Mulder and Scully

Origins

The year is 1995. My boyfriend (now husband) and I are living together, and decide to go to the USA for a holiday, to stay with people I’d met via the Internet.

The_X-Files_Season_2

The early days of Usenet are an incredibly significant part of my life, that I really don’t like to talk about at all. I’ve written and subsequently trashed about a dozen drafts of this post as testament to just how much this period screws with my brain. It’s been holding up everything else I’d really like to write about, because… I wasn’t the most emotionally adult person during my twenties and early thirties. Yeah, that’s a diplomatic way of putting it. I’m not proud of a lot of what happened, which covers early days of newsgroups and arguing in ASCII to Livejournal and arguing in web-browsers. I was an antagonist back then too: I’d like to say they were simpler times, but they weren’t. I should have learnt my lesson during that 1995 trip: people who you meet online will often hide things, or lie in order to get what they want. Turning up with a boyfriend on the East Coast in August did not go down well with our first host, and things went largely downhill from there.

On reflection, it is probably why this holiday never gets talked about that much.

My husband being booked for speeding is the only physical part of that holiday which remains, and now becomes useful as a marker. One of the three people we stayed with for that trip visited us a year on, and that weekend’s best left forgotten in history too. What that entire period taught has only become clear in retrospect: emotional immaturity can completely screw you up. In fact, let’s just ignore my 20’s and most of the 30’s and move on. It is important however to note at this juncture how the Internet shaped the future of just about everything I would then go onto do, including writing. My first piece of fan fiction, for instance, was X Files related. However, that was not the show that became my biggest obsession and ultimately caused the most damage.

I was involved in B5 Fandom up until the birth of my son in 2000, and again it is a case of bad outweighing good in my own mind: that means I’ve fairly systematically removed all references and links from that period and am now at something approximating peace with what happened. However, if you really care I can be found, fingerprints almost impossible to delete across a platform which really never forgets and is the most brutally honest remembrance of history. I never wrote fiction for that sci fi show (and know why:) it took another US series, which first aired in the UK whilst I was pregnant for the first time, to push me into what became a legitimate effort into organised working. That co-incided with my life on LiveJournal (which I joined shortly after launch in 1999) and was, for the most part, never truly me at all. However, it was the first time I ever felt comfortable sharing my work in public and for that fact alone, my West Wing fan fiction days should be recorded for posterity.

A cursory Google search brings up only sixteen hits for my old username, but my work is still out there. The Internet never forgets, people. There’s other stuff too, but nothing that I’ve found which is enough to reduce me to embarrassing bouts of toe curling. When that reckoning comes I’m ready for whatever gets thrown at me: I learnt a lot in those couple of years, most of which was built around how I ‘see’ action literally play out like a TV show or film in my head. It wasn’t just West Wing either: CSI, Dr Who and Torchwood have been poked by me over the years. I promised someone I’d pull out some of that old work, and that will happen in the next few months. To learn from the past we must embrace both the good and bad to move forward.

I’ve kept in touch with the only person I ever really connected with back in those days, who is still friends and will probably berate me for being overly hard on myself. The fact remains that the years since my kids have been born are the best of my life, not simply in writing terms. I need this period marked on my history, but nothing more is required to understand what I am. Everything of real interest happens after 2000, but really it is 2004 where the world around me finally shatters and forces a complete realignment. Before I return to the week of the Madrid Train Bombs, however, there is one last story to tell, wrapped around genre TV, and I’ll keep that for next week.

For now, let’s just forget that 1995 to 2004 ever happened.

Change :: Micropoetry & Haiku

Last week, I used one subject to act as the basis for both my scheduled morning and evening poetry Tweets on the Internet of Words account. The exercise worked pretty well, all told, and as a result I’ll be doing the same thing for next week’s sequences (subject matter to be decided over a cuppa and a low-fat brownie shortly.) What I’m finding most useful, in terms of writing, is having my mind in the same place in terms of the language used. Knowing there is a subject matter allows me to make lists of words that act as starting points, metaphors and similes that can then be used either to build the basis of the work, or as means to act as filler until the correct words appear.

