Today, Nerdy Girl Notes turns 10 years old.
Ten years. A decade. Almost a third of my life.
What a wild ride.
There have been times along the way when the ride has felt easy and smooth—and other times when it’s felt rough and bumpy. There are times when I’ve sat confidently in the driver’s seat on this journey—and other times when I’ve felt like I’d lost control.
But that’s how life feels.
And NGN has always been a reflection of my life.
A reflection of me.
Looking back on 10 years of posts, that’s what stands out more than anything else—the versions of me contained within these pretty pink borders.
I’ve spent months trying to plan what to say in this post. Ten years is no small feat when it comes to content creation on the internet. And there have been plenty of times when I’ve doubted I would get to this milestone. So I knew I wanted to celebrate today.
But what should I celebrate?
That was the harder question.
And it was made even harder to answer this week when a lovely second line showed up on my COVID test, confirming that I was going to be confined to my couch on a day when I was supposed to be toasting to 10 years with a cocktail at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. (Fear not, friends: I’m working with a relatively mild—though still not fun—case, and my WDW trip has already been rescheduled for a few weeks from now.)
So what should I celebrate on a day when I’m feeling pretty far from a celebratory mood? (And when doing too much celebrating would undoubtedly trigger a coughing fit?)
When I think about all the versions of me contained within these pretty pink borders, I think about all the versions who would have been afraid to talk about something frustrating, hard, and not anywhere close to positive on a day like today. But I also think about all the versions who took baby steps to get to a place where I can stand here and say that I know today is a big day—but I’m not really in the mood to make a big deal of it.
It took a lot of baby steps to make NGN what it is today. To make me who I am today. And every single one of those baby steps is chronicled in some way on this site.
When I look back at 10 years of posts, that’s what stands out the most.
Every single post is a chapter in a story.
And it’s the story of a woman finding her voice.
NGN began as a place for me to reconnect with the kind of writing I missed doing after I graduated from college—analytical, academic, using “I” as little as humanly possible. As time went on, I eliminated some of that distance by writing more from a place of enthusiasm and less from a place of academic insight. It was closer to my authentic voice—but it was still self-conscious, still trying to present an image to the world. But instead of the image of a smart, critical media analyst, it was the image of an always positive, always happy fangirl.
But some time in the last couple of years, I stopped presenting an image and started just being myself—my messy, vulnerable, unfiltered self.
I found my voice. Not the voice I thought would make my college professors proud. Not the voice I thought would make me liked by my fellow fangirls.
My voice. Mine.
And those of you who are here have found the most honest version of me.
You’re all a part of this story too.
That’s another fascinating part of looking back on 10 years of posts. I was able to see the first comments left by people who have become some of my closest friends (Does it shock anyone that Heather left NGN’s first comment?), comment threads where lasting friendships were forged, and stories shared that have helped me hear so many of your voices as I learned how to find mine.
In so many ways, the story of NGN is a love story. It’s the story of how I met so many people I love, how I strengthened relationships with people I loved long before this site first took shape, and how I learned to love myself through speaking myself—finally letting go of my need to be perfect and accepting that the thing I really needed most was to be honest.
So this post gets to be another chapter in the story of NGN—the story of me. Some chapters are high points (going to NYCC, that time I thought I was going to write a book, all the love posts and reviews of incredible hours of television and letters to fictional characters who stole my heart). Some chapters feel lower (the rare times fandom drama bled into NGN’s comments, posts about depression and anxiety, that time I did not actually write the book I thought I was going to write). But they’re all a part of a larger story.
And that means they all have their place. They all matter.
What a wild ride.
And I can’t wait to see what comes next.