What I've Learnt from 5 Years on the Internet

Plus size blogger The Owlet in Bristol

Hey Owlets,

This February marked 5 years of The Owlet. I know it’s cliche to be like “I never imagined this would happen” but it’s true, I didn’t. I started this blog because I HATED my university and wanted a creative outlet. If I’m honest I didn’t expect anyone to actually read it, I just wanted something to do that wasn’t related to my studies. Now you may have noticed that it’s not February anymore and I’m a solid 4 months late to writing this article, but as I’m sure you can understand, multiple lockdowns kind of got in the way of me feeling creative. Regardless, 2021 is still the 5th year of The Owlet so I wanted to sit down with you and have a bit of a chat. 

I feel like I’ve learnt a lot in the past 5 years, not just about blogging but just more generally about how to be a half-decent human. My family will laugh as I tell you this but I was always well known as the most sensitive of souls growing up - really not the best fit to be a blogger. I would constantly get upset about some keyboard warrior leaving a stupid comment, or I’d accidentally end up in an argument on Twitter because its all too easy to take someone the wrong way and I would try to explain what I meant but it was too late because that person had already decided to take offence. I’ve spoken very openly about my revelation after being in a really bad place back in 2017 but that really was the defining moment. If I’m totally honest, I think it was at that point that I decided I didn’t give a toss what anyone thought of me anymore. 

Mv Marco Polo Cruise ship in Avonmouth, Bristol

To this day I am such a people pleaser, but something about putting yourself out there in the world where everyone gets offended kicked that into overdrive. I constantly notice myself over-explaining and writing huge messages to defend myself before anyone has even had a chance to kick off and it was exhausting. For the last few years I’ve been practising the subtle art of not giving a sh*t, and wow has it worked wonders for me. The sooner you realise that just existing on the internet is going to offend someone, but deciding to do it anyway (provided you’re not a terrible person with awful views) is the moment things fall into place.

One of my biggest takeaways from this past five years is that friends come in all shapes and sizes - some drift in and out of your life for years, some get close and then disappear, and some you never even get to meet but they’re friends all the same. One of the reasons I started a blog was this idea of community that so many bloggers that I admired constantly spoke about. This idea that I could open my computer and chat to people that understood, supported and made me smile when I was so miserable in my real life seemed absolutely magical, and it was - I don’t know why I said that in past tense, because it still is. One of my favourite rituals when I have free time is scrolling through my Instagram DMs and catching up with everyone - I’ve been included on some of people's’ most special life moments because they messaged me and wanted to share, and that means the world. I’ve spoken to people about love, loss and everything in between. I’ve been asked to help choose a dress for an important occasion, give advice on university placements and just been there to listen to someone who needed it. That’s hands down the best part of being a blogger, and the community that I was promised is so much better than I ever could have expected.

Body positive plus size Bristol Blogger The Owlet

One of the things I never expected from starting a blog was that it would lead me to conquering fears. As a shy 19 year old I hated talking to anyone, and even leaving Bristol was a big deal for me (clear to see I didn’t start out as a travel blogger!). I suddenly found myself being invited to events and having to speak to total strangers and I remember obsessing for an entire week about what outfit looked most “bloggery”, spending hours painting my nails and doing my hair and makeup. Fast forward to 2021 and I never thought I would say that I actually miss events - I miss going out and meeting new people and my entire personality revolves around getting out and  exploring new places. In 2018 I was invited on my first press trip which just blew my mind because it was something I’d only ever seen “the big bloggers” do. I’m pretty sure I walked around in a state of awe the whole time, and I was so blown away that I don’t even think the content I created was that good. If you remember me posting about a festival in Oxford but not actually telling you who the sponsor was because I was so excited to post, then you’ve definitely been here a while! In 2019 I got on my first plane, when a few years before I would spend days stressing about getting on a train to Birmingham. I spent two weeks with 50 total strangers and I loved it! 

The biggest shock to my system is seeing where blogging can take you. I started a blog to make some new friends and have a creative outlet. Making money, attending events or being asked to go on national or international trips was so far out of the realms of possibility that it hadn’t even dawned on me that it was a thing. For all the amazing things I’ve done, the best part of my job is what it’s brought my family. I remember visiting the Italian Embassy and then the utter shock when a huge hamper of Italian food and drinks arrived at our front door just before Christmas, and we ate like royalty for weeks. I was able to take my Dad on board the cruise ship that he’d always set his heart on seeing, I arranged a special meal to celebrate my parents’ anniversary and I was able to take this guy I kind of liked to a festival as VIPs, then to review a 5-star hotel a few weeks later (I definitely didn’t give him a realistic expectation of my job, did I?!). Finally, I was able to move in with that guy that I “kind of liked”, all because of what The Owlet gave me.

Body positive plus size Bristol Blogger The Owlet

None of this is meant to brag or show off. I don’t think I’m some god-like blogger that should be treated like royalty or given the world. Even after 5 years it blows my mind every time I go to an event, attend a press trip or review a hotel - I still walk around with the same feeling of awe, although I do remember to tag the brand now! All of this is meant to say thank you to you. The biggest thing that still hasn’t sunk in is that every time I open my phone I have a new supportive message, a kind comment or my analytics show that someone has taken the time to read my blog. I never expected any of this to happen, but I’ve also never stopped being grateful - not just because I’m able to do this because of you, but genuinely grateful for the smiles you bring me and the life events I’ve been able to share with you. 

It’s kind of weird to think I’ve grown up on the internet, but you’ve genuinely changed my life for the better and turned me into someone that I’m really proud to be, so thank you.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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