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Blogging as an Accidental Influencer in the Age of Covid

Once upon a time we could drive to spectacular locales and flash our uncovered smiles all over our blogs or social media.

That time is no longer.

We’re stuck in our houses- and if you’re a covid survivor, like I am- have extreme PTSD and anxiety about socializing, reaching out, the entirety of 2020- everything.

I’ve rediscovered this blog as a therapeutic way to reach out to people, especially those like me, who are shut in with their families and going stir crazy for life again… but unable to do so in this new circumstance we find ourselves in.

I am an accidental influencer… I have been since my daughter was born and I just started posting her photos on Instagram 6 years ago.

I accidentally fell pregnant with the child at age 45, long after most of my peers had stopped having their broods and looked forward to grandkids.

I didn’t know about hashtags and all that- honestly, I am still learning. I just saw that others were tagging the clothes and the things that their kids wore and thought that was ‘the new thing’. 23k plus Instagram followers later, I am still in a kind of confused shock.

At that time, I was a 40 something woman stuck in the house with a baby and reaching out- hoping to find others like me. I was hoping to share our experiences and I found so many like me, which was encouraging and comforting.

The most enjoyable part of being an influencer is not only the free stuff I am able to try out and review- without having to actually leave my home- but also being able to connect with others who are as isolated as we are.

While I am far more successful using my Instagram account as a vehicle for expressing myself and our daily lives, I’ve discovered other ways (which I am hoping to try out soon) to reach a broader influence.

Pinterest has launched a new IG type format, which I think may be a very interesting new facet in the world of social media sharing/influencing:


https://www.engadget.com/pinterest-launches-story-pins-influencers-130047393.html

I enjoy following other influencers as well, like Amy West, whose rise to influencer ‘stardom’ can be seen here:

https://intellifluence.com/blog/amy-west-influencer-spotlight

Personally, I don’t have the ambition to create that level of fabu-bloggery. I’m a loathsome GenX underachiever with very little time on my hands. 

I love ‘checking in’ in between homeschooling and raising my kid and caring for extended family- and staying alive in general.

It is fun glimpsing other people’s lives, even as a lurker. It’s inspiring reading what others have to share- without the social anxiety or the threat of disease… a way for those of us closet introverts to connect with others and grow.

We NEED more people out there with voices, so if you’re interested in becoming an ‘influencer’ as well, start a blog. Tweet. Write. Post on Instagram.

If you’re a Covid or other type of survivor, like I am- share your stories. We all need to feel a little less alone during these scary, sterile times.

We all have something to say and there are many out there, like me, who would love to read your stories.

I wish you all good health and safety during this absolutely mind-boggling horrorshow that is 2020.

Jess



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This Blog Saved Me & Social Isolation- Also, WHY I Overshare…

Today I spent the entire day in bed- something I don’t remember doing (except when I did bedrest during pregnancy) in EONS. The stress of the last day caused a massive and sudden flare up of my lupus, which is never fun.

I am SO glad that I had the luxury of doing this- and had people to help watch baby while I did.

I slept, mostly. I had nightmares- so many! A few of them involved my parents, but the details are faded.

I needed this. It helped. The rest was lovely.

The evening was spent playing with my new ‘toy’, the iPhone 6- and the Periscope app, which is a live streaming vlog thing from your phone. Sam showed me it this morning. It was a lot of fun and gave me something to take my mind off of my troubles.

I know a lot of people wonder why I am so transparent with me life.

I grew up in a household where we were ashamed to admit to things- or hid things- or whatever. Not always, but oftentimes. I refuse to do this now. If I don’t have the courage to speak up, who will? If I can inspire even one other person going through tough times (alone in their heads or otherwise), I feel like I will be doing my job.

Living in fear, in shame, in secrecy is not good at all, not ever. I overshare because I have to. If I don’t, the feelings and thoughts and memories inside of me threaten to eat away at my soul. I have to force myself to be honest with myself- and I can only seem to do this with the written word… as poorly written/edited as it may be.

