Thank You, Kilobytes

This letter was originally posted as a raw TXT file on August 4, 2023, and has been adapted for The Jukebox's blog format.

Hi, kilobytes.

If you're reading this, then that means that I have officially graduated, and am halting all VTubing activities as KODA.

I'm sure this comes as a surprise to very few of you. It hasn't been a particularly well-kept secret that I haven't enjoyed streaming as much since I came back from an extended hiatus, to the point that I'm not even sure we can call it a "return" -- I've still been so, so absent that it barely matters.

I entered VTubing to help find myself. To have an escape, where I could finally be someone who I knew I was. I lived in the closet, as a trans woman, for quite a few years, in a household that I knew wasn't quite the safest for me. When I started streaming, and realized that I could finally have a space where I could be free, I was over the moon. I was absolutely, positively ecstatic.

And as time grew, I did find myself. I learned more and more about my identity, and later on, the identities of the other people that had kept me company for all these years. Yes, I'm 100% serious -- becoming KODA was the first step towards me discovering the plurality that had been with me this whole time. And it's something I will always be grateful for.

But now, things are a bit easier on me. I'm finally out, to my friends, and even to my family. I've been happily transitioning for months, and I don't have to hide it. I've even been able to be open about our plurality with a few close people, which is an absolutely huge step to take. And to that end, streaming no longer became the escape. It went from being something I looked forward to, every day, to something that eventually felt more like a chore. When I was able to be genuine with myself, it felt very hard to be genuine to all of you. I used to pretend to exist as a boy, every day of my life. And when the day ended, I'd come home, and finally be my real self -- KODA -- with the people that chose to be around me.

Nowadays, I get to be my true self, every day of my life -- and pretending to be KODA hurts. I don't have to escape to "be me" anymore. For a while, KODA was who I was, and my daily life was just a mask. Now, I live my daily life as my true self, and KODA is simply a streamer persona. It's not who I am anymore.

And I don't want to force myself to stream, because I know you all can tell when I'm not having fun -- and I don't want to share misery with the world, I want to share joy and love and pride. The world already sucks. It's cold, and it's painful, and sometimes it's hard just to live in it. But being KODA helped bring me closer to finding the joy in this life, and I hope that I could share even an ounce of that with you.

I'll always be grateful for all of you. Every single one of you who followed, subscribed, hung out in the Discord server or even just tuned in - thank you. From the very, very bottom of my heart, thank you. You all supported me at a time when I needed it most. I've met best friends, collaborators, even significant others through streaming. I made memories, we raised money for charity, and up until recently it was the very thing keeping me going every day.

There will never be enough words for me to describe how genuinely thankful I am, to all of you. I will forever be indebted to the community that got me to where I am now.

I can't say I'm walking away from content creation. Not in good faith. Lord knows I've never been one to quit for very long. I don't know what that means quite yet. Maybe I'll start making YouTube videos, or writing more blog posts. There's always the off-chance I come back to stream, too, whether as KODA or as myself. I can't know for certain, though I do know I've quite enjoyed writing a lot recently.

Before I go, a few special thanks:

- To Diesel, aka Chi, my best friend, who helped bring KODA to life in the first place.

- To Ruby, aka Lillium Note, who inspired KODA's existence.

- To Jaqui, who generously helped bring the vision for Kohaku to life.

- To Myst, who helped light our fire for creative work.

- To ashe, our lovely partner, who supported our streaming dreams no matter what.

- To our VTuber friends -- Jolene, Eclipse, Wyrm, Hot Calc - who are some of the coolest people we met along the way.

And, of course, a very special thank you to my regulars. You were the reason I kept coming back to stream in the first place, and I wouldn't be here without you.

It's bittersweet, but here's to hoping the future is bright - I'm sure our paths will cross again soon.

One last time...

Have a good night, kilobytes.

-- Acelia.

It's all because of you that we did all this tonight, and I had a rad night

Thank you, this is The Illusion, I ran long as always dude