A Confession: I’ve hoodwinked you all.
Or at least that’s how it feels.
I started this blog six months ago, in May 2013, because I accidentally drank too much and dyed my hair orange and the story was too good to keep to myself.
Before that, I hadn’t really written anything in about three years, and at that time, I only wrote for myself. The last people to formally read my writing were my college classmates, five years ago. Other than producing mildly clever facebook updates — which, depressingly enough, still might be my most marketable skill — I really didn’t have anyplace in my life to use words as a creative outlet.
I wrote this post while eating a grilled cheese sandwich, drinking a beer, and wearing sweatpants. It went viral.
I calmed back down.
I wrote this piece about being a millennial. I wrote it in a few hours, late at night, nursing a glass of boxed red wine. A lot of you shared it on Facebook and Twitter. About 15,000 people read it before someone pointed out that I had spelled “millennial” with only one “n.” I emailed the girl personally to apologize, my hands shaking: I really wish I had read it one more time before I hit “publish.” I have not felt this embarrassed since I fell down that flight of stairs and flashed my granny panties at the Jesuits during that wine and cheese reception in 2008.
Somewhere else along the way, while I was busy working and buying groceries and eating and sleeping and celebrating a birthday and farting and watching Netflix and calling my parents and taking these pictures for fun, my words were published by Thought Catalog, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times.
Holy shit. I guess I’m a writer now.
Ok, so: maybe you don’t see it this way, but – oh, my god, I have no idea what I’m doing.
People in my real life have really funny reactions to all of this. Mostly people are excited. A lot of my friends make that face with the smile and the raised eyebrow: “Hey! That’s … so … awesome! Aaand also … so… confusing.” I went to a party in August, a few weeks after the 12 Habits post went viral, where I was surrounded by people whose work I have admired for years. They’re smart and funny and approachable and completely, overwhelmingly, utterly intimidating. They were super nice to me. They asked me a bunch of questions about how this was going, and it made me feel warm and fuzzy and also completely terrified. Surely they, as brilliant, beautiful artists, must know that I don’t belong in their club?
My favorite reactions have been the honest and borderline hostile ones. Like my friend Zach, who is a sarcastic misanthropic asshole, and also one of my dearest childhood friends whom I love beyond the scope of reason.
Zach is the kind of person who will get a speeding ticket for going 67 on the highway when everyone else is doing 80. If there’s a beautiful flock of birds overhead on a bright sunny day, one of them will shit on his new shoes. That’s kind of just how his life has always worked. When the Huffington Post thing happened, I kind of needed him to say OH YOU FUCKING BITCH I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW. It made me feel so much better when someone else pointed out that in no way did I deserve all this attention – attention that, initially, I wasn’t even trying to seek. But it happened, and he loves me anyways. Bitch.
And now here’s the part where I admit my own naïveté: It feels, to me, like my world is fundamentally different in some way, but I don’t know if that’s actually true. Strangers on the internet react to things I write. (Some beautifully and articulately, some not so much.) I joined Twitter, so, I don’t know, I guess that’s different.* But, I mean, I still have to go to work. I make a tiny bit of revenue off the ad sales on this thing, but: I haven’t quit my day job, ya know? Especially when I compare myself to people who actually blog for their livelihood, this is really just a cool thing that’s happening right now and my stakes are, in the big picture, still incredibly small. I’m going to keep going, because it feels right and it makes me happy, even when people are dicks to me in the comments. I’m getting better at fighting the impulse to fight back or to cry when that happens. Especially when they have really good points. Those are the ones that sting, when they’re totally right.
So I guess this is the part where I say thank you. Thank you to my friends who have read what I’ve written, who have liked it, who have shared it with their friends. Please, keep doing that! (Wait. Forget I said that. I hate marketing myself. That felt so slimy. Ugh. Sorry. I mean, do it, I’d really love that, if you genuinely want to, but: no pressure). Thank you to the strangers out there who have identified with things I have written and have related, commented, started a dialogue, made me feel less alone. It’s scary, sometimes, to put myself out there. You make me feel better about everything. I love the folks who comment here frequently; I smile when I see that notification pop up, thinking that you’re a “familiar face,” even though, of course, we could probably walk right by one another on the street and not know it. (But if that happens and you recognize me, oh man, you should definitely say hi). To the people who work for those publications who saw something in me and wanted to share my words: holy shit. You’re awesome. Thank you.
Thanks, everybody. I was in a rut, and I was kind of unhappy and bored and depressed, and I started a blog, and then everything feels like it changed even if it really didn’t, and I have some totally different dreams for my future now, and that’s because of you. So, thank you. I really appreciate you more than I can say.
Even if you’re the guy who found my blog by searching “fuck my mother in the ass.”
Here’s to another six beautiful months together.