Something To Be Proud Of

I’ve decided to stop cringing when I find photos, content, or old tweets from my past. I’ve decided to stop making insulting jokes about the person I used to be (and am today), my therapist tells them they’re not actually funny.

A while ago I deleted all of my tweets. I skimmed through them first. I was angry a lot back in middle and high school. Angry at my mom, my brother, the entire concept of school. I live-tweeted Glee and Supernatural like my life depended on it. I was angsty. I refused to listen to “pop music” because I thought I was cooler than that. Two years ago if you asked to see my old Tumblr account I might actually scream out of pure embarrassment. Today, I remembered the login and I’ll share my page. I’m done viewing things I’ve said, or created, or did as “cringe,” or “embarrassing,” instead I’m looking at how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve grown.

I eventually grew out of Tumblr, for lack of a better word. And this was even before they banned “adult content.” I had some number of thousands of followers who took interest in my hot takes on Dean Winchester, Doctor Who, and the latest Marvel movie or episode of Shameless. People liked the edits I made of screencaps and random song lyrics, the headcanons I thought up, and the FanFiction I wrote. They either loved or hated it when the crack ship of Caicorn (Cain, and his corn, from Supernatural). There were people who asked “when’s the next chapter?” to the Destiel FanFic I abandoned in 2014. (I found it, currently at 16k words.) Let’s not even mention the “vlogs” I did. Okay, let’s. I found one.

Sure, scrolling through my old blog might be a bit embarrassing. But it’s where I took an interest in web design, spending hours teaching myself CSS and HTML so I could build my own themes, and eventually share them with others. It’s where I wrote. A lot. (Of fanfiction). It’s where I never felt judged for liking the things I like and being a bit “obsessive.” I had found my people. I had found a community. I even started some communities — groups of some of my favorite bloggers. Some had an application process, some were open. A handful of us created our own blog with a mission to spread positivity, something a lot of us needed at the time.

I know there’s some cliche about the past is what makes us who we are today or some nonsense, but it’s not wrong. Maybe it was just having a creative outlet, but the more I think about the more I realize it was the perfect combination of creative outlet + supportive environment + lots of free time on the internet. And when I look at those three things, nothing much has changed. I’ve found new creative outlets, new places on the internet to spend my time, and an incredibly supportive community.

I’m not really sure what the point of all this is. Maybe something about coming full circle. Maybe something about how I rarely see anyone talk about the number of 2010s Tumblr Kids who grew up to be creatives or web developers. I’m not sure what the number is but I have a feeling it’s a decent amount.

Maybe it’s all about letting go of “embarrassing” things from your past, maybe it’s realizing that the “cringe” stuff you did or created, is actually something to be proud of. I taught myself HTML and CSS by just messing around with it. I had people excited to see what I was writing. I had people asking for my help with their themes.

My writing has drastically improved. My understanding of website design has drastically improved. My mental health has drastically improved. And I no longer look back on my old projects with shame, or with “what was I thinking?” or “wow I sucked.” Instead, I look back with “look how far I’ve come.” That’s something to be proud of.

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Anne Vaeth

Anne Vaeth

A communications professional trying to turn the jumble of thoughts in my brain into actual words.