This is all KimBoo’s fault. And by ‘her fault’, I obviously mean, ‘she had a great idea and I suctioned on with my routine squadron of disaster tentacles and made a shriektastrophe of it’. And as I am also detrimentally obnoxious about my commitments (it is why I rarely make them), HERE I FUCKING AM. #364
But no definitely this was all KimBoo’s idea. We started together and she went out of her way to support me and help me when I messaged her screaming, which I kind of remember doing on a daily basis for a while maybe. She’s immediate with her support. Even if parts of you piss her off, she’s deliberate and prompt with her bolstering.
KimBoo and a select band of ridiculously loyal ‘IRL’ friends followed me here and made sure to rawk over my every verbal splat while I floundered, so I didn’t give up before I’d started. Which was a daunting task, given that my first few months sum totaled to a chunky collage of fail posts (I updated the archive with a section for fail posts so y’all can guffaw at them for ego boosts and morale upkeep whenever you like) and actual posts. I struggled with the writer’s block. I tried the ‘write about writer’s block’ trick like ninety-seven times and it worked approximately twice. Which is still twice more than any other method I tried, so.
The beginning months were scary, and my grip on daily writing was regularly tenuous at best. I lost sleep over trolls. I bent my mind eighty directions learning the nature of ignorance and fear and how it can make folks you love behave exactly like a troll. I eventually dragged myself into a necessary maze of strict boundaries for such behavior, regardless of origin. I worked through social stress and over-sensitization and waking up freshly irked at my feed of bullshit listicle inspiration. I had garbled days that occurred so frequently, they felt like routines. Days where I had so little to say, I wondered if my brain had finally done me a solid and turned into actual mashed potatoes. I vaguely remember panicking that I would fuck it up and forget a post and ruin the streak, which maybe wouldn’t have mattered, except OMFG YOU RUINED THE STREAK. (See aforementioned relationship to commitments.)
Those first few months were dicey, but Medium was heavy on community support when I joined. SF was, of course, the first to spot me (I screamed all over Facebook when he liked a post of mine and then followed me), and David, BHD, and Tre were right behind him. You gotta know that I read what they wrote and assumed they were all famous. I definitely didn’t secretly believe that one of them was Isaac Asimov’s lovechild in disguise for three weeks straight. The four of them have been my guiding posts for how to find new writers and invite them into the fray here. *Tangential: they have been awesome at this since day 1, but it took me ten months to even figure it out and I am still struggle city with consistency in this arena. I’m working on it. #slow
Writers, whose command of articulation scared me pantsless enough times to worry the mailperson, would comment on my stuff and follow me back every so often. walkerjo, Meg, Lizella, Jules, ThunderPuff, and Zelda, to barely name a few, supported me out of the clear unwarranted blue and now I think I might be pompous enough to sit in this post and call them colleagues and friends. #lookitmyego y’all. They took a chance on someone with twelve followers and four listicles alphabetizing the contents of her left nostril. I had, at every step, a community that took the time to see me.
It is the reason I fell for Medium, and stuck it out while someone’s 473 minute read about how to travel well got 978 recommends and all my new writer friends’ exquisite insides rolled in scant handfuls of hearts.
It’s how I knew I wanted to be here, even when I didn’t.
I got lucky in a lot of ways. Evolution involves luck, right? That’s totally a thing.
I found The Weekly Knob all over my feed one morning (David and Tre, largely– this was back when I followed like 20 people), and it was so aptly timed, because I’d latched onto the idea that writing prompts were the key to solving Writer’s Block (spoiler: they’re not). I may or may not have scream commented all over one of Tre’s pieces about why are there rubber bands across my entire post-fetus life/why don’t I have a rubber band story/who even am I. Aura jumped in and explained how they worked. Both she and S Lynn spent the next several months encouraging me and being receptive to my work.
David Smooke, a dude I have never spoken to, came out of nowhere and published the story of my diagnosis on my birthday. It was a damn sign, y’all. He didn’t even know it was my birthday. I didn’t even know what publications were. (I maybe still don’t shhhh stop typing.) He has consistently appeared from the creases of stale air with any number of his amazing publications (they’re all solid — check em out when you get a chance — there’s Extra Newsfeed, Ps I Love You, Athena Talks, Fit Yourself Club, Student Voices, and I’m sure more that I’m missing like a sloppy pucker), and given me a much needed lift. I think he might be psychic.
