I can't believe I've been on deviantart for 11 years! The first few years on this account were all (awful) poetry and short stories, and journal entries of me freaking out over the dodgy age gaps in Shugo Chara and whether it's ethically okay to ship them (10 years later, still torn on this one). My time here was mostly fangirling, dreaming and admiring, world building and friend-making.
Since I've been here, I've had a Daily Deviation and reached well over 100,000 pageviews (things I aspired towards on day one but never expected to achieve). I remember looking at artists I admired and seeing they had 100 favs, and thinking, those people have made it. That's the dream.
But I think it took me leaving deviantart to really improve. I know I partially left for school, and this had a big impact on my work (I sort of stopped drawing altogether at first). But when I finished my degree, I never really came back. I popped in, I caught up with people, I took the occasional request or commission. I got involved in the adoptables community, on and off. I tried really hard to find the passion for deviantart I used to have.
When I left deviantart, because of school, stress, and my health, I started to focus more on the real world. Drawing with friends in cafes forced me to draw unfamiliar subjects. Drawing for markets and conventions, instead of online, forced me to consider new things about colour theory and style, and look at my work objectively and judge it for professionalism. I had to consider what will get me a job, instead of what will give me more pageviews and help me make online friends.
And I think it's only recently I started drawing for myself. I don't feel that same frustration I used to - that fear of not being good enough or not improving fast enough, of not being able to sell something unless it's fanart or anime. I don't judge myself against other artists' success any more. I get such a kick out of own personal growth now. I'm excited about my work, not frustrated by it.
I'll never be as active on DA as I used to - I currently have 2122 comments and 71 unread notes that have built up over the years and I haven't had time to reply to. I'm not sure I ever will. I've been so inactive recently I don't expect any replies to this journal. I don't think I'll ever have time again to build communities and friend groups here. Part of me is sad about it, and part of me is happy. It means I have other things in my life now to keep me passionate, strong and fulfilled.
You've been a bit like a parent to me. You're not perfect, and sometimes you've been downright mean, but you've helped me to grow and watched over me while I made my own choices - the good and the bad. You've encouraged me and corrected me, forgiven me when I've made mistakes, and have always been somewhere I could come back to.
Anyway, TL;DR! I really appreciate everything deviantart has been and done for me. I'll still be around a little, every few months. I'll still come back to post art and commissions and to admire amazing work here. But for the most part, I'm moving out~