*inserts celebratory GIF I'm too lazy to look for and figure out how to insert*
As you can probably guess from the title of this post, it's my 18th birthday today! I've recently begun to feel very awkward about birthday posts because they can sometimes feel more like "oh look at me! It's my birthday so you should all treat me in x way," but I think birthdays should still be noted and celebrated. I don't remember what I did last year, but I'm going to once again take the time to give a few shout outs (please don't feel bad if you don't get one here; I still love you. It just means that either we haven't talked in a while and have maybe grown apart or just that I didn't have the space) and talk about some of my accomplishments in the past year.
This has certainly been a crazy year with me applying for colleges and getting my acceptances and just dealing with everything that comes with being a high school senior. Then, there's dance and competition, which is even more hectic this year since I have a solo and we have a production number. It's been so fun, but there are also plenty of difficult times. In my senior year overall, I've really been dealing with periods of really low self-esteem and just feeling like I'm not good enough. I've also been much more aware of my social anxiety and how uncomfortable and out of place I feel in many situations, probably made worse by the fact that I'm thinking about having to meet all new people and make all new friends (both something exciting and also the part about college that has me most nervous besides handling the work load). But there have also been times of incredible highs, and it's also been so wonderful to know that my blogging friends and books, particularly Harry Potter, are always there for me and can cheer me up. Everyone's been nothing but supportive, and it's amazing to have such amazing people in my life.
Anyway, I guess I should start with some of the great blogging/bookish moments of this year.
1) Lit Up Review! A little over a year ago (February 2014), I joined the LUR team. There have been times where I definitely struggled to juggle the two blogs, but I'm so happy to be a part of this group, and now that we're better than ever, with a new writer and a handful of awesome contributors,
2) Feminists Talk Books! Two months ago (Late February 2015), we finally launched this little project of ours, and I'm so proud of all we've already done and hopefully will continue to do. We're still small, and I know I've been pretty bad at promoting it lately, but I'm honestly so happy with the blog. We're all passionate women, and though we all have lots on our plates already, we believe that we have to take a stand and try to start a conversation and create change. We hope you're all enjoying our content!
3) I was invited to see Side Show on Broadway in exchange for mentioning the show on my blog. Turns out, I got to see it only a few short weeks before it officially closed. I got amazing seats, and it was just such a cool experience. I don't know that I'll ever get such an opportunity again, but it was one of the coolest things that's happened to me because of this blog.
4) BookTube and Instagram. Though BookTube is now on the backburner, for some time, I was trying to post more on YouTube. I have a few reviews that I filmed and then my book hauls. I'll still be doing my book hauls in video format (I have yet to film my March book haul, though), but other than that, I'm leaving BookTube for now to focus on my blogs and my Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, I finally created a separate account just for bookish pictures and such. My feed was getting crowded since I was following so many people on IG, so I decided to split it so that I'd have one account for books/my blog and then my personal one for everything else. It's been going great so far, and it's been really fun! I'm still really new to the whole scene, and I've been slacking with the pictures, but I can't wait to get more involved in the community there.
5) I was able to help beta-read for Katherine Locke's Turning Pointe, the prequel novella to her upcoming book, Second Position. As a dancer and a fan of books with ballet, I'm eagerly awaiting Second Position. I don't even remember how I first connected with Katherine on Twitter, but I'm so glad I did. And when she found out that I'm a dancer and asked if I'd like to read through Turning Pointe and give her some feedback, particularly on the dance elements, I couldn't refuse. It was such a different experience for me, but it's also so cool to think about the fact that I may have helped to shape the final piece, which will actually be read by people! Man, I need more ballet books in my life. :P (PS. You can now read Turning Pointe online!)
Now, because I'm short on time and procrastinated on this post until the last moment, at which point half this post disappeared, I will quickly write my shout outs to people I've met through blogging that I'm grateful for every single day and who I want to remember on my birthday.
