Disclaimer: This is my personal experience. This is about me and only me!
Ok. I really did not think about my age until this year when I started to join Discord servers, and other things. I really didn’t interact a lot until last fall, when I actually started to comment and join street teams, which is a lot of fun. However, there are drawbacks to being a teen in a community where most of the people speaking are adults and teens who are popular with over 1k followers on all of their platforms (or at least that’s what I see).
I love this community. I really do. However, sometimes I feel as though you have to be a specific type of person in order for authors and other bloggers/bookstagrammers to want to work with you: smart, kind, funny, over 1k followers on every platform, cute name, cute aesthetic, put together, not on too much, not on too little, not dramatic, and all of these other things all at once. I am not a very humorous person, and when I try, I feel as though people don’t care or are judging me and thinking that I am:
- too young
- don’t want to interact with me because I sound strange.
And listen, getting over this as a teen who gets overwhelmed very easily by social media is challenging. I get scared that my irl people who are following me are screenshotting my posts and making fun of me in group chats or that other people are making fun of me or that authors are making fun of me. I still get middle school flashbacks from all of my fake, gossipy friends. I get it, you might be like “that was 5 years ago! get over it!” But this is all on social media, which lasts forever. I might look confident, but that’s just an image. If some of you met me in real life, you might think that I am a cold, standoffish person because it’s hard for me to trust people because of what happened in middle school and a little bit in high school.
And some of you might think, “wow! she’s so overdramatic!” I ask you to consider this: if you were in my shoes and seeing teens constantly getting more shoutouts, ARCs, likes, comments, followers, praise, friends than you at a time in which teens are expected to just accept the fact that the government is controlling what we see and hear, I am wondering how you would feel.
I almost considered deleting everything in August, which would have been a terrible choice because I really have made great friends, which I know are more important than connections and getting ARCs and free stuff. Like, people want you to have the mentality that you’re doing this for yourself and that it should make you happy, but it’s been challenging to see how easily some teens can make friends and I’m over here in my small corner of the Internet.
Then I remind myself:
- The internet is not real life.
- I have friends in real life.
- I am doing this because I love books.
Love of books. That’s what got me into bookstagram anyway. Not the promise of friends, or fame, or being noticed. Books. Because all my life, when I had no friends, books were the only thing that kept me going somedays. And sure. Everyone at school doesn’t know me at all. It’s ok though, because I feel as though while I want to live in the real world, books are the one way for me to truly escape while also acknowledging reality.
Whatever. This is a ramble and I know people don’t care. Overall, being a teen blogger/bookstagrammer comes with needing to let go of wanting more and more of holding on to your purpose of why you’ve started this in the first place. I guess, as I get ready to go into junior year, that I need to let go of all of the fun times I had this summer, and all of you should know that I am not going to be online as often as I am now. Three AP classes + Dual Enrollment is a lot, and I need to get through it. However, being an online book lover and a school loving nerd are things that can coexist, as long as I remember my purpose in being here.