When i first started blogging i had no idea blogging was still a thing, i’ve written several times about how i started my blog as more of a personal challenge, to see if i could create something on my days off work, it meant i was oblivious to basically everything that often goes along with having a blog.
As i’ve become more and more a part of the blogging community, it becomes more evident to me how crazy it was, that when i hit publish on my first post, i didn’t know there were so many other people out there doing the same thing. I didn’t know what a PR event was, that people actually got sent products to try out, or that there was even other bloggers out there to be friends with, let alone that i would actually make any friends.
I remember being invited to my first ever press day, i was waiting for the bus after work and i checked my newly set up blog email address, (which got an email approximately once a month) to see an email with an actual relevant subject line, rather than someone telling me i was due 16 million in inheritance. I called my mum, i called my best friend, i googled “what to wear to a press event” and “how to politely ask for a +1”. I was excited but also felt like a child on the first day of school, or like i had to go to a party without my friends.
The first events i went to seem like a bit of a blur, they weren’t like the equivalent of the online blogging community copy and pasted into real life, they didn’t make me feel motivated or excited, actually it was quite the opposite.
I remember being confused about why i was even there, and even more confused about how everyone seemed to know each other. Everyone else had a fancy camera and looked like they came straight off the ASOS new in page (at this point i didn’t know what an Olympus PEN was, who was i?). At one event i tried talking to a group of girls, but i was met with a “hi” and a straight turn away from my direction. In the words of Janice from the movie of our generation “you are a mean girl” and i felt like i had been told i couldn’t sit with them.
Before events i was always worried that i would be looked down on, but a part of my mind tried to convince me that i was worrying too much; after that happened i pretty much wanted to give up, now that i think about it i didn’t actually want to give up, but i thought that i should.
From that point onwards i kind of made a habit of talking to a PR or the photographer, it always seemed like i just ended up with them somehow, but i knew it wasn’t right and that the bloggers i had met online must exist somewhere outside of the internet.
If i’m honest i felt inadequate. I left a lot of events feeling like i didn’t fit into the world of blogging, that i didn’t have enough followers or look like the rest of the people around me, but i now know the image i got of blogging from those events was not what the actual world of blogging is like. I also learned most bloggers are not like the bloggers i talked about above, but some of them are and that’s okay. It’s good to accept sometimes that not everything is sweetness and light, no matter how much we want it to be.
Thankfully over time i got more confident when it came to going to events, i realised that i was invited for a reason, even if admittedly i did still have the thought in the back on my mind that i wasn’t as good as everyone else. The biggest change came for me when i made some friends, it sounds like the simplest thing ever but it’s actually much rarer to make new friends once you’re not in education anymore. (I realise thats also probably the loneliest thing i’ve ever written but hey, if i can’t be sad on the domain i pay for where can i be?)
The first event i went to where i had searched out other bloggers going beforehand was so much different to my other early event experiences, it was the event where i met Sophie and Albertine and the first event where i actually felt like i belonged. Finally i had met bloggers who represented the community online, it was almost like i could hear a “i told you so” coming from inside my own head, knowing that i had found the right people and the other event experiences i had were not the norm.
Now when an event invite appears in my inbox I’m almost certain one of my blogger pals will also have been invited, instead of me arriving to event sweating and probably hungry, i’ve now got someone to tell i’m sweating and hungry – so no i haven’t managed to transform myself into a non sweating lizard just yet, but at-least i’ve got someone to share it with.
I’ve noticed a lot of gif usage and “cliquey-ness” around blogging friendships, but this sunglasses clad group of camera wielding folk couldn’t be anymore different. I’m often reminded of my early event experiences when i’m at an event with my friends and i see someone alone. We sometimes end up picking up a straggler or talking to a bigger group of people, and it hits me that i could’ve used a group like ours to come along and invite me into an Instagram convo, when i was feeling like the odd one out in the room.
Having blogger friends IRL has helped me as a blogger online too, there’s nothing like talking about how much you hate Instagram to make yourself want to work even harder, or have someone to discuss a dramatic blogging decision with (i mean are blurry backgrounds out?) , and once i properly extended blogging to outside of the internet i found my confidence grew too. Even though i’ve got blogging friends alongside me now, if i do have to go it alone it doesn’t phase me anywhere near as much as it used to. They’re not too shabby at taking outfit photos either..
I may still have gotten sick before going on TV, and i might still get that worry about not being tall enough or if I’m wearing the right outfit. But if it wasn’t for an annoying sense of perseverance (self promote my friends, self promote) and finding my place in the community, i probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do the things that are now my biggest achievements.
Without trying to sound like a motivational speaker, there is no such thing as what a blogger should look like, if you have a blog you are a blogger and you belong here. (But i think i can make an exception for the girls who refused to talk to me at that event, you guys can go)
– Maria x
1st and 5th photo owned and taken by Alexandra Polyak www.alexandrapolyak.co.uk