I could sit here and tell you about the many reasons for which I attempted to keep my blog anonymous, but the aim here is personal development and sharing my fears won’t teach you anything. Instead, I’ll reveal to you what deciding to reveal the face Behind the Schmile..:) has taught me and what I have overcome.
It’s very easy to share your views and thoughts when people only view you as a logo/name. Without a face, people can’t connect with you fully and this made it much easier for me to rant about relationships, cultural issues or my lack of political knowledge because I knew I wouldn’t run the risk of being crucified for my thoughts. Any judgement would be targeted at a weird smiley face squashed into the letter ‘S’.
But after a year, with growing support and constant reminders that I am not alone in my struggle to find myself, I don’t have a choice but to be anything other than confident.
I don’t need to be ashamed of my views.
Attaching my perspective to my face forces me to accept that these are my true thoughts and feelings; it forces me to be accountable and it forces me to have the courage to be me, unapologetically.
For the Few
Not only did I not want my views to be judged, I didn’t want my success (however I chose to define it) to be a result of how I look.
I try not to speak in riddles or beat around the bush so forgive my frankness here… Unfortunately, as a black woman, in the world of social media and blogging/vlogging, there’s no denying that your appearance has a massive impact on your success. There is a very obvious stereotype for those that make it to the top, regardless of how good their content is.
This is the same way your popularity (outside social media) has a large impact on your growth. I still don’t know where the large majority would rank me on this spectrum that combines popularity and looks. What I do know, is that I didn’t want this to impact the growth of Behind the Schmile..:) If people liked me, I wanted it to be because of what I wrote and how I made them feel, not how much they liked/disliked my appearance, or even worse, because I was a ‘popular’ girl.
I didn’t want fake support.
Before we get it twisted, I am not throwing shade here. I personally don’t support anyone based on looks or social status. I’m just aware that in life, not everyone gets what they deserve.
*Back to the topic*
But 365 days on, the support I have received for Behind the Schmile..:) has proved to me that there are a few (just a few) that simply couldn’t care less about how I look or how popular I am. They genuinely connect with me and I feel that they deserve to know me just that little bit better. I’m no longer afraid of my appearance or social status limiting or accelerating my growth because I am confident in the fact that my thoughts – the person that truly lives Behind the Schmile..:) – is enough!
When I started blogging about my personal thoughts and issues, it was on a site where the highest viewed posts were about beauty, skincare or fashion. Again, no shade, I wrote some of these myself. But when it came to the ‘deep’ stuff, nobody cared and nobody knew because I didn’t promote it. I treated it like an online journal and didn’t mind if people happened to stumble across my thoughts. It was easier that way. Mentally, emotionally, psychologically: there was no challenge.
Now I’m vulnerable on a weekly basis. When I’m lonely, sad, depressed, excited, harassed, successful, scared, broke, (the list is endless), if you pay close enough attention to my words, you’ll be able to identify this. That’s a scary thought!!! Like… really scary!!! Scary to the point that sometimes I don’t even want to discuss my blog with my friends because I’m not sure how much they’ve been able to decipher and what they really think. Any blogger will know how much easier it is to be open with a bunch of strangers behind a screen than people you work, study or hang out with.
Putting my face on the internet isn’t a scary thing- we all do it. But putting my thoughts, the ins and outs of my being, on a platform and sharing this with complete strangers and friends is not an easy thing! But your feedback pushes me to be bold, courageous and open enough to do so. Sharing my face is simply the next step in this journey to being vulnerable.
There you have it! This is me! I’m not a very good model, I talk a lot and I don’t have red bottoms yet but I promise I’m working on it!
A massive thank you to Babatunde Osunmakinde for these awesome shots! Check out his work here!
All the best,
Congratulations to the giveaway winners!