Every day I delete over two dozen emails from PR companies with invites to review beauty items, become an affiliate for an online boutique, interview an actress or an author, and share an expert’s insight on relationships, sex, or self-love. It’s annoying as fuck, even if I get free products and get paid to push brands. Bloggers would KILL for these emails and contacts. At one point, I did too. At one point, I sold out my authentic brand voice and messaging for the ‘Gram.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Yup, I wished for it. As the Pussycat Doll’s song lyric, “Be careful what you wish for or you just might get it,” runs through my head as I type, I recall how desperately I wanted to be a part of “the in-crowd” of bloggers and influencers. I remember attending BlogHer in San Diego and pimping myself out as a love expert and blogger to brands that just wanted a mommy spin. I was single then and sans child. I felt rejected, defeated, and determined. All those feelings usually comingle inside of me; when I’m told no I usually feel like shit before saying to myself, “Oh, I’m going to do this. Just you wait!”
I Can and I Did. Even Though I Sold Out My Authentic Brand Voice
And that’s what I did. I researched brands, pitched myself, and wrote for multiple family-friendly blogs (Babble and Momtastic) as a relationship blogger with a “single gal who desperately wants a family and a husband” spin. It was a strategic entrepreneurial move to diversify my portfolio and be more sellable. But it went against my authentic brand voice.
Real talk, when brand reps perused the former Love Sujeiry they’d clutch their pearls – unless they worked for Trojan. But Trojan didn’t have weekly events, and I wanted to be cool for the ‘Gram. I wanted to showcase (see: boast) my life like a highly solicited escort! In this case, I wanted Instagram followers to view me as a confident, go-getter and hustler that constantly elevated her game. I was doing all of the things to be seen and heard for superficial reasons. When we live for the ‘Gram and for the approval of others, we tie these external factors to our worth. We do whatever it takes to fulfill that void.
Things suddenly can take a turn. You get ugly. You grow jealous of other women, friends even, that are living their life like it’s golden (or so it seems). You sell yourself out and compete for that invite and ticket to travel the world (literally).
Competition Isn’t An Evil Word
Ain’t nothing wrong with competition. Often women are taught that competition is a dirty word and that it is somehow unsupportive. I am a champion of #womensupportingwomen but not if that woman is my direct competitor. Why would I promote a brand that does exactly what I do?
Competition quickly turns into something nasty when jealousy and hate-a-rade are in the mix. That’s where I was before the emails from PR agencies drowned my Inbox. A former friend was dipping and doing it all over NYC at brand events, magazine launches, and industry parties while I watched her Instagram feed, green with envy. I wanted to support her and I did with words of encouragement, like, “I’m so happy for you!” and, “You deserve this!” all while thinking to myself, “Why not me?!”
Ugly, I know. But this is a common outcome when coveting fame, the spotlight, and followers just to be liked and accepted. What started as a business strategy to grow and elevate my brand soon turned into a life that triggered me and my insecurities. I sold out. I was no longer authentically me online, a space that I love so much. Until today.
Here I go, deleting emails. Here I go unsubscribing to lists that I desperately wanted to receive once upon a time. This isn’t my tribe. This isn’t what I want. I see that clearly now.