By Fern Paulussen
I posted this on Instagram the other day.
I was tagged practically forever ago by @thingswhatilove to share #20thingsaboutme So. Here are 20 things. 1. I am lazy. Like really, really lazy. 2. I spend a ridiculous amount of time wishing for change instead of making changes. 3. I hate social media because it makes me feel needy and awkward; pointless posts that were clearly made just to try and "engage" people make me so angry. 4. I'm just a generally angry person tbh. 5. I hate losing. 6. I often feel like I'm losing. 7. I wish I could have more babies just because I love naming babies. 8. I would love to make a career out of YouTube, but I don't see it ever happening. 9. YouTube makes me feel lonely. 10. I have always been impulsive and I am equal parts grateful and resentful that my husband and kids prevent me from making impulsive decisions. 11. My grandparents passed away last year and I dream about them all the time. 12. My dreams are so vivid that I often wake up and don't know what's real and what's not. 13. The only times I've been able to sing without fear as an adult were the times I was high on drugs. 14. Yeah, I used to do a lot of drugs. 15. I love wearing glasses and feel naked without them. 16. I hate wearing glasses because they slip down my nose and my kids are constantly smearing them with their grubby kiddy fingers. 17. I'm too scared to find out how big my student loan is – it's interest free so I'm not even going to think about it until I start earning money. 18. I can't look at the horizon or the sky for too long or I start to freak out. Everything is so big and I am so small. 19. I swear way more than I should. 20. I fucking hate typing on my phone and I'm pretty surprised I stuck with this! Okay I'm done. I tag @myfavouriteshus @ivfmummavlogs @jesschillinabout @bigtinylife
Excuse the swears (if you’re a person who’s offended by swears), but it took me forever to type all that out on my stupid phone. Also I wasn’t in the best mood. Also, I wasn’t kidding when I shared that 19th thing. But anyway.
Linda (who is a person I consider to be a friend despite the fact I’ve never actually met her) left a comment on that post on Instagram. The comment included a question that I found interesting.
Here’s (some of) what she said:
It’s so sad that youtube makes you feel lonely, is it because you talk to a screen? It’s quite trippy when I think about it; us viewers feel connected when we watch you, but you prob end up feeling disconnected?
So here goes. These are the reasons why YouTube makes me feel lonely.
1. Most of the time when I’m filming YouTube videos I am at home alone. Sometimes my kids are there, it’s true, but anyone with kids will tell you that being surrounded by children is not the same as being surrounded by other adults. For example, I have to try not to swear. And I can’t even laugh at the really funny things they do, because the funniest things they do are always the naughtiest things they do. So then I have to get all growly, and then everyone hates me, and then I feel lonely. Ahhh parenting.
But yeah. What I was trying to get at is this: My YouTube videos are literally me, on my own, talking to an electronic device that fits in the palm of my hand.
2. My videos aren’t live. They are pre-recorded; edited, uploaded, and scheduled to appear on my channel at 8:30pm. And that means that when my wonderful subscribers are watching and responding to my videos, they are commenting on past events.
I’m the first to admit that my moods and emotions tend to be a bit up and down (the husband is probably snorting at that understatement). I feel things strongly, but I get over things quickly. Unless it’s a major event, something that upsets me is likely to be something I couldn’t give two craps about just a couple of days later. So although the supportive comments I receive are wonderful (really, they are, please don’t take this as me not appreciating the messages you guys leave me), they never actually come at the times I need them most.
3. This is the biggest one:
I don’t actually know who you are.
You know me. You watch my videos and read my words and sometimes you even laugh at my jokes. You know what I look like, what I sound like, what I have for breakfast… But what do I know about you?
Some of my viewers have teensy little profile pictures that assure me they are real people. Some of my viewers leave comments using their first and last names, which makes it easier to remember who says what. But most viewers have pseudonyms and generic avatars, and it’s just like, Okay, cool. Thanks, faceless stranger! No matter how kind the comments, no matter how sweet the sentiments, there’s always going to be a disconnect when the majority of my feedback comes in the form of semi-anonymous comments (and 100% of that feedback is nothing more than words on a screen).
There are many things I love about YouTube, and there are many reasons I stick with it. But the fact remains that life as a YouTuber is lonely. Unless my husband suddenly decides he wants to stick his face in front of the camera with me (which is never going to happen, I can assure you), I’m almost certain that the feelings of isolation are set to be a permanent side effect of my vlogging life. It’s okay, because I’ve accepted it. But I do wish it was possible to interact more tangibly with you all.
Fern Paulussen is a lifestyle blogger, vlogger, mother of four, and the director of PLAY NZ. Based in the Waikato, Fern loves Netflix, coffee, and chickens. You can learn more about Fern by visiting her website, or subscribing to her YouTube channel.
This post originally appeared on Fern’s blog – The Fern Life – and was published here with her permission.