Hello - it’s been a bit.
If it was a particular HuffPost Personal essay that brought you here - welcome! If you would have told me I would publish something that people would actually read, I don’t know that I would believe you.
I’ve always loved to write creatively. I used to partake in November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back when adulting didn’t get in the way. But give me a blank screen and tell me to write a personal piece about my life? Forget it.
I must have stared at that screen for days watching the blinking cursor. In fact the entire process from start to finish took a month exactly, from pitch to publish. I struggled a lot, not necessarily with the personal aspect of the piece, but defining my past and doing it justice.
I honestly did not expect to make as big of a splash as I did. I thought maybe a few people would read it, and I would be thrilled just to say I did it.
To hear from my husband that he arrived at a job and was asked if we were married was surreal.
10 new Instagram followers turned into 30 and then 100. The comments and emails came in quick succession after that, overwhelmingly supportive. The one common thread was that those that could relate were all over the board. Retired. Young. Old. Readers in other countries. I tried to respond to every message and email (and I am sorry if I have not replied directly!) as my phone continued to light up with notifications throughout the night and following day.
Of course putting myself out there would not be complete without the negativity and ridicule. I personally refused to dive into the comments on the post or HuffPost’s Facebook page for fear of what I’d find.
One thing I did want to be was honest. I didn’t want to just delete posts or block people from my page. And although I ended up blocking two people for being particularly nasty, I was open to the discussion. I wanted to strike up those hard conversations.
And at the end of the night when HuffPost sent a push notification to my phone, I couldn’t help but feel like for the first time since graduating with my BA, that I had finally used my degree.