Heather wrote about the 17-year anniversary of her website yesterday and it got me really thinking and reflecting on my time online since I began just 3 years after she did. I had been trying to build websites about TV for a few years in the early 2000s, being someone TOTALLY obsessed with the old recap/TV fan site Television Without Pity. None of them really took off as you can only write so much about a terrible reality show called “Temptation Island.” Then I started following the writing of the individual recappers on TWoP on their personal websites and started considering: Maybe I could just write about…my life?
This idea seemed appealing, and like a much more authentic way to develop my voice; but I didn’t really know what that would look like, as most of those writers led exciting lives in big cities. The idea of just turning the mundane from my day-to-day life into “online essays” (the word blog was not really comment yet) had been bouncing around in my head for awhile when I found dooce.com. Heather was pregnant with Leta and was writing beautifully and hilariously about that, and I was trying to get pregnant so I thought: Maybe that’s my story backbone?. So, I launched a blog on Typepad.com and starting writing periodically about trying to get pregnant and still a lot about TV. AND THEN I GOT PREGNANT! And then I miscarried (which was my second total miscarriage at that point). I made a few blogging friends, I moved to my own domain here at misszoot.com and then my blog grew as I wrote more and more about my struggles with fertility.
If I had never found dooce.com, I’m not sure this place would ever exist. It has changed so much over here since it’s birth in the early days of 2004. In those beginning years it was still a lot of TV talk (I spent the first 25’ish years of my life sans regular interaction with pop culture, I went overboard making up for lost time in my late 20s) but there was also a lot of goofy community blogging events with Amalah and memes back when they meant something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT than they do now. Back then memes were just commonly used blogging devices like “Me from A-Z” and I think I was saying it “MEE-MEE” when I (rarely) said the word out loud.
Heather’s birthday blog entry also got me thinking about how much MY life has changed since I started this blog. The only kid I had back then has an apartment on the other side of town where we watch RuPaul on Thursday nights. (SIDENOTE: Y’all, he knew what was going to happen last night and he filmed my reaction. Which is probably gold to him since I STARTED CRYING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON.) I have two kids that didn’t exist back then and one of them is old enough to borrow my clothes and shoes. I spend less time watching TV and reading recaps and more time listening to news podcasts and reading political op-eds. We’re living in our third house since then when we were living in an apartment. HOWEVER…we did take a quick stop to live back in the SAME COMPLEX for a few months between house 2 and house 3.
I lost my Dad. But – as we all know March is a hard month for me as it was the month he was in hospice in 2009 and so – we’ll just leave that at that. All 5 animals I had in the early days of this blog are gone and I’m still actively grieving the most recent we lost, but we have the lovely new Samson/Zoomie/Brody. (Donnie was upset I forgot to tell you all about how he calls him “Bro-Dog” or “Brody” sometimes.) I’ve run 1,000s of miles and gained and lost variations of the same 50 pounds several times over and over again.
And then there are some things that never change, as you can tell by this photo of me and Krispy Kreme donuts from 2004.
I’m grateful for Heather’s writing as it helped me find my voice, and I’m very aware of the ways this blog changed my life. There are jobs I had because of this blog, trips I took that were paid for with this blog, friends I made because of this blog, and career paths I discovered because of this blog. I tend to undermine it and call it “my silly blog” but the truth is – it has been a salvation in many ways and I’m very grateful that I ditched the Temptation Island and opted for more personal writing all those years ago.