Today is Shakesville's eighth blogiversary. Eight years! In blog years, that's like A MILLION!
This morning, I read this interview with Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook having acquired a billion users, and he said something I found quite moving: "It feels like an honor. We get the honor of building things that a billion people use. I mean, there's no core need. It isn't a core human need to use Facebook. It's a core human need to stay connected with the people you care about. The need to open up and connect is such a deep part of what makes us human. Being in a position where we are the company—or one of the companies—that can play a role in delivering that service is just this … it's an honor."
I relate to that, on a comparatively miniscule scale. There are other places to get news, better places. There are other feminist blogs, other LGBTQI news blogs, other fat acceptance blogs, other places that cover elections. A lot of blogs have come and gone in the eight years I've been doing this now, and it's remarkable to me that I am still here, with so many people who have joined me along the way. I feel really happy, really grateful, that Shakesville, the blog and/or the community here, means something to so many people.
Meaning something is actually the hardest part of this thing for me, to be honest. Partly because it is hard to see Shakesville from a perspective other than my own; partly because I'm frightened that if I truly understood what this space means to people who love it, the pressure of it would crush me. At a dinner with a bunch of old friends last week, someone joked that they were the most hated person at the table, and someone else exclaimed, "No one is more hated than Melissa! There are like millions of people who hate her!" And everyone laughed, including me. It's easier to deal with being hated.
But not long ago, I got an email from a young woman who'd just graduated from college. She told me she'd been reading Shakesville every day since she'd found her way here at age 16, and thanked me for being an important part of her journey to adulthood. I can't even wrap my head around that, but I'm really trying. It's a part of sticking around that you don't envision, when you start out and hope to be around awhile.
I'm honored to mean something to you.
This is the hardest and best job I've ever done. I am a better person than I was when I started. I know more about myself, both the good things and the things that need changing. I've made great friends, the greatest, and had expansively generous teachers, from whom I've learned more in this space than I ever could have imagined. I am forever changed because of Shakesville, and the people who visit or come to stay.
Onward to nine.