Comme Coco is my baby. It is my little place on the internet that I can share my thoughts, outfits, inspirations and photography. It makes me oh so happy! But yet, blogging in general, wait not blogging, the blogging industry brings out my insecurities. Big time!
Overall I have worked very hard on myself and have gained a level of confidence that I never knew was possible for me. I was the girl who one day was over-confident (INSECURE RED FLAG) or way too shy for words. My over confidence came with putting others down in my head in order to build my own self up. Yeah, I was an expert with that. But at this point in life, I know the difference between that and actually realizing that I am good on my own without putting someone else down to rise.
I am currently struggling with a different type of insecurity and it stems from the blogging world. It is competitive, over saturated and hard as heck for a woman of color. You’ve heard of “black tax”? Well you pay a whole lotta of it as a blogger. For those unfamiliar with the term it is this- black people have to work harder, better, and faster to earn or get the accolades others do without working as hard, fast or better. We are expected to work for free or for less money than our counterparts. It is real. It is hard. And that truth is ugly as ever.
For example… a well known women’s brand was opening a store in Baltimore about 5 years ago. I was contacted by a PR company to host the launch party and I was unbelievably GEEKED! They asked me to send invites to my sphere of influence, they asked me to do promoting of the event on my social channels, they were going to offer me a small gift card to purchase something to wear to the event, and they asked me to send them a list of Baltimore bloggers and influencers. I had been populating a spreadsheet for quite some time and happily sent it over. Then 3 days before the event, I was sent promo flyers for the event to pass on.
I. Was. SHOCKED!
There was NO mention of me. Instead there was a white blogger that I knew nothing of and after researching she wasn’t well known at all, prominently displayed on the materials as the host. There were sponsors on the flyer. There was EVERYTHING but a mention of me. I was so sad and immediately thought that maybe I had read the initial email incorrectly and I was not hosting it. But nope after re-reading it, I had been correct.
So I asked the PR lady if I was hosting another event and maybe she had accidentally sent me this flyer. She let me know that it was in fact the event and that there was no space to put me on the flyer but hoped I would still come and network with those I invited. I put in ALL the work, I had 45 invitees with solid RSVPs and someone else got the recognition and $350.00 to shop at that store when I was offered 125.00 and did all the work. And yes I had solid proof that this other blogger did not get asked to do ANY of the things that I was tasked with!
Even then I knew my worth and I politely backed out of “attending” and “networking” at the event. I wrote all of my invitees and told them I would not be attending but that they should still go because its a cool store etc. I mean- I do have class lol. And more than 80 percent replied that they were only attending to meet me so they would pass. In the end that event was a fail. A little birdie that attended told me that there were less than 20 people there during the whole 3 hours and that the host just stood in a corner most of the night.
But that began my insecurity in the industry. It got me to begin comparing in an unhealthy way. Although I knew my worth to not continue with the event, it definitely crushed me and made me feel unworthy. It made me feel as if this brand, did not want a black girl on their promotions but instead wanted me to do all the behind the scenes work and heck even “work” the event for them.
We fast forward to 2017 and….
I’m tip toeing the line between blogging for fun and blogging to make some money. To be totally honest, I want to make money while having fun so I have spent alot of time and money perfecting my craft. Creating content and photos that are more editorial. Speaking about real life issues. Attending all sorts of blogger conferences. And yet- I haven’t made the kind of progress that translates to more money or features.
My blog numbers are non-existent. My instagram is stuck under 15k followers. I am not showcased in magazines, getting boxes of amazing items to feature on the blog, invitations to DC top events, or sponsored travel. It is just not happening. And it makes me feel like crap.
I am putting a lot of my own money into my passion and while there is NOTHING wrong with it, I get very disheartened because I see others who personally do not deliver the type of work that I do, get all of that and more. So there it is. The comparing aspect of blogging. That is where my insecurity comes in. I start to compare myself to the basic babe and wonder, why not me? Why did you get that and I did not? Why are you going on this trip and taking photos that do not even highlight the area and I dont get the chance? Why did you get sent that item when you don’t even wear that type of garment? Why are you in this magazine about the most unique and stylish when your outfit choices come straight from the mannequin at the store?
Deep down I already know the answers but it still f*cks with me.
I am all about self awareness. I rarely lie to myself. I know my blog numbers are low because I do not promote enough and I do not post consistently enough. So I will change that and hope that it helps. My instagram, I don’t know why that is at a standstill cause its bomb. Yes, it really is! (lol) I may not be getting features because frankly I do not pitch enough. But… most of these chicks aren’t either. I have asked. So its a mix of me not putting in enough work and me just not being what they want, I guess. But Im not what every brand that actually pays wants? I. think. not.
Blogging brings out my insecurities. As a black, female, relaxed hair, not thin but not plus sized blogger, I do not know where I fit in. Beauty companies have all the money and klout right now and for black bloggers, it is the natural hair companies. But alas, I still use the creamy crack 4 times a year. Plus size clothing companies are making a beautiful name for themselves but alas I cannot fit any of their clothes and trust me I have tried! So it leads me to feel like I just do not belong. See, insecurities!
I want so badly to succeed in this world because I know that I am good. I know that I offer things that others do not. I know that I can elevate many a brand’s images and outfit features with my vision, photography, editing and style. It is getting that chance and not for no pay that is difficult.
When I actually stop and reflect this comes to the forefront.
Blogging and the blogging industry is not the problem. It is me that is the problem. It is my way of thinking that is the problem. It is as Monroe Steele would tell me, “you’re not manifesting it into your life” We all have insecurities. But it is what we do with them that can make or break us.
Like other challenges in my life, I will not allow this to break me. I will not quit on blogging. I actually have never had that thought. I will not continue to host elaborate pity parties for myself. Instead I am going to create a place for my type of blogging and “influencing” and wait for brands to beg for me to work with them. And it will happen because I am too talented and have too much passion in this for it not to happen.
The moral of this rant is: It is ok to have insecurities. Just accept them and find ways to better yourself so that they do not take over. Understand that you are not for everyone. Know that in this industry, the minute you keep doing things for free, the brands will expect others like you to do it for free. Take a self assessment quiz with yourself about your motivations for starting a blog or continuing your blog. And most importantly-
Do not compare yourself to others and what they receive. I truly believe that hard work pays off in the end and all the money I spent on learning and perfecting my craft WILL gain me paid work soon. And if it does not, guess what? I have new skills to add to my arsenal!
So yes, blogging brings out my insecurities but it also brings out my passion, creativity, business acumen and more.
Flip that sh*t in your head!
If you want the exact red earrings I am wearing, go to this post!