Two Fridays ago, I was told that I wasn’t going to be working with a particular company. I’d spent the best part of three months meeting with them, sending over summaries of myself, trying to persuade them that I would be a good investment of their time over the next year at least. The lady I’d met with told me that while she really liked me, the company needed to take on people who already knew what they wanted. She told me I needed to have a clear goal; a brand almost, and a lifetime aim that I would select all the future projects I would work on in reference to. I needed a mission statement, a way to summarise myself in 140 characters. As you can imagine, this wasn’t the quite what I’d wanted to hear that afternoon.
Afterwards, I panicked.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was a follower, not a leader, in school. I chose to blend in, preferring to wear what the other girls wore and like what the other girls liked instead of exploring what I actually enjoyed. I didn’t tell anyone I’d started vlogging for fear of them thinking I was looking for attention – people only really found out in sixth form, two years after I’d started. I was desperate to seem cool, whether it was through my clothes, hair or attitude. Even well into university, I was still looking for approval from my friends on what I was wearing and whether it was cool enough. Style, as you might be able to gather, was a big factor in how I viewed myself and others. But yet it wasn’t just their style I was imitating, and once I realised that I was plagiarising my friends and not listening to my own instincts, I realised I had a mountain to climb when it came to knowing who I really was.
Summarising myself isn’t a new idea to me; I’ve been toying with how to approach it for the majority of the past year. I’ve made numerous attempts. Some time in March, and likely coinciding with the realisation that vlogging really was my full time job, I freaked out about how to portray myself as the most brand-friendly, simple-but-complex individual who ever turned a camera on herself. I’ve been trying to work it out ever since, creating many iterations of my “personal brand”. I want to be accessible, and tell the world I like coffee, candles, contouring and concealing. But then I want to be seen as not just another vlogger, so is it worth talking about trip hop and cruelty free beauty, along with my heavily political tweets about social issues and feminism, for fear of alienating not only my audience but also the people who help me make money? And then there’s Banging Book Club, which leads people to conclude I love books and sex (which I do, but they’re definitely not primary interests of mine.) How can someone summarise themselves, their style and their life mission in a couple of sentences?
As if this wasn’t already a large enough metaphorical mountain to climb, I also have to factor in music. Every other subscriber I meet asks when I’m going to release something and I want to tell them, “Soon!” However when I eventually release a song, my brand needs to already be in place and somehow guide me in navigating the complex, traditional world of the music industry where hardly any vloggers have ever broken through and maintained their following in the process. I’m super scared of sabotaging my career by trying to be too many things – can someone really be a vlogger, recording artist, radio presenter and writer in one lifetime? Or, more realistically, in just eight years? Do I even have a future beyond the age of thirty?
I should have warned you that this was melodramatic life crisis central, sorry. I am having a minor meltdown over the whole thing, as you may have gathered.
I really admire people who know who they are. I’ve only really felt like I know myself since perhaps this time last year, and even then the following twelve months were a huge period of change for me. I described the past year as “feeling like tectonic plates were shifting in my life”, and if that gives you any insight it should show just how uprooted my connection with myself was up until very recently. And even through the tectonic plate period, I felt the most connected with myself that I’ve ever been! I feel like I know so much about me, but also so little. So how on earth do I work out a condensed version of who I am in order to guide my career? It’s of great necessity and urgency, and it’s come at a time where I’m not even sure of where I’m at with myself.
I wish this blog post was full of answers, a how-to guide to finding yourself and your “brand” in whatever context that may apply. Unfortunately, I can’t offer that yet. I’m just as lost as the next person when it comes to marketing yourself and projecting an image. But hopefully, after some serious brainstorms and a bit of re-evaluating, I’ll make some progress and begin to understand who I am – both as “Lucy Moon” but also as just myself.
Do you think you have “found yourself” yet? Do you know what your style is? Can you help me work out who I am? Let me know and help a gal out.