On or around this date 12 years ago, when all of my other friends were smoking, underage drinking, and having cyber sex, I joined a Message Board.
Yes, a message board.
It was on this message board, at 16 years old, that I interacted with people twice my age and others somewhat closer to my age. I couldn’t believe that there were people out there whom I had never met, who actually gave a shit about me. But they did. It was exactly what I needed at a time in my life when nothing made sense. I was never made to feel younger than anyone. They listened to my ramblings about the guy was dating. They opened their ears, they advised, they cared.
Before them, I used to spend hours with Dr. Sbaitso on my Tandy computer.
Of course, this was way before interacting with people you had “never met” was cool. Meetups and Blogger Conferences didn’t exist yet. Friends that I had the courage to tell about my “online friends” never understood. I tried to get my “Real Life” friends to join the crew, but it wasn’t their thing. So, it was just me and the tons of older brothers and sisters.
I’ve since lost touch with all but about 4 of them. Writing this post actually inspired me to reach out to a few of them in particular.
I found an old online journal that I had back in 2002 and I spent the majority of my weekend reading it from start to finish.
It was bittersweet. Reading my own thoughts and words surrounding my high school drop-out time was tough. I made ridiculous decisions in the name of what I thought was love, which was more like “attention”.
I was a desperate little girl back then. Hanging tightly to any rope of attention someone would throw my way, and praying that my parents would pay MORE attention to me, just see me and make me feel loved and not so alone.*
I’ve come a long way since then. I don’t think I’d ever allow someone’s opinion of me determine how I was going to live my life. The people I surround myself with people that lift me up with I’m feeling down. I’ve gotten stronger; a large portion of this strength I attribute to writing – and that community of amazing people who accepted me.
The day that I was invited to share my life happenings with a bunch of strangers who quickly became friends was the day that this blogger was born. My success in blogging, my thirst for connections, my love for social media, I owe a great amount of to that group of people for welcoming me in with open arms and giving me permission to share my world with them.
To my long-lost family – Thank you. This…all of this, my life is thanks to you and your making me feel at home and a part of something. If you had never encouraged me to share my feelings, I would have kept them bottled up and gone batshit crazy. Well, more crazy than I am now, yo.
So, happy 12 year anniversary of blogging and online community involvement to me, and a great big ‘thanks’ to all of you, for keeping me strong, helping me trek forward, and welcoming me into your lives.
Here’s to another 12 years, baby!
*I don’t blame my Mom or my Dad for anything that happened to me. I just felt as any other child of divorce felt, left out and lonely. My decisions were just that, my decisions. I do wish they were more involved in them, but I would have done what I wanted anyway.