Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE REAL STRUGGLES OF A YOUTUBER

Hey, everyone! I am sure some of you may be feeling the silence. I have been posting less videos, writing less blog posts and responding less to messages.

There are many reasons why I'm suddenly being so quiet. I thought I was the only one going through this phase. Until recently, I read Michelle Phan's interview article. Never have I thought that I would be feeling the same way as she is feeling or have felt :THE FEELING OF BEING DEPRESSED DESPITE REACHING WHAT OTHERS ARE JUST HOPING AND ARE PRAYING FOR.

I will not say I am the biggest YouTuber in the Philippines. In fact, that is honestly one of the reasons why I have been missing in action - YOUTUBE has changed and I feel like I DO NOT WANT TO BE PART OF THE CHANGE.

Before I begin, let me just say that this blog post does not mean to offend nor pin point any specific person. Any similar situation or person is just a mere coincidence.

Shall I begin by listing down the things I am anxious about?

1.) Being famous on the internet. - Some people do not know that when I started YouTube 6 years ago, the goal was not to become famous nor to get 100,000 subscribers. The goal rather was really just to upload my own videos. I didn't dream of having Meet and Greet events nor having people scream my name while I'm on the stage. Those things were honestly not in my vision. I vowed to stay true and keep my feet on the ground as I kept moving forward. But I have noticed that the more I stay, the more changes I see. These days, I would get messages ad comments from people asking me how they could become a "POPULAR" Youtuber like me. I don't know which part scares me most. People thinking I am popular or people wanting to do YouTube just to become popular. As someone who were making YouTube videos as early as 2011, it is becoming scary. Back then, Youtube was a place where people could "broadcast themselves" freely. A channel where the simple people could create their own set of viewers and followers. But these days, even the already-popular celebrities start their YouTube channel. I noticed that people want to BE POPULAR. They want to be known. I am anxious that maybe the reason why I am falling behind is because I do not want to be part of the change. Maybe I am becoming irrelevant because I am not embracing the change. 

2.) Making money out of my followers. - None of you know that since I started becoming quiet, my e-mail also started blowing up. Not because I'm getting more e-mails but because I have been slacking responding to potential clients. I have experienced a few times hearing people talk about how much money they are making on YouTube or how much money they ask for a single sponsorship, while I silently die inside because I still do videos and x-deals for free. I thought the reason why I am still poor and still have to worry about money day by day is because I do not think of money as my priority. Is it wrong to not think of money? Am I poor because I am not wise enough when it comes to making deals? These days, I question myself. Is it wrong that I still want to provide my viewers with more authentic and unpaid videos and get very little views while most are making paid videos and getting a lot of views and hype? Sometimes, I just cry.

3.) Being too close to my followers/Losing some followers. - Not everyone know that I was deeply hurt when I closed my Kakaotalk group chat with some of my followers. When I started it, I was blissful! It felt to surreal that people actually want to talk to me 24/7. For months, it became a routine for me to chat with them from morning to night. Until I have noticed how some things changed. I wanted to treat my followers as friends. The word "FANS" really just creep the heck out of me. Who am I to have fans when I was the ugly kid in school? I'd rather call them friends. But as we talked, I noticed some changes. The respect was somehow replaced with comfort. Some language have become unacceptable for me. I thought I was giving away too much information and losing their respect in return. Some chats hurt me. Some people I truly loved made me cry. I am not sure if I made them cry, too. But closing that group chat really tore my heart. I thought I had 100% loyal friends, but I lost them. Which now leads me to reason #4.

4.) Being less active on social media. - Since I closed the group chat, I felt like I couldn't keep my promise that I will respond to each and every single personal message. Not a lot of you know but I used to spend 6 hours straight twice a week just responding to messages on my FB and IG, making sure I leave no message unread. But since I closed the group chat, I felt like I had to distance myself as well. However, I still think how unfair it is to new followers who want to message me just because they want to express their happiness in finding me. But I just couldn't find the strength to respond. SCARED, maybe that's the right term. I loved so much. I LOVE SO MUCH. And when I get hurt, it's also deep. I guess I was just really hurt when I closed the group chat that I purposely distanced myself from followers, afraid I would love them dearly again. My friends who might be reading this blog post may understand why. Sometimes, the pain we feel now really comes from all the pain we had as a child. Often than not, the pain traces us back to the pain inflicted to us while we were growing up. I have loved a lot and lost a lot in my life. I have been left so many times and hurt physically and emotionally so many times in my childhood that a single, even the simplest form of pain now, shatters me to pieces again. 

5.) Being irrelevant. - I was part of the first-ever YouTube Fanfest in the Philippines and now that they are on their 3rd year, I didn't even get a notification from YouTube that they are holding it again. I am not part of the line-up nor did I get an invitation. No nothing. I only learned about it when few people asked me on social media if I'd be part of this year's roster. Again, it brings me back to reason #1. Do I want to be POPULAR or do I want to be raw? Because really, YouTube would invite the most-popular for the YTFF, it's only logical they do that. And just like that, anxiety hit me again. I received a lot of blessings, achievements and recognition on years I was not expecting them. Those years were when I was starting. But the more I stay, the more irrelevant I am becoming. Less recognition, less events, less views, less followers... 

