I’d been considering doing this blog post for a very long time, I did want to do a video, but words sometimes need a bit more thought than just projecting things that come into my head at my camera. When I started this blog, back in 2009 because I’d read other blogs and I despised my job and used this as an escape. A place to talk about my most recent Mac find at the boot sale for 50p! It was my hobby, and what’s really important to remember at the beginning of this blog post, is that it still is. It just happens to be my job now.
Over the past few years, my life seems to have taken a complete 180. Did I set out for it to become that way? Of course not. Did I ever expect it? Hell no. Did I ever plan on making a living from it? Nope.
I was quite set on just making videos to make people happy, regardless of how many people watched them, and that is still my main aim. It just so happens that there is now A LOT of people, and with a lot of people, come many characters and opinions. Something I am not used to. I am a wallflower, I have anxiety, I’m not a disney princess who lives this perfect life with no flaws or ups or downs. I’ve had some of the hardest things to overcome over the past years i’ve been online, but have chosen to keep those things personal to me, things I’m still having to deal with now.
I just want you to know that behind “Zoella” is Zoe, a normal girl, a girl who sometimes falls asleep with her makeup on, or has a panic attack in the airport, who cares what people think of her way too much, who sometimes eats chocolate for breakfast. I often think that a lot of people just expect that the YouTubers they watch or look up to, are used to the commotion, or stopping for pictures when you go shopping, or standing on a stage in front of 5,000 people screaming at you, or accepting an award in wembley stadium in front of 9,000 people ON MY OWN (absolutely terrifying). I can honestly tell you, I still wake up every day and pinch myself and it’s not really sunk in. People ask me if i’m a celebrity…and the answer is no. I’m not. I just make videos that lot’s of people like to watch. Does that mean that it’s okay for groups of girls to sit outside my house and wait for me to leave, or to ring my doorbell multiple times? I’m not sure it does. Does that mean I am able to perfectly handle walking into a room at an event or a meet and greet to be greeted by a wall of screams? No, I’m still not quite used to that one either haha!
I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I still find this all very overwhelming. I am a person that suffers very badly from anxiety, and yet I still push myself to try all these new and exciting avenues that crop up on this extremely bizarre and amazing journey I seem to be trundling along on (with you all by my side). I am offered SO MANY amazing opportunities, things I never thought for one second I would ever do, things that only a crazy person would turn down. Is it hard for me to do these things? 60% of the time YES. You see the vlogs, and everything looks so peachy, what you don’t see, are those moments when I have to stand outside to calm down, where I have to spend the evening in bed instead of hanging out with all my friends making memories in new places. It’s hard, it’s just not something I ever talk about or vlog about (funnily enough, in these situations, my first priority is never to grab my camera…), but do I want to miss out on meeting people who want to meet me? Of course not. There has been a lot of talk surrounding “YouTube Celebrity Culture” and the fan base that has grown for youtubers recently. I uploaded a vlog from Digifest where things did get a little crazy, and have felt that more and more people are growing confused by it. All I can say is, you and me both. I like to document these things, and share them with you all, because it’s a part of my life, and it’s because of you reading or watching that have enabled me to do all these amazing things. When i’m old and wrinkly, I’ll hope I can watch back at those clips of people screaming whilst i’m stood on a stage and remember it with smiles (possibly not my teeth mind you). I do find it very difficult to fully enjoy meet and greets recently. As our audiences have grown, and more and more people would like the chance to meet us (Trust me, I’m still not quite getting my head around this either…), it becomes increasingly difficult to be able to carry things like this out safely for everyone there. I hate not being able to sit around a table and chat anymore, and I am looking into ways that it can be scaled down. Not only does it break my heart that I can’t meet everybody, but I feel like quantity should never outnumber quality when it comes to things like this and it all gets very rushed, and squished and I come away from it feeling like I might have let people down, or because i’m on edge myself, they haven’t gotten to meet the best version of myself. (Anxious minds tend to overthink). It also breaks my heart when other people have panic attacks. I can empathise with them completely and have jumped into queues and crowds and pulled girls out and made sure they are okay on a number of different occasions. Security is also an issue for me in most venues or meet ups, they are paid to stand and make sure that nothing gets out of hand, they are not generally very friendly, or accommodating, and that too makes me a little mad. Myself, Louise & Tanya have all had a pop at security recently, so we are certainly aware that they aren’t always nice. Besides this, and events and meet ups being quite a stressful environment, it makes me SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY to be able to meet you, and hug you and to hear in some cases from you personally that I have made a difference to your life. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling, but it’s amazing!
It would be interesting to hear some of your thoughts if you have been to a meet up in the comments?
I’ve been to a lot of conventions, with lot’s of viewers and fellow online friends and have received many amazing receptions, screaming, crying, hugging, and in all honesty, I don’t feel like it ever really felt like any of it was for me. It sort of went over my head. I don’t mean that in a negative way, just in the fact that I think if I blocked out that side of it, it would be less pressurising and less stressful for me. I am just a normal girl after all, I almost felt as though I didn’t deserve it. The other day, when I went to digifest, a convention in hammersmith with 5,000 people. I walked out on stage with all my friends, and my brother and everyone cheered and all of a sudden I got chills all over my body and I just felt like the luckiest person alive to be standing there, with all the people I love who has also gone through this crazy journey with me and it struck me that people were happy to see us. I really had to force myself not to cry, and that was the first time, since I’d started any of this, that I felt it was real. It can be very overwhelming, and that point, I felt it more than ever.
I don’t know how things got to how they are today, but I am so grateful for every single one of you who support me no matter what, and can hold my hand (virtually) through all this. And I definitely do need that. I’ve met some amazing people, travelled to some amazing places, and i’m not sure any of this would have happened if it wasn’t for something very life changing happening in my life in 2012, and me deciding I was going to say yes more often or if it wasn’t for those of you reading this now. This is all very new, and people are still trying to get their heads around it, but don’t forget, that we are too :)
I have some very exciting things coming up this year and there is always that small part of me that feels as though I should just creep back and just stick to making videos and nothing else, but there is also that part of me that is SO excited to live out things I only ever dreamed of as I was growing up. I worry too much about the negative people, that don’t agree with the way this has all panned out. I’ve learnt now that those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind, and there is no way i’m ditching the option to do the things i’ve always wanted just in case a few people disagree or send me mean comments. I can’t wait to share these exciting things with you, and I really hope you’re excited too.
Well, I feel like I just offloaded! haha there is definitely some food for thought, but I just wanted to clear up how I felt about all this recently. Of course I can only speak for myself, but you have to remember that behind the smiles, and the hugs and the screams and squeals, we are normal people, and we can find it overwhelming and daunting too, and we just want to meet as many of you as we can, in a safe way. YOU are our priority. :) And if you don’t want to meet me, that’s okay too! I have a really broad audience, which can be difficult to cater to, I just hope that those of you reading this are happy, like watching my videos, and in turn that makes me happier than anything!
Love you all