Anne T. Donahue
May 29, 2015 2:12 pm

In December 2011, I was having a comically bad time. I was on the brink of losing my apartment, I was in full “who am I / what am I doing / how do I be a person” mode, and while I knew I wanted to write comedy, I had no idea how to do it. (And if you’ve ever been a position where you want to be someplace but are completely lost on how to get there, you know what a fresh hell that is.)

I knew I wanted to make people laugh, and I knew I wanted to do it in a way that let me to have a conversation with whoever was reading what I had to say. I’d read Elizabeth Sankey’s Dawson’s Creek recaps like a freakish obsessive and wanted to do something similar, but I still felt stuck. Ultimately, I felt trapped by the cyclical nature of insecurity: I wanted to write comedy and I knew I could probably do a good job if I worked really hard, but because I wasn’t really writing the kind of pieces I had in mind for any other site or magazine, I figured maybe there was a reason. Maybe I was just a weirdo.

Well, I am a weirdo. But shortly before Christmas 2011, I was having a conversation with a HelloGiggles editor via Tumblr/Gchat who threw it out there: “Hey, if you ever want to do a regular series, we’d love to have you.”

WHAT.

You have to understand that Christmas 2011 was the beginning of a very rough two years fuelled by what the other 11 months 2011 had brought. I wasn’t — as they say on TV shows — “in a great place.” In fact, I was in a “bad place.” But this offer — nay, this goddamn beacon of hope — made me think that despite everything else I was dealing with, maybe I could be funny and it could be at least a part of my job. I mean, if HelloGiggles thought I was funny enough to write about movies of our youths and teenagehoods, maybe I was. So I wrote the first Old Lady Movie Night piece for Christmas Eve 2011, and have been keeping it up ever since.

To be real (and when am I NOT, riddle me that), OLMN and HelloGiggles did something I desperately needed around that “dark time”: they made me feel like a capable, funny person when I was often feeling the opposite. And through HG, I also made serious boss friends (like fellow members of Maritza Lugo’s Internet Girl Gang — a bunch of whom I’m going to meet the week after next when I finally visit L.A.), I got addicted to series by Erin Mallory Long and Stacey McGunnigle, and ultimately also became a better writer. (I hope. I mean, I think so. I’m pretty sure. Hopefully.)

So what HelloGiggles gave me was not just a platform upon which to develop myself creatively (#important), but also a community who’ve become true-blue friends (aka besties, obviously). Did I expect those things four years ago? Honestly, I was just so excited to be here. (So, no.) But I would like to go back to circa-2011 me and tell me to keep writing, keep working, and to worry a little bit less, because there are places and editors and people who will find, and champion, and support you. It takes a while to find your voice, but it’s a whole lot easier when you’re developing it with the support of a slew of boss-women, who created a place for that very purpose.

Here’s to four more years (and the equivalent amount of Old Lady Movie Nights).

Advertisement