Five years ago, as the summer of 2003 waned, I was temporarily back in Northern California, pacing like a caged feline who was agitated by being on the wrong coast.
On a Thursday in September, I sat in my father's favorite cabriole-legged wing chair, my bare heels resting on ball and claw furniture feet carved from real cherry wood. My beloved silver-lavender VAIO, my first computer, a graduation gift drenched with meaning, rested in my lap, waiting to serve. I anxiously stared at the exact same screen I serenely behold now.
I wasn't sure what to do, even though I'd been a TypePadder for a full month, since August of 2003. I had nervously, apprehensively explored the new blogging program for a few weeks and I was in awe. Compared to my two frustrating, aborted attempts to write with Blogger, I had obviously upgraded-- and the difference in experiences was astonishing.
Since I have always been an auto-phile, I'll describe it like this: switching from Blogger to TypePad felt like abandoning a battered Ford...and being handed the keys to a Porsche 911 Turbo. TypePad was gloriously well-behaved, utterly dependable and beautifully designed; after a year of failed attempts at blogging, via two different blogging platforms, I was ecstatic to be driving something so perfect.
But I still didn't know what to write, partly because I was blocked, mostly because I was still traumatized by publishing posts to two separate blogspots...only to have them disappear. "But this is different", I reminded myself. "Every "test" post I have written is still here. It's not the same." I could hardly handle such stability.
After surfing around the handful of blogs I read daily, I realized that one of the first posts bloggers often write describes who they are or what their blog was about; "Duh", I thought. "Introduce yourself, it's the polite thing to do!" I exhaled happily, now that I had some direction. I returned to magical, magnificent TypePad. And then I drew another blank.
I was in my 20s. I barely knew who I was, I was positively idea-free regarding what my blog would be like. At this point in the day, I wanted to publish something, anything. "Fine," I murmured. "I'll at least put up a smidgen about me, for those who wonder who is the Anna behind anna dot typepad dot com...it's not like my About page will answer them, not with what I've dedicated it to..."
But what exactly should I reveal? What would I want to know, about the people I read? An hour passed and I grew impatient. Then, an epiphany. I had previously created "about" content for another webby time-suck, a now-ancient artifact of networking called "Friendster". So, I went to my profile there and copied my "About Me", because I realized that in a way, I had been blogging there already; I updated that section daily with books I had read or things I had done. It's not like people were pinged with annoying notifications that I was doing so-- only my friends noticed and they enjoyed it. Satisfied (but not entirely, because I felt like this blog was NEW and so I should compose something NEW rather than use something old, much like I have this urge to wear brand-new clothing on January 1), I hit ctrl + v.
And with that bit of lazy pasting, this blog was born.
And nothing, nothing has ever been as it was. For that, for what I've learned, how I've changed, whom I've met and where I've been, because of this simple little blog, I am eternally grateful.
For inspiring 1057 posts, leaving 5986 comments and giving me 1.4 million page views.
For guiding me to my voice.
For handing me a megaphone with which to shout with it.
For listening to me, anyway.