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I have been working on this diary for months. I started it in December when I received an email.

"You are now a trusted user on DailyKos."

Those words filled me to overflow with warm fuzzies. It prompted me to write a diary about how wonderful a family I found here.

Then other things happened...

Before I get too far in, I guess I should give you a little background...

I took a round-a-bout way to get to the wonderful thing we share called DailyKos. I knew about this site, but never thought to check it out. I remember watching Markos guest on MSNBC and enjoyed what he brought to the table. I was unaware of the events that led to him getting banned from the network. Of course, when he was out of sight, he was out of mind along with this site. That being said, the seed was planted...

I was insanely interested in the Prop 8 Trial. I followed the live blogs on Pro8TrialTracker.com and firedoglake. After the trial, I kept following the websites until firedoglake exploded with one-sided vitriol. It was at that point, the planted seed germinated and I remembered about DailyKos.

The first time I checked out DailyKos, it was a revelation. There were reasoned discussions, different viewpoints, and a healthy dose of respect. I hate to say that I fell in love with a website, but that is kinda what happened. I instantly saw there was a great community here with facts, figures, and pooties. I began my lurkdom and fully enjoyed it.

Back in the Spring, I was reading an amazing book. (I plan on writing a diary about it...the book did change my life) The book was Brenda Ueland's If You Want To Write, first published in 1938. There was one phrase that shook me to my core.

Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say.
When I read that, it put a large fire under my rear to get involved. I wrote my first diary and planned on jumping in and sharing what I had to say. "Everbody...has something important to say." I was full of excitement. I felt like I was joining a community of like minded individuals.

Then something fired up the site: The TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. Suddenly, I was put in a weird place. You see, TransCanada is one of my customers.

I work for a uniform manufacturer in customer service/account management. My specialty is flame-resistant apparel, which is used primarily in the petrochemical industries and electrical utilities. My customers include other companies that are not so popular around here such as BP.

I talk with the rank and file workers in the field, making sure they have the right clothing to keep them safe on the job. We have a solid, trusting relationship from working together for several years. I watched in horror as many great people lost their jobs following the BP oil spill in the gulf when, to raise capital, BP began selling North American assets. I cried with them over the phone as they recounted the fear of what was to come.

Let me be clear, I am not a petro-phile.  I believe in green and renewable energy just like most of you. However, I know the people working these jobs, and they are good people, and many as progressive as this community.

So anyway...back to the story.

I came close to writing a response to some of the Keystone discussions, but the passions ignited scared me off. I was, after all, only a newbie. Why would you listen to what I have to say? If the president was getting attacked on this issue, I knew I would. (I have resolved to give a semi-insiders perspective as soon as I get a chance...a few key facts have been missing from the discussions...like the fact the Keystone Pipeline, not the Keystone XL Pipeline being debated, has been operational since 2008 and currently delivering tar sands to Illinois and Oklahoma...but I digress)

Then, around the same time, this site became a pie fight on a number of issues. While still respectful, I did not feel a newbie belonged in the discussions. I was so afraid of being seen as a troll.

So, I backed into my little corner with my tail between my legs and lurked again.

It took a big shock to my system to get fully engaged again. A young gay man committed suicide in a county close to Nashville. I was shocked that the churches in the area would not even donate candles to the candlelight vigil planned for the young man. I wrote a diary about it. Not Even Candles: a Response to Another Teen Suicide

Because of that diary, I was invited to join a group here called Three Star Kossacks. It felt good to feel like I belonged. I didn't need to fear being cast as a troll, I just needed to share my opinions and thoughts.

This caused me to get more active with the site. I was promoted to an admin status on Three Star Kossacks which encouraged me even more.

And then the email came that I was a trusted user.  I know it may not seem like much to all of you, but it felt amazing to feel a part of a progressive community like this.

Then it got better from there...

During the lifetime membership drive, someone submitted me for consideration for a gift membership. It was not something I could afford, so I was in tears for just being in consideration. (I'm a cryer. Ain't gonna lie...)

And then the email came...I was gifted a lifetime membership.

With so many people in this community, I feel extremely honored that I was deemed worthy of such a gift. My hope is my contributions to the site bring honor to the anonymous donor or donors that gave me this cherished gift.

I know a thank you is WAY overdue, but here it is. I am thankful for this community and the trust and value some see in what I bring to the table.

(I apologize in advance for typos and format errors. My computer is dead and I did this on my smart phone)

Originally posted to Three Star Kossacks on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 01:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Nashville KosKats.

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