It's HelloGiggles' fourth birthday—and we're celebrating all of you!
Sorry in advance: We’re about to get sappy. In May of 2011, HelloGiggles arrived on the Internet with dreams of building a safe, supportive community for original voices. But thanks to your endlessly creative, honest, kind, clever, hilarious, moving contributions as readers and writers, our community has become a billion times more awesome than we’d ever imagined.
It’s impossible to narrow down our favorite posts through the years, because there are just so many that have made us feel all those, well, feelings. So we asked some of our contributors to send us HelloGiggles stories that stood out for them, those stories written by fellow contributors that stuck with them and maybe even made an impact in their lives.
Their responses reminded us how grateful we are for such incredible contributions, and for the support and respect HG contributors provide for each other. In other words, we just love you.
Of course, this is by no means a complete list of wonderful contributors or amazing stories. So please share your own favorite stories from the site. And, seriously, thank you for the best four years ever.
Lyndsay Rush : “How I stopped letting hurtful Internet comments bring me down” by Claire Davidson
I loved this piece because it’s something I think about every day—seeing anonymous and/or hateful comments all over the Internet can be so dejecting and disheartening. I really enjoyed how Claire talked about how being vulnerable is a part of sharing your story and voice, so it will always draw people who disagree, BUT we don’t have to empower people’s anger or hatred and we don’t have to let their criticism prevent us from writing.
Sammy Nickalls : “16 things to understand about people who cope with mental illness” by Anna Gragert
“As someone who holds mental health advocacy near and dear to her heart, I will always connect with any article that tries to shed light on such an important issue. Anna is a lovely writer, and she uses that talent to amazingly and eloquently give a voice to millions of people around the world who are suffering.”
Elizabeth Entenman : “Old Lady Movie Night: Richie Rich” by Anne T. Donahue
I love everything about Anne’s column, Old Lady Movie Night. This post sticks out to me in particular because Richie Rich was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up. Maybe still, even. It totally holds up, and this post hilariously identifies all the reasons why.
Jill Layton : “Success after 30: 11 people who made it later” by Gina Vaynshteyn
I like when people dismiss the notion that you have to find success before you’re thirty. It makes sense that it might take some of us longer to figure out what we are really good at and enjoy doing. That’s OK. I’ll be 32 in a few weeks, and my successful years are just beginning.
Sophia Elias : “How I found out my dad left me a safe deposit box in Las Vegas years after he died” by Jensen Karp
Who knew a story about a safe deposit box would take me on such an emotional roller coaster? My face couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry, so I ended up doing a little bit of both. Jensen’s story is filled with beautiful life lessons that are unique to his quirky adventure. If you wanna feel something today, definitely make time to read this story.
That post turned me into an avid Hello Giggles reader! At the time, I was trying to decide whether or not to pursue an MFA degree, so I was thrilled to find an honest yet encouraging article by someone actually enrolled in a program. Thank you Gina! I start classes in the fall.
Carly Lane : “I don’t know if I want to have kids, and that’s OK” by Sammy Nickalls
Sammy is one of my favorite HG contributors and all-around lovely lady. Her willingness to bare herself through her pieces makes for some of the most honest and wonderful writing I’ve ever read.
Anna Gragert : “Read this the next time you’re nervous about getting naked in front of someone” by Flor B
You know that feeling that you get when you connect with someone, when you realize that you share something cosmically beautiful with a fellow human being? That is what this post feels like and that is why I love it with all my heart.
Marie Lodi : “Why I will always love my granny panties” by Bianca deBardelaben
Bianca’s comics are perfectly illustrated glimpses into everyday life. So many of them make me smile, but as someone who owns a pair of lucky granny panties, I love this ode to “old school draws,” (as Andre 3000 refers to them), especially.
Jessica Tholmer : “Old Lady Movie Night: Home Alone” by Anne T. Donahue
Why do I love this post so much? Well, I love Home Alone, first and foremost. This is also the post that INTRODUCED me to HelloGiggles before I started writing for us a few months later. I also happen to be a gigantic Anne T. Donahue fan, so that is a necessary and vital part of me loving this! (AND KEVIN MCALLISTER, Y’ALL.)
Kathryn Lindsay : “Important! The comprehensive mapping of cat cafés around the world” by Caroline Gerdes
I’ve gone back to this post time and time again, whether it’s to share with friends or remind myself of where I can go for some good feline luvin’. I’m planning a US road trip to stop at all the cat cafes, and it’s all thanks to this post.
Mollie Hawkins : “On having a weird name; Or, why I couldn’t have nice things” by Cezanne Colvin
I chose that one because I can relate—my name isn’t unusual but it’s spelled with an “IE,”so that left me with the bitterness of not getting to own all the wacky personalized souvenirs of my childhood dreams. The ’90s were tough for me.
Rachel Paige : “It’s my job and I’ll cry if I want to” by Gina Vaynshteyn
I never used to be a crier. And now I cry at literally EVERYTHING. I love how Gina is able to completely break down how I feel about crying, whether in private or in public, and she also makes me feel better about all those times I have cried in front of others: “I don’t think crying is a big deal. I don’t think showing your vulnerability means you’ve like, gone soft, or you’re incapable of kicking ass. Believe me, I kick ass.” PREACH.
Rachel Grate : “Female authors who are just as badass as their fictional heroines” by Teri Wilson
I love this article because as an aspiring author, I always want to learn more about the crazy talented women behind some of my favorite books. Plus, I’m always down to find more books starring kickass heroines!
Tyler Vendetti : “My 30-year old sexual epiphany” by Jill Layton
Not only was it masterfully written but it also demonstrated how self-discovery is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop once you graduate college or leave home.
Bianca deBardelaben : “Why my mother is my ultimate BFF” by Dyana Goldman
I love this post because my mother is my best friend! For the longest time I felt like such a dork for having my mom be my BFF but over the past year she has encouraged me to follow my dreams so hard. It’s neat to see other women have that same relationship and know that I’m not alone in thinking MOMS ROCK.
Sundi Rose-Holt : “This is my dream summer reading syllabus” by Angela Abbott
I love this so much because it hits me right in my sweet spot: books, professional concerns, and fun commentary. The author of this article gets it right with every selection, and the fact she framed it as a syllabus is clever and smart. If you want to know what I’m doing with this summer, I’ll be working my way through this “syllabus.”
Erin Mallory Long : “Woman’s magazine profile of a normal girl” by Aisha Muharrar
My absolute favorite post is this one by Aisha Muharrar. I’ve never met her in real life but if I ever do I would introduce myself and tell her how much I love this piece. I think about it every time I read a celebrity profile in a magazine.
Andrea Greb : “Catching the funk” by Sarah May Bates
Picking a definitive favorite is basically impossible, but this one came to mind as one I enjoyed. I read this piece when I’d been feeling a bit off, and it was exactly what I needed to realize that I was just in a funk, and that it was a very fixable situation.
Tina Wargo : “You love who you love (and other reasons I don’t define my sexuality)” by Melissa Lindsay
This post beautifully sums up the way many of us open-minded in-betweeners feel about our sexual identities. In a culture still so bound by labels, it’s refreshing and reassuring to read from the perspective of a kindred spirit who’s also not interested in fitting into a box.
Nikita Richardson : “Have you heard about Shine Theory? Here’s how I put it to the test” by Meryl Williams This great post from Meryl Williams on shine theory—or the idea that it’s better to befriend powerful women than tear them down—has proved so useful as I come into my own both inside and outside the workplace. Women working together to raise one another up is a transformative thing and something that we should all be working toward whenever we can. (Featured Image via)