Our week was busier than we expected, and despite having known that the end of That’s Normal was coming for longer than anyone knew, we didn’t have our words ready.
We know there have been so many emails/messages/comments, and not to mention posts from almost everyone on our team, that we just haven’t had the emotional capacity yet to read. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of TN, whether big or small, for the past 7+ years. And thank you to those of you who have been with us since the beginning during the ol’ Letters to Twilight days going as far back as 2008.
That’s Normal will exist on the internet for as long as we can afford it to (hackers leave us alone!). We won’t be removing the site. Our social media accounts will remain online, and you may hear from us occasionally, or we may let you know where you can find wherever our writers end up. Our Group on Facebook will remain active, so if you’re looking for someone to talk pop culture about, there are amazing people there.
Don’t be a stranger. You can find Bekah online @bekahbuttons. Nikki is @itshowtimenikki. And we’ll still be causing havoc, although a bit more professional, each and every day with our business Method Agency.
So without further ado, because we’ve taken long enough already, here are our final letters:
Bekah’s Final LetterDear That’s Normal:
When I reflect on the last 7 years of That’s Normal (this month!) and the last almost 11 years of my online writing life, I can only come up with the word grateful.
I am so grateful for this time in my life.
When I wrote my first post on LTT in December, 2008, I was a different person. That may seem obvious- it was over a decade ago, but I can’t even express all the differences in my life from then until now:
I was grief stricken over the death of my mom. I was living in the suburbs, which I swore I never would. I was on year 2 of a difficult marriage. I was at a job I hated. I felt no purpose or direction or any excitement about life.
If you’ve followed my journey over the time since, you may know some of the story. But the short of it is: Nikki and I were friends from college who talked online every day while bored at our jobs. We both became obsessed over the Twilight saga and would scour the internet for anything and everything about the books, movies and fandom. We sent each other the craziest stuff and would die from laughter. One day (12/8/08!) we decided we would write about it on the internet. We got our first commenter that day (Hey Christa!) and within a month had hundreds of comments daily. The Twilight website got us to the red carpet premieres, to an interview with the author, to exclusive “fan site” events, and eventually opened the door for that very Twilight author to ask us to run the marketing for her film production company.
Our business was born out of our love for Twilight.
Twilight changed my life.
And when the Twilight frenzy died down, we couldn’t stay away, so we started Thats-Normal.com, and the internet fun continued. Friendships that felt like internet friendships in the LTT days became a lot more real-life. We went on trips together. (Sometimes they weren’t even comic con or fandom-related trips!)
Our business grew. And somewhere along the way my daily grief healed into a manageable pain, and I moved into a city I love. I found purpose in a career that is ever-changing, expanding and growing. My marriage ended after 10 years, and I found myself in that process. And as I write this, there are legs and arms of what feels like 3,000 children kicking me from the inside (but I’m pretty sure it’s just one 26 week old child), and I’m next to the man I love who if you had told me back in December, 2008 would be my family, I never would have believed.
And how does this have anything to do with That’s Normal?
Maybe it doesn’t directly. But That’s Normal was there during this time. It was a constant- A source of laughter, friendship, camaraderie and distraction from the pain of every-day life. When life got better it was there to cheer me on. When life got hard again, I could forget about it and write about Aaron Tveit or how bad the last Outlander episode was.
Writing on TN, managing the day-to-day, meeting all of you readers, commenters and writers, getting to know the dear friends I have that I met through TN and my internet life, laughing with you so hard my sides hurt, all of it… has meant the world. I hoped I would find the words today, but.. I still don’t feel like I have them.
To everyone who I’ve met through this experience: know you’ve changed my life in some small way. To my internet turned IRL best friends: if we don’t go to Napa like we’ve been talking about for years (after I can drink again, please) I’ll spill your secrets on the internet. To Nikki: thank God you have brilliant ideas when you pee. I’m so excited for the hours of our day we now get back to pour into our business, and really, really, really happy this isn’t anything close to a good-bye for us.
Know that this time of my life, the almost 11 years of writing (daily at times!) on the internet, has changed my life in ways I’m scared to think about if it hadn’t been here. I am so so grateful to you- to whatever part you had in this little place I co-owned on the internet.
Nikki’s Final LetterWow, how did we get here?!
I feel like I’m standing at the end of a dusty road, staring into middle distance as the credits roll at the end of our That’s Normal movie. A convertible behind me is on fire, Bekah to my side – memories of hijinks, a few run-ins with some bad guys, a cease and desist letter (or three), and a high-speed car chase later, we wrap up the end of a very good ‘Thelma and Louise’ meets buddy cop movie that has been That’s Normal for, well… ever.
