January is usually the most depressing month for me – after the excitement of my birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve I often find that the start of a new year leaves me feeling as dull and cold as the weather.
I decided to approach 2015 with a positive outlook and just one goal for the year: to take the risk. As Suzie81 Speaks does not have a theme or a niche, my posts have been eclectic and have reflected the thoughts and feelings I have experienced and the events happening at the time. I shared some blogging hints and tips for new bloggers, my ideas for beating the January blues, my thoughts on how to build self-esteem and confidence and highlighted a beautiful story that proved that there is still hope for humanity. I decided to have a bit of fun and shared stories of my dating disasters and experiences of working behind a bar. I also edited some of my photography – something that I haven’t done in a long time – and posted a beautiful poem written by Roger McGough. I have been amazed at the response that I have received to these and some of my earlier posts – my ‘Tale of a Sociopath’ post continues to be shared on StumbleUpon, two of my posts were featured on the Sits Girls ShareFest and Mumsnet Bloggers promoted my post on Fox News’s ridiculous report about the Muslim population of Birmingham as their ‘Blog of The Day.’
I also made a little promise to myself that I would develop the connections and friendships I have formed and give other members of the blogging the world an opportunity to promote themselves. I found that I had been falling behind with the comments that I received, and now instead of posting something on a particular day, I try and take the time to reply to every single one on the blog and all of the social media links that are connected with it. I have continued to host my weekly #SundayBlogShare on Twitter, which I started three months ago, and have been delighted that hundreds of people now participate every week, with over a thousand posts being shared. This week I am pleased to announce that I have a guest host for #SundayBlogShare – Gene’O from Sourcererblog (who was instrumental in the promotion of #SundayBlogShare in the early stages) has kindly agreed to look after you all this Sunday. (For those of you that are interested in participating, there will be a post later today with the information and rules).
While I made no resolutions, I decided to take Suzie81 Speaks to the next level and started advertising for sponsors. I had no expectations of the sort of response I would receive, if any at all, but within hours I was contacted by a number of bloggers. Consequently, over January I have featured both Jolene from Valley Girl Gone Country and Helena from Helena Turbridy and have been delighted by the feedback that I have received from them – both have seen a huge increase in their traffic… Even more amazing, February sponsorship is completely full and even spaces for some of March (and even a space in July) have been booked. Awesome.
Finally, to add the cherry on the proverbial cake, I was offered an really exciting opportunity the other day, which has cemented my decision to take the risk.
My family, my friends and, of course, The Bloke has been absolutely wonderful throughout it all. As always, the blogging community has also been there every step of the way. I’ve been blessed to have received so much support from people that I consider to be friends and have been able to meet lots of new people who have taken the time to make me laugh, encourage me and have contributed to one of the best months I have had in a long time. Thank you.
Are You Interested in Being Featured on Suzie81 Speaks?
I have decided to expand this further and offer opportunities for sponsored one-off promotion for WordPress bloggers. Each Sunday, (when my own stats usually exceed over a thousand views during the day), as well as hosting #SundayBlogShare, I will feature a WordPress blog as the ‘Blog Of The Day.’ This will include a single post about the blog, a reblog of one of your posts and promotion through #SundayBlogShare. While I obviously can’t guarantee a huge increase in your traffic and/or following, I know that my sponsors have informed me that they have indeed seen quite a significant rise in their stats on days where I have promoted their posts.
For those of you who are interested in being my ‘Blog Of The Day,’ here are my details:
Cost: £9.00. This may seem like an odd number, but I have had to add on a little extra to cover the PayPal charges. (Please take into account that conversion rates may change in countries outside of the UK).
January Stats (at the time of posting): 17,265 views
Followers: 10,425 (6,126 on WordPress, 4,179 on Twitter and 120 on Tumblr). I also have 221 followers on my Facebook page. All are growing on a daily basis.
If you wish to be featured, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and you don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks
The Honey Badger is a badass. Despite it’s size, it will willingly challenge, kill and eat animals that could be considered to be at the top of the food chain. A popular Internet meme and a YouTube video highlighted the concept that the ‘Honey Badger don’t care’ – it knows what it wants, seemingly has no fear and it will go for it. While the poor grammar in the meme drives me insane, I love the sentiment.
Last year, That EJ over at the Whimsical Eclecticist discussed the concept of adopting the Honey Badger ‘don’t care’ approach to life and after reading it I was so inspired I had to resist the urge to run outside and yell “I AM THE HONEY BADGER” as loud as I could. While the fabulous post was written a while ago, I still feel that it is just as relevant to my current situation and the students that I work with.
It made me think about the importance that we put on the opinions of those around us and how we allow these to affect our confidence, self-esteem and even influence the decisions that we make about our lives.
EJ made an extremely good point:
‘Decision isn’t being based on want, or even need. It’s being based solely on fear. On ‘what ifs’. On possible negative repercussions.’
As a teacher it always amazes me how many of the teenagers that I work with who are obsessed with what others think and will change themselves for fear of not being accepted. Everything that they do and/or say is for the purpose of being viewed positively by everyone else – their look, hair, shoes, bags and phrases have to be a certain type or style in order to gain acceptance from their peers. What I have discovered over the years is that the students will put an awful lot of pressure on themselves to fit in and this results in a huge lack of confidence amongst them. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard students as young as eleven years old proclaim that they are fat, stupid or ugly and some are so paranoid about their appearance that they won’t wear headphones that are attached to keyboards (I’m a music teacher) in case their hair gets messed up. Certain students almost refuse to participate in performance based activities (that I know they actually enjoy) for fear of being laughed at. A badly-worded comment from a peer will result in tears, arguments and Facebook backlash for months and I’ve heard older girls recall something negative that was said to them several years ago as a reason why they dislike somebody.
