Hey, byte community. Arf here.
You might know me for a few reasons, or no reasons because I’m just an icon you’ve vaguely seen whenever, or maybe you know me somewhat well as a person. It’s the last day this forum will be alive, and so I want to talk about my story, what the forums mean to me, and where I am now. It will be a long post, but hopefully one that’s worth its own length. Continue now if you feel like you care enough to read this before it all goes away from the digital space forever. :)
𝓟𝓪𝓻𝓽 1: 𝓟𝓻𝓸𝓵𝓸𝓰𝓾𝓮
Before I’d first heard of byte, I was walking around feeling once again, more than anything, that I wanted to make videos. I somehow stumbled across watching vine compilations, and the one of the BIGGEST waves of nostalgia and creativity I’d ever felt hit me. It was so perfect… that time period I was nostalgic for, people just having fun making small videos they could share with the world, putting themselves out there and just living life the way they love… it was beautiful. I felt this tugging feeling of melancholy that I’d missed this era of time that I really believed I would have loved so much… to no fault or control of my own. So I accepted it, and I basked in the feelings of melancholy and bittersweetness like you do when you just need to feel it, and I was happy that that pocket of time existed. Making videos has always been my dream, making art in a broader sense really, that can connect with people, make their days better, and even change lives. Like art has done for me.
Lo and behold, a video from a channel called Clevver News, (a pretty bad channel in my opinion but forget about it lol), uploaded a video called- well, I’ll let you see it yourself lol.
I was ecstatic. I felt blessed… like, this exact thing happening?? in my lifetime, at this age??? And by the co-creator of the app himself??? It felt like destiny. It might have been. The feelings might have been indescribable for how lucky I felt. I didn’t know, however, what I was fully getting into.
The subsequent days following my viewing of this video, I stalked Dom’s twitter relentlessly. I was up early everyday (albeit to different reasons) at like 4-5 AM just reading his twitter, what people on it had to say, and ESPECIALLY hoping every day if he’d make a new tweet updating the progress of how things were going. I specifically remember him announcing that a community forum was going to come out on January 17th for the public (followed by a homer simpson retreating into bush gif). I got even more ecstatic, unbelievably so. When the forum went public, I didn’t make an account, but stalked it for hours a day. Eventually icons and usernames turned into familiar faces, regular users turned into experts, and the place felt like a second home for something I was so passionate about. I honestly would spend more time on this site than even youtube at time, hard as it is to believe for me back then.
I was always afraid to create an account however. Through plenty of advice on how to keep safe online, especially as a minor, I just flinched at the idea of actually making a trackable account to a site, fearing safety, or my saying something that couldn’t be unsaid, or really just anything in that pile of worries. I desperately wanted to communicate and BE THERE for something that felt so special though. So, after one extremely lively night of being myself and living beside my friends at the time who I cared very much for, I went home, opened my little chromebook, and BAM. I felt alive that night. So, I pulled up a screenshot of a google doodle I found funny, made a username (what does it mean? ), and created my account.
“arf” was now online.
𝓟𝓪𝓻𝓽 2: 𝓜𝓮𝓪𝓽 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓟𝓸𝓽𝓪𝓽𝓸𝓮𝓼
I was on. Every single day. For hours. I loved the site and community, WAY too much. Replying to threads trying to help, communicating with familiar faces I’d love to see, getting into discussions about things I cared about, just trying to be the best member of the community I could be, because I loved it so much, and wanted it to succeed, become a better place, and just be. Really, this was my second favorite site ever. Even through the dry spell of the first summer, when Dom almost gave up, I tried to be there everyday. Really, I just couldn’t let this forum I’d loved and had been such a big part of my life for that time period just… die. Then he came back. And it was all going beautifully. I thought it would take a year or two, but within 2 MONTHS, I became an expert. Alongside a handful of others I knew. I literally danced around my room, it was just truly awesome. The energy was amazing. Things continued to be great for months. But then…
The discord was made. Ohhhhh, boy. If I’d have known what I was going to feel on that discord, I might have refrained from joining altogether at the time. I didn’t even have discord before October of 2018, and got it because of byte lol (just an interesting fact). I was still paranoid of online interactions (despite joining and texting with people through the forum) and my safety, and so I didn’t open up much about personal things at all, and it had seemed like the community had evolved without me. Everyone had gotten more personal with each other, and I ironically felt alienated in the community I’d cared so much for. That’s not anyone’s fault though - that’s just how things are sometimes. Things change, for better or for worse, for different people, and I just wasn’t willing to adapt to that change in the community at the time, despite knowing better. People started getting even closer with each other, even voice chatting - it was crazy to me at the time in reference to this community! However, coupled with what may have been the worst time in my life, my personality suffered a major blow, and I acted in way I still do regret to this day. Nothing horrible, but rather immature and emotional venting on a public server that’s attention and care I felt entitled to, and my relationships and ability to connect with people suffered a lot from that. It was the perfect storm of bad things to happen at once honestly. I became very comparative due to the lack of attention and praise and what seemed to be peopes’ care about me. I withdrew more from the real world because it felt so hard to live in, and ran a tumultuous online personality that even to this day has given me some kind of impostor syndrome. It was a vicious loop that made living life IRL and online harder, and worse in both aspects, and as what you say online is written in ink, that only added to the self-loathing and feelings of humiliation. Even when I became a forum moderator for a year, it didn’t make things too much better and I had to let go of it. I was on many discord servers following byte’s, opening up to and meeting many different people, and made and lost many friends within a relatively short time period. This continued for 2 years, with some good moments and brief times of respite in between, but still may have been the worst pocket of time in my life. I even met someone I’d become close with online in person, in that time period. I wish that it all could have gone better. It was a really, really hard time for me. Indescribably hard at the time. I fundamentally, for a time, lost who I was.