This week is a new benchmark in terms of what brain is capable of producing. These poems came off the back of a pretty fruitful period of work in both fiction and non-fiction too, and it is true what they say about productivity fuelling more of the same.


Change and Grow
Haiku Sequence

This seed inside, small
Start, so strong: germinating,
Life springs from within.

Spark explodes, massive
Detonation, point blossoms
Expanding ripples.

Self doubt evolving
Evaporates, forming vast
Mists of fertile thought.

Condensing clouds drift
Across mental plains, waiting
Ready to hold change.

I am growth, reborn:
Cycle of Fertility
Renewal’s goddess.



Change and Grow
Micropoetry Sequence

Despite fatigue, I push
Understanding to change
Requires a mental strength
That transcends weight of life.

Whatever in my way
Tries to derail, there must
Be pause to think at length.
Grow; seek another path.

I am capable, of
Wondrous things: look beyond
Restrictions understood,
Then quietly cast aside.

My evolution, here
With pencil, pen, pixel
Transcends existing fear:
I can do this, and will.

The only limit, time
My imagination:
Catalyst, creating
Glorious change and growth.


Book of the Month :: The Key to Dreams

The Key to Dreams


I came here because there is nothing left to lose.


The callow, willow-thin doctor was very clear: your cancer’s inoperable, I’d give you probably a year at most, these monthly payments support basic treatment and palliative care. The mass in my lung, behind left shoulder blade itches within, prompting a wish I’d made better choices as a teenager. That’s not true: this life has been lived to the limit. It is ironic therefore the slide towards demise could be bitter and painful, if I decided to allow other people to dictate that course.

I’ve never stayed put long enough to suffer indignity, and that’s not about to change.


The medical study invitation is discovered on the back of the Hospital bathroom door. It is a sad state of affairs when you’re being sold to whilst throwing up, but on reflection the concept is sound. Already here because you’re sick, a miracle cure that costs nothing will undoubtedly appear more attractive. I fit the age range, am in good physical health regardless of the Stage Three tumour. What’s there to lose by phoning the number?

An overly cheerful operator asks where I saw their media, and maybe this is not the moment to state it was ruined with shock induced vomit, as that would admit a measure of sudden despair. Already the settlement being offered as incentive is enough for a beyond decent holiday, chance to spend last days in some far-flung resort, slowly drinking towards oblivion. They must be desperate too, an interview is organised in under fifteen minutes.

Perhaps these people know exactly where I grasped their lifeline, and appreciate there’s no time for delay.


The gentrified part of town’s intimidating for a man who’s spent a life living in various degrees of squalor, shanty towns and refugee camps. Everything is too clean, scrubbed magnolia bright, no litter to speak of and not a single sign of homelessness. When all you want is to survive, where to sleep rarely matters, just that you can. I had to buy a new overnight bag, replace disintegrating trainers to stay at the Clinic, aware my disregard for appearance could count as a hindrance. Presentation matters, the representative they sent to my low rent apartment complex home had reminded me, effort does not have to be expensive. She’d stared disdainfully around my recycled house, full of other people’s discarded furniture, refusing to sit or to accept any effort at hospitality.

My exemplary work ethic and record as a care worker, years spent with relief projects in War Zones, made me an excellent candidate for treatment, I was told in the Clinic’s boardroom as each legal waiver was exchanged and signed. After six hours of exhaustive tests the day before, this was undoubtedly the harder task. I understood exactly the risks involved in this treatment were not simply significant, but tangible, unavoidable and all the other terms they threw into the mix… and yet still there was disbelief at my almost cheerful willing to succumb as lab-rat.

I’m going to die in a year and can’t afford chemotherapy, which bit of I’m desperate and don’t care do you not understand?

