The Great Divide

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I have lost friends over this.  I have stopped talking to people.  My circle is tiny now.  There are maybe a handful of people I can call friends.

My worst fear is abandonment.  I feel like once someone gets to know me, they leave.  Either by moving away, by going silent, by ignoring me, etc.  I have been left to many times by people I care about.  I can’t just stop caring about those people, but either they leave me or I have to leave them to be healthy.  When I have to leave, it’s because they want to rely on me to help them out of their emotional hole.  Yet they are unable or unwilling to help themselves.  I can not be dragged down into their despair because I have my own to deal with.  I want to help those I care about, but if they are not willing to put in the effort, what is the point?  I can’t solve problems of others, I can only offer help.  When I see they are trying to pull me down with them, I have to leave.

I wonder if people feel the same way about me and leave me because of the same reasons.  I like to think that I do not try to pull people down with me.  I like to think that I try to fix my own issues and just need someone to listen and acknowledge me from time to time.  I just don’t know.  But I no longer have the friends I use to.  The ones I still have that I consider close are physically so far away.  The ones that are close by physically are new friends that don’t really know me.  That is not their fault though.  I don’t really open up like I use to anymore.  I don’t want to risk being hurt again.  It has happened too much.  I do not want to open up, just to be abandoned like others have done.

I feel stuck, I want close friends again, but either they are unable to or I am unable to open up.  It makes me feel alone a lot.  I know only I can change this, but it doesn’t make the feeling of despair go away.  There is a great divide that seems hard to cross.

Is it worth it?

Often I find myself asking the question “is it worth it” when deciding to say something.  When faced with the potential of backlash, bad reactions, misunderstandings and possible ridicule, I have to weigh in if it’s worth saying something.  I am unique in how I think and feel, so much that I find it hard to find others who agree with my opinions.  I also have little to no patience or sympathy for those unwilling to listen to what I have to say.

I tend to “ghost” when I feel that a person or a group becomes unsafe because of the things they say or share.  And I’m not talking about general disagreements.  Disagreements are to be expected between individuals.  Constructive criticism and disagreement can be helpful and healthy to a conversation.  But sometimes those disagreements turn into threats.  Even mentioning that it’s a perceived threat is, more often than not, met with negativity or completely ignored as if the feelings don’t matter.

Overtime I have grown to be very impatient with people who ignore this or jump down someone’s throat when someone else is offended.  Yes there are those who go completely out of control when offended.  But anymore when it is just a mere mention of it, it turns into a victim blame game where the offended is the offender.  Of course the person who offended originally will usually start this.  In some cases it becomes the entire group blaming the victim.

I constantly think about weather it’s worth it to bring up if something offends or threatens.  I’ve become silent when I needed to speak.  Missing when I needed to stand up for myself.  I have to measure my emotional state to see if it’s worth getting hurt just to be who I am and not let someone stomp on that.  I do not give up on all my fights.  I fight where it’s most important.  But I do not have the time or patience to fight where the ends to not justify the means.

Some people are just not worth wasting energy on proving that I am who I am and they are not going to step on me.  I will leave if I feel as if they are doing this.  It sucks because I miss out on conversations with others in that group.  But I have to think about my mental health and well being.  If it feels unsafe, I leave.  I get enough crap as it is fighting for who I am.  I will not deal with it where I do not feel it’s worth dealing with.

Obsession

Disclaimer: I do not have a degree in psychology or any sort of training relating to it.  These are my own experiences and opinions.  They should be treated as such.

It happens to us from time to time.  We get overly excited about one thing or another and can sometimes become overly enthusiastic about it.  Even to the point of obsession.  For a lot of people it’s an escape from their reality.  A focus on something that makes them happy, gives pleasure, etc.  at the cost of other things in their life.  Obsession, I believe, can be both good and bad depending on the severity.  The word and its context usually implies something negative, but when harnessed and kept in check, can lead to great things.

