Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our One Year Anniversary

My hands are so cold I can barely type this. Know why? Because it's Paris in the almost winter, and it gets cold here, and I almost always have to be outside to get internet access. A year ago, when we started this blog - our anniversary is a year ago tomorrow, November 13th - my hands were not freezing, because I was blogging from the NYU Alumni Office. Those were simple times. No one cared what I had to say, so I could say anything I wanted. And I did. I talked and talked about myself. I still do, but now there's a certain element of censorship that I employ, because I learned the hard way what not censoring can mean. Josh and I produced as many posts as we could and lavished in the glory that came with a single comment from one of our friends who only commented so that we would comment back on their blog. It was wonderful! Coming to the internet had that fresh feeling that one often writes about when coming to New York for the first time. We had arrived and all the whiny shit we had previously saved to our harddrives was now out there for all to see. It was a kind of exhibitionism we thrived on. Two neurotic suburban kids, trying to make it in a failing industry in New York: our whole lives we had been searching for approval -- from our parents, our boyfriends, our professors -- and sometimes, on the internet, we got it. Sometimes we also got comments like "you guys are assholes" to which we could only shrug and reply, "We know." Blogging was therapy. It felt good. It was a quick fix to the deep-rooted problems that had long plagued us.

Our readership grew, but it still consisted of our friends, families, co-workers and random people from the outreaches of the internet that stumbled upon our site. Josh and I struggled with where we wanted to take our site. We decided to just be ourselves. We began as cultural critics, dealing out scathing indictments of people who in no way deserved indicting at all; eventually the fact that we are both probably too nice for the internet overtook us, and we decided to not have a mission at all. Like a lot of young people in New York, we wanted to write and be liked. These are concepts that seem, up close, completely separate, but indeed they're not. Commenters on blogs decide whether or not they like you based on your writing, not who you actually are. Our writing was now what people judged instead of us. The internet became a virtual high school cafeteria. The more entries you posted that struck a chord, the more popular you became. But since we had decided to stay true to ourselves and write only what we found honest, there were inevitably some bumps along the way. And the problem was that we hadn't - and still haven't - figured out how to divorce our writing from our selves. So when someone commented saying "you are a completely retarded twat," we had a feeling they meant that in actuality, in real life, we were indeed retarded twats. Even now while typing this I kind of believe that I am a retarded twat just because someone called us that once.

After the fiasco, I am unafraid to admit that I did not leave my apartment for days, subsisting wholly on and weed and frequently launching into horrifying patches of hysterics. I did not see anyone except my roommate for days because I was too ashamed that they had read what people were saying. And I could not pull myself away from my computer. I had to read everything everyone was writing about me. I had to know. I couldn't stop myself. Later I realized that it is true what they say: what you don't know can't hurt you. So these last few months, for the most part I stopped reading blogs and started reading books again, and started going on the internet and blogging less. I couldn't bring myself to be honest in the way I used to be. I was censoring myself. My posts became more vague. I think we lost some readership because of this, but when you have to choose between your well-being or your blog, the decision should be rather simple, though perhaps to millennials it kind of isn't.

So yeah, things have changed, on this blog and within ourselves, but that makes sense because we were 19 when we started this and we're 20 now and could there be any more formative time in a person's life? We are lucky that we get to share that formation with so many people, the good and the bad, because this is a way of growing up that has never occurred before, or perhaps, as J Dids put it, we only think it has never occurred before. But does it even matter? Things have changed and they will continue to change and all we can do is hope that they change for the better. If Josh and I had known things would blow up the way they did and this place would cease to be a silly repository for inside jokes and conversations between our close friends, would we have still started it? I can't answer for Josh, but my answer is this: no. Some days I wish I'd never even been confronted with the desire to write a single word. But most days the answer is yes, I would do it again. And again and again.

One year. We haven't kept up with something extracurricular for longer than 2 months in our entire lives. One year. Fuck.



Gay Toast said...

hey jess, i think you are pretty cool and i love reading about your stay in paris. But what is most fascinating is your self-awareness (or the genuine attempt, at least) and how you are maturing as a result of the scrutiny from others, as well as your own introspection. i'm a little jealous of your life experiences, and you're not even old enough to buy drinks yet. so, keep blogging please.

Marshall said...

happy birthday kiddo

Anonymous said...

congratulations, guys! i love that you linked to some of my favorite posts of yours from the past. brings back good memories.