When Lolly and I had our coming out post in 2012 go viral, we were completely bushwhacked by it. It was such a shock, watching that thing spread and spread. It was terrifying and electric. There is nothing quite like it. It’s a gut-dropping feeling, and in many ways it is actually kinda traumatic.
But, what it meant was that when we published our divorce post in January of ’18, we knew it had similar potential to go viral (but we also predicted, correctly, that it wouldn’t have quite the reach of the original 2012 post)--but this time, we had been through it once, so we were prepared--or as prepared as you can possibly be for an earthquake that rocks your life--to weather whatever storms were to come.
Just like the first time, we spent weeks working on this post, trying to get the tone right, trying to say the right things. We had friends read it and give input. We read it aloud. We both wrote sections, and revised those sections. But in the end, the mountain of effort at greatest bulk was done the day of the posting, when you are facing the reality that tens of thousands (or more) of eyes will be viewing what you post. It’s kind of like taking the raw material you have accrued over a month and then carefully casting it, hoping it sets correctly. The effort of that final day is intense. You want to get things right. And in the end, it felt satisfactory. I definitely don’t feel like, for my part, it was my greatest piece of writing ever (after all, it sometimes felt like writing under duress, kinda like there was some kind of gun to my head to get the material out there, so there are sections that feel clunky and wordy and stilted to me) but it was definitely workable. It accomplished what it needed to accomplish.
But there are other factors to plan for as well. Like impact on others. We made sure to tell the people we needed to tell in person before we published the post (although, as with our original 2012 post, it was impossible to reach everyone that we would have liked to in person). We also talked to the kids and let them know what was going on so that if they caught wind of it in their own circles, they wouldn’t be caught off guard. After all, this particular post could have certain interesting ramifications for our family. We would be perceived in certain ways by our community, and I wanted our girls to be aware of that.
Of course, the day of the posting was chaotic and filled with lots of emotion. Mostly, in the end, we felt the emotion of relief to have it done, as you can see in the video below (because of course, this time around, we had cameras out catching all the drama as it unfolded, AS ONE DOES.)
The really interesting thing (and hardest thing to describe) is the otherworldly response one gets sucked into after a post like this. There is this a period of incredible reaction, and it feels like metric tons of human eyeballs are watching your every move for a week or two as different media opportunities unroll. The footage below captures some of that craziness (which this time around was actually much less intense than the viral post of 2012--but it was still pretty crazy) in a way words never could.
Probably the hardest part of virality is that people get really, really mean. I learned this well the first time we went viral--the day after it all happened, in a daze, I reached out to the only person I knew of who had experienced virality--one of my fave bloggers at the time, Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess). I sent her a tiny message basically saying “Halp!” and her generous response was pithy and memorable. She said:
Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. Also, know that with viral comes
mean comments so be prepared for assholes and either delete them or don’t
let them get to you. You deserve all the success that comes to you. 🙂
And boy was she ever right about the mean comments. It has happened every single time I’ve had something go viral since, both here and on Twitter. Because of this, Lolly and I did our level best this time around to not read comments (we generally read every comment on our social media, but this kind of post is an exception to that--seeing your life attacked and your decisions mocked, and taking in that many ad hominem attacks, is not good for the human soul.) But, in the end, seeing some comments (both good and bad) is inevitable, and while some are heartening and give tons of hope, others can be quite gutting.
Yet somehow, you work through it. And then you keep posting. Because you are a glutton for punishment. And vulnerability is life.
And on that note, feel free to leave a comment below (preferably kind and not ad hominem, cuz we will be reading these ones, haha) letting us know how you feel about our new Youtube adventures, or about anything else that’s on your mind. (Or better yet, let head on over to the ol’ Youtube channel so you can subscribe and comment on the vids themselves because that would put a smile on these little Weedlet faces.)
You guys are all the best. Every one of you. Even you with the nose and the open eyeballs, reading these exact words. Yes, you. I mean it. I hope you have a really wonderful day today.