Oh my – the feelings I had yesterday to be shortlisted as Best Newcomer in the Cosmopolitan Influencer Awards were just absolutely wonderful. In fact, I’d gotten so excited, so full of gratitude and so wonderfully confident that I was truly in the belief that I could possibly win this thing. A date with my husband in London, an excuse to dress up and an opportunity to meet some incredibly successful influencers – waw, just waw. Mostly, my followers had believed in me enough to nominate me. That already makes me a winner right?
The buzz has slightly subsided today though and here I am, the over thinker turning a wonderful opportunity into a mound of stress and negativity. I do this regularly. Every joy I have, I have another emotion that overrides it shortly afterwards. It’s self abuse. It’s a state of mind I was forced into as a teenager and I struggle to this day, to change that. I sabotage my own happiness daily.
“I am not worthy. I am weak. I am selfish. I am a user. I am nothing. I am crazy. I need help. I’m useless.”
That’s the mantra I was brought up with.
Ok, of course I looked at those who I was up against – not til this morning but I did it.
It turns out, I’m the small fish. The smallest by a long shot.
The first few thoughts spring to mind,
“I am not worthy. I don’t wear fancy clothes. I don’t drink, how will I fit in at an after party? Drinking environments give me serious flash backs, will I have one? I’m going to sound dumb if I’m asked to talk. Am I just a fill in? I’m going to mess up..”
I could act cool and calm about the whole thing. I could say it’s no biggy, it doesn’t bother me but I’d be lying. Totally and utterly lying. This is HUGE, it’s recognition for everything I’ve worked so hard to shout out about, it’s everything WE have worked so hard to create.
I hate to measure my influence online via followers and likes but this morning that’s exactly what I was doing. Here I am approaching 5k on Instagram, over 15k across my platforms and up until that email, I was nothing but absolutely elated about achieving this. In fact, I’d bought in all my favourite products that calm me in my anxious spells or flash back episodes. From candles to lotions and smells and I’d planned to do a giveaway to say thank you to everybody when I hit it. You know, share my mental health first aid kit. It’s what saves me on the daily and I have learned that many of you are in need of finding what yours is.
Then the shortlist happened, I started comparing myself, the elation had been shadowed with fear. I realised my fellow nominees are sitting between 10k and 20k followers with the fancy ‘swipe up’ to vote options. They’re grids are on point and honestly, I’m excited to meet the makers but numerically speaking, how could I ever get the award?
Well, here’s the thing. If I step back, if I truly trust the process and trust that I could win this on my terms – maybe there’s still a chance. Maybe, my quality over quantity life mantra may just be enough to spread this message of getting out there and talking without fear of judgement further. I know the wonderful conversations I’ve had with my followers, I know we have this valuable and unbreakable, raw connection. I know that so many of you have developed this appreciation for me, as I have for you – that would best be described if your best buddy phoned up and said – “HEY, can you help me out?” To which you happily reply, “Of course! I love you man.” That’s our thing. That’s the vibes at The Imperfectly Perfect Parent. That’s the bond, that’s the only type of page, the only type of relationship I want with my followers and so – that’s what I want to grow.
I don’t want to jump off the back of a high flyer in a different niche. I want my own.
Before said epiphany, like a big old boulder falling on my head, I was crushed by the statistics this morning. I began to write a message to the first BIG mental health blogger I knew. I thought she would help spread this for me, the lady who’s helped me unknowingly through many a battle in the last few months – who’d get her tribe to help. It was a cringey message which in short, asked for her to share a post and a link to vote.
As soon as I sent it, I was like “HEATHER WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING…”
TRUST THE PROCESS. Trust YOURSELF. ABORT, ABORT.
Of course she gracefully declined. Instead she gave me something far more valuable – confidence. Self belief.
We all have the ability to reinstate another’s confidence, we all equally are victim of loosing it – regularly. Which is why it’s both crucial to teach ourselves how to find it again and surround ourselves with people who can do that for us when we forget.
*see previous blog.
