… except, I don’t.
Look. I’m sure that I am incredibly late to the game on this revelation. But I’m going through a midlife crisis, and as such I have been reflecting a lot on exactly what I’m doing with my own life. Where am I? What’s next? What have I missed out on?
The truth is that I have missed out on a lot. Maybe there’s still time for those things, maybe not. But that’s not what I’ve actually been reflecting on. Not really about my past as traditionally happens in a midlife crisis, rather everything that is going on now around me.
Especially with the Internet. It’s readying for another big change.
When I started writing this blog in 2009, I did it because I wanted to be a writer (like a writer-writer). And, because I was stressed about the fact that I left graduate school, what I felt was against my will. Today, I still write on here, though it’s taken many different turns over the years. I published a few books (very few people bought). I’m still trying to podcast more regularly, though I question whether I even want to do that. I co-host a political podcast.
And I did and still do a lot of other stuff too (kids, politics, went back to graduate school…).
Today, where I began has morphed from Mom Blogging into Mom Vlogging. It feels painfully vapid, these 3 minute videos on Tik Tok and YouTube Shorts. Cross-posted on Instagram, covered in beautiful filters with tagged Paid Partnerships. Young moms in their late 20s and 30s, sometimes 40s, clicking their finger nails on products and rambling about grocery hauls. I don’t know what it is, but I do find myself hooked more often than not. I’ll swear I’m going to stop watching, then I find myself awake at 2 in the morning scrolling through video after video of GRWM, DITL, REWM, household resets, cooking and baking ASMR, grocery haul videos…
Though for every hour wasted, I will admit it’s inspired me to do better things, and for that I see value. I wash our fruits and vegetables much better than I did before. I learned how to do all the makeup my mom never taught me. I have tried new recipes. I’ve felt less crazy being such a hot mess Ph.D. Mom with kids.
And, in truth, it’s also a nice escape. My daily life is a combination of chaos and misery. Chaos in that I have three kids in incredibly different stage of their own lives. Misery is that I’m also, what feels like, a permanent student in a program that brings me little joy, a lot of headache, and can be incredibly lonely. Working on a Ph.D., or graduate work of any kind, is isolating. You have other students, but the camaraderie just is not there. I have a 4.0. No one responds to my posts in our online discussion group. Just today, another student in my cohort used the term “bitch” in one of her discussion posts, in a 600 level class, and yet I still feel that I am the idiot in the room because no one will talk to me.
I kind of don’t fit in, much in the same way I don’t fit with today’s Mom Vloggers. Much in the way I don’t fit in with most groups of people I encounter in life.
Back to the Mom Vloggers. In truth, even though I’m now 41, while I don’t fit, I still relate to them. It’s all still in many ways my own life, I just don’t write about it often. Just as there were back then, there are now: camps. There’s the perfect moms, and the hot mess moms. The normalizing normal. The inspirational posts. The “we’re all in this together.” I see myself in all of them, and at the same time cannot even remotely see myself sharing my life like that anymore.
The vlogging, it’s starting to reach the Mom Wars, I’m seeing videos of moms making fun of other mom vloggers, and rants in return. Other niches are growing – makeup tutorials, politics and news, cooking and baking. Same shit, different platform. Some of them are doing stand up events now, like going on tour (which is just bizarre).
Fundamentally, the market is saturated. There’s little for anyone to do to stand out; so much so that it’s lost its meaning.
The same thing happened with bloggers.
Some of the Hey Day of Mommy Blogging bloggers moved on to vlogging. Some of them moved into a new, more permanent niche (makeup, cooking, whatever). A handful of them stuck around like me, but simply no longer care about putting a label on what’s going on here.
A couple sold out (I’ll save that for another post another day).
And many of them simply… stopped and disappeared.
When the Internet changes again, which it most assuredly is about to do, where will everyone go? Will they move on to the next thing? Dig deeper into their niches? Will they just disappear too?
I’m still here. Now I write about whatever I want – sometimes my life, sometimes politics and world news, sometimes… well, whatever. And I post on other social media – vlogs and commentary. I post recipe videos, and baking stuff. Art. I talk a lot of shit about politics on Tik Tok and Twitter. But I do what I want, and in doing that wonder where I fit.
Or maybe more appropriately: if I ever will.
The truth is that in wondering where I fit now, I realize that I never fit. Fit in, that is. Anywhere. I don’t fit in at school. In the blogging or vlogging world. I don’t fit in to politics. In my family, in my husband’s family.
I do not fit.
And that feels profound to say, but in truth it probably isn’t. I say I’m going through a midlife crisis, but really it’s that I simply recognize and understand that now.
I do not fit in. Anywhere.
When the vlogs move on to something else, soon here, will I still follow and not fit again? Or will I stay here and figure out a new way?