July 19, 2018
To begin with, I recently spent a few days in my small hometown on Vancouver Island (I moved to the mainland last year). It was great to visit my beloved old stomping grounds, and reconnect with old friends and family. Because it’s such a tight-knit community, I ran into a LOT of people. It’s been a few months since I’ve been back, but after the friendly “Hi, how are yous?” were over, I quickly found myself on the receiving end of a barrage of unsolicited comments about my new blogging hobby.
“WOW! You’re SO FAMOUS! Can I get a selfie?”
“I find it hard to believe people actually care about what you have to say. Why would they want to see pictures of you?”
“I don’t know why people would pay you for doing that. What does your husband think of all this?”
“I hope you don’t waste your time blogging about your next trip”.
“We pretended we were you for one day and created a fake hashtag #BeingKama. It’s a lot of hard work. I wouldn’t bother to do that myself”.
Interestingly, some of these words are from people who have been close in my life for years and years, and will continue to be. Some of it’s both funny and harmless. Others are just plain curious. Some of it’s downright judgmental. Now, I have a pretty thick skin, but these words are tough to digest.
In other words, there are NO bloggers in my small town. It’s an alien concept. (Well, there’s ONE, who’s also a teacher and runs a very successful blog about decorating houses.) She’s BIG elsewhere but has somehow managed to stay pretty much under the radar in her own community— A brilliant idea!
As I shared in my first ever post: “Why I’ve Been Scared To Become A Blogger”, I’ve been surrounded by the belief that bloggers must be full of themselves. I mean, isn’t it narcissistic to believe that anyone would actually want to read what you write and look at the photos you take? When you’re around this mindset all the time, it’s hard to not internalize these messages. It took me moving away from my small hometown to gain the breathing room and confidence to finally try blogging in my own voice, on my own website & social channels.
The truth is, I love writing. I love taking photos, meeting new people and sharing ideas. I feel ALIVE when I’m being creative like this. This is WHY I blog.
Consequently, blogging has also allowed my family to go on some fun local adventures together (hello water parks, birthday trains and picnics!) Yes, I get a lot of free stuff and have secured a handful of paid contracts, but it’s been kind of a net zero game so far, as I wrote about here.
For starters, I want to be clear that I’m not sharing this with sour grapes. I will NEVER reveal who said these words quoted above, as I continue to care about these people. The reason I’m sharing this is twofold… I reflect best in writing as it helps to organize my thoughts. I also KNOW in my gut that there are MANY other people who are in (or from) small towns who can relate to this on some level.
Maybe it’s not that you want to become a blogger. Perhaps it’s a hidden passion for chess. Or a lifelong love of dance. Or even the idea of becoming an actor, or a politician, or a lawyer, or a shoe designer. Who knows? Whatever it is, I’m sure people have opinions about it. And you’ll have people tell you that you shouldn’t do it. Who do you think you are?
Or perhaps you live in a big city, and are part of a group or community that tries to silence what makes you stay awake at night, daring to dream about.
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any advice for you, other than that I am there with you.
If you’re not familiar with the “crabs in a bucket” theory, it’s basically about a bunch of crabs hanging out in a pot together. Little do they know, the pot is on the stove, the temperature is cranked up to high, and things are getting a little steamy. One crab—let’s call him Joey—starts looking around and notices that everyone is looking a bit redder than usual.
Joey has an epiphany! He needs to get the heck out of this pot or else he’s going to end up on a dinner plate in one of those restaurants with a fancy French name that charges $50 a meal. Joey can’t let himself end up like this. He starts crawling out of the pot. Just before Joey gets to breathe the fresh air and escape back into the nearby ocean, his crab buddies realize just what he’s doing and can’t let themselves be shown up. They grab hold of his legs with all their might and keep Joey in the boiling water until they all end up as the special du jour at Chez Cordon Bleu. The end.
This is a sad story, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
To conclude, a few people came up to be and said how proud they are of what I’m doing and how I’m entertaining or inspiring them. Others had some great ideas about how we could work together on community building projects. And some shared their own passions, their dreams for the community and what THEY’RE doing to make a difference. YES!
Let’s be cheerleaders for each other, not crabs.