♡˚₊‧ About the Site ‧₊˚♡

Last Updated: January 23rd 2024

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The Journey / As It Exists Today / Design Notes

‎‧₊˚✧ The Journey ✧˚₊‧

During my final semester of undergrad, I realized that I missed being creative.

When I started college in Autumn 2019, nothing could've prepared me for what was coming ahead. At the time, I was already incredibly dissatisfied with my situation— the university that I was attending was the only one that I could financially afford, and that was only with continuing to live with my parents. I felt that I was missing out on my youth and some of the things I considered to be cornerstones of the American experience: moving into a dorm, learning how to live on my own, and sharing college experiences with my peers. I had one "normal" semester commuting 30 minutes back and forth from my parents house to university. The world essentially shutting down in 2020 only served to extrapolate my feelings of isolation. I was thrust into unprecedented circumstances where I was expected to excel in school, build a proper and well rounded resume with extracirruculars for future medical school applications, and somehow emotionally transition into a proper adult. I did the best that I could with the resources that I had at the time, but that also meant that almost every waking second of my life was spent attempting to find close to nonexistent career opportunities and studying. By the time the end of my degree rolled around, I felt like I was picking up the pieces of who I was.

I knew I wanted to start creating art and posting it online again like I did in my teens. I wanted to be able to have a hobby, one thing that I consistantly did for myself that wasn't influenced by capitalism or a career. In the past I had short art stints on social media accounts on platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr, but I always eventually lost interest in the platform's constraints and left. I'm aware that social media platforms are not meant for posting art— they're meant for endless scrolling of bite-sized information. But it didn't make it feel any less disheartening that I felt like they were my only options for having a digital art gallery, especially as a hobbyist who has no intentions of making a career out of art. Seeing a piece I’d put a good amount of time and effort into reduced into a blip on the timeline didn't feel great. I just want to draw whatever I want whenever I want, but the ever changing "algorithm" and numbers intrinsically intertwined with social media prevented me from doing that. Social media engagment is fast, fleeting, and reactive. The high I'd get from recieving hundreds of likes one day to the low of losing followers the next day for "inactivity" unintentionally damaged my relationship with art. No matter how self-aware I made myself be of how meaningless these numbers were, my brain would continuously make and unmake the association that a high number of likes/followers/reposts meant my art was good. Conformity of some kind is almost always inevitable when attempting to garner an audience, including but not limited to: posting at specific times, changing your art style to be more "appealing", and rushing pieces to post while a trending topic is still relevant. Art on social media is a marketing game, intentionally or unintentionally. But as a hobbyist, I have no desire to be part of the game.

One day in the middle of procrastinating cramming for a Biochemistry exam my last semester of undergrad, I discovered something called a "webring". It had appeared on the neocities site of an artist that I had kept up with from Tumblr. Curious, I started clicking through the arrows and visiting the sites part of the webring. I was immediately transported back to how the internet felt when I was 8 years old. As a kid, I spent a lot of time on places like forums, blogs and even sites that exist as corporations today that had more customization features than a lot of modern sites do now. Remember when Youtube and Twitter used to let you set up the layout of your page with backgrounds? Remember when Deviant Art wasn't tainted by Eclipse? Big websites stripping away basic customization isn't something I think is talked about enough. My first personal experience with HTML and CSS was on Neopets. I loved customizing my user lookup and petpages. I loved collecting buttons and adoptables. When I (temporarily) grew out of Neopets and moved onto Deviant Art and Tumblr, I spent hours customizing my Tumblr themes and about pages with pixels and sozai to get them looking just the way I wanted. It was so much fun! Unfourtunately as time passed, it became less "en vogue" to be on these sites and I gave into the peer pressure to spend time on more mainstream platforms. Exploring the indie web made me realize how much I craved a place on the internet that I could fully customize and allow my art to live and breathe at my own pace. That's when I decided I wanted to work on a website of my own.

‎‧₊˚✧ As It Exists Today ✧˚₊‧

I didn't set out to create a website from scratch with the intentions of "sticking it" to big corporations or being a part of the "web revival" community. I didn't grow up with personal sites either. I assume that whenever they were more common, I was busy slurping on gogurt tubes and chomping on fruit roll ups. My first exposure to a personal site was Dan Howell's video exploring the site he had made when he was 12 years old back in 2014. I honestly assumed that personal sites didn't really exist anymore. I set out to build a site from scratch because site-builders such as Squarespace and Wix weren't giving me the level of customization I wanted without hitting a paywall, and I liked the idea of having complete ownership of my data. If my current webhost goes under or starts to implement policies I dislike, I still have access to my files and my data isn't lost with the corporation. I can simply find another webhost and reupload my files, and I can pretty much do this indefinitely.

My first conscious exposure to the independent web was the many personal sites housed by Neocities. Many of the sites on this host are inspired by the personal sites of little old-web nostalgia with some modern bite. Thanks to their influence, it's natural to me that my first and main site is a personal site as a hobbyist looking for a home and place to express myself on the web.

(Re)creating Yourself, also known as Sanguineroyal.com, exists as a table of contents, a reference tool, an odd and slightly musty personal library about yours truly. It is the first website that I built from scratch, and eventually birthed several subsites based on topics that I wanted to expand upon but didn't feel entirely fit within my personal site for one reason or another. For this reason, I say that (Re)creating Yourself doubles as both my personal site as well as personal collective.

This website is my little scrapbook of all the things I love. It is incredibly human to want to share things that make us happy, and sometimes the things that I want to share simply do not work in a post format. Working on this site allows me to conciously spend time thinking and writing about the things that make me happy, and has improved my overall mental wellbeing. (Re)creating Yourself, is not necessarily a perfect encapsulation of my life. Despite it not technically being “social media”, it’s still a highlight reel of my life to a certain extent. The best way to put it would be it’s a capsule of how I’d like to be remembered.

The overall theme of (Re)Creating Yourself is Things that Bring Me Joy

‎‧₊˚✧ Design Notes ✧˚₊‧

See Also: Accessibility and Credits

The graphics used on my website are an amalgamation of my own as well as graphics from sozai sites. I give credit where I can, but unfortunately sometimes sozai sites are now defunct. Part of the reason why I continue to use sozai from defunct sites, is because I often feel a nostalgic connection to them. Many of them are graphics that I used on my old Deviant Art/Tumblr/etc. Layouts, and I don’t want the graphics to be forgotten. I link to other relevant pages made by other people whenever possible. By the nature of being a personal site, there are no consistent styles between pages, and things are always subject to being changed around. I treat (Re)Creating Yourself as my personal playground for webdev experimentation. I see my website as a digital scrapbook of sorts, so I enjoy the scrapbook feel of doing whatever I feel when designing a particular page!