One-hundred and fifty people. That's more than my graduating class. Maybe it's not much in the big scheme of things, but...
I really mean it. This is really more important to me than you'd think. I know I act like a pretentious, self-absorbed asshat 90% of the time, but it's just that: and act. And I do it because I don't want to be forgotten, I don't want to be just a name passing by. I want to have a tale to be told.
I rely on outside reinforcement to know I'm good at things, and frankly it's hard to come by. In my life, the minimum expected level of performance has always been "above and beyond," to the point that "high expectations" doesn't begin to cover it. I know I'm good, but that is never good enough. I have to master everything I set my sights on. And I worry constantly that I'm not doing well.
So thank you. Every upvote, comment, follow, review, piece of fanart... every view on stories, forum threads or blog posts like this lets me know that I'm doing something right.
I don't get that anywhere else. This fandom is the only place where my achievements have ever been recognized in a way I can see. This is the only place where I've ever gotten a glowing review from strangers, complements from people who don't owe me anything, or kindness for the sake of it instead of because they want something from me.
It's been seven years in this fandom. Since then I've grown up, started a career, moved around the world, gotten married to a beautiful woman... and I would have never done it if I hadn't gotten a comment on a silly piece of art I gifted on a whim to a pony let's-play when it first was starting. It said;
"That looks good, are you going to do more?"
Yes, then and now, yes. I promise to you I'm going to do more, I'm going to do better, I'm going to push the limit and strive harder than I ever have in my short life because people like you make it feel worthwhile. Thank you for making me want to push out of my room, to buckle down, to decide that I am good enough and that the life I have is worth the effort. Thank you for letting me become the confident, cocky, tryhard, happy ass I am today.
So thank you.
Thank you for making me. Stories I come up with, and the very real stories of friends and conventions and silliness and drama and heartbreak and true love and achievement and drunken Friday Night Skype Calls and feeling worth telling it.
You're one-hundred and fifty people random people that made me feel like I'm being something. I don't care that I don't know most of you, I don't care that it's horsewords on the internet, you never owed me a damn thing yet you decide I was worthwhile anyway.
Every one of you matters more to me than you can imagine.
Allright, enough sappy stuff. By the way, more Shooting For Friendship.