I didn’t message anybody after that. I deleted the practised message. I had been so grateful it was her of all people that I had made this cock up with. She got it entirely. She knew exactly what emotions I was faced with and knew what I needed to do to fix them.
So here I am. I came on here to share how I genuinely have reacted to the news of being shortlisted for this award. I wanted to be honest with you guys. That’s what I’m representing after all. The real life me, the honesty, the rawness of my mental health battle and the brutal truth of my fuck ups and also the wonder of my successes.
Its textbook behaviour. This is what I do. I panic, I don’t believe that I am good enough. The thing is I am miles ahead of where I first started. I have tools and knowledge now to help me combat these emotions. The self doubt, the fear and the anxiety. I have learned SO much and the more I learn, the more I can share. Just like today.
The reason I’ve gotten this far is because deep down, past all those shitty emotions of not being enough – I know I am enough. I know my worth, I know I can help. I know I do help. I know I can make a difference and I know my story counts. I know I could win this. I know I could benefit others in doing so. I know that’s why I was shortlisted.
I think I feel so passionately about where this is going because I know deep down that the more people I reach, the more people get released from feeling alone. The more people I tell my story to, the more others will believe that they may too, be worth more than they initially believed. Having that sort of knowledge can change a persons life considerably. Just like it did mine. That’s the reward, a life changing reward for my readers. I am that hope, that person on the other side of ugly. I’m not going to silence that.
I have always said I’ve never been career driven. I’ve always said having a family was my focus but somehow, somewhere I was reminded of the little girl who’d reply when asked what she wanted to do when she grew up – she’d say, “I want to help people…”
I didn’t have a label, I didn’t know how. I just knew I felt great joy in helping people and speaking up for those who weren’t able to. That was always my passion. I was the kid in class asked to settle the new kid in. The girl who’d be summoned to help the little boy with ADHD because I was the only person big or small, able to calm him. I was the kid who stood up in RE and told my teacher it was wrong to talk badly of prostitutes. I was fiery, I was sure and I was above all, passionate about what I believed was right and wrong.
As my confidence dissolved into my mid teens due to a number of of hidden truths, I began to hate anything that resembled competition – so it may come of no shock to you that I was the kid who skipped PE to sit outside and smoke weed with my equally nonathletic friends. So yes, an awards ceremony being compared to another 9 wonderfully talented people, makes me uncomfortable.
You guys know, I actually planned to take a back seat on social media to write my book but yet here I am, less than 24 hours in from finding out about these awards and I was irrationally planning an election ceremony and a ‘vote for me’ parade. I just didn’t want to screw up. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to ensure I’d done enough.
Fuck that Heather. Stop. You are enough.
As my father said time and time again,
“What’s for you, will not go by you.”
Today I put my phone down. I decided enough was enough. I breathed fresh air, I walked the beach and I went to the stables with our kids. We laughed, we smiled and I reminded myself what I’m doing this all for. This is a wonderful opportunity I’ve been given and I will not allow it to be anything but. So the panic, the fear and the doubt MUST stop. I plan to carry on just being me on here. I won’t chase people and ask for favours. I’ll trust that maybe some might just like me enough to help off their own backs. I trust that I’ll get where I need to be just by doing exactly what I was doing before that invite.
I need to trust the process. Trust that if it’s meant for me, I’ll slot in. If it’s not – I’m still riding this journey that I love. I’ll get back on that horse if I fall and I’ll find new adventures, new paths that were made for me.
Thank you, for every single one of your votes so far – for all of the love and the words of encouragement. Thank you for sharing this excitement with me and thank you to those kind enough to share my journey with their own tribe. Thank you.
I owe it to you all NOT to talk myself down, not to doubt what I’m doing and to trust that this will go exactly where it’s meant to. I got a chance that others would kill for right?
So, I plan to enjoy every single second of it. Which doesn’t involve comparing myself to others or begging my favourite influencers for a nudge. That my friends, is a very dangerous path to walk.
You are you and THAT is your superpower and who knows, maybe the kid with the ambition to ‘help people’ may just get a career out of it after all.