Popularity in the social media age is a strange thing. At least, it's strange to me.
Last night I had a Fish Eye Fun bride-to-be follow me on Instagram. This is actually a first for me (at least that I've noticed). My followers are mostly people I know as friends or at the very least people in the St. Louis wedding industry.
Does this make me popular? I don't know.
I've been writing this blog for almost a year now. I have over 40 posts, with almost 3000 views overall. One post has over 200 views, which absolutely amazes me. People (not just my boyfriend and best friends) are actually reading this, for better or for worse. They don't just scroll by on their way through their Facebook feed.
That's incredible to me. Does it mean I'm somehow popular, that I have a social media "presence"?
And speaking of Facebook, there's the ubiquitous "likes" that my endless posts and selfies and shared memes receive.
Does that make me popular? Do people like me? Do they?
I'm all-too-guilty of reading into what it means when certain people "like" what I post on Facebook, by who likes my blog, by who comments about what. Do we all do this? Probably, at least to an extent.
Overall, though, I'm not great at self-promotion. I never have been. I don't want to seem needy or pushy or, worst of all, desperate. I don't have thousands of Facebook friends. In fact, I generally don't make friend requests and don't accept requests from anyone I don't actually know. I don't have many strangers who know who I am (though that is changing, thanks to my job at Fish Eye Fun). I'm not famous by a long shot.
I don't think I know how to be popular, really. I still wonder at how many people genuinely want me to hang out with them. Hell, I'm still in shock that my own boyfriend hasn't gotten sick of me yet.
So, the question is, am I writing this blog to be popular? Do I post on Facebook to be popular, to get that little boost to my self-esteem?
I like to think not. I can't lie and say that I'm not pleased every time someone likes my blog. And I certainly can't say that I'm not vain. But I don't write specifically for those likes, for the comments, or even for the blog views. I write because I need to write, because I need the practice, because I need the weekly deadline, and because it helps.
It helps me, and I hope it helps others.
Fame and fortune and a weekly paid column wouldn't hurt, and I certainly wouldn't turn them down (hint, hint), but they're not what I'm doing this for.
I'm doing this for myself. (And because Mark insists that I do it.)
I'm doing this because I think it's important to be honest about my life on the off-chance that someone needs to hear it. When I was married, I didn't know anything narcissists, about gaslighting, or about emotional manipulation. I didn't know that he had the ability to lie so smoothly that I questioned my own memories. I didn't know that I didn't deserve to be treated like a servant, that I didn't deserve to be blamed for everything that was wrong with his life.
I didn't know.
Now I do. And I don't want to keep it a shameful secret anymore. I want to talk about it, whether it makes me popular or unpopular, as the case may be.
So... do you love me now?