I am a sensitive soul. Anyone who knows me will tell you that, and I think it is obvious from what I write here.
Sensitivity has many positives. It makes us kind people – we are sensitive to others’ needs, sometimes more than most. Sometimes.
But it comes with its pitfalls. Fear of rejection for one. We often don’t put ourselves out there, because comments or rejection from other people can hurt us – often more than others. Whilst a lot of people can shrug off a lot of the crap that gets doled out, us sensitive types tend to take it all to heart.
And that is me. All sensitive heart.
Blogging is a big deal for me. I have a son with autism. Any conventional 9 to 5 career was rapidly dashed as it became clear that Master J needed me at home. I was gutted and left feeling adrift. Blogging exploded and I saw an opportunity to put myself out there, in relative safety, from the comfort of my own home.
It didn’t come without its stresses. Most people blog in the hope that they can make a full time living from it one day. The pressure to monetise is huge and indeed blogging is now considered, and rightfully so, a bona fide career choice, though it takes an inordinate amount of hard work to ‘make it’ to any level that can be described as a full time career.
I lack a niche, something that is considered vital. You need to appeal to brands to create a working relationship. This totally makes sense. I don’t have a niche. That is okay. I blog from the heart (hence the name). But, rightly or wrongly, I do feel like that in order to consider myself a success I should be blogging about something that brands will be interested in. I have to constantly remind myself that I am working to the beat of my own drum, that I don’t need the money (thankfully), that life has provided me with enough, and that I do this for the love of it.
But in truth, I want to be recognised, valued and considered worthy in this realm of blog. Value and recognition is what we all crave, what drives us, and it would be incredibly arrogant of me to think otherwise. It is about a sense of self worth, and trying to create online that which has been lost in the real-life world.
Recently, I decided to put myself out there. I decided to email three quite big personalities about how they had inspired me. I had lived too small for too long, I decided, and felt that it was selfish of me to expect recognition if I didn’t take the time to recognise others. So I wrote to them. One was an incredibly successful author, massive, like appeared on the Oprah show massive. The other two were bloggers, one of whom actively asks for feedback in their newsletter. I felt it was important to let these people know that I had been touched by their work.
Two of them didn’t reply at all. The other one, the one that asks for feedback, sent through an automated response saying that whilst all feedback is valued, they were very busy and wouldn’t be able to reply.
I know that in this world of fast paced madness, that it is considered selfish and indulgent to expect personalities to respond, especially with all the crazies out there. And perhaps there is an unwritten rule that I should be altruistic and expect nothing in return. But this is where I have a problem. When did it become acceptable not to respond to people taking the time to express how they value and appreciate your work? I don’t believe anyone is too big to respond. If the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, a world renowned author can respond, then so can anyone else. Even if it is through ‘your people’, a choice to respond is always possible.
There’s only one rule I know of babies, God dammit, you’ve got to be kind” – Kurt Vonnegut
I was one of those girls who was always a little anti popular culture. My friends would always have posters of pop stars from the Radio and TV times plastered over their walls. I would go and visit them and they would drool over those posters, imagining themselves in the arms of whatever hunk was the flavour of the day. I couldn’t understand it. Those celebrities were just human. They weren’t super gods. They crapped in the toilet the same way I did.
Now, I am the first to admit that this thinking may have been borne out of the fact that I suffered terribly from low self esteem and that the idea that a pop hunk might be interested in me didn’t even warrant the dream since it was never going to happen. Or it could just be the fact that even if you make a lot of money, have become famous and are talented in your sphere, that doesn’t make you better than me. Maybe it is because I believe that you wouldn’t have reached that level of fame and fortune without people appreciating your work and paying money to get it. The key here is appreciation.
So, yes, I do believe that when someone puts themselves on the line to let you know how your work has inspired them, or that they have really taken your message to heart and used it in their lives, or how your blog speaks to them every day, it damn well warrants a thank you at the very least. Whilst you have given them a gift of inspiration, they have given you the gift of their time and appreciation. And that takes courage, sometimes a lot of courage.
I am sensitive, easily hurt. Even by random celebrity types whom I haven’t met personally. I mistakenly gave those three people hero status. It wasn’t fair to do this. By my own mantra, they are human, they make mistakes, they believe their own press. I have had to let them go. I still value their words (you know words are my thing), but I also realise that when you get to some kind of status (afforded you by other people by the way), it’s easy to forget who you were writing for in the first place.
I never want to forget. Please don’t let me forget. If I ever reach some form of status in the blogging world, and you write to me to let me know how much you value my work, and I don’t respond, feel free to email me a kick up the bum.
Have you had a similar experience at all? How did you deal with it?