I’ve been in a naive bubble for the last year. If you have followed my journey since 2018, you would know that when the news of us moving to Mississippi came up, I was vehemently against it. I only had the stereotype of Mississippi in mind – which sad to say wasn’t a very good one. I envisioned backwoods thinking, cliquey Southern women, churches on every corner, and good ol’ boys clubs.
With my first visit to Jackson, I realized how wrong I had been.
I learned within just a few weeks of me being here that the female population was progressive and strong! They were women with voices that needed to be heard and seen. I wanted the rest of the nation to experience what I was seeing. These women were incredible and I wanted nothing more than to be friends with them.
I had been blogging for years at that point, but from the perspective of a mom blogger and somehow, it evolved into influencer marketing. I didn’t even realize that was a job until I started researching it. The women I was meeting and getting to know seemed to love my recommendations and enjoyed being in the same circles. I met other women in the same industry and by fall, I wanted nothing more than to gather us all together so we could become stronger as a group!
Up until this meeting, I had only organized social events with friends that I was close to. I had only worked with one boutique as a paid collaboration, but I knew that I wanted to create partnerships with the women in the same niche so that I could learn from them and together we could educate the businesses that we wanted to serve.
I was so nervous leading up to the event. But everyone involved was so kind and sincere and it went off beautifully.
The holidays were an absolute whirlwind and the group of women that I had networked with were everywhere! Suddenly, I was on cloud nine with all of these dynamic and amazing women who were strong, intelligent, and powerful entrepreneurs. I was thrilled to be apart of the events and happenings and felt like I was starting to elevate my brand and find my niche.
At this time, I had just decided to go back to work full-time. I was struggling to make a consistent income (i.e. ANY) with just blogging/influencing and so, I knew that I needed to go back to work. It was a huge decision that I didn’t want to make, but I knew the opportunity that came up was meant for me.
I went hardcore reaching out to brands and partnerships at the first of this year. I wanted to land at least 2 paid collaborations per month, that was my goal. I knew I needed to prioritize my time and attention to my family, my kids, my full time job, and my blogging/social media gig.
So, off I went….in my little bubble. Networking, meeting with different folks, establishing relationships….just doing what I thought I should be doing.
I had an idea for an event and put it out to the group of bloggers that I had initially gotten together in the first place. Some responded favorably to it and so I thought “Yay! Let’s do it!”
This is when the bubble burst. Without intending to or realizing it – the event idea I had stepped on the toes of some local business owners. I immediately tried to bridge the gap to apologize and even create some sort of unity; would they be open to partnering? These were some of the women that I had grown to love and admire and respect.
And then – the text message came.
I’m 38 years old. I love texts for convenience and for the GIFs. However, when I need to have a serious conversation with someone about business – I want to talk to them.
Three paragraphs long, the text informed me that I had in fact stepped on their toes and others in the area. The text also informed me that at least TWO people had personally said that I basically swooped in and landed deals with businesses that they had established a relationship with long before I had. The text ended with some lame attempt to partner or chat about some future partnership, but I was appalled.
Talk about taking me down a few levels. I was on the ground.
It took me about 12 hours to stand again. I realized that some people want to make you feel small. Some people want to share with you vague information about something that may or may not have been said so that you can worry about it and analyze all of your actions and activities so that you no longer focus on doing great things. I realized that some people are just mean.
It had been a long time since I was reminded that people in this world do not want to help you. They do not wish to see you succeed. One low-blow statement in their message was “We can all participate in the community but we don’t always have to seek to be the ‘local celebrity’.” My guess is that with the insertion of quotation marks around “local celebrity” that I came across as thinking of myself as that. Haha…..I wipe poop off the butts of my children multiple times a day. Do celebrities do that? Maybe – maybe not, but I sure as hell don’t think of myself as one. Also, I am still in the bracket of making pennies on the dollar with influencing and brands. Do celebrities make pennies? I doubt it.
You’re probably wondering how it ended, right? Well, after 12 hours of conjuring up all the things I wanted to say, should say, could say – I simply texted back to “Call me” when they were free. That was a few days ago.
Honestly, since the world as we knew it changed so quickly overnight with a virus called Covid-19 – so did my priorities. I wanted to rip these people to shreds and hurt them as much as they hurt me, but it wasn’t worth it. Suddenly my world shrunk to what really mattered. Keeping my beautiful and healthy family safe. Global pandemics can definitely make you second guess things, am I right?
I learned some really good lessons in this experience, though and I wanted to share them with you.
- If you ever feel like it’s your job to tell people what others think of them or have said about them – I can tell you – It IS NOT. Rachel Hollis said it best “Someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business.” If you think you’re helping someone by telling them that someone else doesn’t like them or respect them – you’re being hurtful, not helpful. If I have offended or hurt someone, it is their right and responsibility to come and let me know it so I can then have the opportunity to apologize and explain myself.
- We all know that every single person in the world isn’t going to like us, but it still hurts when we find out they don’t.
- RISE UP and don’t lash out upon first receiving any kind of hurtful words. Take some time to grieve, feel and then ponder what the best reaction will be.
- Pray for them. Obviously, something is lacking in their life to make you feel terrible. If their life was content and fulfilled they wouldn’t be inclined to do that to someone. So extend GRACE to them.
- Bless and release. Try to let it go. For my personality type, this is very difficult for me. It’s not that I hold grudges, but I prefer closure. I like chapters to end – not be left hanging. I also realize that the people involved are people I will be seeing again from time to time so unless I act as childishly as they did, I have to move on and forgive.
- Don’t let it diminish your joy. People who are successful always say those cliche type things about not letting people knock you down. I never have experienced that until now. I am guessing it’s because I am actually having success at what I’m doing. (SILVER LINING?)
- Proceed with Caution. I wanted to end every single relationship that I had created over the last 14 months in this area. As I sorted through my emotions and feelings over this, I realized that this person had said “two people” had personally told her something negative about me. TWO. There are what, 7 billion people on this planet? Why should I worry about TWO vague people that I had no clue who they were or what I did to upset them?
- Again, I say – if you ever say “I just thought you should know” to someone – you better be really careful about what comes after that. Unsolicited advice is rarely wanted or used. If you want to be helpful to someone, the best thing to do is to narrow it down to your personal experience with that person and leave it at that.
My friend circle remains strong and I will not be allowing this pebble of an obstacle deter me from my purpose of serving and empowering the great women of this state and this country. I will say that it has actually created a fire within me to ensure that others who experience this type of petty behavior are heard and are validated. At almost 38 years old, I have the strength that I didn’t have back in high school. I am tough enough to say “Bring it on, honey. Is that all you got?”