The youngest of the lawyers stared, blonde hair almost translucent in early morning sun, expressing amazement at the lack of fear. When you’ve spent every day for thirty years living with death, watching the inhumanity of man to his brother, rationalising choice becomes surprisingly simple. She will have healthcare, a partner to look after her. If I pawned that diamond engagement ring she flaunts, it would buy food for the rest of my life with enough left over to cover funeral costs.

Everything, when you break it down, ends up a matter of perspective.


After a further week of poking and prodding, mental and physical tests seemingly without end, it is decided Max Jacobs is approved for treatment, and the black car arrives to take me away. An hour of driving in darkness brings us to the edge of the Combat Zone where it becomes apparent who my real benefactor is: fat, green military transport’s being loaded as I’m helped from my seat. Everybody else is on stretchers, making me wonder why all that time was spent addressing mental health.

It is a long, predictable flight north, across terrain inhospitable for many years, toxic forests full of beasts mutated by humanity’s stupidity. My parents had both fought in the last of the Ground Wars, scars all too obvious even as a child. They’d wanted a girl, because then she’d have avoided National Service, but instead I left them at sixteen as a conscientious deserter and never came back. Perhaps if we’d all loved each other more things could have been different. My mother died last year, lost in mental deterioration as had been the case for close to a decade.

When Dad passed in my 30’s, she’d not even asked me back for the Funeral. Instead there had come a letter, money spent in a year of excess and conspicuous consumption, before returning to work with this continent’s refugees. The faded remains of that letter shake in cold hands, words barely distinguishable. ‘Your life is what you make of it. The key to dreams is living them in every moment possible.’ My ambition, such as it was, remained simple and earnestly applied until the diagnosis: regardless of who you are, life is yours and not for others to dictate.

Grant everybody one fair chance.

It had been this ethos, the medical team stated, which sealed my participation in the project. Having spent a life allowing others opportunity to start theirs anew, it seemed only right and proper to afford that same courtesy to me. They would cure my cancer, and in exchange I would become a spokesman for this new treatment, granted to those who had worked hardest to deserve it. Except now sitting here in the belly of an aircraft, Sunday School lesson from childhood is remembered, as blood runs cold.

The Devil will tempt you with promises he cannot keep.


This mountaintop hospital is home, has been for nearly three months. Every day is the same: breakfast, exercise and thirty minutes in the Halo; bright light that surrounds, attacking disease at a molecular level. After that I am allowed to do as I wish: climbing, cycling plus countless other distractions. Anything I want is available, yet I dare not ask for a thing. Stage Three inoperable cancer was, as of this morning, downgraded to Stage Two. The facility doctors expect me to be cancer-free by the end of the year.

I knew I was cured even before the man opened his mouth.

Unseen by anyone, my mind’s transformation in the Halo spreads tentative shoots of new, unexpected awareness. Disquiet is held within: I’m beyond adept at hiding the disparity each day makes more glaring. The fatality rate here is worryingly high: the body bags in the black van leave daily, sometimes twice. I’m kept away from anyone else, distracted by an unending stream of scientists and nurses, who are clearly grateful there is no sexual desire or need to form attachments harboured within.

Being a loner was exactly what was required: I hear their thoughts, confirm belief I’m becoming insular, when nothing could be further from the truth. His body chemistry is the key my doctors whisper with glee, this unexpected set of conditions which will allow resistance to everything. The lies continue to deepen, each person living their part on cue. For a while it was body language that gave them away, a manner in speaking but today for a moment, I was able to force a doctor to utter the truth. I am being altered, cell by cell, to become Patient Zero.

Continued life expectancy, suddenly, is a hindrance.


Two weeks later, I wake to whispers: Jacobs is no longer required to remain either conscious or free, and it is time for rebellion. Testing my now quite practised skills on the nurse sent to prepare me for transfer to the Isolation Unit results in far better than expected results. Ridiculously easy to mentally manipulate, the injection meant to render me unconscious drops to the floor. If I am to escape, it will require assistance, but that is already anticipated: I send Nurse Carter away to fetch Naomi Fisher, woman in part responsible for my extraordinary recovery, who now wants this body as an experiment.

