I’ve been on the internet since I heard Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet had a website. The second thing I searched was The X-Files. That’s how I discovered fan fiction, and I’ve been extremely online ever since. So I’ve been following @waxpancake for a long time and sighing from afar that, as a not rich schoolteacher, I would never make it to XOXO in person. But that was OK bc I got to see a lot of it online.

This year, tho, I really needed something good to happen, so I submitted my name for a free pass, never believing I would actually get it. When I did, my first thought was, How am I going to afford the rest of the trip?

Is there such a thing as Impostor Syndrome, but for money? I know I’m smart enough and creative enough and online enough to be here. But I made $14k last year. I don’t work for a company to finance this trip. People with jobs like mine don’t get to do stuff like this. I’m so grateful for the free drinks, free snacks, free shuttle. I’m going to spend the rest of this year, at least, paying off my credit card bill from this trip.

But I can tell you, as the last night comes to a close, it’s worth it. I am supposed to be here. I needed to be here. I feel reenergised about my art. I feel reconnected to the world. I feel revived and ready for what comes next. The experience of #xoxofest online and in person are such different creatures, they aren’t even the same animal. You have to get here next year. (Yes, there will be a next year.) Any way you can. I want everyone to feel this good. We all deserve this.