pleaser. I want you to like me. I do everything to try help people and impress them. Why? Because my desperate need to be liked is so ridiculously overwhelming. Guess what though? It almost never works. People who take from you because of this trait will inevitably toss you out when they’ve got all they need. You’ll be broken because they’ll walk on and claim their dislike. You’ll remember what you gave and hate yourself for it while at the same time hating them for taking it. Accepting that not everyone can be your friend is something I’m working on and I’ll get there.
Learning your worth
2018 was a difficult one for me. It was a weird middle ground where I had to learn to not apologise for what I have accomplished. I’m not lucky. I don’t know “the right people”. I’m not getting leg ups or favours from friends. I work hard. I work hard every damn day, to the detriment of my health and my personal relationships. And if that hard work has led to meeting the right people or receiving support, well then, I’m grateful hard work pays off. I’ve earned what I have. I’m done feeling guilty asking to be paid for work I do. I’ve more than proven I’m worth the investment – you wouldn’t have come to me to begin with. I’m done feeling like I need to constantly do favours and work for free to show that I’m worth that investment. I am. It’s why you asked me in the first place. I’m also done giving any emotion to the people who consistently choose to put people like me down because we ask to be paid. I’m not going to feel guilty any longer because of a small group of people stuck in a job they hate or questioning their own measures of success hating on mine.
I’m not a brand
This idea of “my brand” or “I’m a brand” can go die in a hole. I’m a person. I feel. I hurt. I get excited. I am fluid in my interests and emotional in my decisions. I change with the seasons and I can’t be defined in a sentence or summarised on a piece of paper. I’m going to upset you, motivate you and sometimes, hopefully, inspire you.
2018 was a year of the worst lows. I’ve felt alone, bitter and broken. It has fundamentally changed parts of me and hardened me the F up. I’ve hated it.
2018 was a year of the highest highs. I’ve experienced things I could only imagine and been able to accomplish things that felt only possible in my dreams. I’ve loved every moment of it.
There’s no way to adequately recap this year. The amount of new experiences, emotions, elation and complex heart break don’t come with a set of words that summarise.
So I’ll leave you with this: if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for being part of my journey and thank you for walking this path with me. It has meant more to me than you’ll ever know. Together we’ve grown up and it has been one of the best adventures I’ve been on. I’m getting on a plane today and I’m heading back to South Africa for two weeks of holiday before the 2019 grind begins again. I’ll be gone for a little while. No YouTube videos or blog posts, my social media will be littered with a few posts but not much else. I’m going to take a well deserved break and finally take a breath.
I’ll see you on the other side.