Thank You, Dan Howell

Hello internet. Let me tell you a story.

 

I started watching danisnotonfire when I was 13 years old when one of my middle school friends wanted to “show me something cool.” Dan Howell was my introduction into YouTube, and it only went up from there.

 

Dan always made amazing content, whether it was just silly random videos or something serious. I got into AmazingPhil as well, and Phil Lester became one of the people who made me feel okay.The longer I watched the two of them, the closer they became to my heart. Their videos were a little bit of light when I was at my lowest points in life. That weekly upload sparked a little bit of joy. Even to just feel something, I would rewatch their videos over and over again to have a little smile. I grew with them and changed with them. I started feeling better and taking care of myself.

 

When I was 17, I got to go see Dan and Phil live on stage in my hometown. I went with the friend who had introduced me to Dan and one of our best friends. Despite sitting alone, it was one of the best nights of my life. Seeing two young creatives living their dreams and living their truth made me feel like I could take on the world.

 

Yesterday, Dan uploaded for the first time in over a year. After the second world tour, he needed a break, and despite missing him, I was happy he was taking care of himself. It helped me remember to take care of myself.

 

Dan’s new video “Basically I’m Gay” is groundbreaking to me. For years, people (including myself) have been trying to “figure him out.” We all wanted to know if he was gay or straight or was he dating Phil or did he have a secret girlfriend? What was the deal?

 

In his video, Dan described a cycle that I myself have been through and so many of my friends have experienced. He told everyone it is okay to not know who you are. And he didn't give people the satisfaction of sticking him with just one label. He taught me a lot and can teach everything a couple of things. Because dear god, internalized oppression is real. Bullying is so real. The pain of elementary, middle and high school is so so real. Dan’s video touched me so deeply. He decided he was going to live his truth. The longer Dan has had his platform, the more he has helped people feel like they could be themselves and be safe.

 

I want to thank you Daniel Howell. You helped me make friends. You helped me feel okay. You helped me feel safe. You saved me when I thought I was too far gone. You reminded me that I will be okay at the end of the day, even when I was at the darkest points. You taught me more than I could ever learn from school or from the internet.

 

Some people think YouTube is for kids or teenagers with nothing better to do. In reality, YouTube is filled with people using their platforms for good. Dan uses his for politics and mental health. Phil uses his for peer pressure and bullying prevention. Molly Burke is raising awareness for blind culture. The Try Guys show us something new twice a week. YouTube is full of great people doing great things.

 

So, thank you Dan. Thank you for everything. I’ll never forget your impact on my life.