Thankfully though, I am so much better than when I was going through what I did then. I grew, re-learned important lessons I’d forgotten, and found my sense of self worth again. This whole era is something that has a lot of details, but too much to cover in a post that will only be here for a day. And there’s more to get to as well lol. Ultimately, the discord was a place that many people bonded over and came together in, but I felt estranged from the community at times, much of it a fault of my own, or my circumstances and me just not knowing any better. I’m not 100% better, but definitely getting there, and hopefully one day even beyond where I once was before. There were amazing moments I won’t forget though, and amazing people that helped me through those times in whatever way they could. I deeply, deeply want to thank the people I know for that. You know who you are.
𝓟𝓪𝓻𝓽 3: 𝓐𝓯𝓽𝓮𝓻𝓶𝓪𝓽𝓱
Thankfully, and though I thought at many times I never would, I got better. I got off the internet, focused more on my real world relationships, and focused on getting myself out of the hole I was in, mentally, physically, socially, and environmentally. It was hard thinking about everything that happened everyday… but knowing that there were good people in the world, and people who cared about me, I finally found the courage to start from scratch. I found joy in the small things, rooted out my resentful nature and biases I had developed, and despite how awful things felt, worked my way through, and found a better present. Mentally, physically, and socially, I’m consistently better than I’ve been in years. And I’m glad about that. I’ve made real friends, in real life and the internet, been able to be more like my true self, and have even felt passionate again about life, and creating things. I’ve felt alive even, despite a long patch of emptiness, confusion, and despair. I made it. And I’ll keep going. I promise that to myself. I really want to live this life.
𝓟𝓪𝓻𝓽 4: 𝓔𝓹𝓲𝓵𝓸𝓰𝓾𝓮
I don’t know what the future holds, or if I’ll ever fully experience the zest of life that I used to see and feel. I know I’ll keep going though, and take things day by day. I’ll slowly build myself up to a place I’m happy with, and will continue to move forward from there. Being myself, making relationships, growing, changing. The good stuff. I really hope I achieve my dreams. Still trying to hold onto those. And, I think there’s a chance I might.
This forum and community have been the most influential thing to happen to me in the past 3 years, and changed who I was, for better and for worse. I’ve made meaningful relationships, and I hope they get better as time goes on. I really want to live this life and experience its beauty, and I want you all to as well. Please, if you are ever going through a hard or unpredictable time, I know it’s generic and said all the time, but that’s because it’s true. Keep your head up and try to look forward. Let the past experiences make you stronger, and embrace the person who you are. You’ll make it. Keep holding on. Persevere. If this was cringey at all, I’m sorry you see it that way. I’m trying to make it come from the heart, so hopefully it connects. lol :)
𝓟𝓪𝓻𝓽 5: 𝓒𝓻𝓮𝓭𝓲𝓽𝓼
I want to sincerely thank every person who helped shape this to be a meaningful experience online even if I don’t really talk to you anymore, and who helped to make it all count. It’s a long list, so I am SERIOUSLY sorry if I forget some people, but here we go. Goodbye to the first place I’ve ever talked online.
Thank you, @ash, @cark, @AIexander, @FaizalDawx, @devynb, @ShonziTho, @jaydel, @kaden, @annam, @jennifer, @FatJesusMan, @FiveCardsKane, @ryanmccarley, @motocross, @azadei, @dylan, @Carson, @court, @notmudi, @Benf, @onkelchrispy, @HeyWhatsNew, @Sofialopezos, @expert.amateur, @J-Swizzle, @GenesisKid, @chaos.jpxg, @misoramen, @shybry, @ryze, @TomWho, @AfroDynasty, @Rafiki, @michael, @Ren, @Chad, @Niko, @renzo, @tacocat, @Ganonthecannon, @ThomyBalca, @jayplastino, @amelia, @Breahcaleo, @mason_paper, @Tyrellv2, @VicNeedsToChill, @TheKingHusker, @Parkachu, @Yoshr, @Yoshidas, @dweb, @Reallyahmed, @justinnovoa, @lex, @Brayin, @Arlin, @Lacieyl, @RexTestarossa, @kenkat101, @decool, @EmmaReid, @Oren(Orlen), @sem, @mulch, @Mr.Sub, @B.C.MacNation, @sammm, @jalen, @christyonce, @oddbydefault, @herb, @cami_p, @ShawdGawd, @StutteringCris, @Soda, @ajay1305, @Grunt, @neefy, @FrenchCroissant, @MattFogarty, @plushbeats, Gun, Zavala, Joyce, Juan, Kevo, Jeffery, Jayy, Amy, Omni, Max_Lithium, Yaz, Crimson_Eradicator, Nepeta, Xiao Andy, anele, and V3rb.
@dom too. sorry if I missed anyone out.
Okay it’s been taking hours to make this post lol. I’m not going to proofread so that as many people as possible can be able to see it, sorry if some parts were redundant or not as engaging as could be. I hope you understand. Might make some edits later but I’ve not much to say at the moment.
A new chapter is on the horizon.
Let’s live it as much as possible.
(by the way, here’s a masterpiece album that changed my life a few days ago and described a majority of the way I’ve felt for the past 2.5 years. Things are better, but it still really hit hard. I would recommend a listening, as it captures very vividly a portion of my life: 파란노을(Parannoul) - To See the Next Part of the Dream (2021) [Full Lyrics Album] - YouTube)