Self Portrait Series 14/52
Instagram came into my life when I was 26. I had to be taught what a hashtag was or how to tag someone. The thought of taking a selfie was seriously disgusting to me. I didn't understand for one minute how someone would actually post a selfie, let alone talk to their phone in public. Like, WHAT?! The audacity! Look at me now... bahahaha!
Instagram has morphed into something I never imagined for me. It is a way I get to connect with thousands of people in a really amazing way. I can't even explain how I feel so connected back to you. It's magical how you have been there for me in some of my happiest times and lowest of low times. I love that we share common bonds of real life moments. I love that I get to be me and inspire you to be you! Who would have thought? Not me. It's so much more to me than entertaining you for 50 seconds or less. It's so much more than posting pretty pictures. It's more than sharing products. It's about living life authentically and not being afraid or ashamed of who we are. Thank you for teaching me it's okay and safe to do that.
Being an “influencer” or “creator” is sometimes like wearing golden handcuffs - It's a huge blessing for my family. It gives me so many opportunities to connect with others and do good in the world, but it also comes at a price. It's very tricky and weird and it's a hard place to maneuver. This job is so different than most people imagine. There’s so much more to it than just posting stuff, going to photoshoots, and scheduling out ads. It’s about being there for people, but trying to manage their expectations so they aren’t upset when you can’t be there all the time. It’s sharing enough, but not too much. The line gets thinner and more hazy the longer I do this. Because I share a very real and unfiltered look into my life, it can be difficult to differentiate my work life and my home life. When do I allow myself to become distracted from a special moment with my family to share about it online? How do I LIVE IN the moment and also share the moment with you? It’s really hard. It’s ALWAYS on my mind. Work never shuts off for me. I feel lucky that I have the personality for this job.
I’d also like to mention, but not dwell on, the trolls out there that I receive messages from every day. The bombardment of inappropriate comments and harsh criticisms have begun to harden me in a way I never wanted. This job is not for the faint of heart and I wouldn’t wish the kinds of messages I receive on anyone.
Another strange part of all this has been Ammon quitting his job so I could focus more on mine. Our roles essentially reversed when I became the breadwinner and he became the caregiver for our home and children. We’re still trying to maneuver that and figure it out. Ammon sometimes struggles with feeling fulfilled and his love and empathy for stay-at-home parents has grown tenfold. He is so impressed with people who stay home and raise children day-in and day-out. I love that he gets to experience this side of parenting, but I know it’s a challenge. I’ve also found that my “masculine side” has come out in full force, and I’m finding it harder to feel “feminine” and “maternal.”
Let's talk about brands and how that works. For me I have learned the hard way that selling things I don't use helps no one. However, sharing things I love and use helps everyone. I try my best to pick brands that align with what I use in real life, things that add value to you or make your life easier, things that bond your family or relationships, things that uplift and inspire. I know that is cheesy, but it's true. I love sharing things that I really believe in and I hope you can find them worthwhile too. When you do purchase from these brands I get paid either way. I never want you to feel pressured to buy something that doesn't align with what you want or need in your life.
With that being said, I do share affiliates as well, where when you buy. I only share things that actually make a difference and that you also love. If the affiliate doesn't do well, I usually don't keep sharing it and if it does really well, I keep sharing because I see that it resonates.
Lastly, I have started to launch my own products and focus on that more and more. It's terrifying. I am so thankful for all of your support and positive comments, feedback, love, etc. I hope to keep sharing more!
I love that I get to share my life experiences with others in real time, all in hopes that we can all learn from each other and become better. One thing people ask me all the time is, “what is your platform?” “Who are you?” “What are you posting about?” And the truth is, I think I'm just a regular person posting about my regular life. There's nothing special about me other than I got a bad haircut. I've been sharing every day about my family, my love, and keeping it real. It's really hard to keep it real sometimes because you don't want to be vulnerable and share the ugly, awkward, scary things in life. But I think I’ve found success on Instagram because I do share those things. I’m able to connect with so many people because I share similar life experiences with them. Instagram is a huge part of who I am. I can tell you with certainty that most people are more like you than they are different.
Instagram is my profession, it is my passion, and I am grateful that I get to do what I love even though sometimes it's hard. I’d love to do a follow up to this post soon where I can answer some of your questions about being an influencer. What are your burning questions? Drop them in the comments section and I’ll choose some to answer in an upcoming post.