I was obsessed with gaming.  I loved the community that I built around me and still do.  I loved being in the know about things coming down the pipe, meeting new people just as obsessed as I was, and it helped me not think about all the other bad things going on in my life.  I was able to escape and feel purposeful in the things I did.  For every team victory, every level beaten, every game finished, I felt like I accomplished something.  For a while it satiated my need to feel I am moving forward.  In reality I was standing still with other important parts of my life.

I ignored my mental problems, I ignored the fact that I didn’t feel right in my own skin.  I ignored that I was miserable when not gaming.  I ignored relationship problems, my health, my career goals.  All I wanted to do was play games for hours.  The plus side was I never felt alone.  I had lots of friends to talk to online.  Lots of people to spend time with, game, or just have social interaction in general.   Deep down though, I was unhappy and had emotional issues.  The obsession helped me not have to think about or deal with these problems.

But eventually those problems become to big to ignore.

Most people who read my blog know what happened when I started to listen to myself and start caring about myself.  So I will not go into that here.  Obsession lead to making me blind to the issues I really needed to deal with.  But, without that obsession, I would not have the friends I have now.  I would not have had the experiences with those friends.  I will never forget the fun I had playing Smite and having victories, playing Mega Man Death Match with my podcast friends.  I would not have made the connections that I continue to have with them.

I regret the negatives of my obsession, but I can not discount the positives I gained from it.  I am happy I realized that my obsession was an issue.  I still game, I still stream, but life is much fuller and balanced.  I will always have some obsession, something I strive for.  Where would we be without some kind of goal?  But I feel this time I am more aware of myself and my need to do things I love.  Obsession can lead to great things, but must not takeover and make us blind to the other things in our lives.

Gaming Friends, a letter to you.

I use to game a whole lot as a lot of you know.  I loved when I would stream and have the company of people all over the nation and sometimes world.  It’s fun having that company while gaming and it also helped my social skills.  When I’m not anxious, I am able to just talk to people, even if it’s just a little bit.  Gaming became an obsession.  Come home, hop on the computer and start playing something.  I spent HOURS on games like Smite, Minecraft, various platformers, Star Trek online, and the list goes on.  I also really enjoyed having a collection of retro games and collecting more systems, games, etc.  Was a part of a fun podcast where we talked about games, the gaming industry, shared opinions and just generally had fun with our passion.

Lots of things have changed.  Am I still a gamer, but I haven’t played them very much lately.  Most of you already know why.  But I do miss the community I had helped build.  I am very much still a part of it in some ways, but I feel like I’m being left further and further behind as far as game experiences go.  I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing though.  The obsession I had, for me personally, was not healthy or maintainable.  I spent most of my time gaming and much less on doing anything else.  I was letting life pass me by as I mined endlessly for diamonds or spent hours in online arena battles.  And when not doing that, I was watching stream after stream after stream while doing those other things.  It’s just not maintainable for me anymore.

I love to stream and share experiences with friends.  I love to watch streams and spend time with online friends where we wouldn’t get to hang out otherwise.  I loved making and creating and entertaining when I could.  I loved the jokes, the laughs, the research, the sharing of ideas, all of the social aspects of gaming.  That is what I miss most.  The games are really just a means to an end.  I am a very social gamer.  I want to play with others, not just by myself.  It’s depressing to game alone.  I want to have that fun social interaction with the passions we share.

It’s just not possible to do that anymore.  I am in love with someone very special to me and want to experience more things with her.  I have so many other things going on in “RL” as we all say.  I am getting some of the same social experiences I was getting before without gaming.  I don’t think I will ever stream again.  I try to catch a stream when I can.  I still enjoy the company and conversations I have on occasion with my gaming friends.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss you all.  I am still here and love you all the same as before.  I wish I had more time to spend with you all like before.  But life has changed so much.  I am a much happier person after making some major life changes.  I would not trade it for anything.  But I have not forgotten about you all.  I hope that you have not forgotten about me.

Anniversary Post

I can’t believe it’s been a year already and I am still writing here. Since then lots of things have changed. I am still living at the same place, but the home is much different. Lost a wife, stopped having a youtube channel, stopped streaming on twitch, watched a great podcast go to the wayside. I love myself and have fixed so many issues in my life.

