You don’t know this thing about me because I don’t like to talk about it very much because I would much rather spend my time swooning over stories with you, but I have struggled mightily with depression over the last year. My doctor can’t seem to decide if it’s seasonal or situational or a byproduct of my super duper ADHD (probably it’s a combination of all of those things), but it’s been dragging me down down down into the dark for a while now. One of the worst parts about it is that it extinguishes my creative energy like buckets of sand on a barely breathing fire. Some days if I can write one sentence that feels energetic or turn out one phrase I think might make people smile, I feel like I’ve achieved marathon-levels of greatness.
Many of my friends and family have been encouraging me to step away from writing as a career because it takes so much time and so much emotional investment to create stuff I care about, and really, it’s fully a labor of love for story and fandom and this wonderful, beautiful, glorious queer community we’ve created on the webtubes. I don’t write because I want to be famous. I’m way too shy and introverted to ever want someone to shine a spotlight on me. I definitely don’t write for money. You’ve got to be able to survive on peanut butter if you want to be a writer. I write because I’ve been given a gift of loving words and having a platform and I want to make the world better and brighter and funner. And you know what else? I just care about you guys so very much.
Not very long ago I said out loud, “I just need a win, you know? Like one win, that’s all. A solid sign from the universe that it’s worth it to keep doing what I’m doing.”
When a friend of mine tipped me off about Zeebox and told me they were holding a competition where people could win $1,000 a day for talking about TV and one lucky person could win a grand prize of $10,000, I thought, “That’s pretty cool for someone.” And then Dana Piccoli grabbed me by my shirt (via text message) and shook me really hard (via text message) and said, “That someone should be you!” I hemmed and hawed, all, “Naw, not me.” And Dana shook me some more (in a loving way) and so I decided yes, I would go for it. But I’m not very good at going for things like that and I’m not very good at asking people for help, so Valerie Anne and Elaine Atwell and Lucy Hallowell and Dana (some more) and Dorothy Snarker built up a whole campaign to encourage people to join that Zeebox room of mine. They offered songs and fanfic and social media outreach and constant behind-the-scenes ideas and encouragement.
And you guys joined and added so much fun stuff. Questions and polls and graphics and links and videos and who even knows what all. It became one of the funnest internet things I have ever done. Just hanging out in that room talking about TV with you guys was like these dreams I have sometimes where I just get to swim in a fountain of fandom. You guys made it awesome and you made me laugh and you tweeted out support and Facebook-ed support and told Zeebox you thought I should win $10,000. Over and over and over you said it. Even the people who won — Brooker and Sandy and Lucy and Stefanie and Jenna — kept participating and encouraging people to participate. (And I’m pretty sure Kyle Bown tipped us over the edge into victory when he stopped by on the last night of the competition to do a PLL Q&A.)
And you guys, I totally won that $10,000.
Zeebox chose my room as the Get A Room grand champion!
$10,000, y’all! For talking about television!
I can’t really even tell you how it feels because I’m still in a state of shock. For one thing, 10,000 bucks of regular money is like ten billion bucks of freelance writer money. And for another thing, I have been waffling for months about whether or not I should keep doing what I’m doing or go back to accounting because my depression has caused me to question a bazillion things, including my contribution to the fun-ness of the big gay internet. I’ve been beaten down kind of a lot and I just wasn’t sure a win was in the cards for me any time soon.
I don’t have good enough words to express my gratitude to you for everything you did to make that room a success, but I want you to know I won’t ever forget it and I will redouble my efforts to give that joy back to you in recaps and infographics and interviews and other fandom delights.
You gave me a win I didn’t deserve and never would ever have expected.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I wish I could give all of you the warmest hug and one serenade each from Tippi the Bird, and also as many PinkDrinks as it takes you to get the fun kind of drunk.
(Seriously. Thank you.)