Three years ago, the day after I’d attempted to make an about page that has changed over the years, I sat down to write the first post of a blog that would – at times – be the only thing holding me together. I didn’t know where it’d go, coming straight from the ashes of a failed blog, but it’s brought me further than I could have imagined. With some hitches along the way and some breakdowns, three years later, I’m still here and still very much Elm.
I didn’t know what to do for this year’s celebration post. I couldn’t have done a giveaway because I had nothing to give away and it didn’t feel like something I was comfortable with; I’ve already done a Q&A somewhere down the line; I was struggling to think of anything that would be suitably “Elm”. Then I realised: that’s the problem. I was too busy thinking about what might be received well, rather than thinking, “What do I want to write and how do I want to thank my readers?”
The idea popped into my head a few minutes ago, actually. What if I talked about what makes me Elm? I’ve gone through many identities throughout my life but there’s not one that’s as unique as “Elm” because Elm is me, yet Elm also represents something that’s more important to me than anything else. It’s a person without barriers, where it doesn’t matter that I’m blind or that I don’t understand references sometimes. It’s my store of confidence alongside my expression of insecurity and I have to remember that. Instead of just listing them, I’m going to involve you. Without my readers, without any of you, this “Elm” would not have grown into being.
It’s not like “Elm” was suddenly worn as an identity by me, that it was a layer of person put on all at once. It came about from who I was before, building up in little sections, getting progressively more defined as I made mistakes. I can trace those formations of sections, when I really started to feel like I belonged here, from the start of Three Time’s the Charm and from then on, through the journey of my posts. A thread to go alongside is that of my readers.
The first thing I started to be was supportive. I’d never really had a drive to be like that before: of course I wanted to but it was in starting a blog that I could start to express that wish. I helped people, whether through my words in my posts or through talking to them. I wasn’t powerless: I had a voice that I could use for good and I remember, one day, crying over how much that support network meant to me. I allowed myself to be supported in return and I’ve built up a close friendship with so many people here that I don’t know what I’d do without them. This blog has caused me to become more attentive to people, able to understand what they’re going through and to be empathetic. I might have learned this somewhere else but being Elm connected me to people I wouldn’t have been connected with otherwise and that made the world very real.
Right from the start, I was open simply because people who read my blog wanted to hear it. This links with being supported but it’s a whole new category; I relied (and rely) on expressing my emotions to an audience that will listen. It’s been so comforting to me to be able to vent. Although my posts aren’t as personal any more in terms of real life situations (I hope to change that), I still have this open mindset whenever I post. It’s been rare that I’ve been truly scared to write anything down because people are so welcome here. It doesn’t feel like I’ll be judged for swearing, for shrieking with terror and fuck, I’m thankful for that.
There’s a certain creativity that I’ve developed and I think it’s from meeting so many other creative people. I’ve seen people who write in so many different ways, from poetry to diaries to posts about beauty and fashion. It’s expanded my blogging horizons, to use a painfully cliche phrase. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming and panic-inducing to try and be creative all the time but it’s made me remember that my personality as a whole is imaginative. I’ve learned to appreciate the little signs of a creative mind because you don’t have to have photos or intricate designs on your blog to be considered creative. Acceptance from people all around the world has made me accept my own personality traits.
My introduction to Twitter as well as continuous emailing throughout my time here, has let me talk to people that have become some of my best friends. Kel was and is an instrumental part of that because he’s been here for such a long time and has always stuck by me. People who have known me for 2 years or two months never fail to help me when I need it and to make me laugh until I sob; people from every conceivable place have been so supportive to everyone and are always there when I need to talk. The community is what gives me faith in humanity and they let me remember that I have qualities that are good and when I’m having one of my infamous crises, I don’t feel disgusting or hopelessly needy when talking to them.
I’ve not been here for that long, if you think about how long some people have been here, but I love blogging so much. It held me up when everything was so shit, last October and the October before that and for all those times when I hate myself and can’t think without becoming hysterical. It’s let me become more honest when I’ve lied and that’s carried over into ‘real life’. To me, it’s not just a casual hobby and I could never just throw it away. It means too much to me.
On my blogging anniversary today, I went to meet the amazing Gracie and I couldn’t have been more excited! I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, ever since the possibility of it went from a rosebud into a fully-fledged flower. I’ll let you know how it all went tomorrow because I can’t wait to tell you about it!!
This might seem sentimental, overly emotional or with too much of “OMG I LOVE YOU GUUUYYSS!” but it’s true. I can’t understate how much people have been here for me and how much my blog has impacted my life. It still confuses me how I’ve managed to amass over 3500 followers through my messy wailing posts and frequent breakdowns. Thank you, so much, for not giving up on me.
It’s been an amazing three years and I hope there will be far more posts like this, for many more years. I don’t plan to leave a part of myself behind anytime soon.
You are all wonderful and I kind of want to cry because it hits me occasionally, just how supportive some people can be. I’ll stop screaming now but honestly, I could go on and on about how much I love the people that read this pile of crap I call a blog.
Looks like I’m still Elm and I couldn’t be more glad of that.
From Elm 🙂