Fisher faces away, frozen solid at my bedside as I dress, mind totally blank. It takes but a moment to rearrange neurones, eliminating all ability to recall what is now being seen and heard. I’ve undergone a complete mental transformation since arrival yet crucially nobody had bothered to monitor my brain: all they cared about was resistance to cancer, which would now have been robustly tested with a range of genetically enhanced strains.

I don’t want to play God but know these people already have: control, subjugation and dominance under the flimsiest of pretexts. I’ve seen the worst the military can and have wrought, casualties of war and thoughtless arrogance. I refuse to die as so many others have been sacrificed. A real dream of peace and happiness for all could be possible with what this woman has created, but not here.

Carter has retrieved the box full of my blood samples and vaccines already crafted from a remarkable body. As each mind within the facility becomes aware of the escape in progress I shut them down, quietly calming fear in every one. My strength has always been reassurance, untroubled care: three decades of training serves me well. A hundred staff are finally silenced, happy to just stand inert as I walk out of the facility with Fisher into lengthening twilight.

She’ll return to her Military Base believing without doubt that I died in the fire.


As I instruct her to drive us away there is but brief glance back to the building, flames now consuming upper floors. There will be no fatalities: everyone lies unconscious outside, happily dreaming in the car park. When they wake it will be with no memory of what happened, or that anything was wrong. A sudden embolism ruined the project, utterly unexpected: records electronically returned to the Base Naomi calls home. I’ve been very careful not to leave a fingerprint on anything or a hair out of place. There’s still the chance they’ll come looking, but by then it will be too late.

I wonder briefly at the morality of rearranging people’s memories, controlling as I have. The engine runs as sleep instantly consumes Fisher’s consciousness, car stopped in a clearing as I make an escape. Her mind is hollow: selfish and single-minded – will remain so when she wakes. The guilt I’ve given at my death at her hands is strong enough to consume if there is a refusal to change: it will become a measure of her ability to cope. The key in her dreams has been provided, to unlock redemption in thoughts and actions. A willing mind can set a path away from evil, necessary if and when that revelation is acted upon.

I offer the possibility to be better. Grant everybody one fair chance. That was what was signed up for, and now, that is the future I will ensure takes place.


The unconscious truck driver stirs in blissful sleep as we approach the edge of the Refugee Zone, unaware he’s done a several hundred mile detour, but he’ll thank me soon enough. The undetected cancer in his pancreas is already shrinking, and when I let him go it will be to a future illness-free. He’s become Patient Zero, first recipient of the vaccine, and this isn’t a military operation any more. With me in charge, it is time to find the right people to rearrange nearly a century of civil war into something far better.

I came here, because they have nothing left to lose.

Life on Planet Groove

BIGGER

This week, I have finally been granted the free space and time to do more here than just repost poetry. In part that’s a lot to do with being able to organize myself to a reasonable standard, but it is more about how I’m adjusting to a life where games are no longer a priority. Normally, in a quiet period I would have fired up the UI and caught up: today, I need to write. It is amazing how much time gets sucked up by the desire to play, especially when content is piled on you to the point where it becomes impossible to keep up. Freeing myself from that is having unexpected and brilliant consequences.

In the last month, I’ve produced some of the best work I’ve ever written. I know that might sound like hyperbole, but deep down I know it to be true: aware that by freeing brain from the tyranny of needing to feel a part of something I already belong to, everything just gets easier. There’s another factor at play too: words are doing strange things to the very fabric of my mind. It’s not me getting all sci-fi on your arses, don’t worry. By spending every day thinking about poetry, it becomes easier. Rhymes slip with increasing ease from the fingers, the structure of pieces literally condenses in front of my eyes. I can tell what’s bad and good without the need to stress too much about content.

