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Friday, December 2, 2011

Internet Stage Fright? A Sleepy Ramble, etc.

A really adorable thing computers sometimes do is stop working properly. This comes in particular handy when one works online and needs to be able to edit videos and answer emails and send large files at a moment's notice. (I'm dealing with this problem mostly by taking long, angst-ridden baths and playing four-hour games of M/F/K on my friend's couch.) Anyway, below is a blog post I wrote up two days ago in the middle of a restless night, and while it's even moodier and pointlesser in the light of day, I thought I'd share it with you anyway. Feel no obligation to agree with any part of it or attempt to rationalize with my half-asleep self; this is purely for entertainment.

* * *

There're a number of reasons why I probably shouldn't be blogging right now. For one, it's nearly 2AM and I'm on babysitting duty for my sister's newborn early tomorrow morning, and since my last hangout with my nephew resulted in infant urine on my leg, I should aim to have slept before the baby handover. For two, my laptop is currently moving at the pace of... something agonizingly slow (shut up; the simile-maker in my brain is on snooze mode; it's 2AM!), and since it's too cold and dark and Ohioish for me to go running in the evenings, any minor annoyance like a slow computer can make me furious and restless. And finally, I shouldn't be blogging right now because everything I have to say tonight is immature and whiny. But when has that stopped me before, huh? Actually, that's... sort of what I wanted to talk about.

I receive a lot of emails and comments and tweets lately from people who say they wish I'd blog more often. (I also receive a lot from people [middle-aged men in basements] who want me to do fetish porn, but they aren't as polite about it.) These messages create a little battle in my head, because on the one hand, it's AMAZING that a group of people care enough about me that they want to hear what I have to say or pretend to laugh at my punctuation jokes, but on the other hand, it's like... what if I can't blog?

I mean... okay, here's the deal. I started posting videos and stories about my life online-- to an audience, at least-- in 2005. In 2005, I was fifteen years old. I didn't have a driver's license. My dad didn't have an email address. I'd had one semi-real boyfriend who was probably gay, I'd never tasted wine or filled out a college application or gone out of the state without my parents, I still had some remnants of funky overgrown bangs, and my internet existence was virtually anonymous. Yes, it had my full name on it (very successful, middle school assembly about protecting personal information online!), but no one who knew me in the real world had any reason to know about my double life. As a teenager, I had the incredible experience of being able to write freely and extensively about my feelings, whether they were sweet or cruel or mature or silly, and receive feedback from total strangers. It was awesome, and I wouldn't trade that time for anything, but it left me spoiled. Because now I am not fifteen and now I am not anonymous.

I've met so many of you through events and concerts and conferences, I've saved stacks of letters with your handwritten names at the bottom, I've read your blogs or watched your video responses or gotten to know parts of you through your daily comments. It's mindblowing to hear that I've positively influenced someone by talking about overcoming depression or losing weight or sticking up for something, and all these little mindblows build up until... I feel guilty for publishing posts about sitting around eating cookie dough, feeling moody for no reason, changing my opinions and views so drastically that they aren't at all in line with what originally endeared me to someone. I feel responsibility to be the voice a fifteen-year-old might need to hear when all I really feel like being is a sloppy hippy college student. I can't be freely imperfect when my words represent some idea beyond myself, but I can't be some noncontroversial figure of perfection, either, because I'm just a little bit too sucky.

There are times when I feel blogger's adrenaline building up like dandruff flakes in my brain, and I want so badly to purge the story of my weekend or bad date or big mistake into cyberspace, complete with dumb analogies and links to only-sort-of-relevant sites. I've even started drafts of posts, started in on what I've had to say, and then backspaced backspaced backspaced, seeing the faces and names of different people who would be disappointed/triggered/upset by my words, all of them boggled around in my head. I can't tell you how I tried this thing or kissed this person or made an ass out of myself in this way, because I serve as so many different symbols to so many different people.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... it's hard to be loved and respected and wanted? God, I'm sorry. I don't mean to come off as a whiny brat. I'm extraordinarily grateful for the connections I've formed with people-- whether full-blown friendships or just tiny meaningful moments-- because of this odd, unconventional lifestyle. I would never undo whatever it is I did to become someone's idea of a good or healthy or awesome person, because it feels amazing to make some kind of positive impact. But with impact comes pressure, and raaaaaaawr, I'm like a shaken Coke can, you guys; I swear to god.

My three options are to either stop writing personal posts and just use this blog for businessy stuff (yuck, gross, please don't even dignify that option with consideration), to say whatever I want regardless of whether everybody who ever liked me before changes their minds, or just... stop altogether? I would sort of rather vomit all over myself than put an end to using my blog as a public diary, but I also can't pretend to talk about my life while leaving every single interesting detail out just because young women and my extended family and my parents' friends have access to it.

* * *

And that's when Firefox shut down and I yelled agitatedly and went to sleep. I suppose I still agree with my sentiments from the other night, and I'd be interested to hear your opinions on the situation, but again, it seems much less important while the sun is up.


