Six years ago today, two things happened. My cousin had her first baby, a boy, and I wrote my first post on this here blog. I started this basically just so I could have a diary that Chelsea couldn't access, and now it's a part of my life that I couldn't imagine letting go of. The name has changed twice, the layout went from a generic one to two different custom-made ones, but for six years, I have documented life on this blog. From the best moments of my life to things I still sometimes wish I could forget to the absolutely mundane, everything is here. A lot has changed in the past six years. Here are ten things I wish I knew when I started. Things I wish I could say to 16-year-old me when she started this thing.
1. There are some things that you really should not blog about. Just don't. It causes more harm than good and respect for people is sometimes more important than your feelings.
2. There are some things that you should blog about. Let go of the walls. Let go of the self-hatred. The blog world has people that really can understand and connect with you. It's scary but it's worth it.
3. Your family may give you a headache, and they certainly have their drama and problems, but they are not the worst thing in the world. I know that feels impossible to understand right now.
4. Not everyone here is going to like you. Not everyone here is going to agree with you. That's okay. Internet fights are the textbook definition of a waste of time.
5. The friendships you make are real. Which means when they fall apart, they'll hurt like real ones. Let it go. You'll soon have more love than you know what to do with right in front of you.
6. It gets better. That's not just some slogan or a cliché people say when they don't know what else to say. It really does get better. There's a world waiting for you that goes beyond that small town and beyond your computer screen. And you're going to love it.
7. You'll appreciate having memories of your friendships recorded, but don't read too much into them. That'll just give you more heartache than you need. Your memories can be cherished, but they don't need to be dissected and overanalyzed. You're too type A for your own good, so just give yourself a little break from it here. Or at least try to.
8. Don't be ashamed of your life. Don't be ashamed of your story. It's yours. No one else can live it. You don't need to pretend.
9. Also, don't be ashamed of what is important to you. Be proud of what you love, who you love. It IS enough. You don't need to justify what you choose to blog about.
10. You are loved, little girl. So crazy loved. And life is a beautiful gift. You have a lot to be thankful for, whether you want to admit it or not. It would do you some good to focus on the good and the beautiful more often and not so much the bad and the ugly. That joy is what will get you through the roller coaster of life and what is awaiting you. That joy is what will give you a vision for your future. (Plus, chronically upset people tend to come off bitter and whiny. Just saying. And that is not you at your core.)
Six years isn't that long considering I hope to live until I'm at least eighty or so. But truth be told, the time when I started this blog fees like a different lifetime. I'm not even sure I totally recognize the girl who started this blog. Which is a little weird to think about. But it just makes me that much more excited to see what the next six years holds for me and this space. I'm not sure how long I'll keep up the post-for-every-day (I wrote that in a specific way because let's face it, it's been a long time since I've actually managed to write a post ON every single day, especially since grad school started) thing, but I know I won't be saying a total goodbye to this blog anytime soon.