Today is the three year anniversary of the blog. Three years, 156 weeks, every single Saturday since November 4th, 2017.
When I started writing the blog, as I shared in that first intro post, I entitled this whole thing as “Being Noah Tesfaye” because that’s the only topic I could ever be an expert on. I was a junior in high school, just getting started in journalism and finally feeling like I had my footing with true friends. One of my friends who also loved to write placed a bet of sorts to try and get us to write regularly. I mentioned my dad had claimed a domain website at my birth, and so I decided to just try a weekly blog because I didn’t know what else to do. I was going to post it on Medium and my website because I was afraid of not having a backup, and that November 4th, I shared my first piece, “What Does Diversity Mean?”
In hindsight, I cringe a decent amount and kind of laugh at the ways I was thinking about the world when I was a sixteen-year-old living in Silicon Valley. I didn’t understand or know anything about diversity initiatives deflecting from the organizing of Black people fighting for liberation. I had only briefly heard of abolition and I was only under the impression that the merits and the core tenants of this nation were just or at least admirable. I’ll laugh and sometimes occasionally feel embarrassed about comments I had about Dr. Cornel West, about the Supreme Court, or on any number of topics.
But all of those 155 posts got me to where I am today. I had to write through my internal battles about institutions not being just. I had to write through the stress I was feeling about reckoning so radically with my vision for a world I wanted to be a part of. It took me repeatedly being amazed at how incompetent and unfit leaders could be to serve our needs to make me seek something bigger, something more transformational for us all. I wrote some really, really terrible takes as a high school student that in hindsight I could never write today. Sometimes I reflect on whether doing so much of that external thinking out loud may have been a bit too much. Was this really the right approach?
But then I take a step back. To be able to read through the way that I’ve thought for three years in such a seamless way is perhaps the most valuable facet of this whole journey. I can see where I was when I went from not interested in electoral politics to being heavily invested, to now seeking to divest my energy and efforts from it. I can see where I went from being calm about moderate politics to becoming enraged at the ideas of neoliberalism and its crucial tenant of seeking to enforce exploitation of the global south. Had I not had the honesty with myself to just write these thoughts over the past three years, I know without any doubt I wouldn’t have gotten to the conclusions I have today.
But beyond just an archive of ideas, I became a stronger writer. Getting in reps to write something for fun every single week was a necessary step for me to become more confident in my ability to articulate my ideas. I look back at some of the early installments and sort of am baffled I started where I did. It was the weekly blog in tandem with me pursuing journalism that narrowed my focus in finding ways to utilize my writing as a means of reflection both for myself and others. I’m grateful for all of the people that have joined on this journey, read a post, reflected, engaged, or just shared anything I’ve written these past three years.
There was one overarching reason why I even started this blog: to better understand myself and understand why I believe in the things I do. I never wrote a post solely because I knew it would be something others would intensely engage with (otherwise I’d write about AirPods nonstop). I wrote about whatever was on my mind that week or that Saturday, and in many ways, that’s why I feel like even after three years this place still feels so authentic and exciting for me. Every week, I love stopping whatever I’m doing to just write something new. If it’s about coffee or mutual aid or a new album, it’s on my terms, with my complete honesty. That’s why I’ve written for three years, never missing a week, and that’s why I’ll continue to write here for the foreseeable future.
It’s quite a day to have an anniversary of something you care about. In many ways, the blog turning three years old and the end of the Trump era is an amalgamation of how much I’ve grown politically. I feel different emotions today than I thought I would after his loss, but there’s something about this day that makes me feel ready. I’m ready to embark on this chapter of a centuries-long fight. As these forces of fascism attempt to go under the radar, I intend on practicing this discipline of hope; hope in Black people collectively seeking to create a world that really can serve the needs of all of us. I can get the chance now to better understand the people I want to be in solidarity with. I want to see liberation in my lifetime.
I’ll write about that journey here. I’ll write about those reflections and moments of doubt, of strategy, and triumphs. The blog has meant so much to me, and I don’t know how much I’ll ever get to express to this inanimate platform how much I appreciate it. Thanks to everyone who’s supported and seen this vision through its ups, downs, and every direction I’ve meandered through these past three years. I’m 156 in, and I’m feeling just as excited as ever to be here and ready for the next however many posts in the future. I’ll be back next week writing about something that stays true to the title of this whole adventure and sharing my honesty and ideas for anyone interested.
Being Noah Tesfaye #156: Three Years In and Just Getting Started.
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