P.S. I'm posting a video this week to announce the book project to the greater public, and I'm both excited and nervous. I think I'll be able to clear up some of the concerns expressed in blog comments the other week (although most of those problems have already been solved via email) and even though I take criticism worse than just about anybody, I'm grateful that we got to test the idea out on you guys, the most loyal and sweet and awesome group on the internet, before opening it up to the masses. I am incredibly appreciative of the support and enthusiasm some of you have shown, and I hope excitement will eclipse my anxiety about the project once more people get involved!

80 comments:

Emily said...

I think you should just keep posting. People who have been around for a long time are also growing up too, and we're also changing our minds about things, and going through stuff we want to share, but not with the whole world. If you just keep doing your thing, your audience might change a bit, but you'll be happy you're being honest and so will we. I think you should just do what feels right :)

OMV said...

WOW that was some rant, loved it though and I always loved your vlogs too, keep on rockin the Christmas spirit H!

nerdygwen said...

Please keep posting! You shouldn't have to feel a ton of pressure just for wanting to write about your personal life or whatever hilarious stories from your daily life you want to share.

geekyadventurer said...

Keep posting. As someone else commented, your loyal readers are growing up with you. :)

I'm just wondering whatever happened to Presence.

Stefan said...

yeah it's tough. I for one am happy to see you post anything but know that you can't always have something that needs sharing. When I look at people who post super often sometimes it feels like they are reaching to stay interesting. It's nice to only be internet social when it feels right.

Also audience is hard. Everyone wants to know everything but some info only meant for certain people. So when you talk to everyone at once you have you have to filter.. that's super common... most people just call that thanksgiving but you deal with it weekly. and that's tough and kinda a sucky position to be in.

In some ways that's always why it seemed to me that people made 2nd and 3rd youtube channels and then announced a tumblr from the 3rd channel and a twitter from that tumblr and a 2nd twitter from that twitter. Now you have different groups of people in each place and maybe you can talk to them differently.

I guess I don't have any advice other then yeah you are in a tough spot. I feel ya.

Christina said...

I think that people change. I hate change,but we all grow up and we do it together. Reading about your life is nice but you shouldn't feel pressured to do so. In the meantime well be here and happy simply with Hayley.

Lauren J. said...

I LOVE your blog, your videos, your twitter, your tumblr, nearly everything you do on the internet. You are my absolute favorite YouTuber and I don't mean that lightly. And the reason I love watching you and hearing what you have to say is because you are honest, funny, and real. It may sound dumb but I love how I seem to relate to you more than any other internet personality (sorry if that's a weird term, I'm just not sure what to call it). And I don't always agree with what you say, but that doesn't change my mind about you. Keep posting what you're posting please, because the people out there like me love and appreciate it. But more importantly, do what makes you happy, Hayley.

jenibo said...

It's important that people know you are a real person. You are not a concept supposed to complete us. Clementine summed it up well.
I like when you admit to the same things you wouldn't have thought to omit back when you first started blogging. It's Hayley. And it's awesome. I almost hate to say it, because it doesn't seem to mean much anymore, but be yourself.

megkhowell said...

I think you should post what you want. Maybe put a disclaimer in if you are concerned about it? But I prefer to read about you being a real person rather than you being a role model or something.

Anonymous said...

I bet Miley feels the same way...

kaitlin said...

I've been "following you" via social networks (gah, that sounds so creepy) since I was sixteen. I enjoyed your ideas and views then, but we all grow up eventually. I'm 20 now and would love to hear what you have to say as a 21 year old. Sure, you may offend people... but it's not exactly required from you to please everyone. Yes, some people won't like it, but it's who you are now. You shouldn't have to edify that to capture an audience. I vote that you keep writing and I guarantee the faithful readers will continue to love whatever you have to say.

GillianisAslan said...

I love your blog. I snuck on the internet at summer camp for years to check it. But here's the thing. If something causes you stress that you quite simply don't need, sometimes you just have to cut the cord. Delete all of your old posts if they make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable or just bring up bad memories. If you're having this much turmoil over this blog, it isn't worth the stress. You can always leave for awhile and come back when you feel ready again. You don't have a contract or a ketuvah with the internet. And I, as someone who has found a way to get a Hannah Montana doll to you, would completely understand. You are 21. You have bigger things to think about than writing about your life to an audience of people who don't REALLY know you. And I think that we would all understand.

That being said, if you feel like you can still write, please do. I think that you are fantastic and hilarious. But if you only write it out of some sort of obligation, don't bother.

Also, marry me.

Emma said...

It sounds like you feel that because you have helped people with your writing, you should be a perfect role model. But no one can be perfect. Just make it clear to the younger readers that your best insight will probably apply to times in your life that you've been able to reflect on after a few years, i.e. middle and high school but not necessarily what you did last week. Right now you are making the mistakes that will allow you to learn what to tell them about college in a few years.

And frankly if any of your readers see you as purely a symbol this is as good a time as any to teach them that while role models are good, one should never see a person as anything more than a human being who sometimes eats cookie dough.

