Finding Myself as a Creator.

Being an online content creator is one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever had. Oh wait – I forgot, I’m a Mom too. Haha! Well, I guess it’s the second most difficult job I’ve ever had. There have been plenty of highs & plenty of lows within this world of creating. I’ve learned so much over the past three years. It’s been so much fun ..and yet, so stressful at the same time. It’s sort of confusing. Let’s back up a little.

In 2013 I became a first-time mom. My life consisted of breastfeeding & watching YouTube videos. I mean, what else are you going to do when you have to feed your baby for hours on end? Yeah, my point exactly. A friend of mine exposed me to the world of family vloggers. It was rather entertaining. I immediately became fascinated with this idea of vlogging & this whole world of YouTube. I never knew people filmed their lives & made money doing it. I mean, I’ve been filming mine my whole life! Where’s all my money?! Haha! So after I had my second child, I decided to take on this “daily vlogging” thing for myself. It wasn’t easy; especially as a mom. I soon found out that it actually sucked. I mean, I guess it didn’t suck that bad – it just wasn’t for me. Filming my life & editing it together for a 8-15 minute vlog (daily) was just utterly exhausting. It had a negative effect on my marriage, my family & my relationship with Jesus. That wasn’t cool. So after a couple of months, I stopped daily vlogging. I changed my schedule a bit & started uploading a vlog 3-days-a-week. It gave me enough time with my family & it kept me consistently uploading content. That worked for me.

I filmed my life for the next 2 1/2 years; capturing everything from family vacations to the ups & downs of living with anxiety. I basically did it as a way to capture memories & as a hobby. I never did it for the money. As time passed, I started building a little online community. It was super tiny; however, my voice was starting to make a HUGE impact on people & it was amazing to watch! Through my YouTube channel I was able to encourage many people to start living debt-free lifestyles & start researching Jesus. That was definitely a win-win in my books! But soon enough (duh duh duhh), I fell into the dreaded comparison trap! I absolutely hate that trap! It’s super lame. I started comparing my content to other creators’ content. I started to doubt what I brought to the table as a creator, or if I even stood out. I struggled with my niche. Like, why did I even have to have a niche anyways? Am I ever going to be successful? Was this just a waste of my time? Even though those questions popped in my head, I kept my focus on creating. I didn’t give up. I also got pretty serious about this whole YouTube thing; traveling to social media/creator conventions & learning all the ups and downs of YouTube & SEO. I also networked my tail off. I’ve also made so many friends. Over the past few years I’ve met so many amazing creators that have helped inspire, encourage & drive me to do what I do every day. They also get me.

After a couple of years on YouTube, my video views were on the struggle bus, my subscriber count was embarrassing & it was just starting to get really difficult for me to keep up with everyone else. Mind you – I was a Mom & a YouTuber. It’s SUPER hard folks. Also, I was creating on a platform that felt extremely saturated with other vloggers; all while momming. It was difficult. It was miserable. I continued to feel like I had NOTHING to offer in this world of online content. But I did. I think as creators we sometimes get so lost in trying to be like everyone else; using all of the same equipment and following all of the same trends, that we lose our sense of SELF. At least that’s what happened to me. It’s not wrong to look up to someone (and their content) or use similar equipment, or do trendy things; however, I feel that we should always be striving for the things that make US happy. What do we enjoy creating? Why are we creating it? What are our passions? I know for me I have always been about Jesus. He is my #1 reason for being on this platform. I knew through my channel that I could be His light in the darkness. I just didn’t want to create serious Christian content. That’s just not me. And God knew that, so one day it just came to me. I realized that there wasn’t anyone like me or anyone that creates like I do. God created me in my uniqueness & weirdness. I’m Cara. THAT’S what makes me different on this platform. That’s what sets me apart! The Cara that loves Jesus, the Cara that shines His light everywhere she goes (well, I try) & the Cara that’s super funny (and SUPER weird). I’m not sure why it took me forever to realize it, but I’m so thankful that God helped me pull myself out of that trap of comparison to show me my uniqueness. He’s pretty awesome.

