Thanks for letting me glom onto your writing-in-the-sand idea, Myg...
In the months and weeks and days leading up to our epic gathering (and it WAS epic) in Forks, I was nervous. For a lot of reasons. Even more than usual - and I tend to be a bit anxious in general. I pretty much shared all of the same fears and anxieties a lot of you had expressed in the comments, in your tweets, and in emails as we planned and schemed: What if people didn't like me in person? Or didn't think I was funny? What if people didn't talk to me? What if I choked and didn't talk to everyone? What if people were clique-y and didn't hang out with people from dissimilar demographics the way I wanted them too? Would anyone try to rain on our Twitarded parade as it marched through Forks like Sherman through Savannah, and what method of torture would be best for dealing with them if they did?
I should probably back up a step and say that I am not good with people. I don't like most people all that much; I can take 'em or leave 'em (and by that, I mean I mostly leave 'em). If it had not been for Mr. Snarky and his social butterfly ways, I may have went through my adult life as I went through my youth: with very few real friends. Sure, I had "work friends" and (literally) a couple of "old friends" spread out across the country who I might connect with infrequently, but I have always tended to be an introvert and a bit of a loner. I honestly didn't really know what I was missing out on until Mr. Snarky and years later--by way of Mr. Snarky--Jenny Jerkface stormed into my life and upended everything I thought I knew about myself.
It's hard to make friends as an adult. You can't just throw something at the closest kid in the sandbox and demand to be BFFs the way children can (believe me). JJ and I met through a friend of Mr. Snarky and we just clicked in a way I never really anticipated being able to click with another person other than my husband. She is, in my household, affectionately referred to as "Second Wife" - the one who doesn't cook and doesn't put out (for Mr. Snarky, anyway). I never expected to have the kind of relationship I have with her in my life. I'm not even sure I knew it existed or what I was missing out on. I feel like JJ is somehow my reward for my lack of friends as a kid and for coming out of the shitty ways I was treated by other kids in one piece (and possibly a better person for it). I didn't know what a blog was when I met JJ. I'd never written anything online aside from email. She forced me to read Twilight against my will. I may have pushed the "Create Blog" button that conceived Twitarded, but it would have never come to be if she had not been there, bossing me around as usual. I love you, JJ, you demanding little twat. Thanks for turning my world on its head. In a good way. Almost always.
Once we started blogging about sparkly vampires and speculating on the size, shape, and girth of RPatts's peen, people slowly started coming out of the woodwork to admit that they wanted to know if he hangs to the left or the right, too. One of the first lurkers to say "HI!" was VitaminR70, who shared a link to the infamous "Pocket Edward Goes to Forks" video in our now-practically-defunct chat-box. She recently admitted that for a while she thought I was making fun of her for going to Forks (this recent trip was not her first) after I posted this bit of fluff about how no sane person would ever go to that place (I stand by that statement, for the record). Now she's our West-Coast bestie/doppelganger/penpal and without her help in ensuring the the welcome mat would be out for us in Forks, it would not have happened. Plus she is Captain of "Team Nice Rack!" and let me stick my face in her cleavage. Love you, VitaminR. And yes, Twitards collectively have the best tits in the fandom, bar none.
Soon we noticed that some of the people leaving regular comments on Twitarded were taking the leap and starting blogs of their own! Latchkey Wife was one of them... She would email us asking how to do stuff (which is totally laughable, now - she passed us tech-wise about a week into her bloggy days) and then wrote with hysterical and somewhat disturbing detail about her plans to kidnap RPatts and what she would do with him once she had him and we were like who IS this person??? Do we know her? No? Do we want to??? Hells yeah! She looks like she just stepped out of an ad for something uber-wholesome and then she opens her mouth or puts her fingers on the keyboard and grown men blush. Or at least RPatts would blush if he knew what she'd like to do to him. Plus she'd gladly give us her sloppy seconds when she was done with him. Love you, Latchkey.