This brings me to a large point about a lot of pubs — many of them prioritize boosting lesser-known writers. Shaun Gamboa (it’s not letting me tag him!! Where is he? WTF?) absolutely did this with his pub, BullshitIst, and even before that, Danna came for my ass out of the grim nothing to show me how to submit my work and get more views. She helped me get a piece into Be Yourself, and has always pushed to get me read by more people.
In the midst of all this, Medium was besieged by a lot of outright predators. Medium is not great at banning predators. And by ‘not great’, I mean, actual predatory posts don’t seem to raise any red flags or get folks banned. ? It’s weird. Anyways, a couple of them were interacting with me before I even knew what the fuck was up, and people front and center stood up for me. They messaged me, were clear with their intentions and follow through, and watched my feed to make sure I was not targeted. alto and H. Nemesis led that, and I have kept that kindness at my side ever since. Alexainie, Jack, Sean, and Jason also showed up early on and were supportive and snarky all over my stuff with zero prompting. Little drops of their unhesitating humanity here and there meant absolute rivers to me, during that unwieldy chunk of murky testimony.
I spent much of that middle wad succumbing to ridiculous writing patterns (funny/serious/haiku, repeat) and embracing a whole bunch of nonsense as fact. For example, now I think run-ons are an art form (they’re not). Listicles are only valid if they are both snarky and ridiculous. Fuck a Debra. It is totally fine to make up words and not even explain yourself. Verb tenses are mythical. Etc. I made up a completely arbitrary definition of ‘cheating’ where not posting at all before I went to bed that day counted as breach of contract, but everything else was fair game, including writing the occasional post ahead of time as long as I promised to edit the day of (this occurred when I went to Italy. It wasn’t cheating. Your face is cheating). I started a list of topics that I would update the very second I had an idea, because waiting longer than the barest tick of time meant that nugget of palatable sight was lost forever. And even though my list is a secret masterpiece that reads
“1) shredded cheese vs. there aren’t staples
2) story about girl who had toes”,
I learned to dig deep into my day, and sometimes the disaster list, and find a whisper I could share.
Eventually, I had people. Too many dearly beloveds to tag without being utterly trifling to all of everyone (i.e. freaking out about how many people need to be tagged and how this post is already seventeen years long and also if I tag everyone I’ll almost certainly forget someone so let’s just stop now. The end). Facebook knows y’all as my Medium peeps, because any time anything amazing or hysterical happens in our world, I get on Facebook and brag about it. Yes I do. I’m not sorry. I spent a lot of my time here deliberately staying out of fights and heated discussions, and while I am not regretting that choice, I am aware that not engaging in that way was stressful for folks who wanted back up. I know what it cost to be here for me, while I chose not to fight trolls or be super thinky responsive in comments. In retrospect, maybe part of why I refused to engage in certain fights was because I cherished the healthy bits of the community to the detriment of its struggling bits. Maybe I loved too fondly the easiness of my people here.
I know that I’m lousy at following folks (I have a whole thing about it; it’s not just because I’m an asshole. There are reasons that involve being a dillhole, too), easily overwhelmed, short tempered, impatient, and unwilling to compromise on a whole bunch of stuff. I know what it costs to embrace that. I know how critically luck has factored for me.
I meandered into the final stretch so quietly, y’all. I cried last week, mostly out of sheer surprise that it’s here. I got scared about the end of things and the never of maybe and didn’t sleep for a bunch of days. I have panicked about picking a new goal (short stories, one every week! Additional posts via Patreon! Starting in June! Fuck it’s like a whole plan or something aaaaauuuugh who am I), fought through my frustration with certain developments in our haloed-or-not feeds, and fallen into anxiety pits because what if the folks I enjoy and cherish on here never know that that’s how I feel. I have lost track of what I wanted to say during my last lap, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because suddenly there is too much and neither my heart nor my brain will shut up for long enough to get a sentence out.
Which is pretty close to full circle, if we’re being science-esque about it. It’s at least an oval. That counts as evolution, right? #splerp