Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Two Years

It was two years ago today, on April 7, 2008, that I heeded the urges of an online friend and posted my first entry to Blogger.

Jo(e), with whom I'd been in correspondence since the previous month, had been encouraging me for weeks to start a site of my own, but for some reason I was reluctant. Reflecting now on how fascinating and rewarding blogging has been for me, I can't imagine why I ever felt that way.

In the two years since becoming a part of this online community, I've met scores of new acquaintances and a handful of close friends (one of whom I even had the chance to visit with in person), documented some enormous changes in my life, and been able to facilitate my own personal growth through a forum that provided all the privacy of a diary with all the feedback of a town hall. It really is a wonderful arrangement, and I can't understand why the idea didn't come to me sooner.

My only blogging regret is that I didn't start at a younger age, and that's more a testament to the appeal of the practice than any actual remorse.

Things with me have done a fairly dramatic about-face since that April day two springs ago. When I look at the posts I wrote then, I am shocked at how filled they were with bitterness, sorrow, longing, and anger. I barely recognize the young man I was then, but I don't condemn him; he had a lot of bad things going on. The fact that, all circumstances taken into consideration, I've made it to where I am in two years' time is pretty astounding.

In any case, my readership has morphed almost as much as my personal life. The tight-knit group who were with me at the beginning have mostly dispersed or logged off, leaving in their wake a new crop of regulars and assorted lurkers. As such, a reintroduction is in order.

My name here was first Blackened Boy, for reasons that became very apparent, but after my blog was compromised in an unexpectedly fortuitous turn of events last May, I christened myself anew, this time choosing the moniker BrightenedBoy. Either way, you can call me BB.

I am twenty-one years old, and currently a college student at a major university in the American South, where I’m studying Government and International Politics with a minor in Electronic Journalism. I imagined that after graduation next May I'd be a public relations specialist or political journalist, but recent developments with a record company may change that, at least for a while.

A year ago, I was making the nearly two-hour drive from my home to campus four days a week, but starting this Fall I took up residence again, something that has opened up so many gratifying social opportunities and really improved the quality of my life.

When I'm not in school, I live with my parents, David and Marie (not actual names). They also reside in Southern State, along with two of my three siblings: Thomas (aged 14), and Pie (my sister, aged 6). My cousin, Beautiful Cousin (aged 19), attends a university close to my parents' home and stays with us so she can commute. They are all about an hour and a half away from my university’s campus, where they live in Mountain Town, a rural and isolated community remarkably cut-off from the extremely affluent area immediately to its east.

Another brother, Powell (aged 20) now lives with my Grandmother Normal Family in Native State. After some struggles, he's looking for a job with the full support of our father's family.

A year ago I changed my profile picture from a swirly-faced version of me to the photo my readers have known for the past twelve months, an image of a young man with golden blonde hair hiding his face and spilling over onto a red shirt covered in Bs.

For about two weeks leading up to this post I had been debating what my profile symbol for 2010 should be, there being nothing in any of my albums that I felt was adequate.

Then about a week ago, my close friend Norwegian snapped the capture at the top of this entry and I knew I'd found the right thing.

Now, a year in review:

April, 2009: I turned twenty-one, and for the first time in my life a birthday party was thrown for me by friends. This event was the crystallization of my emergence from the horrible blackness that had made me so death-like for two years.

May, 2009: Summer vacation began, and I started spending a large amount of time with Sacagawea, staying up late eating ice-cream and watching bad informercials when I didn't have work at Western City Movie Theater. I also changed my website after it was discovered by Anne's family.

June, 2009: My family went on vacation to Mountain Resort.

July, 2009: Summer proceeded nicely. I came out to my father.

August, 2009: After I wrote a letter of pleading to Major University's housing director, I received a last-minute notification that I was being granted a room for the Fall 2009 semester.

September, 2009: For the first time since May of 2008, I took up residence in school dormitories. I also came out on campus.

October, 2009: I went to my first gay club.

November, 2009: I celebrated the most thankful Thanksgiving I'd had in a while.

December, 2009: Christmas Break was isolated, but in a good way. I enjoyed the month of quiet.

January, 2010: I brought my 2010 New Year's resolutions into effect. Among them was a pledge to make "significant strides in music." On January 2nd I auditioned for a band and was inducted as the lead singer. I also moved into Student Town, which proved to be a stroke of good fortune.

February, 2010: After significant artistic differences, I left the band I'd been singing in.

March, 2010: During Spring Break, I sent a low-quality recording of myself to a small independent record label. A month later, they offered me a record deal.

After two years of writing here, I feel immensely lucky to have run across Jo(e)'s website on an unrelated Google search in the spring of 2008. It led me to some wonderful people and a very interesting experience that I hope will continue for a long time.

I'm also conscious, in looking at where I was when I started here, of my many blessings, which are so much greater than I could ever deserve.

Blogging has been an amazing outlet and has proven to be a treasured part of my life. I hope you have enjoyed the time I've spent here so far.

I know I have.


Cheryl said...

I've been amazed and inspired by your progress. I also love your writing, your maturity and insight, and look forward to reading your future posts!

Great photo, BB in the sunlight!

naturgesetz said...

It's wonderful that you have achieved what you have. Thank you for telling us of your struggles and your successes. For anybody who is currently in unhappy circumstances, your blog is proof that better days can come.

secret agent woman said...

I remember the BlackenedBoy days. I like the optimism of Brightened better. But either way, I can't use BB or I'd get you confused with a Canadian blogger I'd been following from way back called Big Brother.

Anonymously Me said...

Is your name James? I've always wondered that. You seem like a James to me.

BrightenedBoy said...

Not even close. I think I take that as a compliment, though.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

You have changed so much just in the time I've "known" you. I could go back and read your dark days posts, but I really like the person you are becoming and I only need to hear that you are happier than you were before. This will be a wonderful diary to have when you are older (like me)!


jo(e) said...

Happy blogiversary! It's been exciting to watch all the growth. And I don't mean just the hair.

(This is coming late because I was at a conference and offline last week.)