It's nice when you have some helpful advice for younger readers but I think lots of readers (me included) just like to hear what you think about things in the present, flaws and all. And sometimes knowing that maybe you've made the same mistakes as we have is just as helpful as advice from someone who's got it all figured out.

Wow, sorry this is so long!

Maris said...

Honestly, I think you should keep posting. I know how it feels to try to be perfect and keep up people's opinions of you, but for me it's easier to be myself and apologize for any mistakes later. Obviously, I don't have as many people to impress as you do, but I think that being yourself is part of the reason why people love and respect you. In the end, do what you think is right, whether or not others agree with it. Happy Holidays Hayley!

Domi said...

Although I'm not in your position at all, I do know what you mean. I know quite a few people I know personally read my blog, and there's a lot of personal stuff on there. Obviously, your audience is way way bigger and therefore so is your problem. But here's the thing.

You don't force people to read your blog, do you? So if readers keep coming back for more, it's because the honestly want to. For me, writing what I feel on my blog is a way of staying true to myself -- I'm not the kind of person who would change words because it might hurt someone, I just try to be as diplomatic as possible without lying. I'll never mention names, but people might recognize themselves. I don't care, as long as they're the only ones understanding a certain reference, it's up to them to decide whether they want to continue reading whatever I have to say. I'm a lousy liar, so I never try to hide the truth. If people feel offended, they can come talk to me and I won't feel offended. But whatever I'm writing on that blog of mine, is my blog life, which I need to keep me sane. I tell people my blog life and my real life are kinda the same and kinda totally separate, and most of them know what I mean.

As far as your blog goes, I really really wish you'd keep on writing. I don't only read your blog for the stories you have to tell (it feels weird sometimes to be reading about a person you actually don't know at all, I admit that much), I also/mostly read it for the lovely language you manage to put down on your computer screen. You're incredibly well-spoken and funny, I don't even think you do it on purpose. (Not in the least, your blog is the place where I learned the word 'ointment'. That word is awesome!)

If your fear of not fulfilling your 'responsibilities' is the only thing that's keeping you from continuing what you're good at, then I definitely think you shouldn't stop. In that case, you just need a more solid disclaimer :D.

Keep it up!

Jeremy C. said...

I think you have artistic license to post whatever you want, regardless of public opinion.

Jeremy C. said...

I think that you have artistic license to post whatever you want, and ideally it should not be based on public opinion. I understand that's basically impossible in reality, but I think it's a good thing to keep in mind.

Anonymous said...

Hayley,

I could tell you that I don't care what you post and that I enjoy reading your writing in any form but I am sure you have considered that aspect of your audience. I totally understand your qualm, and I honestly can't see a solution. I think your audience has just become to wide spread. You have people from every age. I am 18, and just finishing my first semester of university so reading your stuff is kind of like glimpsing into the future.

However when I first discovered your blog I went back and read every single post from the beginning, and as I read I realized that you just have more emotions than I do, and as I was going through high school I got to read about you going through it.

All I can say is that the uncensored version of your life is brilliant, and makes me feel like I have had the experiences that you have. So that boy you kissed, or that thing you tried, your stories of those might prevent some readers of going through the same thing.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Maybe I should get a blog. ;)

-Kayla
:)

Bobina said...

Keep posting! If you want to share your life, share it. We love reading any and all of your writing and observations. That's why we're here!
And if someone disagrees otherwise, we'll just say "Oh, she's just being Hayley."

Elizabeth said...

Do you feel like a paper girl living in a paper town?

Kali said...

As someone to whom you're still relatively anonymous, I would love for you to post your every thought and story. Of course, I'm a 20-year-old college student, relatively in the same place as you, and follow your blog because I can relate to you and not because I'm seeking a role model or anything. I'm not your aunt, who might be horrified at whatever hippie tendencies you've acquired in college, or an impressionable high school freshman who might see you as someone to emulate.
I know it'd probably get exhausting having to defend yourself and your actions all the time, so I'll support you if you decide not to blog anymore.
But it would really suck because I love everything you post so much, and in all honesty, I'm really curious to know what you've been up to.
This comment probably didn't make your decision any easier, but I thought I'd share anyway. I hope all is going well :)

Jennifer said...

Defiantly a loaded, real issue. Personally, I'd like you to keep posting. Whatever symbol people may see you as, even more people see you as just a normal person (Maybe a little less than normal conventionally due to HGH and 5AG, but that's beside the point.)

This is where a lot of your positive influence on me has come from. To know that the random moodiness ("Moody" sends me into intense flashbacks of Amanda Bynes and hot air balloons.) isn't just because something is in fact wrong, but is just part of phases that everyone does go through.

Courtney said...

It must be so incredibly hard being "popular" on the internet, and like you said, having pressure to be a sort of role model for people. I understand the blogging thing - I don't want people to be hurt by the things I write, and so it is hard to write about your personal life. :/

tumblenc said...

I think it'll be okay for you to keep posting. Do whatever you want; it's your blog. Your stuff is always interesting, anyway.

(to be honest, though, I missed your funny anecdotes, however unprofessional or silly they may seem.)

Jicori said...

