Hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday. Today’s post is totally different from what you usually find here, but after chatting with a few of my friends and readers, I was convinced to write it.
On Sunday night, I was really excited to receive an email from a local Charlotte blog that I read regularly. The writer said my blog was “actually the first blog [she’d] ever read” and that she was “so blown away by [my] honesty and courage when it comes to putting it all out there.” She wanted to ask me a few questions for a piece she was working on, and I was pretty excited to contribute. Little did I know that I would put hours into answering some of her questions, only for her to quote a few of my words under entirely different questions on her piece.
I feel like if you’re going to be a journalist, at least be honest. There was no reply back and the article was posted without notifying me. I feel as if I put myself out there, was vulnerable, answered questions, and they were used to benefit her, without showing the real content behind it.
The beauty of having a blog is that I can share the truth, and let you guys see the real questions and my honest answers so that you don’t’ get mislead by some silly article.
I live my life as full as I can, surround myself with positive people AND SHARE struggles. She forgot to mention that. But why would she? It didn’t fit her article’s needs. Yes, my photos are a bit brighter and colorful, but since when did that become a crime? I’m not sure if I’m doing anything different than their Instagram? Only they have a lot of writers, and it’s only me on this end.
Questions & Answers!
My social media presence started back when I was a sophomore in college. It all happened by accident. I wasn’t seeking followers or looking to become a blogger. I started sharing my fitness progress on Tumblr and overnight my account went viral. I kept my account a secret from friends and family for a long time. I was sort of embarrassed to have a “following.” I was always disappearing to the coffee shop to blog or reply to comments. I have been active on social media for seven years now, and continue to use seven platforms.
It feels very normal for me now. Even people without a large social media following have jumped on the “share everything” train. Sometimes I don’t understand it. I think about all of the interesting people in this world, and question why I have gained such a large following. If I go too long without posting a recap post or sharing an imagine on social media, I have people questioning my whereabouts. Some readers compare my blog to a “Netflix binge, ” and they get frustrated when they have to wait for the next episode. The great part of living my life as an open book for people all over the world is that I get to connect with so many incredible people. Whenever I’m struggling, my readers are ALWAYS there for me, and they always give the best life advice. Living your life out for strangers can be rewarding, but it can also be scary. You have to train yourself to take criticism, learn to ignore negativity, and stay true to who you are.
I absolutely filter my life to create a certain aesthetic, but only in positive ways. You won’t find me staging my life and buying crazy expensive outfits for my Instagram, but you will find me posting happy and inspiring photos to make someone’s day a little better. I want my readers to feel joy when they see my photos, and I want them to get inspired to go after their own dreams. My life is pretty normal. I hang out with my friends, workout, drink wine, take my dogs on walks, cook food, and travel sometimes. I haven’t changed the way I live my life just to impress my following. I mean, you may see me jump on a chair to get a photo of my food, but to post expensive things (sent by companies) and portraying an unrealistic lifestyle is cruel. I don’t want people “wishing” they had my life. I want people to get inspired to go out and enjoy the small things. Even with my positive posts, I share real struggles. People feel more connected with you when they can relate. Feeling connected is more important to me than feeling unrelatable.
I’m so guilty of this. I do it daily, but have to quickly remind myself that social media is only half of the real story. I’ve been on several press trips and worked with many incredibly talented influencers. I was intimidated to meet a couple of them after browsing their social media accounts and making judgments on how they were going to be. Every time, I’m shocked at how normal and real they are in person (I actually liked them better irl.) This reminds me to stay down to earth on social media and keep it real. I’ve learned to follow other accounts that I can relate to, and get inspired from. I want to jump on social media in the morning and feel happy, not discouraged or feel like I can’t live up to a particular lifestyle. I can’t stand to follow accounts that flaunt “perfection.” I think that is what’s wrong with society. The best way to avoid those negative thoughts is to filter it. If something triggers you to feel insecure, or not enough, unfollow. Get it off your feed. There is nothing wrong with cleaning your feed from unrealistic goals. I could tell you to ignore it, but we are human. Out of sight, out of mind.
5. Tell me a little bit about both the positives and negatives that you’ve found come from social media being such a constant in your life.
The obvious positive is that I have made it into a career. I’m 26 years old and I just purchased my first home thanks to social media. My blog has allowed me to make a living doing something that I love. It has allowed me to meet people from all over the world, and I get to help women who have struggled with the same issues as I have. Whenever I get an email from someone who is seeking help, I know that my blog serves a bigger purpose. It forces me to stay creative and pushes me to enjoy life. Hearing that my blog gives someone else joy, brings a smile to my face. My blog makes me happy and that’s one of the best positive.
There will always be negatives to everything that you do in life. Social media is no different. The social media world is my job, so I can’t just delete it when I’m frustrated or when something upsets me. Sometimes you have to learn how just to suck it up. I wouldn’t recommend the social media world to anyone who is over sensitive. It can be a very rewarding job, but also a cruel one and you have to have the thick skin to handle it. I’ve been called every nasty word in the dictionary at this point, and it affects me zero. When new bloggers ask me how I handle it, I tell them that they have to learn to ignore it and toughen up. You can’t let people get to you, or you’ll spend to much time investing your emotions in the wrong people. Pay attention to the people that lift you up. Those are the ones that deserve your attention.
Sometimes people don’t understand how my content pays for my bills, but it’s actually shocking how much you can make from blogging if you put in the work. Oh, and it’s work. It can get frustrating when people don’t understand how much time and effort you have to put into it. You’re always working, and it’s hardly every shut-off. I wake up at six am every day, start working, and sometimes don’t shut my computer down until midnight.
There are also safety concerns that you have to be aware of. Nothing is private. Even when you think it is, think again. You have to be careful about posting your whereabouts, people love to search public records for information about you, and sometimes people just want to know everything and will go to the extremes to find it. I have had some very scary run-ins, but that’s a whole new book to talk about, so I’ll leave it at that. Even if you don’t have a large social media following, be careful anyways!
Please let me know if you need anything else,
“He couldn’t be more different than Taralynn McNitt, a 26-year-old Charlotte-based blogger whose life and career revolves around her social media presence” YIKES. SAY WHAT?
She screenshotted this portion of my Instagram feed to find a section that fit her story. If the captions were read, she’d realize that was one of my worst weeks. That photo of Leo and I was when I was vulnerable with my readers and asking for prayers because he was hospitalized with a serious virus after his surgery.
I understand that I didn’t have to write this and it would have been better for me to just leave it alone, but as an eating disorder survivor, victim of sexual assault, victim of bullying, and physical abuse, I won’t stand for people to ever bring me down in a negative light. I have worked so hard to build myself up over the years, and get to the place of peace and happiness. Not everyone living with depression and struggles has to constantly post dark stuff on Instagram and social media. Have you ever thought that maybe posting happier and inspiring posts is a form of recovery?
Anyways. I’m heading out for my last run before my first half marathon. I’m excited that it’s finally time and I’ve worked so hard to get here! Especially through all the struggles. Just remember THAT YOU CAN do anything you set your mind to. Always stand up for yourself & THANK YOU guys for always lifting me up and bringing so much LIGHT to my life.
xo xo xo