We Took the First Step in Isolation. Lets Take the Second Step Together.
Before publishing my first blog post I found myself performing a quick google search. A search the likes of which we are all guilty of at least once or twice a week. A search for a beginners ‘how to’ guide. Oh how dependent have we become on these div tips? Outside of porn and social media surely the most visited sights of the vast online wilderness must be the easily digestible, numbered, bullet pointed, oh so warm and inviting ‘how to guide.’ Don’t know how to poach an egg? There’s a 4 step guide for that. Don’t know to get over an ex? We have 11 hot tips for you. Don’t know how to properly defecate? The internet experts will show you the way. What was life like for the generations which preceded the inception of Wikihow? Surely it must have been a starved, heart-broken, constipated nightmare of an existence. Dark times indeed.
Fortunately we don’t have to find out. The world wide web has alphabetised, categorised and reduced every facet of human existence into bite sized chunks of easily consumable listings, just the right size to be absorbed via osmosis, by the easily distracted and limited attention spans of us modern millennial monsters. And so before embarking upon this unfamiliar and terrifying new escapade of sharing my most intimate and unspoken inner feelings with the cold world at large, I sought comfort in a number of these guides. The importance of making your content accessible was clearly critical. You could be be waxing lyrical in such glorious prose that even Shakespeare himself would blush, but if nobody can find your content to begin with, what difference does it make? If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?
With that being said, many of us here are just humble folk looking to connect with a few like-minded individuals and do what we do best, express ourselves through our mutual love of the written word. Data analytics, SEO’s and influencer networking are alien and frankly overwhelming concepts to me at this stage of my burgeoning blogging ‘career’. One of the more useful and accessible tips I found was to personalise and make my posts accessible via the use of tags. #lifestyle, #foodie, #travel and for the budding blogger, #zerotohero. Hashtags are the front cover titles of the digital age, a soundbite of what’s in store for us, a way to filter through the noise of the web and find the content at least loosely related to what we are hungering for. And so, as instructed by my handy how to guide, I have been using the hashtag #zerotohero with abandon since starting this blog, with little regard of what that term actually entails. Well today, when I woke up to another day of nothingness and isolation stretching in front of me from the shadow of the twentysomethingish existence, I did what I should have done a long time ago, I searched for my appropriated hashtag. I was humbled by what I found.
I started this blog after I came to the terribly un-profound realisation that I, am unhappy. I don’t know where I am in my life, I don’t know where I need to go. There are so many paths open to me that it feels stifling, how can I possibly know which one to choose. I needed an outlet, something I enjoy, somewhere I can be myself without fear of repercussions or judgement, somewhere I can be myself. So hear I am. So here you are. Reading through the thousands of posts from new and aspiring bloggers I was struck by one simple, yet overwhelmingly beautiful idea, I am not alone.
So many of you are struggling, lost, alone, like me. You may be struggling with an illness, anxiety or depression, feeling lost after a career change or a new development in your life, suffering from loneliness after the breakup of a relationship or a move to a new place. You are struggling, lost, alone, beaten, tired, worn down, sick, suicidal, desperate, conflicted…You are all beautiful. I see in all of you here today a commonality of human suffering and a shared determination, to persevere. You are here because you want to be heard. You want to share your experiences with other, to inspire those who are struggling, to connect with your fellow men and women. You are here because you refuse to give up. Most of us will stare down the barrel of the gun at some point in our lives and it is only through the strength of those around us that we may survive to tell the tale. You are all the individual links which make up the lifeline for so many lost souls.
Every one of you here today have taken the first vital step on the road to recovery. You have posted your first #zerotohero hashtag and with it you have declared to the world, ‘I will not go silently into the night’, I will have my voice heard.
Yet there is still work to be done. The first step is not enough when you still have one foot on the starting block. I saw too many blogs where the writer had taken that first terrifying step to introduce themselves and announce proudly to the world ‘I am not okay’, only to lack any follow up posts. We must do more. It’s a vital and beautiful step announcing our existence but we must go further, we must be the change we want to see. Let us truly connect, let us read about the experience of others, like, follow, comment, we need to communicate and build our community, a new community based on the universal struggles of human existence. We are all here today because we have taken our first tentative steps forward in isolation, let the second step be taken together.