I posted about this a tiny bit in a previous post, but I wanted to expand on it. A lot of people in my family are anti-internet. They think it's this horrible thing that causes trouble and badmouth anyone who spends time on it. They think less of me because I spend so much time on it, and because of that, I live a double life.
The person they see is not the person I really am. The person they know is quiet, reserved, somewhat standoffish, uncomfortable in groups, and I'm sure some of them think I'm a bitch. They know very little about me and very few of them even ask. They all know I've published a novel and many of them bought copies, but only two family members and one friend have actually read it, and I have a very big family. I would've given them all free copies, if only they'd read it. That's what matters, but they won't. Yeah, it annoys me, considering all the times people have come to me for help with editing or making something sound nice. I've read a lot of crap I didn't want to read, because they were family and it's what you do for family. But apparently that feeling wasn't reciprocated and in the last year I've gotten better at dealing with it.
So what has helped me deal with it? The internet. Yes, that horrible awful thing that sucks away my time and earns me the criticism of my family. But there is something about the internet that my family doesn't know: The internet is supportive. Ok, so it's not the internet, exactly, but it's the people I can find on the internet.
Believe it or not, the strangers I meet on the internet tend to be exponentially more supportive than my family. They care about me and encourage me to find my true self, instead of expecting me to be someone I'm not. They don't tell me I need to do something I hate, just because that's what people "should" do. They tell me I need to find what makes me happy, and they support me in my decisions. They lift me up when I'm sad and listen to me when I need someone to talk to instead of making me feel like I'm weak for having feelings.They don't bash me for playing video games because many of them do, too. They don't roll their eyes when I talk about a fantasy or sci-fi book or movie, because they love the same things. They're just as crazy and weird as I am, and they make me feel like I actually belong somewhere, even if it may not be a real, tangible place.
I doubt any family members are reading this, but if you are and it offends you, I apologize. But there's no getting around it: My internet family loves me in a way my real family simply can't. I want to thank you all for your love, support, and encouragement. It is because of you folks that I pushed through my first novel and got it self-published. It's because of you that I'm still writing today and actually enjoying it. It's you who tells me to suck it up and keep going when things get rough.
You are my support system, and though I may never meet you face-to-face or share a laugh over coffee with you, you mean the world to me and I wouldn't be who I am without you. Thank you.