Monday, December 19, 2011

Updates and News

Hello, old friends! I have so much to tell you. Sit.

First, I need to let out a gigantic WOW in regards to Less Than Three, the book I’m editing with Kristina Horner. Most of you are probably aware that we’re holding a short story contest about love, friendship, and Internet culture (if you’re not aware, check out our website and awarez-vous!), but here’s something you may not have known: you guys are talented. I’ve spent this week going through the first batch of submissions, and I’ve already had my fair share of lols and omgs. Mine and K-Horn's summertime dreams of creating a job for ourselves that would both benefit our awesome readers and make us freak out with joy-- it's happening! I feel like a proud aunt. The project now has a twitter you can follow if you're interested.

The second news item for today comes to you in the form of a new youtube channel for which I'm a contributor! Answerly is part of My Damn Channel and it features myself, Kristina, and Joseph Birdsong each giving weekly advice on a different topic. My videos focus on college-- tips for saving money, dealing with classes, dealing with people-- and they go up every Monday. There's a new one today in which I divulge all the presents I'm giving for Christmas... so don't watch it if you're, like, my dad. Yay!

Third, and most ridiculously, I'm starting a sort of underground video series on my second channel in which I plan to wear pajamas and complain loudly and inarticulately about old episodes of Glee. This comes as both an answer to the success of my second twitter account that I devote mostly to liveblogging the show, and as an excuse to stare with gaping mouth at Dianna Agron and Naya Rivera while still feeling somewhat accomplished. Because I just wasn't wasting enough of my time before.

Finally, I was lucky enough to be a part of the fifth annual Project for Awesome! I spent all of Saturday typing my way into carpal tunnel in the name of charity, and held down the fort by hosting a portion of the 24-hour livestream event. I may or may not have repeatedly licked a plastic lawn flamingo when we reached our goal of $40,000 in donations. Maybe. It's rumored.

Phew. There's my big news dump for the day. Thank you to everyone who got involved with P4A, has submitted or plans to submit a story to Less Than Three, follows my brainvomit on youtube, or just has my back enough to keep reading through my more boring blog posts. I love you guys and I hope you have a lovely day!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Internet Stage Fright? A Sleepy Ramble, etc.

A really adorable thing computers sometimes do is stop working properly. This comes in particular handy when one works online and needs to be able to edit videos and answer emails and send large files at a moment's notice. (I'm dealing with this problem mostly by taking long, angst-ridden baths and playing four-hour games of M/F/K on my friend's couch.) Anyway, below is a blog post I wrote up two days ago in the middle of a restless night, and while it's even moodier and pointlesser in the light of day, I thought I'd share it with you anyway. Feel no obligation to agree with any part of it or attempt to rationalize with my half-asleep self; this is purely for entertainment.

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There're a number of reasons why I probably shouldn't be blogging right now. For one, it's nearly 2AM and I'm on babysitting duty for my sister's newborn early tomorrow morning, and since my last hangout with my nephew resulted in infant urine on my leg, I should aim to have slept before the baby handover. For two, my laptop is currently moving at the pace of... something agonizingly slow (shut up; the simile-maker in my brain is on snooze mode; it's 2AM!), and since it's too cold and dark and Ohioish for me to go running in the evenings, any minor annoyance like a slow computer can make me furious and restless. And finally, I shouldn't be blogging right now because everything I have to say tonight is immature and whiny. But when has that stopped me before, huh? Actually, that's... sort of what I wanted to talk about.

I receive a lot of emails and comments and tweets lately from people who say they wish I'd blog more often. (I also receive a lot from people [middle-aged men in basements] who want me to do fetish porn, but they aren't as polite about it.) These messages create a little battle in my head, because on the one hand, it's AMAZING that a group of people care enough about me that they want to hear what I have to say or pretend to laugh at my punctuation jokes, but on the other hand, it's like... what if I can't blog?

I mean... okay, here's the deal. I started posting videos and stories about my life online-- to an audience, at least-- in 2005. In 2005, I was fifteen years old. I didn't have a driver's license. My dad didn't have an email address. I'd had one semi-real boyfriend who was probably gay, I'd never tasted wine or filled out a college application or gone out of the state without my parents, I still had some remnants of funky overgrown bangs, and my internet existence was virtually anonymous. Yes, it had my full name on it (very successful, middle school assembly about protecting personal information online!), but no one who knew me in the real world had any reason to know about my double life. As a teenager, I had the incredible experience of being able to write freely and extensively about my feelings, whether they were sweet or cruel or mature or silly, and receive feedback from total strangers. It was awesome, and I wouldn't trade that time for anything, but it left me spoiled. Because now I am not fifteen and now I am not anonymous.

I've met so many of you through events and concerts and conferences, I've saved stacks of letters with your handwritten names at the bottom, I've read your blogs or watched your video responses or gotten to know parts of you through your daily comments. It's mindblowing to hear that I've positively influenced someone by talking about overcoming depression or losing weight or sticking up for something, and all these little mindblows build up until... I feel guilty for publishing posts about sitting around eating cookie dough, feeling moody for no reason, changing my opinions and views so drastically that they aren't at all in line with what originally endeared me to someone. I feel responsibility to be the voice a fifteen-year-old might need to hear when all I really feel like being is a sloppy hippy college student. I can't be freely imperfect when my words represent some idea beyond myself, but I can't be some noncontroversial figure of perfection, either, because I'm just a little bit too sucky.

There are times when I feel blogger's adrenaline building up like dandruff flakes in my brain, and I want so badly to purge the story of my weekend or bad date or big mistake into cyberspace, complete with dumb analogies and links to only-sort-of-relevant sites. I've even started drafts of posts, started in on what I've had to say, and then backspaced backspaced backspaced, seeing the faces and names of different people who would be disappointed/triggered/upset by my words, all of them boggled around in my head. I can't tell you how I tried this thing or kissed this person or made an ass out of myself in this way, because I serve as so many different symbols to so many different people.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... it's hard to be loved and respected and wanted? God, I'm sorry. I don't mean to come off as a whiny brat. I'm extraordinarily grateful for the connections I've formed with people-- whether full-blown friendships or just tiny meaningful moments-- because of this odd, unconventional lifestyle. I would never undo whatever it is I did to become someone's idea of a good or healthy or awesome person, because it feels amazing to make some kind of positive impact. But with impact comes pressure, and raaaaaaawr, I'm like a shaken Coke can, you guys; I swear to god.

My three options are to either stop writing personal posts and just use this blog for businessy stuff (yuck, gross, please don't even dignify that option with consideration), to say whatever I want regardless of whether everybody who ever liked me before changes their minds, or just... stop altogether? I would sort of rather vomit all over myself than put an end to using my blog as a public diary, but I also can't pretend to talk about my life while leaving every single interesting detail out just because young women and my extended family and my parents' friends have access to it.

* * *

And that's when Firefox shut down and I yelled agitatedly and went to sleep. I suppose I still agree with my sentiments from the other night, and I'd be interested to hear your opinions on the situation, but again, it seems much less important while the sun is up.

P.S. I'm posting a video this week to announce the book project to the greater public, and I'm both excited and nervous. I think I'll be able to clear up some of the concerns expressed in blog comments the other week (although most of those problems have already been solved via email) and even though I take criticism worse than just about anybody, I'm grateful that we got to test the idea out on you guys, the most loyal and sweet and awesome group on the internet, before opening it up to the masses. I am incredibly appreciative of the support and enthusiasm some of you have shown, and I hope excitement will eclipse my anxiety about the project once more people get involved!