It is almost as if I am changing into a better writer simply by every word that’s written.

dancing_hockeyfans.gif

The problem, of course, is that pretty much everybody else judges what constitutes success by criteria that involve you making money for what you do. It doesn’t matter how good I think I am, the test comes when other people are involved. So far, at least if the Patreon rewards are an indicator, I am at least doing something right. However, that only works to a point: I didn’t want to ask people to sponsor my blogging, because I wasn’t sure where it is all going to go to begin with. However, as of next week, my gaming site becomes the #3 priority behind the personal site and this one. Yesterday, for the first time in seven years, I got more hits on the other two than I did for pixel-related observation, and I won’t lie. I was REALLY happy.

illbehereallweek.jpg

I used to really enjoy writing about Warcraft, I won’t lie. Now I’ve made a promise only to do so when I have something relevant to say or (as is the case currently) I have a Twitter Poll running. The toxic nature of a section of players won’t be going away any time soon, however many tools are put in place to prevent it. More importantly however the unstoppable juggernaut of esports simply has no appeal at all. If I have a choice to sit down I’d rather watch a film, TV show or read a book. I listen to nearly all conventional sports and don’t watch them, which allows me to write and ‘spectate’ simultaneously. Listening to esports may as well be a foreign language to me. I realise how many people are excited by this future, but as I would rather be exercising than sitting watching other people play computer games?

radcliffetried

I thought today it was worth writing all this down, for no other reason than it forms a bigger picture around why everything is shifting the way it is. I, like many other people in my Social media sphere love games, yet have decreasing amounts of time to spend playing them. Hanging around with people who do is, like it or not, a great way to still feel part of a community albeit vicariously. I’ll need to be careful in future how and what I respond to (leant that lesson now, not doing that again) but I hope I’ll still be welcome to give stuff away and hang about. There are however absolutely no illusions as to my desires. I can post motivational quotes as a way to use my extensive screenshot collection. I can try and make people think. Most importantly, as pretty much all of my friends still play, I can enjoy them doing just that, even if I don’t do so myself.

startreksideye.gif

One particular critic continues to enjoy calling me a fraud. They will be reading this post right now, and to them I’ll say what I’ve said since the first time they tried to chase me away from their game that I’ve devalued with my work. People like you are the reason I keep going. Those who think that threats, anger and their own narrow mindedness will eventually win and people like me will leave… well, nope, still not happening. My next plan, all things being equal, is to work towards becoming Twitter verified and when that happens, I have no doubt nothing at all will change. The bad people don’t go away, you cannot just click fingers and remove all sources of grief from your existence.

I like what is happening here, and long may it continue.

August’s Book of the Month

This Month's Content

August’s featured text is ‘Consider Her Ways and Others’ by John Wyndham.
You can buy it here.

Each month, the Internet of Words presents a selection of content: fiction, essays, poetry and non-fiction, inspired and directly influenced by our Book of the Month.

To learn more about what you can expect, please read this.



Available Next Month:

2nd August

Understanding Wyndham: Described by Stephen King as ‘perhaps the best writer of science fiction England has ever produced’ we explain who Wyndham was and how his craft was influenced by the two World Wars he lived through…

Click here for the full essay.

9th August

Consider the Future: Consider Her Ways quite literately changed my life when I first read it in my early teens. Over thirty years on, the story of ‘a world without men’ is still relevant, funny and ultimately believable…

Click here for the full essay.

16th August

A Master of Storytelling: The remaining fives stories that make up this anthology are all miniature classics in their own rights. We discuss them all, and how they are indicative of Wyndham’s larger body of work…

Click here for the full essay.