I think I understand your dilemma here, but for me personally, the reason I find you to be such an admirable person is because you're so honest. It's not always what you do or say specifically (though that plays a part, of course) but that you're willing to be a real person and brave enough to share that. People change and they try new things or make asses of themselves and there's nothing wrong with that.

Writing about those things probably won't upset/disappoint as many as you might think and it will probably help (that's not quite the right word, but close enough) a lot of people in the way that reading your blog has helped people in the past. People relate to you because you're honest about the things you're going through and will be able to continue to relate if you choose to continue doing that.

Anyway, I love your blog and think you're awesome and hilarious and I'd sincerely love for you to be able to keep posting, but I understand if you can't.

Phyllis said...

Hello Hayley. I have been reading your blog for a long while now, actually since you have started it. I think it would be best if you shared all those less than perfect sides of yourself. No one expects you to be perfect, nor should anyone expect perfection from anybody else. If your views have changed then tell us, and explain why if you want to. Tell us stories where you end up in a bad light. It is good to see people complexly (cough cough John Green) than to only see only a well maintained version of you.

If you think a story is funny, or worth telling then put it out there. People are going to make judgments no matter what you write, don't try to cater to the imagined desires of a community you think you understand. People change, you change. People are complex, you are complex. Don't put on a show.

Those are my thoughts coming at you from a sleepy mind after almost a day of napping because I guess my body requires rest when under pressure and partying since thursday... who would have thought.

Good luck figuring all this out. I'll still read, and I won't think any worse of you when you get (more) real.

The High School Experience said...

I feel you should post your life the way you want to remember it. If you did kiss that someone, but you really regret it, let it serve as a lesson to other girls who haven't been in that position yet. Writing is all about experiences, right?

Kara said...

I don't have anything to say that's very different from what everyone else is saying, but I thought I'd add my voice in anyway...

I think you just kind of have to try to stop worrying about how people will react to your stories, or that they'll take them the wrong way. Obviously, that's a lot easier said than done, but I think as long as you remain honest and do what you want, we will do our best to imagine you complexly. You're more than just a concept or a role model, and you deserve to be yourself - a multi-faceted, complex human being - on the internet without worrying that everyone's going to judge you or stop liking you (and if some people do, so what?).

I, personally, love your blog. I'd love it if you took it up again, but if not, I get it. I'm so glad you've shared as much as you already have with us. :)

David said...

What you seem to forget is that all of these people love and relate to you because you are just a normal pizza eating, slow-computer hating, sometimes slobbish internet geek. But that's not all you are, you're also an incredible writer and a hilarious video maker and it's that kind of person that makes you so inspiring, because you're like us but with all of this amazing stuff on the side.
And whilst being a good role model is a virtue it certainly doesn't mean you have to stop being yourself. Because I really really like how genuine and relatable you seem in your online presence, and I feel like If you stopped acting like a person with complaints and insignificant fantasies you would lose that.
Just one perspective <3

kira902k said...

Yeaahh, I really do get what you're saying. It's the pressure all celebrities feel, to a lesser extent, i guess.
I can't speak on behalf of ALL your fans, cause I don't know how they feel, but I know that I would love to hear all your controversial opinions and your personal crazy stories and your not-best-role-model stories. And I wouldn't mind. Even if I did get irritated at one of your opinions, I would simply debate it in the comments, and that would just result in some critical thinking. xD

And I also don't care if your blogs are not quality, nor something that would be technically interesting for the general public. Because your blog is a place for YOURSElF, for your stories. It's our choice to continue reading it. If we don't like what you have to say, we don't have to be reading it.

I dont know if I'm making any sense.
I mean, the one thing that does suck, is that your family and IRL people read it. I get that being an issue. You could switch over to a new, private blog...and somehow only let internet people know? xD Not sure if that'd work.

Anyway, sorry for writing so much. I just want to say that I read blogs because I'm INTERESTED in specific people's lives, however monotonous or raunchy they are. And I may be a couple years younger than you, and you may be some sort of an inspiration to me in some ways, but I'm smart enough to only take to heart the things you say that I agree with. I'm not just going to be influenced or whatever from any random thing you say.

I dont know.
You should not be afraid of disappointing us.

:)
<3

alex

EJ said...

I've always admired how honest you are on this blog. But if you no longer feel comfortable with writing about the more personal aspects of your life, I can definitely understand that. Don't worry about pleasing us, you know we'll read whatever you choose to keep writing about.
<3

Jesshneil said...

Keep posting, even for yourself to look back on old posts and realize how much you've changed since then. To watch yourself grow over the years. I'm sure everybody who watches your videos/ reads your blogs understands that people change. If not change at least build on what they have.

Jen said...

Hayley,

While your more serious posts about depression and body image are great, we also like your posts about food, emotions, and anything else. That's when you can make us laugh. I've gone to your posts on off days, and even when you didn't think you had anything important to say, I still ended up laughing. No, a story from a girl I've never met before has never solved any of my problems, but they helped me feel better so I could pick myself up again. And its always great to see that someone you look up to deals with the same mundane things you do. We don't expect perfect, and I think a lot of us don't want it.

Jen

Catherine said...

