I've been absent from TAY for a while, and possibly for a valid reason. It's because Dyram smells (but not really, you are pleasantly fragrant). I took a step back from online communities and attempted to branch out to more social pursuits - specifically, larping and politics. But try as I might, it just didn't take.
Larping, I thought, would be a new permanent hobby of mine. At first, I thought it was a great community full of interesting people, and to a limited extent, that's true. As I got more into it though, I realized it was quite the toxic environment... Much like the whole GamerGate thing, where you had feminist bloggers vs. conservative bloggers and a large group of gamers shouting, "Can you please fuck off?", this larp was similarly plagued by a leadership group that zealously believed in the equity model of social justice (that is, the people with the most disadvantages get the most rights and priviledges), and a group of players (mostly gamers and airsoft enthusiasts) who zealously believed in the equality model of social justice (everyone is equal). It took a lot of fighting to boil it down to such simple terms, but in the end, there was just so much anger that my attempts to create common ground were met with animosity; though if you know my typical methods of handling social issues, you probably know why me being the flagbearer of peace was a shitty idea on my part. I wound up hated by all but the few involved who liked what I was trying to do, and the serious lack of maturity and ability to compromise in this particular community will stand as my new poster example of why diplomacy can't always work.
My attempts to get into politics are similarly turbulent... I've been trying to get involved with my party, but after hundreds of phonecall and e-mails, I've come to realize it's a similar clusterfuck; a party on the verge of splitting up, with too many different ideologies and goals marching under one banner. For now, I'll either step back... Or light a match and hope it doesn't blow up in my face (and it will, because seriously, it's PHC here).
But that got me thinking... For the longest time, I assumed I was unhappy because I was so isolated. I grew up that way. I was always an outsider at school, with no real friends, with no teachers trying to get me involved... And with lots of fights, where I'd either be defenseless or punished for defending myself. When I finally found a social group to get involved with though, it contained some of the most vile, vindictive, unlikeable people I've ever met. I was less happy hanging out with these people than I was at home, cocooned in a blanket with Netflix and a bag of chips.
So I realized... If being alone makes me happy, if being surrounded by books and movies and games and other amazing solitary pursuits makes me feel good about myself... I ought to be okay with that. :> I decided to restructure my life such that I get my close friends closer than ever, and that I'm able to expell the shitty, negative people from my existence if I choose to. And so I've returned to TAY. To all you folks, new and old, I carry a special affection for you in my heart. When my fiance and I livestream our wedding for her relatives in Australia, I will link it here to share some of my happiness with the people I value. I look forward to creating some happiness on this website, and I hope I've found enough inner peace that the vitriolic diatribe does not return - especially now that I've seen how ugly it makes people.
Especially to those of you that think you're shit because you stay inside on a Friday night... You're not. Just be yourself. Do what makes you happy. There's nothing wrong with that, and as long as people like us survive on the internet, I think we can help make each other stronger.