Give or take flat batteries, not wanting to live life through a lens (so to speak) and mis-placed cameras I’ve really enjoyed documenting my life in vlog form over the past few weeks.
That said, every time I ‘promote’ my footage I get a little unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. Twitter promo isn’t so bad, neither is Instagram, but on Facebook where I’m laying not only my everyday life, but also my (sometimes shoddy) creativity for my peers to see – close friends, new friends, people from school who I haven’t spoken to for years, work colleagues. What must they think of me posting this? I think. I often, stall, and wonder whether I should promote, but I do, and here’s why. In fact, here’s why I do what I do blog, vlog and all…
I blog because I need an outlet to write. I’ve always adored writing. As a child every summer holiday would see me dust off my mother’s old typewriter and start thumping away as I attempted a new story. They were mostly rubbish and generally about other children going on their jolly holidays to the sea-side (how twee), but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the whole process, my fingers hitting the keys, the creativity, being able to have something to read afterwards which gave such hints of what was going through my mind at the time I wrote it. As I got older I continued to write in journals, but as I got older still and time came at more of a premium, I found that writing was an indulgence I couldn’t always justify. Blogging allows me to write guilt-free, almost and keeps me accountable to putting something in words at least every few days. That, in turn, is good for my mental health and the well-being of those around me who benefit from me being a happy, smiley being.
In a similar vein I vlog because I love the creativity of it. The recording is part of it, but sometimes that can be awkward and I’m certainly no cinematographer. The part I really enjoy is sitting down with a hot cup of tea, opening iMovie and piecing clips together, overlaying music and playing with speed and credits and all other fancy things which I don’t fully understand. Some people knit, I edit.
I do both because it’s a lasting reminder. I really wanted to blog and vlog as soon as Elliott appeared in this world. I honestly, and naively, didn’t realise how demanding a new born could be and so, with the exception of a few blog posts (and a few unedited video clips still languishing on my hard drive) it didn’t happen. Now I look back and, regret, isn’t the right word, but I wish I had more to document that first year. Photographs are great, but words and, especially videos are better. Nothing can prepare you for how quickly time goes when you have a little one and these two creative outlets are my ways of hanging onto those precious moments.
Vlogging also allows me to talk to myself in a way that feels sane. I realist that makes me sound insane. Elliott’s vocabulary is picking up. We think he can say ‘Yeah’ and he can imitate the noises that a cow and a sheep make. He likes shouting ‘Ma ma ma ma ma!’ at the top of his voice when something is to his dis-satisfaction and ‘Da da da da da!’ when he wants to play. But short of that if I’m on my own with him at home the conversation can be a little one sided. Sometimes, having an outlet to talk to, albeit a camera, helps me get through the day. It can also act as a confidence boost as I think ‘Oh, I did well to do that’ or ‘Oh, I came across well there’, although that can also have the opposite effect when I have a ‘Oh sh*t I look like cr*p’ moment.
But why promote it? Why not just leave it there sitting on my hard drive to be discovered in a few years, or forgotten about like an old photo album? Well… I first discovered the YouTube world when looking for a tutorial on how to curl my poker straight hair, my hairdresser had managed to do it on my wedding day, so it was possible. Why couldn’t I do it myself? I first stumbled across Fleur de Force and Anna Saccone-Joly. I’ve stuck with Anna, but rarely watch Fleur now. As I clicked through more and more recommended videos I stumbled across Estee Lalonde, Zoe Sugg, Tanya Burr, A Model Recommends, Caroline Hirons. Throughout my pregnancy I devoured Anna Saccone’s weekly pregnancy updates shouting ‘me too’ as I watched and washed up at the same time. I tried to find other mummy vloggers and, I did, but they were all so blooming young and so blooming perfect and just generally blooming that I felt a bit out of sorts. And, well, that’s one reason I put myself out there online, not to brag, but simply to give you a real account of the older imperfect mother. Is there a market for that, who knows? But if I do make a little money from it then that’s fine and dandy also. And if I don’t and I just make someone smile, or give someone an idea for a day out, or a chance to say ‘me too’ then that’s fine too – us mummies have to stick together online or not.
Why do you do what you do?