You never started blogging to please other people. If you're like me, (and I feel like we are relatively similar), this is definitely something you do because it makes YOU feel good. because YOU want to. and because YOU CAN.

No one can expect you to stick to every position you allied yourself with as a high school freshman. At fifteen you were pure potential. Now you're realized potential with some life experience, and that is the BEST place to be.

I really look forward to reading about your life, and realizing that I'm not the only one who finds myself in unbelievably ridiculous or awkward situations. I'm not alone in continually evolving into the person I'm really excited to be. I hope you don't stop.

Brianna said...

I'm on the same boat as everyone else here, don't stop doing what you're doing. The great thing about the internet is that there's a LOT of it! If you're posting content that makes you happy or that you think is interesting that "offends" someone or they don't like what you've done, they can go somewhere else. You are growing just like a lot of your followers, and allowing yourself to do that in your own life, as well as in your cyber-life, instead of trying to stay your fifteen year old self might just allow you to gain a new audience or even help your current audience grow with you. Either way, there shouldn't be this much pressure on you to do what you like to do.

Katie said...

I know it's been said a trabillion times, but do whatever your heart desires! We'll love reading whatever you write, whether it's a sarcastic story about something at school or a rant about a political debate with someone. I do get that the difficulties lie in the fact that IRL people read your blog and that would give you some reservations about being so public about some things. But if all else fails, go to Livejournal (I still have one, honestly) under a Pseudonym and use it to write about stuff you don't want the entire world to know about. Just somehow tell us non-IRL faithful blog readers what your pen name will be so we can follow you there. ;P

Sam said...

I think you should keep posting. I come here incredibly frequently hoping for your blogs, and while I'm a teenage girl who certainly does look up to you, I don't look up to you as some holy perfect being of model behaviour and deep and meaningful words, though you have the capacity to be so at times. I look up to you as someone funny and just as lazy at times as me, just as emotional and petty sometimes as I am, just as human. I want to read whatever you have to post, however much it might seem weird or whiny or unimportant, because I enjoy the way you tell a story, and I enjoy the feeling of connection I have with your life by reading about it (that sounds a bit creepy, sorry! :D) I don't know how to phrase this without it accidentally coming across as offensive, but I like your posts, all of them, regardless the subject matter. Just keep posting, please.

Rachel said...

I think you basically just need decide what you want to use this blog for. Do you want it as an online diary for your personal memories or do you want to use it like a business as a way to communicate with a certain group of people. If you're trying to do both then it's bound to be difficult.

You can't please all people all the time. None of us are perfect and I think it would probably be easier for you to influence people if they can actually see your day to life, with all its flaws, as well as the great advice you dish out.

Alloquy said...

Those that would dislike you because something that you do or say shatters their idealized opinion of who and what you are don't actually like YOU. I would say those types of people actually need to get a reality check. A lot of your followers have grown up with you, anyway, and those that are still young might find it refreshing to have an honest insight into what their future might hold.

Alexis said...

Hayley, part of the reason so many people admire and relate to you is that you're just so damn human. We don't want a perfect version of you who always says the right thing and doesn't make mistakes.

We love you for everything you are, whether you're in positive role model mode (which absolutely is not your responsibility, by the way) or just bumming around eating chipotle. We love you on your good days, and also the brief times when you let us into your bad days.

We want to imagine you complexly. :)

I know that's easy for me to say when you're the one who is actually sharing her life with perfect strangers. If people don't accept something you do or say, then they need to gain some maturity and realise that people are flawed, and that we have no right to judge them for that.

Besides, we all want someone to relate to the awkward and embarrassing and crappy moments in our lives, which you manage to do so very well.

We appreciate you so much, but you don't owe us anything at all. Please do whatever makes you happy!

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. :)

Jennifer said...

I don't care whether you put your whole life online or only parts of it. i like the way you think about things. also, you're only another human being, just like me (and i keep thinking about the same problem while writing blog posts) and everybody else. we all have our faults.
so, whatever you decide to do with your blog, i'll be eager to read it!

Kat said...

First of all, I like the new color scheme.

Secondly, I definitely understand your concerns. I don't know, though, I think you can have some faith in your audience to recognize that you're a person who lives a life and is not always perfect. And in some ways I think that could be more valuable as a role model?

Plus the part of me that has finals this week just really, really wants more to be distracted by. Just saying

moARRgan said...

Keep posting.

Hayley, I look at girls like you at Kristina as role models, but I recognize that you're not perfect. You shouldn't feel responsible for being that perfect goody-goody because no one is, and we all realize that. I'm 18 and in college. I know you're not perfect and you don't have to pretend to be.

Since you're going to college in the hopes of (maybe) finding a real job, you don't need to worry about Google Analytics and alienating your audience. I think that you should do what you enjoy and not worry about what other people think because that's what got you "non-anonymous" in the first place.

Whatever you choose though, I will faithfully follow it.

Izzy said...