TN Intern #Forever: Robert Normalson
And really how did we get here? Eleven years can’t be summed up in one final post, or a clumsily written movie metaphor. I’ve tried repeatedly over the last few weeks and have failed miserably. I don’t know quite what to say still and not sure when or if I ever will. What I do know is that That’s Normal / LTT/ LTR has been the creative baby and passion project of ours for over a decade. ELEVEN freaking YEARS. What was conceived as the next logical iteration of Letters to Twilight and Letters to Rob, became more than just a place for us to write silly ideas, and sometimes serious thoughts — laid bare and honest and (mostly) unashamed for the world to read — TN is a place about real life. And that takes moxie. We may have gotten our fair share of hate mail, and nasty looks, but at the end of the day we did this. We shared our feelings on fandom and the world, and for many readers, told them they weren’t alone. Trolls sit behind sock Twitter accounts, real people who use their real names, write about Tom Hiddleston, and Senate filibusters, and natural deodorant, and school shootings, and the impact of Twilight, all in the same breath. You can have your ‘too cool for that’ mentality. I’ll take the weird, and passionate, and messy, and interesting every time.
Case in point
I keep seeing random comments to the effect of TN disappearing after these final posts like a self-destructing message to James Bond. THAT would make me sad, and that is most definitely not the case. This site will be around for probably quite awhile as an archive along with its social media handles, and the open Facebook group (feel free to keep posting!). Also WE will be around, I am most definitely not missing the inevitable train wreck that will be S5 of Outlander, nor S2 of A Discovery of Witches, or the impending release of The Winds of Winter. Bekah and I have not died! We just won’t be writing weekly, or managing a site that boasts 20+ amazing writers + podcasts + live Hangouts, and various other sundry items that need our time and guidance. I don’t see this as a death, just the end of an amazing film trilogy that will serve as the origin story for so many other ventures to come.
One of the things I am most excited about in the wake of us shuttering TN are all the new projects in the works by our amazing team of contributors. I feel like TN helped plant and nurture seeds of creativity, that we now get to see grow and flourish under the incredibly capable hands of our contributors. I know I’ll be following along and cheering, and maybe even showing up occasionally as a guest! I’m also incredibly excited to take a step back, breathe, and remember all the things I love about writing. I need to remember HOW to write again. You see, grinding for eleven years can be fun, but it’s also really exhausting at the same time. I know because I’ve written about it several times on TN.
Who knows what the future holds… I’m excited to think about that… in a while.
Remember when I said this was a clumsy film metaphor? Well, what’s a good film without thank you’s? I say it like, weekly in emails and Holiday cards, and I’ll probably say it on my death bed, but we couldn’t have done this for as long as we did without an AMAZING team. Whether they were with us from the start, or stayed for only a season, our writers are the best, the funniest, the smartest, and one of the things I’ll miss the most. Oh wait, I’m in group chats with like, ALL of them so I’ll talk to you when I finally wrap up this letter. Thank you thank you a thousand times thank you for your creativity and more importantly, your friendship.
Bekah – we’ve seen the beginnings and the ends of a lot of things together, and we’ll see many more. Because you and I, we go on. The yin to my yang, the left brain to my right brain, the person who can fix WordPress when it breaks, and the person who could actually get me to finish this letter. There exists no better partner in the world to run a media empire with. JKJKlolJK. It’s a dynasty. We have so much ahead.
Influencers before that was even a thing.
Thank you dear readers for supporting us all these years, and for all your thoughtful messages that I haven’t gotten through because I’m not ready to cry yet. You mean the world to us and we thank you for your years of support, and how you’ll continue supporting us in the years to come.
Again, we’re not dead.
I love you, I’ll see you on the internets tomorrow.
With all my love, and hugs, and best GIFs, well wishes, and thanks for more than you’ll ever know,
One last big thank you to those of our friends and writers who helped build That’s Normal into what it is today. There are so many of you who came before the team we have now- thank you!
And to: Beth, Jamie, Lorena, Katy, Emily A, Amy, Julie, Heidi, Laura, Emily L, Angela, Cassidy, Janna, Brooke, Nikki R, Leanne, Patricia, Courtney, Bea, Megan, Elise, Zanib, Danelle, Jamie C., and Bri: Words can’t express how grateful we are to each and every one of you.
A few years ago we were interviewed about Fandom, That’s Normal and our business for inverse.com, and we’ll leave you with the quote (from Nikki) from the end of the article:
“Fandom on its best day is about inclusivity,” says Pierce. “That’s what Letters to Twilight was, thats literally what the name Thats Normal comes from, and it’s one of the things we do with [our agency]. You can all like the same thing and do crazy stuff, but its still normal at the end of the day. I love that about fandom and the online world.”
We’re not going to stop loving that. We’re not going to stop following our writers and internet friends and real-life friends to whatever they do next. We will forever be saying “That’s Normal” after something that… maybe isn’t that “normal,” after all.