At the end of 2018, I started to think about the future of my channel. I wasn’t finding any joy in recording my life all the time. I mean it was nice having all of these memories, but I started thinking about the content I so desired to create that had been on my roster for the past year. I wanted to create THAT stuff; I just didn’t have the time (or the man power) to create it. I also entertained the idea of working for someone else just so I could execute all of these silly video ideas. Crazy, right? I soon realized that I had to take my first step – and that was to stop vlogging. One morning an idea came to me while I was cleaning my house while dancing to 90s music. So I picked up my camera and pressed record. That was it! Nothing fancy. Just me. Just Cara being weird. I posted the video on Facebook & waited to see a response. People were blown away! It had such a HUGE impact! And I didn’t expect ANY of it! Then it hit me – this is it! I think this is the type of content I’m supposed to create! I was being myself, being unique & being who God created me to be. I was being Cara.

After I made that weird video I realized that for the past few years I had totally forgotten about Facebook! It does rather well with organic growth/reach & all moms hang out on Facebook! Why didn’t I realize that?! Where was I all these years? I was so happy that I had finally begun to transition my platform, and it was SUPER exciting! Since October of 2018 I’ve been creating silly, comedic mom-related content on Facebook & it’s been a breath of fresh air! I don’t feel overwhelmed, I’m loving what I’m doing & I’m diving back into my roots. I’ve been making content like this since I was a kid. I’ve finally found my niche! It’s just me. Nothing fancy. Nothing amazing. Just me, Cara.

I’m so glad I kept creating. I’m glad I never gave up. I’m glad that I stayed true to myself. And the best thing about what I create now? People enjoy it! That’s seriously the best feeling in the world. The worse feeling in the world is when NOBODY watches your stuff. Seriously. It’s terrible. So having people ENJOY your work is just so rewarding! Yes the past few years I’ve struggled. I’ve cried. I’ve challenged myself & worked my tail off. But none of what I did even matters in the end. There’s a reason behind everything, and I know that His hand was (and is) in this whole process. He created me. He loves me. He believes in me. I just had to allow myself to endure some hiccups along the way for Him to work in me so that I could discover who He created me to be.

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Living with OCD

I’m not sure many of you know, but I have OCD. No, it’s not that I’m “particular” about where things are or how things are cleaned – or that I have to have things all lined up “just right”. It is a true disorder. The reason I am bringing it up is because many people aren’t aware that this is a serious disorder and many people suffer from it. I am one of them.

I am not sure how it all started, but I have had some really rough days over the years; especially lately. So much so, that I have started to go to therapy again. Back a few years ago (when we found out about my Dad’s drug problem originally and with the stress of all that came with that), I started to go to a therapist. He was amazing. He thought me a lot, and it really helped to talk to someone that was unaware of my life and what was going on. A fresh look.

I have dealt with several types of this disorder – but the most frustrating and really difficult ..is the intrusive thoughts. OCD is one of those disorders that just debilitates me. It’s something that I don’t even wish on my worst enemy; which I don’t really wish anything on anyone since I’m not that type of person. But seriously. I remember being pregnant and worrying about what would happen after I had Jonah. I don’t want him to have this.

I know with God’s grace & help I will get through – I have before. I have been “better” ..but after having Jonah it’s just been very difficult for me. I am fortunate that I have a loving husband that supports me and understands me and tries to help. I don’t think God could’ve put a better man in my life. What I’ve decided to do, in addition to the therapy, is start working out again. I need to. It’s been a while since I’ve put in my Cathe DVDs ..so I think it’s time 🙂

I just wanted to be open and frank about this to you guys. I am not even sure who is reading my blogs, but I want this to be an encouragement. I also want people to know that you don’t have to be ashamed to get “help”. I know I’m not. I know I need help – and not only is it in a physical/mental-sense but also in the spiritual. And quite honestly, I think everyone needs to see a therapist. Seriously. God put those people in those fields for a reason. I know He put my Dr. in the position he is in for a reason – and he has been a Blessing to many woman in the natural-birthing world 🙂

So I end this post just with a line of encouragement from the Lord. I know through the midst of things I cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard. It really is. But I know that my Savior loves and cherishes me so much. He doesn’t want any of his children to suffer – and that’s not just in a physical-sense. It can be mentally – like with OCD.

Psalm 23:4

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”