I legitimately expected 5 people to watch that video.
Seriously. Nobody reads this blog. Mainly because I never update it.
Going viral was not part of the plan.
When I originally made the video, it was because I kept thinking about Amanda after she died. I never met her, but her story stayed with me. I kept going back and reading her tweet stream, wishing I had reached out when she was alive. But I missed the chance. She was gone.
And I thought about how all I knew her through was her twitter stream, and how at least with a twitter stream it’s all just…. you. What you choose to write and put down. No interpretation, no editorializing, no seeing someone through the lens of someone else’s experience. And how someday someone will (maybe, ha) look at my twitter stream and see what I’ve left here and maybe get a glimpse of me. And that I would hope that what I wrote would stay with someone in a positive way, just like Amanda’s final tweet has stayed with me. So I made the video it and shared it with a group of people at BlissDom Canada, to remind everyone of their own legacies, and – the bigger point – to pass on her message. Embrace life even when it gives you a shit deal. Forgive. Carry on.
Maybe I overstepped. Maybe it wasn’t my place. I don’t know.
When I made the video, I kept in almost all of the tweets she made after she got sick. The only ones I left out were the ones that contextually didn’t make sense (certain replies). Other than that, I left it as she did, because it’s how she told her story.
I tried to find out more information about her in order to tell her family about the video. I do not want them to be blindsided by it. But then it got picked up by Jezebel without my knowledge and without credit – meaning that the note I wrote in the original blog post asking anyone who knew her personally to contact me would not be shared. I was quite upset because of that (and also because, come on Jezebel, you know better.) It felt shitty to make it an issue of CONTENT STEALERS! given the subject matter – but to a big site like Jezebel, that’s what they understand. And to their credit, they reached out and now provide proper attribution, so that anyone can now find my full blog post with context.
Then Buzzfeed called, and they allowed me to set the context. I explained the story of how I came to make the video, and my misgivings about it, and the reason I ultimately wanted to share it: Because it’s important. Because she can’t. And she deserved to have her story told, and I could do it, so I did it.
It’s almost like an unauthorized biography – except, it’s all her own words. No editorial. I did not have permission to make or post the video from Amanda or her family, but I hope I did it sensitively and in such a way that her memory is honourably preserved.
So here we are. And I hope you can keep Amanda’s words with you, and if you get a chance, reach out to someone and share kindness.
Be good to each other.
ETA: I have had to close comments temporarily because I don’t have time to moderate right now. They’ll be back up shortly.