158: Between Two Lungs
Somehow, I blinked and missed the fact that my thirtieth year has almost been and gone. Sat across from my mate, Lady Peanut Irish in the land of all things clogs and tulips, I horridly exclaimed "oh fuck i'm almost thirty one". I carried on eating my eggs whilst beginning to waffle on about what-had-I-done-this-year and then slowly as I recapped, began to well up and fully sob into my hollandaise sauce. I think the words "six months worrying about a lung" came out amongst the "and what about work, and Mini B..."I had big plans for my thirtieth; I compiled a list of 30 things before 30, which I duly told myself I must have completed by the time I hit 31. Erm, well out of the way of completing that list. And I duly blame my well dodgy lungs.
I realise I may sound like some broken record going on about my weird lung nonsense, and I am sorta sorry for that. But y'know, it was a really fucking big deal to me, one which actually started some eighteen months ago, and really took full speed from December of 2016, and only really came to nearly closing... well, I complained even today to Lady Literate that my "wound" just bit my arse with its twinges. So.
I felt like I spent half of my thirtieth year massively distracted by my lung. I feel like it populated the majority of my thoughts and dictated most of my decisions. And still does. Perhaps not in a bad way, mind.
One of them is what I share online. My blog, my social media, is part of LBP. I was very sure when I set up my business back in 2013 that I wanted to BE the brand; that WHO Lady B was, was as important as what I was baking and what I was wanting to sell. It made sense to me, because surely understanding the person behind the biscuits would endear people to my product and to, well, me. And when I began my blog some two years previous to sole trader-ing myself, I shared not only what I was baking, but my personal life; my life in London, my engagement, planning a wedding, and so on and so forth. So, when lung-gate struck, I felt I would want to talk about it. But not instantly. Not until I knew how I felt about it. And initially, we kept the lung news very close to our chest - no pun intended - we didn't know what it was, what it meant, and opening it to even a few friends felt irresponsible. In fact, it got to the point where a few people knew and I'd try to forget. And then I'd haphazardly mention it to someone that I hadn't told and SHIT it was out there. Anyhoo. When shit really started to get real, when it became clear I'd need to take a step back from work proper and maybe for some time, I knew I had to start speaking up a little.
I knew from some previous blog posts that I may get a small reaction to what I wrote. However, I hadn't expected the reaction I did get, that is, overwhelming love, support, kindness and friendship from people that didn't know me - and only knew me as LBP / Lady B / Baker Becky / Becky Bakewell. My honesty, my willingness to share, and my current worrisome times invited DM's, emails and whatsapp messages I didn't realise it could. It made me feel less afraid, and justified in sharing my lung-woes, as well as comforted that someone may find some fellow comfort in my outpouring.
It's hard to know what to share online. It's hard to know what's normal and what's over sharing. Even when I began my blog, I created my name - my now business name - because I wanted to remain anonymous. When I went to Amsterdam for a few days this week, I took some proper time off from social media. Almost, I still insta-storied when something tickled me, when I wanted to share something that was just plain nice, and not because it was necessary for work, or maybe it's time I posted again to make sure I appear on your timeline to suit that algorithm. I realised I didn't miss posting, I didn't miss wondering what time is best to post on a Tuesday, and I didn't miss the "likes".
Social media is hugely important for me and my business: it's how I essentially survive the most because of the support social media garners, and it has also meant I've never needed to pay a PR agency to help me out - money I can't afford to spend.
I can't and won't stop posting online, be it biscuits or aspects of my lifestyle which I feel are important or just plain nice to share. Except, I may do so less now to suit some big names algorithm and just really truly hope you click "like" to make sure you still see me appear. Because that's all it takes.
I've been quietly struggling with the meaning of my business since I returned post lung-gate. I kept asking "why bother" and "who cares". And someone said "I care, and I know a ton of others that care." I may not be some special influencer, but apparently, seeing a biscuit with a song lyric does make someone smile and if it's made someone giggle, even better.
On the cusp of my - urgh - 31st birthday, after a year where I failed to complete my "to do" list, and where the word "lung" has permeated every living breath I've taken, I'm going to take comfort that well, I survived it, and you, dear reader and LBP supporter, were along beside me for the journey. And so, thank you.
Be good and bake well,