As I neared 1,000 Twitter followers, I started a poll to see what my musician friends would want to hear or see from me to mark that milestone. The options I put on that poll were special virtual concert, celebratory short song, new blog post, or the very noticeably Lancastrian nowt, just keep bein' you.
Most people chose the last option, by a tiny margin, and it heartened me to see that. I think I'd like to write about this, too, because that's a powerful phrase that I wish all my musician friends would hear, at least every now and then, when they hit milestones.
As for me, I hit that milestone on the evening of 21 February. Seeing that number jump from three digits to four feels... pleasantly strange.
Yet, I don't know if you feel the same way I do on this matter: it has become almost expected for creatives of all kinds to mark milestones of any kind -- follower milestones, anniversaries, anything -- with some sort of celebratory creative piece.
Don't get me wrong: we're willing, and that's why we suggest it. But it has really touched my heart to see that many of you have made that choice that I mentioned early on in this post, because it sent me an important message: don't place that expectation on yourself. If it is to happen, it'll happen. If you need rest after everything, rest. If you have the energy, then absolutely continue. We appreciate you as you are; we don't expect you to fulfil what might be perceived as a "demand." Just keep being you.
It is a message that I wish many of my creative friends across fandoms, scenes, communities, could hear from their supporters. That attitude is a healthy, humanising one. It doesn't place one's perceived dignity in the hands of others. I've been truly fortunate to hear this message from a good number of you, and I cannot thank you enough.
So, I feel it only right that I pay it forward, and encourage all of you to encourage this same attitude in other creatives.
Our mental health and general wellbeing have received great amounts of thrust in social media lately, and it is truly heartening to see. I feel that this attitude is one of many steps in the right direction -- away from the toxicity of the past. Many of us who have started making music in the 2000s and 2010s have experienced the burden of unrealistic expectations, and are rebelling against it so that no one else has to endure what we did.
I'm truly grateful for all your support; I feel invigorated by it. I plan on continuing to make these deeply emotional pieces that have come to define me, and I hope you might stick around for them. Thank you.