I recommend opening a new tab and listening to this song while you read. Its one of my favourite classic Brony songs, and evokes a strong nostalgic feeling.
On this day, all the way back in 2014, I decided to give My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic another chance after realizing I liked Twilight Sparkle and found that I actually enjoyed the show quite a bit. Back then, I was way less mature, more shy and still went to high school. My first time in the fandom was mainly spent listening to Brony music from this playlist on YouTube, as well as watching some videos from the YouTube Brony community. I had some interactions with members of the community as well, but, it was from the comment section on YouTube, so you can kinda guess how that would have turned out, yeah, I kinda embarrassed myself a little there but its all good now!
Later that year, I decided to search Google for some communities related to this newfound obsession of mine, and found a few sites that seemed interesting, such as What is a Brony?, Equestria Daily, Bronyland and MLP Forums. Some places I visited didn't have a proper community of their own, or they were more like news websites for the fandom and didn't really seem all that appealing to me and if they did have a community, I didn't really know about it (as was the case with Bronyland and EqD). I created my account here on June 30th, 2014 shortly after browsing the website for a bit and finding that I liked the community here and wanted to start being more involved with the fandom outside of YouTube. I was a little nervous, but, I eventually (cringe warning) made my first post. Back then, I was known as shoyrumaster11, and as you read my first post, you may have noticed that most of my exposure to the fandom came from watching so-called "anti-Brony" videos and trying to figure out how anyone could be so triggered by a simple cartoon on TV.
For a good portion of my time in the fandom, I spent it here on MLP Forums, occasionally making posts and sometimes actually interacting with the community and eventually, I wanted to branch out a little more and tried to find some meetups nearby, as well as a more local fan site but unfortunately, my parents didn't want me to be in any meetups back then due to concerns for my safety. My friend @Frequency Wavelength introduced me to Bronies Australia, a more local website which unfortunately wasn't very active, but it was great to know that this wasn't only some weird thing that Americans do a lot. After a while, I did also start to decline interest in this website due to some drama with the staff that was going on at the time and made a blog post last year explaining why I left the site. At the time, I was mainly a part of Equestria Daily's Morning and Nightly discussions and a regular on PonyTown, where I met a certain special someone...
Through the years, I have made many friends and, at a very slow pace, learned to be more confident in myself and to try to enjoy my life a little more and be grateful for what I have. I'm still learning even today, but, I'm thankful for everyone in my life who has helped along the way, including those I met via the fandom and its presence on the web, and in this section, I just wanted to say thank you to some people I met through the fandom who are special to me, including those who are not on this website.
- @Jade Fire, I wanted to say thank you for being among the people to welcome me back on to this website when I decided to come back, and always being very friendly and understanding, even through tough times. I always enjoy talking to you and at times, a part of me does wish we could be friends outside of the internet, I consider you one of my best friends and I'm very grateful to have met you and to be so close to you.
- @PuddingPonyPal, you don't seem to come here very often, but if you ever read this, I just wanted to say thank you for welcoming me back on the website late last year. You have inspired me to try to be more creative with my art and fiction and you are very much a close friend to me.
- Minty Root, I remember you from back in the days when I was on EqD's discussions. I consider you one of my main inspirations for my (currently in the works) YouTube channel and I actually used to enjoy chatting with you on EqD. I am a part of your Discord server now, and as of writing this, I'm kind of wondering why we don't chat more?
- @SparklingSwirls, I really enjoy chatting with you and being your friend, and since chatting with you about it on Discord, you're also one of those people I want to meet at some point in real life, I actually really enjoy it when you be silly and you have helped me out of my depression, and we both seem to share a lot in common. Whenever I need someone to talk to, or just want to say hi, you are the first person I talk to.
- @StrawCherry, I feel like we are really good friends and, despite your being busy all the time, I kinda see you as the sister I never had. I enjoy your passion towards art and technology and I encourage you to continue doing that!
