The most important gift the internet ever gave me was I am not alone.

I grew up in a small town of 2,000 people with only 12,000 in the entire county. I went to high school with about 160 people in my class and around 550 in the entire school.

It was a small, rural place. I grew up on a farm and I’ve herded cows, collected hay bails and pitched them onto trailers and into barns. I’ve lived around animals most of my life and I’ve always had a vast fantasy life.

When the internet came around, my curiosity overwhelmed me. I wanted to connect with people like me. I knew there must be people like me.

There must be sensitive, kind, caring poets in the world who wanted to make the world better. There must be people out there who worked for the common good. There must be others who wore their heart on their sleeve, didn’t like to drink, do drugs or go to parties. There were the quiet ones who loved to talk and think and do interesting things with their time and lives.

There must be people I could look to for advice and help. There must be people out there who thought like I did and lived inside their heads, thinking great thoughts and had exciting ideas.

There was a future out there and it was through a 26,400bps modem.

And it was my job to find it.

The internet taught me there are people out there like me. There are people out there like all of us.

No matter how alone or weird or freakish I felt, there were people out there like me. There were people out there I could connect with and people out there who understood.

I was understood. They knew what I was going through and why I was who I was and how I was. They got me and I got them.

We are not alone.

The greatest gift the internet could have ever given me was this knowledge. It allowed me to find my people, my freaks, my tribe. It allowed me to find and befriend those people I needed in my life to realize I was not alone.

I cannot say this enough. You are not alone.
There are people out there who understand.
There are people out there who want to help you.
They want to help you for not other reason than they were you at earlier times in their lives.

There are amazing people out there in the world.
And they’re waiting to be found.

You are not alone.
We are not alone.
I am not alone.