Myg... What else can I say about Myg that I haven't already said here? A lot, actually. Having known her the longest but also the least until recently, I was probably most surprised by her conversion to the Twi-side and the passion and zeal with which she leapt in with nary a look back. The fact that she was a peripheral friend for so many years before I realized that I HAD to be bffs with her still baffles me! I thought she was way too cool, too intellectual, and just way too above it all to hang with me. I always enjoyed it when we had longer conversations but frankly she intimidated me. Come to find out she's a total fangirl with the same insecurities and dorkiness that seem to bond us here in this neck of the verdant, moss-covered woods. Our hitting "Publish" together on the final chapters of Osa Bella after crying and poring over them since dawn on that day still gives me goosebumps. Love you, Myg. I'll be your stand-in for Mr. Myg any time you need a coffee fetcher or someone to spoon you.
The pilgrimage to Forks would have never come to be if Jenny Jerkface had not chipped away at the chinks in my "no-fucking-way-would-I-ever-go-to-Forks-what-kind-of-lunatic-do-you-take-me-for?!" armor. When all 5' 1" of her had finally managed to forcibly push me over the threshold from saying "I'm not going!" to "Mr. Snarky will never let me go!", she pounced. She knew she had me even if I wasn't 100% sure of it myself (you can read all about this slippery slope here - from back in January! - if you want to reminisce a bit). And I learned so much about myself on this trip... I CAN walk up to people and introduce myself. And speak in public (er, maybe not well but still). And I am a hugger! Who knew?! I was all "GAH there is going to be so much touchy-feely shit on this trip! grumble-grumble..." and then I nearly tackled the first person I saw when I entered The Dungeon on Thursday night. Anyone who got within a fifty-foot radius of my motel room was in near-constant danger of being smooched, leg-hitched, or spooned. There was a lot of "I love you, man!"-crying done in our rooms and at one point I had to yell at JJ to stop making me sob because we'd be all puffy and red-eyed at the party and besides I had to go poop.
I have been scribbling notes on this "wtf WAS it about this trip and why did it become such a huge emotional thing for me?!" subject incessantly and I still haven't quite been able to put my finger on it. I think part of it is coming to the eye-opening realization that it's not necessarily that I didn't like people; I just hadn't been casting a wide enough net to find people I really loved. Twitarded and the fandom is that net. And I'm glad you're all stuck in it with me. Mmwahahahaaaa!!!
Life can be hard and full of challenging situations. You all know that this has been a difficult time for me and my family. So to look about anywhere I went in Forks over the weekend and take in sounds and sights of people having fun, doing something that obviously makes them happy, just simply expressing their joy over being with all these other people who clearly felt the same way - THAT was what made this trip for me. All you you. And that I could help make it happen. I am proud of each and every one of you who showed up, who never thought they could or would do something so crazy or uncharacteristic, for everyone who pushed themselves out of their comfort zones and took a blue name tag ["Film me!"] and for everyone who was scared senseless but showed up anyway and took a red one ["Film me and I'll junk-punch you!"]. I'm equally proud of the people who couldn't make it but helped us make it happen and otherwise cheered us on to make this experience the amazing thing that I am still trying to wrap my hands around. Thank you. I'm looking at you, anonymous donor, and staring hard directly at YOU, Texas Katherine: I love you, you crazy whore.
I'd like to wrap this up by taking a moment to say that in the early evolutionary timeline of Twitarded (like going back to the equivalent of when something crawled out of the ocean for the first time), none of this--and I mean NONE of this--would have ever happened if it hadn't been for my mom. Back in the day, she suggesting that I go apply at some big hotel restaurants when I was looking for a new waitressing gig in my college town. That's where I met Mr. Snarky and that's where the little snowball that has ultimately rolled into the giant gleeful, dirty, lurv-packed avalanche of all that is Twitarded was created. Thanks, Mom. I love you.
P.S. When I started writing this, my intention was to be super succinct and to pinpoint with laser precision EXACTLY what this whole experience meant to me. Clearly that ain't what happened (and I don't think it ever will), but this trip became so much more for us than the "Hey let's get together for a few drinks and laughs in the Twilighty Promised Land!" shindig that we signed up for... Maybe with your help I can figure this one out. Lay it on me in the comments, people. In case you haven't figured it out already, I need you. We need each other.