6.) Doubting my own self. - Again, none of you knew that after a certain event, I went home crying. Luckily, my boyfriend was there to pick me up, literally. I was so down and shattered. I was not crying, I was howling. I told him how I felt so small at the event because only few people recognized me and clapped for me when my name was called out while the place roared when other people were called. I doubted my self and my worth because the people who had more followers were people who started just recently while I've been around since 2011 but only few know me. I doubted myself. I doubted my ability. I doubted my worth. Because I'm ugly. Because I'm not rich. Because I couldn't upload more videos. Because I have acne. Because I have dark skin. Because of my cringe-worthy username. I was at my lowest-point. But my Boyfriend picked me up and hugged me and whispered "count your blessings, Love". I looked up to him and said "You are my biggest blessing", though that should be in a separate blog post and not here...


7.) Getting certain number of views on YouTube. - I have been trying my best to upload videos twice a week. But the more I upload, the lesser views I get. YouTube said "Do collaboration videos with other YouTubers", so did I. But was so shocked when the one I did with 2 popular/international YouTubers only got 4,000 views! I was so ashamed of myself, I wanted to take the video down. I felt embarrassed to the 2 YouTubers for wasting their time hoping I could help them gain more viewers from the Philippines, but in the end, only 4,000 watched. When I was starting and creating videos like nail art and DIY videos, I used to be so satisfied with the numbers. To be honest, I do care about the numbers. I honestly don't care about the money but I care about the numbers. Why? Imagine spending several days editing a video and hours uploading it only for it to get few thousand views. That's heart-breaking for me, really. To me, it implies I didn't think of the concept for the video well or it makes me think my content is not interesting enough for people to click and watch. To put it simply, the fewer YouTube views I get, the more failure I consider myself. 

8.) Being compared to other people. - I think no one in this world likes being compared. The more I stay on YouTube, the more comparison I get. "Why are you imitating __?" "__ is prettier than you!" "__ makes more fun vlogs than you!" "You are so ugly! __ is the prettiest!" I could go on and on. What hurts me is that these viewers don't realize that I started YouTube even before these people did. Imagine a manager being compared to a newly-hired employee. Or a senior student being compared to a freshman. That's how it is to me. Why am I being compared? Why do they have to go to my account only to mention other people's names. I seriously do not want any competition. I do not want to be bitter. I miss my old self when I would just upload a video, check it after a few hours and respond to nice and sweet comments from viewers. These days, I avoid the YouTube comment section as much as I can. It is heart-breaking these days. For someone so fragile like me, a single comment could mean a meltdown. 

9.) Losing my international viewers. - I have soooo much to thank my international viewers for. They were the first few people who watched and subscribed to me, really. Back then, I had people from the US, France, Brazil, Africa, Sweden, UK, India, Germany, etc. Girls from different places watched me and sent me messages of admiration and support. Some of them even sent me personal gifts all the way from their countries. I value my international viewers as much as I value my Filipino viewers, to me both are precious! But the more I upload English videos, the more hate I get from some Filipino viewers about my accent being so bad and my grammar being to tasteless. I tried to succumb to their desire by making Filipino videos. But the more I upload Filipino videos, the more I lose my valued international viewers. I am trapped in the middle and don't know which way to go. For me and for my international viewers who watched me when I only had few thousand followers, my English is perfectly fine. But for some Filipinos now, it's bad and I need to resort to speaking in my native tongue else I won't be watched. Sometimes, I hate how greatly hate comments are affecting me. You guys don't know how many times I've cried for that reason. 

10.) Losing myself. - It pains me how I teach people to be positive and inspire them to always see the good in them when here I am now, all down and shattered. The recent video that I uploaded only got 8,000 views and I am stuck with 180,000 YouTube subscribers for months now. I am in the phase where I am thinking if I should just drop everything and quit or go on and continue. I know some people even have it harder. Some people are only dreaming now what I have already accomplished. 180,000, even if it took me 6 years to achieve, is really something to be thankful for. 

Should I start thinking of $$$ now and accept all sponsors and offers even though I don't really like the product or brand? "Who cares about followers when I have $$$?!" Should I be that kind of person now? Honestly, I want a car, I want a branded handbag, I want an expensive phone, I want to give my Mother more money, I want delicious food on our table every meal, I want to travel more, I want branded clothing and shoes, I want real jewelry because I only have cheap and fake ones... Things I can't afford now because I still think of being raw and do not accept all paid offers. I want people to recognize me and not hear crickets whenever I'm called out on the stage. I want to get another 100,000 subscribers in just a few months. I want people to fall in line for hours and hours just to see me so I could think of myself as someone so relevant and wanted... 

BUT REALLY, IS THAT WHO I AM?? Are those the reasons why I started? I am so afraid of losing myself and being a completely different me just because I conformed. I really want to be the same me but why is the real, same me not relevant anymore. I want to make more videos. The truth is, I already have a lot of filmed videos on my laptop. I just couldn't find the strength to spend sleepless nights editing them because I am so damn afraid the effort in editing would just resort to 4,000 views. 

I want to find myself. I still want to be me, the same old Kristine, but BETTER. I really do not want to change what I have been doing nor do I want to quit YouTube. YouTube is something I really love. I wouldn't have stayed for 6 years if I didn't love it. I also love every single follower that I have. People that have stayed with me through thick and thin. People that saw past my imperfections and flaws. People that found joy and inspiration in my videos. I can not quit because I do not want to waste people's time. People have given me TIME when they watched my videos. They have given me something they couldn't get back. I may be down and shattered now but I hope to get inspiration and reason to get back up again. 

PLEASE BE PATIENT AND WAIT FOR ME. I WILL BE BACK. 

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