By: Emma B.

When I walked into the Lime Green Giraffe’s The Write Stuff: Writer’s Workshop for the first time in 2014, I walked in suspecting another 3-5 hour Girl Scout event that was much like the ones I had attended before. A badge earned or maybe a SWAP to take home. My mom had signed me up for hundreds of these events. 

This time, I was going by myself, but the routine was the same. But I was hungry for a feeling of belonging, which is something I struggled with at the time. I was excited, but that was mostly because of the subject matter. 

In terms of my expectations, I wasn’t expecting to find something that would change me. At first, the event seemed to confirm my suspicions. We listened to a panel of authors, giving advice that I vaguely knew. Then, about halfway through, there was a moment, and I began speaking with the Lime Green Giraffe staff members. I don’t remember the exact person that I started talking with. In hindsight, I wish I did. I do remember what we talked about. We talked about fanfiction. I had opened up about this subject matter to my friends of course, but I had never had someone engage me with this way before. We talked about fandom, and writing, and publishing. We talked about the hundreds of little things I loved but was often forced to shut up about. For the first time in my life, I felt heard. 

After the workshop, we had to go to my grandma’s. Still, my mind elsewhere. I raced to my grandma’s old, barely functioning PC. During that talk we had, the girl suggested that I take my fanfiction and turn it into something original. It was the first time anyone had suggested to me that I ever write something completely unique. I deleted my stories off my account and began rewriting them in a dream-like haze. As we drove home from my grandma’s house, I begged my Mom to let me apply to the Lime Green Giraffe. 

Before I had time to realize what had happened, I was accepted as a staff member. Suddenly, I was excited in a way I had never felt before. I had never heard of anything really being officially published online except for fanfiction. Besides, fanfiction wasn’t real literature anyway. The Lime Green Giraffe not only showed me a whole world of online reading, but it also engaged me in a way, I wasn’t expecting. I was thrilled. 

When I wrapped my first year, I had fallen in love. I continued to be adamantly aware of every awkward thing I did, but it didn’t matter to me. More importantly, it didn’t seem to matter to the rest of the staff either. I could talk to the other staff writers about whatever I wanted to. Whether it was politics (that I mostly just copied from my father because I felt I had too) or writing, or something else all together. The subject matter didn’t seem to matter. I was just accepted.. It was a feeling I didn’t really get anywhere else. It was a feeling I valued, and it inspired me to keep going. 

As an editor in chief and a high school senior, I look back in time with regrets. I think everyone does, but I know I have many. Some are personal, but many are about  time, a concept that I sometimes feel I wage war against. I wish I had spent more time getting to know my fellow staff writers better. They have taught me some much. Even now, as a Senior, I continue to learn from my peers young and old. I couldn’t imagine a more supportive and loving community. In hindsight, I wish I had taken a more proactive leadership role within the staff. 

I can’t put into words everything else Lime Green Giraffe has given me. From a community of writers to how to run a successful platform online. Above all, the Lime Green Giraffe gave me a place of acceptance. 

I have never been the most put together person. I’m awkward, I obsess over certain things, and I don’t always have the right social graces. However, the Lime Green Giraffe allowed me to be who I am. I didn't hiding behind a masquerade. I was me. Since I walked in that room more than 6 years ago, I found more than just a magazine staff, I’ve found a Girl Scout troop, and a group of leaders who I’m so happy I got to know. 

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