It bothers me that they are missing out on experiences of life because of fear.
I was bullied mercilessly at school. I was clever, I worked hard and was a high achiever. A classmate made the decision that he absolutely hated me, almost from the first day, and over five years he took it upon himself to make my life miserable. He learned how to flick spit with the end of his tongue and so would spit on me every time I walked past. He told lies about me, made up ridiculous rumours, tried to get older girls to beat me up and he and his followers would tell me daily that I was ugly and wouldn’t get anywhere in life. I didn’t realise it at the time, but he absolutely destroyed my confidence – I would go home and cry, I’d fake illness in order to be allowed to stay away from school and I lived for the weekends so I wouldn’t have to feel afraid of walking up the school drive.
I left school in 1998 and I haven’t spoken to (or really thought about him) since. His comments have made absolutely no difference to the way I live my life, I am proud of everything that I have achieved and in my adult years I care less and less about the opinions of others. It isn’t that I ‘don’t care,’ it’s more a case of I prefer to value the opinion I have of myself. I’m not perfect and I make mistakes all the time, but ultimately I know I’m a good person (or at least I try to be). More importantly, I can look at myself in the mirror at the end of each day, I like what I see and know that I’ve done the best I can. If somebody doesn’t like me, it’s their loss.
This is why we should take the Honey Badger approach to life. This is the attitude that I am trying to encourage my students to adopt. I don’t want to see them to living half-fulfilled lives – I want them to be able to have the confidence to accept themselves for who they are and take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. And in the future, when they are faced with fear or doubt about something I want them to ask themselves… ‘What would the Honey Badger do?’
What about you guys? Do you adopt the Honey Badger approach to life?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the positive thoughts appear to be working and this week has proven to be a good one. I’ve found myself responding to The Bloke’s enquiries about my day with stories of good lessons and interactions with students, funny staffroom jokes and little achievements that I’ve accomplished, which is something I haven’t been able to do for a while… and it’s Friday evening. Nothing is ever negative about Friday evenings – I settle down with The Bloke and the cats in a warm, clean pair of jammies, watch some pointless television and get my blog on! I also discovered that I’m destined to inherit a fortune – I was contacted by someone in Burkina Faso who has informed me that she has been left $3.1 million, of which she is willing to share 50% with me! All I need to do is send across my full name, date of birth, occupation, bank account numbers and passport details. Hmm… Maybe not.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am delighted to hear that the Elvis exhibition has arrived in London – quite fitting during what would have been his 80th birthday year. My mother’s lifelong dream is to visit Memphis, (which my sister went to last year), but as I can’t afford to pay to take us to America, this is the next best thing. She doesn’t know that I’m booking tickets yet, but I can’t wait for her reaction when I tell her. I like doing these sorts of things for her – I took her to Glen Campbell’s final tour after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis and later to see Jack Jones in concert (which had the best seats ever), and last year I surprised her with tickets to see The Commitments musical in London, complete with a meal at The Ivy and a hotel room at Leicester Square. It isn’t much, but these are the sorts of memories I cherish and I enjoy seeing the look on her face – I see them as little thank you’s for being a constant support. I’m very lucky.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the blog has also been amazing recently too – I’ve written my first guest post in quite a while for my friend Steve, met some lovely new people, indulged in random conversations and have been able to read some wonderful posts. My post on Stumble Upon, ‘The Tale of a Sociopath’ is still going, and another has been picked up and is currently being shared around, although not to the same level – ‘Professional Or Hobbyist?’ is a love it or hate it sort of post that was Freshly Pressed in November 2013 and it incited both positive and highly angry comments throughout, mainly because I believe that many misunderstood the context of which it was written.. or it just pissed them off. Either way, it provoked a discussion, which I always like from blog posts.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the most surprising thing in my recent blogging activities was the response I received to my advertising promotion at the beginning of the month – inspired by my New Year resolution to ‘take the risk’ I decided to take move onto the next step and offer four advertising spots a month for bloggers and companies wishing to increase their traffic. I assumed that it would take months to get any form of reply, but I was delighted to receive an email within a matter of hours. Over the last week, I’ve gained two sponsors – Jolene at ‘Valley Girl Gone Country’ and Helena Turbridy’s ‘Effective Change For Life’. Both are beautifully written, engaging and interesting and you can find both in the top right corner of my blog – please go and check them both out! However, it hasn’t stopped there – both have seen an immediate increase in their stats (ask them if you wish to find out details). Even more amazing, the Feburary spaces are completely filled already, and I have already had a space reserved for March and another for July. Awesome. If you are interested in reserving a space for March and beyond, visit this post…
If we were having coffee I would tell you that, while it has been a wonderful week in my own life, the world outside has experienced yet more tragedy, the most recent being the awful events in Paris. I’ve attempted to write about it on several occasions, but after realising that my words couldn’t it justice, I have decided to leave you with the most beautiful tribute I have seen. The picture was wrongly attributed to Banksy, but I am glad that his popularity has allowed this gorgeous image to get a large amount of well-deserved publicity. My thought are with the victims, their families and the people of France.
What about you guys? If we were having coffee, what would we talk about?
The ‘If We Were Having Coffee’ conversational posts were created by Part-Time Monster. You may be interested to know that she is doing a coffee blog link up this weekend… Create your own coffee posts and join in over the weekend!
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks