21 Years of Writing I Will Dare.com

Dear Darling Ones,

Today is the 21st anniversary of this blog’s existence. What stuns me the most when I think about the beginning is that Bill Clinton was president when I started I Will Dare dot com. Why does that one fun fact make me, this blog, and, well, Bill Clinton feel positively prehistoric?

When I started* this blog at twenty-eight because I was bored and lonely, I did not expect it to become my life’s work. I didn’t expect anything at all because I’m bad at predicting the future and had no idea how ubiquitous the Internet would be become.

Recently, I had an episode where I was super unkind to myself. I made a sort of kidding but mostly serious joke to my friend EM about what a pathetic loser I am and I should quit kidding myself about being a writer. I said it was stupid that my life’s work was a blog only I cared about and I should have spent all this time working to get a book published.

She told me to shut up and knock it off, and said if I were Karl Ove Knausgård the literary establishment would laud by greatness, bravery, and ability to capture the mundanities of life in blog format.

She is not wrong.

It’s been twenty-one years now and I really need to stop minimizing what I do here. I don’t know anyone who has spent this long consistently writing an online journal.** At one point this past winter a man who recently discovered I Will Dare dot com decided to mansplain to me the difference between blogging and writing. I deleted the email as soon as I finished reading, but his point was that blogging is thoughtless and easy where writing is serious work.

What I do here is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s very hard. Trying to translate feelings into words is tough. It takes a lot of thought and effort. Putting all those feelings out into a vast, uncaring void where anyone who stumbles upon it can judge you? That’s the scariest part.

Having my flawed, messy humanity displayed on the Internet for the past twenty-one years is both the stupidest and bravest thing I will ever do.

Sometime in the early aughts I met an I Will Dare dot com reader for drinks or dinner. Back then I was a hot commodity because, girl on the Internet and the dudes always wanted to meet me. I was braver and stupider then and met anyone who asked. Anyway, during the course of our meeting he cocked his head to one said and said, “You sound just like your website.”

And I was all, that’s the whole point you dummy!

So yes, after twenty-one years I have finally realized the point of this decades-long art project — to be me on the Internet.

Here’s to two more decades,
Jodi

 
*Two things amuse me greatly about those initial blog posts. One, I use a ‘Mats lyric in the very first post. Two, in the second post I talk about getting my first cell phone and calling Kari, a woman who sat three cubes away from me at Jasc. Kari is now known around these parts as BFK. My friendship with her is a year older than this blog.

 
**It will only be a matter of minutes before a bunch of dudes point out all the people who have done this exact thing for twenty-one years or longer. Congrats to all of them. Every year on this blog’s anniversary men love to point out how they once blogged in 1998 or, like I said, point out all the other people who do what I do, but only better.

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