1) To everyone who will not be listed by name before. There are so many bloggers I only know on the surface, never having really had too many conversations besides those about books or about whatever in my life I tweet about. There are also so many blogging friends that I've kind of grown apart from recently for various reasons. I don't love you any less, nor am I any less grateful, because so many of you have helped shape me into the blogger I am today. But I neither have the space nor time to name you all. I just hope you know that I love you, and I'm grateful for you too.
2) The first person I have to shout out is Sonia Fuderer, who has been nothing but supportive and kind and encouraging since we first met. Sonia, I will never not be grateful to have met you. You are so supportive and kind, and I know you're always there for me. I love our email threads (which reminds me: I'm going to be emailing you soon! We have lots to catch up on), and I know that if I ever need something or just need someone to talk to, you're a tweet or email away. I am eternally grateful for our friendship, and I can't wait for the day we can finally meet face-to-face! I don't know that I'll ever be able to fully express in words how much our friendship and you mean to me, but thank you.
3) Nova @ Out of Time. Girl, you have been one of my longest blogging friends, and I can't even tell you how much I love you. I still remember our video chat from way back when, which was near the start of our friendship. You're such an amazing person, and you're so incredibly supportive and kind, always there to help me when I seek it. Your advice is invaluable to me, and I know I can trust you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything.
4) Allison @ Sleepless Reads. We've both been having crazy school years, but it's so nice to know that you've always got my back. I always love talking to you, even if it's not very often anymore. I can always count on you for an honest opinion, and I know you're always going to be one of the first to offer any support or help you can. Both of our blogs have been through huge transitions and changes, but I'm so happy that our friendship remains pretty consistent.
5) Katherine Locke. We don't necessarily talk often, but I'm constantly reading your tweets. You've always been so kind to me, and you've always supported me. I know that if I ever tweet something asking for help or advice or just some hugs, you'll almost always be one of the people that will answer. And just being able to have someone else to talk to about dance/fangirl about dancers is just so great. Thanks for always having my back!
6) Kaitlin @ Next Page Please. KAITLIN!!! Our friendship is still pretty new, but I couldn't write this post without mentioning you. You're always there to cheer me up, and you're always supporting me, whether it's blogging-related or life-related. It's so awesome to see you grow as a blogger, and I really hope that everything I say is helpful. Stay you, because you're wonderful.
7) All of the authors I've met and befriended, such as Dahlia Adler and Paula Stokes! You're all amazing and lovely and just so damn cool. Thank you for your endless support, and thank you for the books you write.
8) To everyone who's tweeted their support and their hugs when I was receiving college decisions. You all rock!
9) Willa @ Willa's Ramblings. You are amazing, to say the least. Thank you for all the love and the support. Thanks for the long conversations about things ranging from school to books to Orphan Black. Thanks for always believing in me and for sending hugs when needed. You are literally one of the coolest people I know, and there are so many times when I wish I could be more like you because you're awesome like that.
10) My co-bloggers at both Lit Up Review and Feminists Talk Books. I won't say much because there are so many of you, but you ladies rock my socks. Some of you I don't know very well; others, I know much more. But it's always amazing to work with you guys. You're all so talented, and I love all of your individual blogs. You ladies constantly inspire me.
11) And last but never ever least, my best friend, Jessica @ Exposure Yourself (photo blog, not book blog). Jess, I don't want to say too much because I'm saving it all for your birthday and for your yearbook, but you don't even know how much you and our friendship mean to me. We are not perfect people, but I will never stop thanking you for accepting me for who I am and for allowing me to be who I am. There are so few people who I can say that about, but you'll always be one of them. Like literally, you're the only person I knew I was for sure inviting to lunch for my birthday; as it turns out, you're also the only one who can make it, but that's a different story. ;) You're like the biggest supporter of this blog and of everything else I do. You're one of the only true, good, amazing friends I've ever had. I will never not be grateful, no matter where we end up in life and no matter if we're still friends years from now. You will always have a place in my heart.
And there we have it! I'm now 18, have my full driver's license, and can vote in two countries! I'm both excited and terrified of what's to come, but thanks to all of you reading this for making this whole blogging thing such an amazing experience, one that I know is part of what's to come in the next year. :)