Yesterday I wrote this post about what's happening in Ukraine. I wrote it because Daniel has been telling me for a solid month that I should.

I hesitated writing it partly because I didn't think anybody would be all that interested in hearing what I had to say on the topic. I find it extremely interesting, of course. But I have a very special interest in what's happening between Russia and Ukraine, having lived in both countries and having spent a significant portion of my 20s in that part of the world.

I finally wrote yesterday, deciding that I had a unique voice on the topic that I should preserve on Stranger, even if it wouldn't end up being all that popular or interesting to you.

I think I underestimated your interest level on the topic and your compassion for the people involved in the mess. This is pretty typical. Historically I've been pretty terrible at predicting what kinds of things that I post will be interesting to you. Many times I have posted something that I thought was going to be a huge hit and then nobody really reads it. Other times I have posted something in a rush that I thought nobody would care about but that ended up being pretty popular. Snuggie Texts, for example.

Yesterday you took a great interest in the post on Ukraine and you shared it extensively on Facebook and what the kids are calling the Twitter. And that made me so happy. It made me happy because it's fun to have something that I write get spread around. But also it made me happy to see our Stranger community doing its part to raise awareness on what I think is a really important issue.

And it just made me think, for the one hundred million eleventyeth time how grateful I am to have you people. You Strangers make life fun and funny and interesting and educational and sometimes really really really scary. These past few years, when you all started finding Stranger, have been an incredible experience for me and my interactions with you have shaped me and affected me in ways that I'll probably never fully be able to describe.

But beyond feeling gratitude for the interactions, I want to thank you for doing so much to spread Stranger around. I'm well aware that we wouldn't have this sizable community of screwed-up people (us) if you didn't share this blog with your friends and family and coworkers and chickens. And the fact that you do that warms my icy cold heart.

I've wanted to be a writer for a long time. And I've dreamed since I was a kid that one day a lot of people might read things that I write. And care about them. Laugh about them. Feel something from them.

In the seventh grade I forced my English class every day to listen to the absurd stories I wrote by hand. I stood at the front of the class and read them aloud and emphatically. And nothing brought me more joy than this.

For the majority of childhood I sent letters to cousins and siblings and friends. Letters full of exaggerated and impossible stories about real and fictitious characters. And I loved doing that. And I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed that one day people would want to read those absurd stories and real thoughts. Maybe people I didn't even know.

Well, you guys have helped make that dream come true for me. Because of you, Stranger has seen tens of millions of visits during its short life (and probably most of those visitors left really freaked out or offended because POOP).

And in all your sharing and supporting, you've encouraged me to write so much more. And to learn to be a better writer than I was. And open up in ways I never thought I would or could. And feel all of the feels. I know you're just doing this because you think my hair looks really good today. But gosh darn it. You all deserve a giant gold star for that.

So, just, thank you. Twice up the barrel, once down the side.

~It Just Gets Stranger