It felt so good to open the door to my kitchen and step out on the beautiful patio that I have been planning and working on for months. Time constraints and weather setbacks made it tougher to get it completed, but I can finally relax and enjoy it. Yes, I love the way it turned out, but the finished product is much more than what meets the eye. This project was a shift in focus for me, a way to feel a sense of accomplishment and push myself in a different direction, an escape from the stress of being an “influencer” with a career and a family who was on the verge of a complete burnout.
Anyone who follows me on social media, may have noticed that I scaled back heavily in regards to my curly hair YouTube videos, Tik Tok, Instagram, Amazon Influencer program, and even this blog. It may come as a surprise since I had been sharing so many amazing opportunities that had come my way so quickly. My videos on YouTube have generated thousands and thousands of views and began running ads, and coupled with my social media accounts, I was receiving hair products in the mail almost every day from companies looking for content. I had finally begun getting paid for my posts, and affiliate marketing along with my Amazon store was becoming a nice side hustle.
So what happened? Why would I stop something when I was finally getting noticed and paid? Well, it suddenly stopped being fun. I started all of this, not necessary thinking it would lead to a full time career, but I thought I’d get some free hair stuff just for posting pics and having fun. It was going great, but I became completely overwhelmed. Taking photos and creating videos is not as “easy” as it looks. The set up, the editing, the lighting, the planning, the outfits, the whole process can take hours sometimes and many times there are deadlines you have to meet with brands. I was doing this for multiple products and for Amazon as well. During this time I was also in the middle of a career transition. I started working in a new law firm, learning real estate law which can be extremely stressful and my work hours completely changed from what I was used to.
While trying to juggle my new office life, and “influencing” I was missing out on family time. On weekends I would have to tell my little one that I couldn’t play because I had to make videos, or I had to do my makeup and my hair. I would be filming for hours while sacrificing so much of our life. The turning point was a few hours after I posted a video on Instagram that I felt obligated to do. I was tired, I really didn’t feel like doing my hair, but I was getting paid to create this “ad”. A few hours later I received a message from a follower asking me if I was “ok”. I was taken back by this question. So I inquired to why she would think that I wasn’t ok. Her response was, “It might just be me, but your smile is not reaching your eyes. It’s not that big, cheery, make you squint your eyes kinda smile, like you always do.” I was stunned. She was right. I looked back at the video and couldn’t believe how disinterested and bored I looked. It really hit me that I just wasn’t into creating another hair video. The whole thing became so overwhelming and stressful that it became a chore. I was putting so much effort into it, that it began to suck the fun out of it.
I realized that I needed to take a break from creating content. I switched my focus to things that I had been neglecting; my home life, my family, and my rest. So, what have I been keeping myself occupied with? My REAL life! I stopped obsessing over having perfect curls, I wore a lot less makeup, I work out every day, and I started spending time on the weekends watching Miraculous Ladybug with my daughters and sharing a beer with my husband on the couch. I started binge watching The Vampire Diaries at night and working on the project of transforming my patio in my free time. I planned it all out and as I stained my deck, it took my focus away from the deadlines and away from everything really. Although it was a lot of work, it brought me some peace and a sense of accomplishment in creating something that me and my family would enjoy this summer. It was real life and I didn’t feel pressured into documenting every second of it.
I think I will slowly ease myself into creating and posting more content, but I won’t let it control my life. I want to keep it as a fun hobby as I intended it to be. I have a great respect for content creators that do it as their job, but it’s not something that I want to be. I don’t want to feel the pressure of having to prove myself, having to always be “hustling & grinding” having to constantly show what I have accomplished, what I can do, what my hair looks like, where I got my outfit from, etc. The whole, “hustle, grind, and no days off” culture can be so toxic. The notion that you always have to be working and “accomplishing” things can easily lead to a burnout if you’re not careful. I realized that having a more laid back life where I focus on my home, my family, and my peace, and occasionally posting my content is much more fulfilling. I realized that everything I ever needed and wanted is literally right in front of me and the “extra” isn’t worth the time I was losing.