Ok, I had to say it.
I wanted to be all up-beat about it being already 12 years that I’ve been blogging. It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride, and I honestly cannot believe that I’ve lasted this long in the cat-scratch-cat world of blogging.
As much as it sounds like I’m whining, or that I sound ungrateful, the blog anniversary has hit me a little harder this time around.
Not good enough for the science stuff
Have you noticed the rise in science-based skincare and correspondingly, the rise in so-called online “experts” and bloggers who put themselves forward with a focus on science and product ingredients? People who don’t necessarily have a background or degree in science or chemistry, but who do their research online and then purport to ‘educate’ their readers. Sometimes, it troubles me because they don’t have a basic grounding in the field of chemistry.
As a blogger today, you are expected to talk about and dissect ingredients and pore over ingredient lists. You are supposed to be able to tell what ingredient will work for a certain skin, and what ingredients you should avoid because it’s “toxic”. I feel the pressure and the need to have to talk about this, even though I don’t have any scientific qualifications to my name, and I feel like a fraud. However, I do try to be careful not to mislead, because there is so little I understand myself. If I don’t understand it, I say so.
Truth to tell, all I am qualified to tell you, as a blogger, is this “I tried this cream/serum/cleanser/makeup item and I like it because it makes my skin feel and look better” But you know what? This is no longer good enough.
So thank you to Stephan who is a cosmetics formulator, and an expert in the field, for telling me that it’s OK for me, a beauty blogger, not to be all about the ingredients and the science. I’m here to share my OPINION on how it feels, and that’s what I’ll stick to.
Not good enough for the lifestyle crowd
So many people are now beauty bloggers, a large number of whom encompass a whole lifestyle package. There is a ‘look’ you have to conform to for this lifestyle malarkey, and it’s not one I have LOL You are, in short, expected to be of model material, poised and pulled together.
So many opportunities or interesting beauty launches have passed me by because they want that lifestyle element, or a particular mould; not merely a straight beauty-product focused approach.
But you know what? Lifestyle is much more than just traipsing around pretty cafes, or helping a brand promote a newest electrical gadget, or shopping site, promoting property development (this is the weirdest use of KOLs yet) or to drive and push sales.
It is about how you live your life even if it means being in crummy shorts and t shirts, not only about the free trips and fun tea parties. It is about doing dirty things like cleaning ovens and scrubbing bathroom tiles. It is about cooking and eating and doing grocery shopping, without having to be photographed or documented every step of the way.
MWS has allowed me to occasionally step outside the realm of beauty, into the real world, and I enjoy that. I’ve enjoyeddoing ‘aunty things’ like telling you about floor sweepers, dishwashing liquid, oven cleaners, or just about cooking simple food, and really, that’s about as “lifestyle” as I get.
It just isn’t good enough because it’s not glamorous nor am I dolled up to the nines while telling you about it LOL! Next time, maybe I have to stick my mug next to my food to say “Look, I made this, and check out my new lipstick!” or pose alluringly in a tiny (sponsored) dress next to my sparkling clean oven :D The day you see me do that, smack me, someone! :P
Not good enough to be a beauty blogger
All this time, I thought I was staying on top of things, moving forward, hitting the right spots for the older, less-represented beauty bloggers.
Then, recently, one comment made to me, almost off the cuff, hit me right in the solar plexus. I literally felt the air leave me and a chill ran down my spine.
I introduced myself very recently as “A beauty blogger” and I was told – “You don’t look like a beauty blogger”
It was late in the evening, I had had a long day so maybe I looked a little tired. Maybe my age was showing. Maybe my makeup wasn’t perfect. Maybe I don’t look svelte and poised, nor was I dressed to the nines.
I don’t know guys.
What does a beauty blogger look like?
I’ve said before, I’m imperfect. But the myth of the young, beautiful beauty blogger still persists all these years. As with everything in the beauty industry, even beauty blogging is ageist, prone to body-shaming, and is terribly superficial.
Not good enough to be technical
You know what happens when you become a blogger? You not only have to be your own editor, photographer, model, art director and content creator. You also have to be IT support.
You must deal with software issues with your blog platform, hosting issues, server problems, and software problems to just name a few. And you know what? None of them come easy nor cheap.
You can host your blog for as little as $1 a day. Maybe even for free. But I have poured in hundreds of dollars a month into my blog for the past 12 years, and rates only keep going up. There are many things you need to keep the blog alive and running smoothly and efficiently.
While you can depend on your hosts to get it right, they sometimes get it wrong. And that’s when you face the dreaded “No connection to website” notice, or slow loading website, that leaves you tearing your hair out in frustration, as you repeatedly head-desk your keyboard.
I’m not trained to do this! I taught myself HTML when I started, and CSS and PHP and all that jargon. I taught myself patience while I gnawed my fingernails to the quick. Yes, I can pay for it to work better, but really, there’s a limit to how much I can pay, when the site is barely paying for itself, isn’t it?
Not good enough for Instagram
Ah Instagram – I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because you are all so interactive on that platform. I love it for the Stories feature that lets me be a little silly and snarky. I love it because the engagement I get from all of you there is unreal and I love it, I promise, even if I may not reply to everyone immediately.
But I hate it because so much score is laid by your numbers on Instagram. This isn’t Instagram’s fault, but the fault of those who gauge success by numbers, and Instagram allows you to see those numbers.
People craving a modicum of success buy followers or likes or engagement. Some of them did it long ago. Some are still doing it. We see you. But it doesn’t matter – the numbers are what everyone wants.
Instagram doesn’t help either. They ‘reward’ large accounts with features craved by many, especially the “swipe up” feature, that lets you add links to your Instagram Stories. This gets around the problem of Instagram not allowing click through links. But this coveted feature is only available to those with over 10,000 followers. Try growing 10k followers organically. It’s hard. I’m nowhere near this elusive figure.
I have people tell me – “Why don’t you buy some followers? At least you can look more successful” Or “We have a campaign, but we need you to have at least 10,000 followers”.
Do these people realize how unethical they are, and how they force others to be similarly unethical?
Better yet, those who tell me “Oh, no one wants to read anymore. Forget about your blog and focus on Instagram” It was like a stake through the heart!
I’ve battled my inner demons for a while when it comes to Instagram. I still battle them, but I’ve learnt to take breaks, not to follow too many people, not to see what other people are doing, and above all, to have fun. My fun outlet is Instagram Stories, and I’ve been told by many that they’ve enjoyed my random, quirky stories – and I am pleased, because that’s basically how I am – slightly random, slightly quirky :)
Not good enough but I’m trying
So really, 12 years in the game, and I can safely tell you that you will never be good enough. There will always be someone doing it better than you are. There will always be someone more willing to do things that you won’t do. There will always be someone happy to step into your space when you choose to step back.
The beauty blogging or blogging world in general is not a nice place – it is the cold, hard truth. You can’t put a bunch of people in a room, dangle a carrot before them, and expect everyone to be nice and supportive of each other so everyone gets a bite. That’s not how human nature works. Human nature dictates that the teeth and nails will come out so one person gets the carrot, while the remaining slink away to tend to their cuts and bruises.
I’ve stepped back in recent times. There’s no use my thinking I’m not good enough, when in fact, I am, and should be. Perhaps, I’m not good enough for others, but I’m good enough by my (high) standards, and for me, and what I want to be.
Perhaps, that might even be good enough :)
Thank you for reading my blog the past 12 years. I don’t know when you first dropped by or if you’ve been there from the start. I don’t know if you’ve lost interest and wandered off. But for all the times you did stop by to read, to leave a comment, to interact, I thank you.
It helps me realise that I AM good enough :)