Also, I am ‘landlocked’ in a house with a baby and males who aren’t the best conversationalists- this blog SAVED ME. I started this on the 1st of July of this year when my back went out again and have been pretty much faithful about posting ever since. I have a wee bit of social anxiety as well, which can translate to agoraphobia at times. If I don’t feel I look good, I don’t want people to see me-type-thing. Spending years in front of a camera and having to be photographed is often a shitty thing for the ego as one ages, believe me. It’s shallow and stupid, but it happens- it’s happened to me.

Though I have a TON of friends on my Facebook and Instagram, I really don’t in real life. People come to visit, they come to my dinner parties, they ask for readings… but I never seem to ‘connect’ fully. I also don’t know how to give my own problems a voice in Real Time. I feel guilt to even admit to them. Sure, I can bitch and moan like the best of ’em, but I have been so used to being the ‘ear’ to others, I can’t be vulnerable in person. It’s like I have an armor around me that is made of smiles and jokes and laughter- or anger. I try to avoid drama at all costs nowadays, even if I sometimes lose my goddamned mind and instigate it within my own family because I get sick of the same dynamic.

Our voices are formed within the familial unit(s). If we feel we don’t have a voice, or our opinions/thoughts don’t matter- this can be as bad as physical abuse. It can, like it has with me, translate into a lifetime of defensive hurt.

Writing it out is a solitary thing. There is no pressure. I can see what I think. I can read what I think. I can understand the whys of who I am. It’s non-sexual mental masturbation at it’s finest, really.

I talked to a friend in real life recently who says that she NEEDS people and has a problem being alone. I have none of that. I’ve always felt alone, even in crowds. I understand her, though.

Today, when I was going through one of the toughest times in recent history emotionally- not ONE SINGLE ‘CLOSE’ FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER REACHED OUT, at least no one I know in real time. The ones who did were folks I’d never met before, people from the Internet or FB or what have you and THIS HELPED ME SO MUCH. For the first time in years, I NEEDED to be ‘talked off the ledge’ and I am so grateful for those few kind words from virtual strangers.

I don’t habitually HAVE issues like these, so people are not used to me ‘venting’ per se. Maybe that’s it. I don’t know.
I just know that it hurts not to be able to have anyone to talk to in real life. It hurts to watch my children be depressed, too, and not be able to do anything about it. I cannot easily speak to my older sons, they’re men and have their own support systems.

When I posted the blog of the things that happened to my FB wall, for the most part it was met with UTTER SILENCE. I had one person whom I knew that was kind enough to speak up, but that was it.

I scrolled through my own FB feed and saw others venting about their own problems- and, as I usually am prone to do, I left messages and comments.

I hate seeing other people hurt. I hate hurting emotionally, too. It makes me sad that my ‘real life’ is the most unreal when it gets down to the brass tacks. It makes me sad that only the strangers and friends I never met were there for me.

So, yeah… this blog saved me. If I cannot talk to another human being, at least I have the comfort of knowing that I can talk to myself.

I have people coming to me, asking for readings all the time. I understand that they NEED me. I understand that they need someone to help sort out their problems. I have, for the most part, refused to do any readings (I am a professional psychic, btw) since becoming pregnant with Maisie. My job takes a lot out of me. I absorb too much. I want to be able to reserve my energy for my child/children/parents right now, because they NEED me.

My biggest question is: Where do I go when I need someone to talk to?

This blog is really the only answer. I can feel sorry for myself here and ‘let it go’.

I DID, however, have ONE PERSON call me and ask about the incident with my mother. It was my 2nd oldest sister.
She reprimanded me and yelled at me for not ‘standing up to my mom’- not realizing that our mother has dementia now and it really would not do a damned bit of good to go off her. It would just make it worse. My mother now TRULY has no control over her rages. At one time, when it was ‘just’ the bipolar, she should have been accountable.

It’s far too late now.

I can’t change anyone. I can only try to change myself… and ramble and type on until my fingers hurt and I am able to get this all spewed out so it no longer lives inside of my head.

Social isolation blows. Being frozen within yourself, ditto. I love my blog, though. I love that I have a voice, even if nobody reads/hears it. I love that I can remove the clutter from my brain and brush myself off and go on with my life.