So. This is a pretty normal day for most people. But for me, this is the day, one year ago, that I published my first post on this blog. If you want to, you can go back and read it, but you really shouldn’t. It’s terrible.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how far I’ve come. A year ago, I was an embarrassingly bad writer with no idea what I was doing. My thoughts were jumbled, my writing was disorganized, and my style was all over the place. Now, my thoughts are much more clear, and my writing has settled down and gained consistency.

I know what I want to write about now. In the beginning, I was writing about things because I thought other people would find them interesting. I wrote a lot about atheism, because that was what I knew. I thought atheism was a controversial topic that would get a lot of attention. I spent a great deal of my teenage years thinking about it, so surely I would have a lot to talk about.

What I found was, I ran out of topics almost immediately. Everything I wanted to say had already been said. So, instead, I wrote about things that I found interesting. I found that I tended to gravitate toward feminism and social justice issues, and that’s been the majority of my writing since.

I found that I hadn’t spent much time thinking about these topics. A year or two ago, I would never have identified as a feminist, but now it’s a core part of my identity. I’ve learned about misfortunes and oppressions facing groups that, a year ago, I didn’t even know existed. Writing about these topics has forced me to step outside the bubble of privilege that I was blind to twelve months ago.

I hate to admit it, but one of the reasons I started blogging was to become pseudofamous in the atheist movement. I thought, “If I could just write a bunch of really awesome stuff, people will love me!” I was naïve. So naïve. What I found was that writing is hard. I’ve spent hours writing posts that have only been seen by a few people. I’ve corrected, recorrected, and corrected some more. I have stared at a blinking cursor on a blank page so many times I see it in my nightmares.

What I’ve found is that writing is cathartic. It’s the best way I have to express my anger at all the terrible people in the world without punching something. Even if I’m just shouting into a vacuum, at the end, I feel better. Sometimes, yelling at a wingnut on the internet is the best way to brighten your day.

I’ve found that writing helps me think. Often, when I start a post, I only have a vague idea of the direction I want to go. Writing is a process of discovery. I’ve written things that I didn’t know I believed until I wrote them. Sometimes, I’ve changed my opinion halfway through a post and had to start over. My posts frequently end up in a completely different place from where I thought they’d go.

And now, my opinions are far more concrete. I know exactly what I feel about a wide range of topics. Getting my thoughts on a page has let me think about them from a completely different angle, and getting them out of my head has let me look at them objectively and unbiased.

I’m amazed at how much writing random shit on the internet has helped me grow as a writer, as a thinker, and as a person. It’s been taxing (at times), frustrating (frequently), and hugely fun (always). So this is to one year gone, and here’s to many more.