I seem to think that I read about it in a print publication (that I don't now recall.... Matt, would you know what this was? Were you getting press that early on?) in early 2001 (my first comment is from March '01), and set up my (Free!) account shortly thereafter. Then I apparently totally blocked out that I had created an account, and created another account (this one) in May of that same year, around the time of the Kaycee Nicole debacle.
A few months after that, I re-read this comment and realized, with some horror, that I'd written it, but had forgotten I'd written it or that I had an account here. I've stayed anastasiav ever since, though.
What do you do with a secret so shameful you don't feel you can tell a soul? You tell Metafilter.
You have to understand, that although I'm the right age, I did not grow up with computers or the proto-internet as part of my culture. I was never on a bbs, never actually owned a computer myself until after I had started posting here. I was always the nerdy girl in my own community (in rural Maine) - the one who wanted to talk about "things". The one who tried to start dinner table conversations about "big issues". The one who read books and got frustrated because I had no one to discuss those ideas with.
Becoming part of this community was an enormous affirmation for me that it was ok to think, write, and talk about Big Ideas. After a youth and young adulthood of being sort of shunned and ridiculed for being the smart kid, the positive feedback I got here about my posts and comments did more than you can ever know to help me understand that it was actually ok to be a smart girl. In a lot of ways, maybe more ways than I can actually express using just words, my participation on Metafilter made me like some of the parts of myself that I'd always been told were the least valuable parts. The fact that Matt tolerated me (on a whim, without warning him) running 'the context' was one of my best moments on Metafilter, because I really and truly felt (maybe erroneously) that I was helping make a positive impact on a community that had made such a positive impact on me.
Recently, I 'outed' myself as the author of the I'm pretty sure I don't love my baby anonymous question. While I'm not sure I'd say that was my 'fondest' memory of MetaFilter, I can very honestly and truthfully say that the answers I got that day changed my life. Unless you've been in that place, sleep-deprived, with hormones wreaking havoc on your body and mind, I don't think it's possible to understand how dark it was at the bottom of that hole. I had this beautiful, healthy, golden son to care for. I felt so very bleak, and yet I was required to keep a brave face to everyone - my family, friends, co-workers, even my husband. I had no experience with babies (my newborn son was the first baby I had ever held). I had read pretty extensively about PPD, but what I was going through seemed to bear no relation to what I'd read about in the books. The only people -- and I do mean the only people, anywhere I felt I could trust with this awful secret were the members of the Metafilter community, and my trust was not misplaced. The gentle and sensible answers I got to that question helped me be brave enough to say the right things and ask the right questions in my real life, to get help, and to get better.
I'm enormously honored to be even a small part of this community. I'm not one who has made lifetime "real world" friends here. I'm shy and awkward at meetups, and I'm not one to reach out to strangers one-on-one via email or facebook or social media. I'm acutely aware that, although I know many very personal details about the people who post here they are not actually my friends (despite the fact that I know more about their lives than I do for some of my actual friends). I'd like to be a better internet writer but that's a skill I still have to practice. I'm not "techy". And yet, I feel like I'll always have a home here. A community, where it's ok to be a nerdy shy girl who wants to talk about Big Things.