23rd August

Soft Reboot: In a future where men are grown yet women are created, a fledgling AI makes a tentative pact with a disabled girl to advance the human race…

Click here for the short story.


patreoncontent

All the exclusive Patreon content this month will be poetry-based, with subject matter inspired by themes from four of the six short stories in the collection:

Odd

Stitch in Time

Random Quest

A Long Spoon

Pledges for the site begin at only $2, which grants you full access to all exclusive material.

Click here to become a Patreon

GSME #19 :: Ready to Go

social-media-asides

I am finally preparing myself for the inevitable: producing a Tweet for the sole purpose of promoting. I’ve been doing some research and it is going to need not simply a straight verbatim reproduction of hashtags and the right combination of words. In fact, to get this message to not only be noticed but pay for itself, there are a positive plethora of guides available to insure I get the ‘point.’

safetweet
From https://smartbirdsocial.net/get-your-tweets-noticed/

It isn’t however just the Tweet that matters. If I’m going to do this and make the maximum amount of mileage from the process, EVERYTHING needs a redesign. That will require a new Twitter header, alteration of my biography… in fact, pretty much the entire picture needs a once over to maximise the impact of dropping cash. For someone who is really not that fussed at all about their own self image, I understand only too well how much the virtual one matters. It’s a continuous, constant reassessment of multiple platforms: what looks best, what is attractive to the majority (and not you) and how to use the right combination of image ad word to make your ‘brand’ stand out.

Like it or not, I am a Brand, which means it is time to learn to sell myself.

3c96e-riskreward

I love this graphic, and for many years the concept operated as a benchmark in my gaming existence: is the effort expended enough to balance my final outcome? Will I, once I decide on the budget for reach of my Tweet, pick the right ‘marketplace’ to shove it in? Well, that’s easy. I have a focus, know which accounts I’m looking to use as an indicator of what constitutes the right space to ‘sell’ in. After that, this is the biggest fumble in the dark I’ve ever made. You can just take the money and hope. It is like everything else in life: you don’t take the chance, you’ll never know.

its_a_trap_star_wars

At least I’m finally getting the hang of the engagement game.

260717

It might be up and down like a fiddlers elbow, but the trend is positive. The days I don’t do polls, or I take time off to be elsewhere than Social media are now utterly apparent. Of course, there will be those reading this crying foul and accusing me of manipulation people for my own ends… ah yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I am so good at making random individuals bow to my will that yeah, just having these ideas should be enough to render me capable of millionaire status overnight. Except clearly I’m not rich, and people have to want to be part of your scheme. It is a fuck of a lot of extremely hard work and listening to people who know what they are doing. That’s how I’ve got here.

Hard work and good advice are really what matters at this stage, and I’m ready with both. You can watch the changes take place in the next few weeks and then, it’ll be time to start the self-promotion bandwagon on its way…

Forget You

Origins

This is not the post I intended to write, but is probably the one that ought to be written.

I have a terrible memory: I make no bones about this, and it has always been this way. When bad stuff happens my brain, almost as a defence mechanism, shuts down. This is particularly true when I’m stressed or in confrontational situations: forgetting what I’ve said in the heat of an argument, because it is impossible for instant recall to operate successfully. This means over the years that my chronology of how stuff has played out is less than reliable, and if asked to go back major incidents… well, I can’t. Only recently did I grasp why this was, and that I was the one to blame.

I do know however that, in my fifty years so far on this planet, I rarely covered myself in glory until becoming a Mother. When that happened, everything changed. The selfish part of my personality had no choice than to accept the situation I was in. The decision  was simple: change your ways, or everything will play out as it did, and you do NOT want that for your kids. There are a couple of moments in the last sixteen years therefore that I will not allow myself to ever forget, because I learnt to remember. My brain is now more alert and capable than it was in my teens. I grasped that change was possible.

Those people who know me now would I suspect not recognise the person I was in my twenties. I’m not sure I’m even proud or comfortable going back to that period even mentally more than once a week. It has been tough, when compiling a chronology, to avoid words like selfish, thoughtless and arrogant. So much of other people’s lives these days is revisionist for a reason: you were young, everybody’s allowed to be human… but I don’t like the idea that somehow, this is acceptable as an excuse any more. I was a terrible, horrible person back then. It’s not me being hard on myself. It’s a fact.

