YouTube Has Become My Pride & Joy…

We now bring you back to our regular scheduled blog post…If you’ve read yesterday’s post I talked about how I made a list of things I wanted to write. This was me trying to be funny…guess it didn’t work. Today I wanted to talk about my YouTube channel!

My YouTube channel has become my pride and joy as of late. It’s also become my second job aside from college, but just like any job there are pros and cons. My channel name is cleverly titled “Andrea Lausell”, I’m so original right? I started getting serious about making content in October of 2012.

My first video
My first video

Originally I started off making ASL music video covers but I had to stop because of the copyright laws with songs YouTube had. But that was fine, I soon started making videos on other things that I liked. For example, K-pop, theater, performing monologues, food, etc. I didn’t start writing, filming performing skits yet but I was already starting the creative side of my channel. It was really fun actually, I was learning how to use simple editing systems and filming on small flip cameras and working towards expanding my skills. At first, only my family knew I was uploading videos and they viewed it as just a hobby that I would probably stop after a few months. Man, they were seriously so wrong.

Fast forward to January of 2014, after I’ve had a few fun creative videos under my belt, I began to really experience something that would change everything with my channel. As you all know from my post of “What You Need To Know” where I talk about my Spina Bifida, you know that it affects my walking. I am disabled, I have a handicap sticker that I use whenever I’m having a day where walking has become harder than normal. I began to get frustrated using it because every time I did, I would get harassed by police, the elderly, and other people who were also disabled because I was using a sticker. They would accuse me of stealing the handicap sticker and refused to believe I am disabled because I “looked” perfectly fine. It was upsetting because I knew that being disabled didn’t have just one “look”, there are many disabilities that can’t be seen either because that’s their nature or the person is good at hiding their problems like myself. And with these frustrations, Monday’s on my channel became “#SpinaBifida”.

My first #SpinaBifida video

Along with my creative videos which later got it’s permanent spot of being uploaded on Fridays, #SpinaBifida was my chance to educate on my birth defect and educate on what disabled really meant. I intended to have it be for people who weren’t disabled and didn’t understand what a disability was, but I found that I was also building an audience who had Spina Bifida as well and were learning things about our disability that they never knew. My whole life I was taught by my doctors that I needed to be an advocate for my disability so that people could understand it. I was also fortunate enough to have doctors that were so adamant about me learning everything I can about my disability and how the medical world worked. For my viewers though, a lot of them didn’t have that kind of opportunity. That is until they found me, and to this day I’m still kind of shocked that come to me and watch.

I have received subscribers who are older than me, younger and mothers who’s child was born with Spina Bifida write to me explaining how my videos have helped them understand their disability and also gives them hope for the future.

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What my subscribers don’t know is how much they’ve helped me. I’ve always felt like I was in this sort of limbo when it came to people without a disability and those with. For the ones without, I was always what seemed “too disabled” for them. And those with a disability, because I wasn’t obviously disabled, I wasn’t “disabled enough”. But I had managed to befriend people without a disability and get along just fine. I always felt somewhat upset I wasn’t able to connect with anyone with a disability because of the prejudgement I received. I had wished I could because it’s nice to talk to those who’ve been through the same medical experiences. But with this channel, I’ve found I’ve made a community of people with a disability who support and love what I’m doing. It’s been amazing and I’m so thankful for my subscribers.

With so many watching me right now, I knew not only did I need to educate on our disability but I also needed to let them know what my mother has taught me my whole life. That is, our lives aren’t only “we have Spina Bifida”, there’s so much more to us than that. So my own personal quote “Don’t Limit Yourself, Love It All” came in place. It seemed to really fit. My Friday videos became just as import as “#SpinaBifida” because it was a chance to show them all the things I love, all the things I try and to let them know that we don’t need to be stuck thinking about our disability and what we can’t do. That we can try new things, make so many wonderful memories and go for what we want in our lives. I’m not sure if my subscribers see that, but I hope they do. I really love making my videos and I love interacting with my subscribers and watching the channel grow. My dream is for my channel to grow to a million people watching not only for the educational side but also for my creative talented side that loves to perform. Kind of wanting to accomplish both my dreams with one channel, cool right?

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I will say, as much as I love YouTube there are some downside from being a content creator. For one, sometimes there are questions asked that are just not appropriate or they’re questions that have been answered already in past videos. Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s a troll asking or a genuine person who’s not aware that they’re being inappropriate but it’s kind of draining reading them. But, I do my best and I brush them off. Also, and I write this in hope my subscribers read it and understand, there’s the fact that a lot of them keep trying to add me on my personal FaceBook account. I understand why, they want to connect with me more but I need to draw the line somewhere when it comes to my privacy. I have a Facebook account that’s for my YouTube channel that they can write to me, I have a twitter, an Instagram, a tumblr, an email address specifically for them to email, a YouTube Channel, I have plenty of ways for my subscribers to stay connected with me and ask me anything they want. But I wish they would understand that I’m not going to share everything of my life with them and my personal Facebook is meant for my family and friends. I don’t mean to sound rude if it comes of as such but I still maintain my personal life. When they watch my videos they’re not getting everything in my life, they’re getting edited parts of my life controlled by me. I’m in control of what I put out, they don’t know who I’m dating, what my family goes through, what I’m going through unless I purposely share it. So, my personal Facebook isn’t for my subscribers and I hope they understand why and stop trying to add me. I want to get to know all of my viewers and I do connect with them and answer them on all the social media platforms I have for my channel, so please, if you’re reading I hope this is enough and you all can respect my boundaries.

YouTube has it’s ups and downs, and I know I’m just at the beginning of this journey. So far with YouTube, I’ve been able to make a small amount of money to support myself. I’ve also learned how to juggle a job that involves writing things out, filming and editing all while studying for classes (which by the way is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done). I’ve basically had to have a crash course in time management, but it’s worth it.  I love my subscribes for their unwavering support and I couldn’t imagine my life without them wanting the best for me and helping me when it comes to making more videos. I’m excited to see where this journey takes me with YouTube as I graduate and move to another state. I know one things for sure, as my physical life changes, I know I can open my laptop and see the familiar screen names of subscribers supporting me in everything I do. I hope one day we all can get my channel to the point where I can begin going to places where I can have meet and greets with everyone. I look forward to the day I can personal say thank you to all of you for where you’re helping me take my channel.

-Andrea

PS. This is the link to my channel if you’re new: Andrea Lausell YouTube Link

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