Something exciting happened last week: I posted my one thousandth blog post on this here blog! Can you believe that? ONE THOUSAND BLOG POSTS. (And yes, I purposefully made sure it was this post about my one-year anniversary with Mike.) To be fair, I've been blogging here for nearly nine years (holy shit), but churning out a thousand of anything seems pretty phenomenal, so it seemed like an occasion worth noting.
I started this blog in 2007 as Suburban Sweetheart, a name I came up with on a whim one weeknight in my bedroom in a condo in Maryland. Did you even know that I lived in Maryland? Usually I forget; I only lived there for three months before moving into D.C. proper. I had a killer commute to & from Silver Spring, more than an hour each way when all was said & done, & right off the bat, I had more than a few ridiculous experiences. I wanted a way to tell all my big-city stories to my friends & family back home, & because I'm not great at keeping in touch on a personal level, voilà! My blog was born.
Those were the days before Twitter was A Thing™, so a lot of my "blog posts" in the first year or so - & even the first three years, really - are the kind I wouldn't dream of posting here now. They're short, sometimes just a line & a photo. In other words, they're tweets that, at the time, had no place to live but on a blog. I wouldn't count them as blog posts now, but they factor into my 1,000 because... well, because they're there, & because they show me how much blogging - both my blogging & blogging in general - has evolved with time.
I changed my name in late 2013 to a more androgynous moniker that more accurately represents my "personal brand" (which has never been particularly sweethearty). My posts are longer now, more personal, sometimes more like listicles than like blog posts & other times more like novels. Over time, I've told you almost everything about myself, frankly. In the words of one of my favorite musicians, "There's a lot in here." Truly.
And yet, I never became the kind of "popular" blogger who commands the attention of big-name brands or even of smaller ones, the kind of blogger who receives local news coverage & media profiles. I don't do giveaways & I rarely get invited to events; I don't have thousands of followers or hundreds of comments. I don't have a niche or a gimmick or beautiful photos or even a particularly catchy blog name; I'm just here to write. And so, for the duration of these 1,000 blog posts, I have gone largely unnoticed by the "big" part of the Internet, the part that so many bloggers seem desperate to tap into.
Does that bum me out? Yeah, sometimes. But I've always said that I'm not a blogger, I'm a writer - that I'm not here for the perks, I'm here for the words. And while the perks are nice, that's still true: The words are number one around here. The only thing that's changed? I finally see value in calling myself a blogger, even a small-time one.
Blogging has opened up so many doors for me, introduced me to a world that I could not have known without it, & to shun the "blogger" label is to ignore all the many things blogging has brought into my life.
Blogging has brought me friends. It's introduced me to a community, a space on the Internet to connect with like-minded people & with people who aren't like-minded at all - people I might never have interacted with otherwise, who are completely different from me, whose views challenge me & whose lives fascinate me. Blogging has expanded my bubble.
Blogging has brought me strife. Just as it's brought friendships, blogging has also brought drama & pain & the end of friendships. It's made me feel alienated, not cool enough, not worthy enough, not talented enough. It has given me ample opportunity to compare myself to others & to come out doubtful & disappointed. Blogging has broken my heart & taught me invaluable lessons.
Blogging has brought me opportunities. It took me to Las Vegas for a vacation with 60-something other bloggers from across the world, people I'd never met but many of whom I felt I already knew quite intimately. It's occasionally introduced me to brands & companies & experiences that I might not have otherwise found, & it's allowed me access to, yes, a few great perks I never could've scored without it. Blogging has been a privilege & a surprise.
Blogging has brought me a voice. To be fair, I've always had one, but this space is mine & mine alone, a safe place to say what I want to say, unrestrained & unapologetic. I know people are out there reading, but when I press "publish," it's just me, alone, waiting to see how the world receives my words. Blogging has provided me a platform.
Blogging has brought me confidence. I've been a writer my whole life, but starting a blog allowed me to feel like one, to call myself a writer even if the only place my words get published is right here on my own site. But blogging has also pushed me to go further, to submit my writing to outlets like the Washington Post & Cosmopolitan & whatever comes next. Blogging has been an exercise in skill & a dream come true.
And blogging has brought me so much happiness. I can't tell you how thrilled I am every time I hear, "I read your blog sometimes..." - from friends & family & total strangers & people I'd never even dream are out there reading what I have to say (hello, out there!). I know you think it's creepy to tell me that you're listening to me, but it's not. That's why I do this. Because blogging has been a goddamn joy.
So here I am, publishing post 1,005 & looking toward the future. This kind of sounds like a goodbye letter, I know, but it's so, so far from that: It's a thank-you letter to the Internet, to the people on it, to you - & it's a commitment to continuing to share my stories in this space & beyond.
Thank you for all you have done for me, for allowing me to cultivate an online voice in a way I never dreamed possible. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for giving a damn about this blog & about me & about whatever it is that compels you to keep reading. Thank you.
Here's to 1,000 more, right? L'chaim.