I have a hard time with the notion that people can change, even though I know it is possible, as I alter almost daily. However, there’s finally some sound thinking behind the reasoning: knowing exactly how much work is required to make that happen, what has to be sacrificed to get to the stage where you have nothing left to lose… that’s never a journey I’d send anyone else on. I couldn’t, am nowhere near qualified to do so. Only when you’ve decided that living is better than the alternative for yourself comes the realisation that to find redemption is worth the effort.

You can tell someone death isn’t their answer, but to have them believe you? That is out of your hands. I know enough people who have lost part of their heart to suicide to grasp that side of the coin: I flipped it a few times, but I never called the outcome because, in the end, I finally understood that the way out really was my path to define. Once I was able to conquer the fears that had quite literally been beaten into me, the rest seemed… well, easy by comparison. Everything is simple when the emotion and anger is taken away. Yet still, I get haunted by echoes of that past.

I wanted to write for as long as I could remember because those stories were what kept me alive and sane. In a way, that’s still the case: when I need to exercise for an hour and every muscle aches, I’ll vanish into my head and recall a story I’m working on, or a script I’d love to write. My imagination, after all these years, still provides the vital support required to allow me to function as a human being. Without that internal strength, lost in my teens and finally recovered in my early 40’s, I’d not be here today.

As I continue this journey, I don’t want it to be just about the positives. My life is not some hugely redemptive or inspirational journey. There are low points, people I never want to speak to again, parts of my life that can stay exactly where they were left to never be touched again. This is not about making some big deal of that stuff either, but to pretend it never took place is ignoring a vital part of what has become my fuel, means by which I can finally create some measure of peace and stability.

Next week I’ll write about my first experiences with words and the Internet, but for now, I want to make sure the pictures I’m painting are clear. Someone called into question the way I’d presented a part of their chronology in relation to me a while back, took issue at the manner in which I’d presented a situation, as if I’d somehow intentionally removed what they saw as their influence from my life. The truth is, for about forty five years of the last half century, I’ve let no-one really close to me except my husband. If you called me a friend up until a couple of years ago, it was a quite carefully engineered, one sided affair. For that I am very sorry.

Only when I felt confident enough to reach out to someone did that situation change. I’m still pretty much fumbling in the dark, inspired by others on an almost daily basis. I have nobody that remains as a contact from school, college or two decades of fandom. Everybody has been left behind, by my own choice, because I could not find a way to comfortably communicate with anyone as I was. I’m still learning, pretty much every day and even now the people I’d consider close don’t need a full hand to count.

However, the difference between before and now is that I feel I could pick up the phone and talk to any of my friends without a panic attack or not understanding how they felt in return. I feel truly relaxed and myself when in the same room. That has nothing at all to do with them, of course, and everything in the world to do with me. In all of this, I have been the problem. Its why I don’t talk about the past very much because… well, I was a terrible friend. I’m better now, so let me just take responsibility for how badly that all worked out and just move on.

There is an almost certain inevitability that if things go the way I hope, I’m going to have to deal with someone from that past in the future. When that happens, I’ll cope a damn sight better than I ever did before. Until it happens, I’m going to lay it all on the line here, for anyone to read. I’ll never name names, and never have, because nobody else in any of this is to blame. I was the one who caused your issues, with one key exception. It is probably why now the notion of Internet drama makes me laugh, because these are tiny drops in enormous ponds and really, truthfully, nothing matters unless you’ve been  really stupid. Then, you’re on your own.

If you’re going to live your life in public, be ready for every consequence that involves, including the very real possibility your past is not only reading, but waiting for the right moment to return and make existence living hell. I’m ready to do this. Honestly, there’s nothing now I won’t be able to cope with.

Give it your best shot.