- Grazin, I really do mean it when I say that I enjoy being your friend. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, and I always have fun on your Discord server. You are very kind and I think you are stronger than you realize. I know you've been through a lot and might have had a rough past, but I just wanted to say that you shouldn't let it define who you are, I think the fact that I enjoy my friendship with you to the point where I have considered inviting people to your Discord server, so they can meet you says a lot, I might not be on Equestria Daily any more, but you are among the people I met from there who I still enjoy being around.
- Enigma, you are a very cool guy and I actually really enjoy seeing your passion towards music. I consider myself lucky for having met you and I wish we chatted a little more.
- @Frequency Wavelength, thank you for introducing me to the Aussie side of this fandom. It really helps me to know that I can share my interests with people much closer to home. You are a very cool and very friendly guy, and I think we would be great friends
- SGB, we only really met when I joined Grazin's server, but, I've always thought you were very kind and friendly. I think we should chat more ^^
- @Battenberg, we've only just started chatting recently, but, I think you are a good friend so far, so thank you for letting me be your friend.
- @Valencia, you are a very kind individual and I just wanted to say thank you for being there for me when I needed it and for being a good friend and a good person in general. I hope everything is going very well for you.
- Mountain Dreams, we don't chat as often as we used to, but I've always enjoyed being your friend and I enjoy talking about the latest MLP episodes with you and I think you are a very good friend.
- @Totally Lyra, you're my favourite moderator on this website and I have fun reading posts from you and being your friend. Also, Lyra is still the best pony!
- Raven... I have a lot to say about you and I'm not even sure where to begin... My long distance relationship with you meant a lot to me and I do still miss you quite a lot, I remember that we met on New Years Eve in 2016 and I really enjoyed talking to you and to this day, there is something about you that I still love. Not sure if it was your kindness, your friendly attitude, your love of music, the fact that you are a fun lady to be with or anything else, but, there is something about you I love and I cherish all the time we've spent together and miss you greatly. You have shown me what true love is like and I never expected to meet you at all. I know things weren't always the best between us and that a lot of mistakes were made, but, I always thought it was still worth being with you because you at least tried to do what you could to make things work out. I wish we had more time to chat with each other because I genuinely enjoy your presence and words cannot even begin to describe how I feel about you as a person. The thing is, I don't even feel like your absence was entirely your fault, though its still something that should have been talked about, and I'm sorry for not having the courage to just simply talk out my problems. The fact that I still think about you and the fact that I still miss you must mean something. I love you, Raven and truth be told, if you ever come back, I'd want to give this another chance and see if we were really meant to be... A lot has changed since we last met and I'm more confident than ever and I'm ready to be in a relationship this time, and I'm ready to put in the extra effort for you. The thing is, you are unlike anybody I've ever met in my life and words will never be enough to describe how I feel about you... Thank you for everything, Raven. I genuinely mean it when I tell you I love you, and I hope we meet again soon and maybe work things out...
To some, Bronies might be seen as some "fad" in popular culture, but, with all the experiences I've had and all the wonderful people I've met in this fandom, I think it is so much more than that. We are very much a community as well as family and even though I've still got a lot to work on, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in the fandom for helping me to grow and become more confident and enjoy life a little more.
I think there is something special about this community of like-minded individuals and even though we do go through a lot of difficult times, we always come back stronger than before, I never expected that a community based around a popular show would mean so much to me, but, evidently it does, and I am very thankful for that. I may not enjoy the show itself as much as I used to, but I still do enjoy being part of this community and I promise that it will always have a special place in my heart and I'm proud to be a Brony and even more proud to have met all my friends from across the fandom, I think that even by the time life gets too busy for me and I cannot actively be in any geeky community, I will still have lots of fond memories of my time as a Brony and I promise I'll pass all the lessons I've learned on to my possible son's and daughter's in the future and I might even show them some episodes of MLP. Thank you, everyone.