No offense, Haley, but I don't see you as a role model. I mean, I don't have a problem with you either, but what I'm trying to say is that I don't place any responsibility on you for the way I live my life. I wish you'd keep posting because I'm two years younger than you and it's nice to have a bit of a heads-up as to what's coming in my near future, be it graduating or getting a job of what have you. I can't think of anywhere else to go for an honest opinion besides your blog. It would break my heart if you censored yourself and presented only the "acceptable" parts of your life. I understand why you would want to do that for privacy, but please don't do it because you feel you have any need to pretend to be something you're not.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and reading all your posts. To be honest, some of my favourite entries were random VEDA posts talking about what you ate or hats looking like raccoon:)(Woahh did you know the plural of raccoon is still just 'raccoon', thanks auto correct. Anyways, still love your blog, and pretty sure I always will!

Julia Rose said...

What? Stop posting? But- but- I don't wanna think about that. I think you should keep posting, regardless of what people may think. The beauty of this community is that we are growing up too. We are going through rough times, we have those days when we just want to sit around and eat cookie dough naked, just like you. Nobody wants you to stop. People disagree sometimes, it's part of life. And self expression is a very important part of life, and who you are, and who we are! Don't be afraid of what people will think! The important thing is that you are making them think! Rawr. I just don't want to see your thoughts go unsung. Don't be afraid to be a hippy college student, sometimes. We love you all the same. <3

shef said...

listen, the only reason i started following your blogs and vlogs is because you were genuinely yourself in them, and i liked you. that means im gonna keep following even if you chnga a couple of your opinions. please keep posting stuff, it was only a few months ago when you were the highlight of nearly every day (:

Kaitlyn w/ a K said...

When I first started vlogging I always tried to keep it squeaky-clean. Then as time passed I let slip a bit of profanity hear or a reference drinking there, and all of a sudden I'm a full-fledged adult who tweets about every inappropriate thing that pops into her head. Of course, I was already technically an adult when I started, so it wasn't a drastic of a change.

Lately I've been living by this life-is-short-so-I-might-as-well-be-myself philosophy and not really censoring myself. I've never received a single complaint about my openness thus far. In fact, I think people prefer it.

Granted, your audience is much larger than mine, so the pressure on you is much greater. Still, though, I think most people would prefer you be yourself, especially people who have followed you for a long time. So I vote for being real.

Kaitlyn w/ a K said...

Remember that time I set out to give you a bit of advice and ended up talking about myself the whole time? Gross, Kaitlyn.

sterff1face said...

For me personally, I that just because people are inspired by you, doesn't mean you have a responsibility to be inspiring - you weren't trying this hard when people started liking you to begin with, right? Don't force yourself to try to hard now.
At least for me, my favorite posts are when you talk about ridiculous things in a hilarious way. I want more posts like that. :P

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't put so much pressure on yourself! You don't need to be perfect, we'll love you no matter what! Feel free to write about whatever you want, as frequently or infrequently as you want. It's your blog!

Kirsten Erin said...

I've been watching your vlogs for a while now, but I'm pretty new to your blog. But I felt compelled to respond because, well, the people who read and watch you on the Internet (wow, that sounds weird, but you know what I mean. Haha.) do so because they like you. We like seeing that you're human and we like you for you. Be the person you are without worrying what everyone else is going to say. It's something I've been learning lately myself. Who cares what everyone else thinks? Just be you. That's what people want to see.
We like HayleyGHoover and we want to see you be yourself, not what you think we want to see. :)
I hope that helps! The post was great, but then again I'm a big fan of psycho-analyzing myself, so I like knowing I'm not the only one. Haha.

Alex said...

I totally understand the stage-fright thing; I've gotten to know a few very social-justice oriented types on Tumblr, and it's very scary to ask them questions because I'm constantly questioning whether I'm being offensive or not thinking about someone's triggers, and it is paralyzing.

However, to your concern about "I feel responsibility to be the voice a fifteen-year-old might need to hear when all I really feel like being is a sloppy hippy college student," sometimes the voice a fifteen year old needs to hear is the voice of a sloppy hippy college student. I'm almost seventeen now, but when I was fourteen, hearing normal, boring college stories was legitimately my favorite thing (got me into fiveawesomegirls, anyway), because it proved that there were normal people like me leading normal, boring lives proved that it was possible, and that my situation (i.e. middle school) wasn't going to last forever.

Really, the only thing you should worry about is triggering people, but I understand completely about worrying about quality/selection. Just know that it puts a smile on my face whenever I see a new post, be it a "quality" one or a "whiny" one.

Typical life of boy teenagers said...

I think you should let loose. I hate not hearing from you. You have gotten me through a lot over the years, and it doesn't feel like I've known you on the internet for over 4 years. You are fabulous and you will always have people to support you when people hate. :) Keep posting, and fuck the haters! You rock Hayley and you will do awesome things!

Aly said...

