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I suspect it’s been about as long since I’ve blogged as it has been since I’ve touched my portfolio website. Sometimes around the beginning of the pandemic, I eschewed most social media and shut down a couple of the sites I was running at the time — tired of talking, maybe. Maybe the pandemic was the opportunity to crawl into my cave with my projects and refocus on actually doing the work instead of discussing it. I’ve always much preferred the process, anyway — the celebratory component is altogether too short-lived and doesn’t offer the same sort of reward as the problem solving and the struggle and the small triumphs experienced privately.

It’s difficult expressing that kind of pure elation for people not experiencing it firsthand. This, incidentally, also reflects novel writing, and that was the tradeoff: two enormous manuscripts in two years but no portfolio updates or maintenance, and definitely no social unless by social you mean fandom Tumblr or discord (i.e. as far from anything “design” as I could get.)

I don’t miss X/Twitter, though I hear it’s past the point of “smouldering trash fire” and it now a cooling pile of ashes. I never fell into TikTok, though friends send me the occasional booktok thirst trap or the odd dark romance recommendation. I barely use Facebook save for a few band communities.

And I didn’t touch my website.

I moved it to a new host to save some money since I’d scaled down my other projects, and put the portfolio on the back burner with the intention of returning it to later after I’d given it the time it needed. I let it decay, knowing full well that the original installation was sitting on an outdated version of PHP and adding new work to it would mean rebuilding everything and then some later (and I’m loathe to do things twice. The inefficiency makes me skittish.)

It needed a structural overhaul, but the structural overhaul to bring it up to date meant picking through two decades of old projects and facing the inevitable reckoning of dealing with the memories  attached to them — unhappy work situations, mostly. Or, reframed: hard lessons learned through experience, better boundaries, a better sense of self having survived challenging situations with difficult people.

A portfolio is a picture album of every working relationship I’ve had in abstract, and I knew that redoing the site meant flipping through all of those pages and looking at them through the harsh light of my craft lamp, and some of it was going to suck, so I waited for the right time.

The right time came on the heels of a really positive client project. Which makes sense, right? Suffuse yourself with the warm glow of a happy client and a job well done, and point yourself towards the darkness to take on whatever awaits you.

The overhaul, which I had been putting off for two or three years, took six days.

Six days to bring thirty-odd projects and five pages into an MVP state on a new, stable WordPress installation on a current version of PHP. Six days because I was determined to get the barebones version of the site back online. No fancy stuff. No animations. No copy updates. No new projects. Just the existing portfolio. Six days after avoiding it for forever.

I celebrated this one by reinstating the blog.

I will continue celebrating it by building it out, updating the old pages, and adding new projects to the portfolio. I will also be fine-tuning the mobile experience and optimizing the graphic sections.

As it stands, it’s nowhere near done, but it’s so much better to rip off the bandage and look at that shiny pink skin underneath. It glows.

So, welcome home.

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