One of the things I thought about before YouTube: numbers.
800 friends on Facebook seemed like a pretty normal number to me. I never looked at someone else and thought, ugh, I wish I had as many friends as they did. I never rolled my eyes at those with less than me. That was just the amount of people I knew that I wanted to remain in contact with, and it had no meaning other than that.
One of the things I think about now that YouTube is my creative outlet and full-time job: numbers.
As we inch closer and closer to that 100,000 mark, I find myself checking my YouTube stats a bit too frequently. Crazy thoughts begin to run through my mind: why didn’t I gain as many subscribers as yesterday? What if I did and I just lost a ton of subscribers? Did I say something offensive? Why did that video’s views skyrocket in the last 24 hours, did someone make a response video saying what a horrible role model I am? Did my personal information leak? Oh God, should I take down that video where I said that character from American Horror Story was loveable? 20 people disliked that video.
Cue racing heart here. Cue me shyly retreating to my bedroom, leaving my phone and computer until I feel brave enough to check those numbers again here. Cue feelings that I am small, inadequate and foolish here.
Numbers aren’t on my mind in a positive way most of the time, I’m ashamed to say. I’m humbled and honored to know there are so many people watching my videos, but it often gets drowned out by my anxiety over the numbers. As our little friendship circle has grown, I’ve felt like I can reach less and less of you, and that scares me. There isn’t enough time in the day to respond to every comment anymore. Often times I don’t catch the negative/nasty comments until it’s too late and the user has started an absolute war in the comment section. I do read as many as I can, and I try to respond – especially to those of you who are kind. Most of the time, every last one of you is. But there are now and then, people that come along and try everything in their power to ruin my day. Words still hurt, even when it’s a single negative out of the thousands of positives.
I found myself growing particularly bitter during the last month, when the negative comments began flowing in faster than they ever had before. There was so many people telling me that I was worthless, awful, fat, ugly and wrong that I began to wonder, is it me? Should I not have worn those holy jeans in that video? Should I not have talked about being active for two hours a day, though at the time I was? Am I really so horrible after all? Should I not be preaching body positivity, self-love, beauty tips and fashion advice to all of these women?
Actually, I’m proud to say that the last thought has never crossed my mind. You, my lovebugs, are what continue to bring me back to a place of clarity. I remember that you are the reason I have a platform to speak on in the beginning, and for that I’m truly grateful. While the negative comments don’t get any easier, I realize that you are the ones I should be focusing on, not neglecting because my feelings are hurt. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am now, and I truly mean that. Thank you for your support. Whether you’ve liked a video, commented something thoughtful and kind or simply subscribed. Those numbers mean more to me than any other ever will.
Recently my plus-size swimwear lookbook has gotten a bit of press. San Francisco Globe wrote a small piece on it, as did the lovely Chie Davis from Upworthy. Without your endless love and support, these kinds of things wouldn’t happen for our channel, and I’ll never forget how this feels. Thank you. Love you.