Keep posting!
I kind of feel the same way as you sometimes. For the longest time, only fandom people followed me on twitter so I could rant about things that happened and complain about people in a witty way without upsetting anyone. Then somehow, people from school found my twitter and started following me and now I can't tweet half the stories or quotes I want to tweet simply because people may be able to figure out what/who I'm referring to. And worst of all, I can't even tweet how upset I am that people from school follow me because I don't want to offend anyone. Some may say it is strange that I would rather have strangers than friends follow me, but then I didn't have to care if people thought I was a boring/pessimistic person simply because I tweeted about doing college apps all the times. Now its like second guessing every tweet which I hate.
I'm not willing to part with my twitter, but I feel like everything I now tweet is boring and mundane.
So yeah, I'm not entirely sure if this relates exactly to what your talking about, but it just felt good to type it all out.
I'm sorry I don't have advice about how to deal with the situation, but just know that I would continue reading your blog either way!

Bridget said...

While it's certainly a tough call I think it all comes down to honesty. I'd like to think that maybe when I'm in my 30s I'd like to go back and read my posts from right now and wonder what I was thinking and reliving those moments and what not. I don't think you need to censor yourself from your blog just because you're getting older because your readers are getting older, too. You may be a role model, but you're also a human being. There's nothing wrong with sharing the experience of your alcohol-induced weekend or something haha don't feel you need to protect someone. In fact, you might be able to teach that 15 year old reader from doing something if you admit how big of a mistake it was to wear heels to... I don't know, something where it won't be fun to wear heels at. This post made sense in my head... I'm just going to stop now haha

Anonymous said...

In the end it's still your blog and I think you have the right to post whatever the hell you want regardless of what other people think. You started this blog for you, not us.

whatcanido? said...

You should think readers have grow up, too.. and we know what it is to change your mind. Also u cant talk about important things ALL THE TIME, sometimes is just fine to talk about your weekend or something funny that happened. Life is like that, for us too so we can relate to that.
So..all im saying is.. we dont need u to be perfect we need u to be someome we can relate to, someone normal like us! so relax and be yourself! thats what we liked on the first place.

rarerthanuranium said...

If anything, I find that your personal posts (especially the ones that reference sitting around in sweatpants eating raw cookie dough) give your more businessy posts more meaning. If you were the image of perfection all the time, you wouldn't be relatable, and I would end up thinking to myself "well of course Hayley G. Hoover can stand up to that sexist pig, but I could never do that, because I'm the kind of person who sits around in sweatpants eating raw cookie dough, and Hayley is obviously an all-around better person than I am." But that's the thing - you're a normal person, not inherently better or worse than anyone else. That's what makes your more empowering posts so inspirational. I'd be sad to see you stop blogging, or start censoring your blog posts. Please don't.

Heather Toothman said...

Growing up is about having a difference of opinion with yourself. I don’t agree with A LOT of things I used to think when I was 15 (I’m now 26 o.O). You can do whatever you want. I enjoy your writing style and I enjoy your vlogs and would appreciate anything you posted despite my dislike or my utter adoration of it.

Mikaelah said...

Hayley, I'm sorry if you ever feel like anything less than what you are- a great person. Your videos and blog posts are inspiring and help a lot of people. I really hope you choose to keep yourself open to the public, because it doesn't matter what some nasty middle-aged guy or a jealous fourteen year old girl says. They hide behind the mask of anonymity, and you are brave enough to do what you enjoy every time you update your blog or upload another video. Thank you for doing what you do, and I hope that the voices of your true fans shine through for you. Your videos always make me laugh and cheer me up when I feel sad. Thank you for what you do! :)

Thea said...

I just want to preface this by saying I've only been reading your blog for a couple months now, so obviously my thoughts are probably different than someone who's been reading your blog for years.

I don't think you should worry so much about changing. I don't think anybody expects you to be the same as were at fifteen, or even as you were last year. I do think that for every person who might get upset if you aren't the same person you used to be, there are at least twenty or thirty more who want to grow up with you, or watch you grow up.

As for feeling guilty about having days of moodiness and cookie-dough indulgence, I think that's part of the appeal of getting to know you through your blogs and vlogs. Maybe a lot of people look up to you, but I think part of it is because you DO let us see some of the flaws. Honestly, I usually get frustrated by people who seem like they have it together ALL the time.

As for the people in your non-Internet life reading this, I don't know what to tell you on that one. I know that the second I tell a single person about any of my blogs, that affects how and what I write. I guess I'd say to try and write through the scrutiny. You've been blogging long enough that the people you're closest with are probably accustomed enough to your blogging that they'll accept it as something you have to do (Am I being too optimistic? It's easier said than done, I know.) I can't see you giving it up entirely.

Chloe said...

You're awesome, and having flaws and making mistakes just makes you all the more likeable. Young girls are going to make mistakes regardless of what you say, but I actually think it's helpful to know that someone as awesome and inspirational as you messes up too. If you lose some of your audience then that's a shame, but it's not the end of the world. You'll still have so many people who think you're brilliant and support you no matter what you try or who you kiss (also, people who are old enough for your posts to even apply to them are old enough to make decisions for themselves, and anyone who bases their actions solely on the fact that 'someone on the internet did it' is an idiot).

I get how it must be hard, though. I have a blog and a pretty small readership and it's a really useful vent, and I can't imagine how I'd feel if everyone suddenly had access to it. I guess that's the downside to 'internet fame', aha.

Stacie said...

I guess it makes sense that you feel that way. I don't believe anyone would care to read about my day since I don't know them at all, but I think it's because you always feel that way about yourself. Personally I think you're hilarious even if you're not discussing something "important" and you're only talking about eating cookie dough! You're a really great writer and I love reading about what you have to say.

Jaime said...

Personally, I don't read this blog because I'm looking to get something specific out of it or expect you to be a certain way or anything like that. I just think your a funny interesting person and I'm happy to hear whatever you have to share with us :)

RacheyB said...

Keep posting. Im not one to usually comment on many things but i felt this comment might hold some weight. Erratic or not... please just keep posting.

Steph said...

I'm going to agree with everyone and say keep posting! Just write what you want, people have to be smart enough to realise that you're a real person too and things aren't always censored in the way they want. if that makes sense? anywho, i guess i just want to say do what makes you happy :)

Frankie Lynn said...

i think you should keep on with the blog. i mean, from what i read, it doesn't seem like you want to stop. personally, i don't mind that you don't post much.

Maddy said...

Hayley,

I'm sure at this point there is little I can say that won't simply be a reiteration of previous commenters, but I'm totally hearing everything you're saying. And I wish I could articulate what I want to say better, but I suppose I'll just have to try the best that I can.

In the same way that you are imperfect, so too are your blog readers. No matter what, you're going to feel pressure to meet this ideal standard that has been set for you, and there is always going to be a chance that you will fail to meet it. And we get that. I mean, I can't speak for everyone, but as much as you have and continue to inspire me in a lot ways, I think what inspires me most about you is that ultimately, you are a very real, very flawed human being that I can RELATE to. I can relate to your crazy stories and I'm old enough to recognize that The Hayleylujah Chorus isn't meant to be a handbook for what I should and should not do, but I place for a twenty-something Harry Potter enthusiast can express herself, maybe even open up a dialogue, but ultimately just be a "sloppy hippy college student."

I feel like this is really convoluted. I don't know, perhaps this isn't the best comparison, but I think it's kind of like the question of whether a YA novel should be banned because it has material some may deem inappropriate for a YA novel. John Green once said something about how books aren't in the business of teaching us right and wrong, and if you can read critically, you'll get that. Now, I realize your blog isn't a book, and that it's actually an account of your actual real-life experiences, and that opens up the possibility that people will judge you. But I think, or I hope at least, that your blog readers are capable of imagining you complexly, seeing that you're human and thereby not expecting you to be a perfect role model and a perfect writer all the time. All we ever expect from you, Hayley, is that you're YOU, you know, incredibly cheesy though that may sound. We like you because you're Hayley, plain and simple. And we get that Hayley isn't always perfect, doesn't always have the right thing to say, or maybe doesn't always have anything to say at all. And that's okay. I guess what I am ultimately trying to say is, do what's best for you. If you want to open up with us, share some stories, our ears (well, our eyes, I suppose), are always open. In reading other's comments, I see that my sentiments are shared, and that it's your honesty, however blunt, however real, that we really admire about you. Because like I said, I relate to you, and I'm sure others do too, and quickly penned, very real, very honest story about a date gone wrong or a college party fiasco is going to resonate with us just as much as a more serious topic like depression or weight loss, because it's real, it happened, and it comes from you. Does that make sense? I hope it did. I'm sure I speak not only for myself but many others when I say that I'd love for you to keep blogging, but I understand if you decide against it.

I wish you the best of luck with everything,

Maddy

Paige said...

Just because you're different now than you were when you were fifteen doesn't matter, because we all change. If we didn't, there's probably something wrong. (that being said, I AM a fifteen year old girl, so you can feel free to ignore me)

Nika said...

Personally you've made more of an impact on me by being hilarious then serious. I moved about four years ago to Thailand, and I needed some good American humor and your blog and youtube really helped me. I knew I could count on you to make me laugh. If you stop blogging because you don't feel like you can express yourself, then I understand, but I will defiantly be disappointed. Please don't stop telling your entertaining stories!

Dadi-Dam said...

we all started reading your blog and watching your vlogs because we liked your sentimental and random stuff.
It's like your thing you know. It's why we, okay, I like you.
So I suggest you not to stop (you probably realize that I'm writing this because of COMPLETELY selfish reasons that are that I still want you to write stuff like that because, well just because it makes my day reading it:D).
but you decide, because after all you're still the one writing here - not me (except for this comment ...)

Anonymous said...

I wish you'd still post on your advice blog.

liz said...

Do what you love and fuck the rest.

Nicci Weasley said...

Oh, somehow I missed this back when you posted it... I don't think you're whiny at all. I see your point.
But I don't think you need to worry about it, really. You don't have to live up to anything. It is your blog and you can post what you want and leave out whatever you need.
We enjoy reading, and of course it could be fun to hear all the details, but nobody wants to share everything with everyone.
So yeah, you really shouldn't feel like you need to live up to any image. Besides, if someone thinks they know every side of you, then maybe it would be good for them to see that they don't.
I just like to read what you write.
Work those legs, ladies! :D

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