I don’t miss my ex anymore. I realized that I was settling for less than I deserve. I still think about her and worry about her, but its a fleeting thought. All she is to me now are memories and lessons learned.

I stopped having a youtube and twitch channel. I just don’t have the time or energy for it. I do miss it from time to time. My focus now is on the wonderful person in my life and sharing in the experiences we have. I still love video games, but I no longer feel compelled to stream them. I do however miss my online friends and sharing time with them in that way.

Being tired is now a normal thing. I am always tired, but I am happy. I get a lot of sleep when I am not staying up all night talking or having fun time with my girlfriend. I still need to work on my career goals and get my certifications, but I no longer have to change jobs. I am accepted up here, well, at least in my own department. I am the first transgender woman to come out at my place of work and its not been a big deal. I do wish that others in this place were more accepting. Other departments are not as nice, but I remember to stand my ground and remember they can’t make me less of a woman by their words.

It is dangerous to live here. Sometimes I forget that because I can pass as female most of the time. That’s not a luxury that my other trans friends have. A friend recently was on tv and talked about the bathroom bills and what not. The hateful comments from the idiots who live here makes me feel unsafe. My girlfriend worries for me, but unlike before, is willing to protect me and help other trans people. She has a huge heart.

Hard to believe a year has passed already. The journey has been easier in spots and hard in others. I am happy that I have the support of most of my friends and family. And I have made new friends along the way. It has been amazing so far. I am no longer depressed, anxiety doesn’t control me. I look in the mirror and see Sara, not that other person from before. I no longer have to live a lie. I am me, no one can change that.

Reflection

As I was cleaning up my desk today, I found something I had wrote on several months ago: 

I feel alone, I feel I am an irritation to others, I want to cry, I don’t want to work on anything, My throat hurts, my head hurts, I want to go home, lock the door and hide from the world.  

A few months ago I was not okay.  I was hurt, felt abandoned, felt like I had no place to turn to and I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.  Those feelings seem distant and fleeting.  I still get depressed from time to time, but no where near what it use to be.  I have an abundance of love around me from friends, family and extended family.

Love lost meaning to me for a long time.  Before my first marriage, I had dated and gone out with several girls, but nothing that lasted.  I wanted to find that kind of love from someone.  The kind that is unconditional, the kind you get from someone special.  I thought I had found that.  For the first few years of the relationship I though I understood what love was.  Eventually that faded and the I love you’s became habit and lost all meaning.  Despite that I was still willing to try.  To try and make things better, to deepen the feelings and make them meaningful.  I am not perfect, but I sacrificed a big part of myself to try and make that work.

I realized that its hard to love someone when you do not love yourself.  I started trying to change that.  I started trying to accept who I really am.  Apparently this was too much for the person I was with.  She did not love me despite my flaws.  I was “too much” or “she could not handle someone like me”.  It made me realize that the love she said she had for me was not really there.  I was destroyed for a long time.  Lost and didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to just be alone and suffer.

Luckily I could not let things stay that way.  I went out, tried to meet people at social groups.  Sure it was a BDSM group, but I had to explore the other parts of me that I had hidden away to please someone else.  I started talking to some people.  One person saw I needed help and decided to do something.  So far she has helped me to redefine what love is.  This may or may not have been her intention, but that was the result.  Her family and friends, her unconditional love and affection have helped me realize that I haven’t really known love for a long time.  It’s helped me in my other relationships and helped in building others.  Talking to other people seems easier now with a bit of the self love I’ve gained.

I still have self doubt and some depression.  I know I am not out of the woods yet.  But instead of stumbling in the dark, I have tools to see through and a person to help guide me on to brighter pastures.

Shaping

I’ve thought a lot about this lately and have many questions running around my head.  Did I ever really grow up?  What does being an adult really mean other than having added responsibilities?

Experience.

Not easily trusting others, remembering the past so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes (or remembering after the fact), knowing generally what to expect from common situations, knowing what is expected.  Its experiences we have had coupled with how we learned to deal with them (for better or worse).  Our childhood experiences shape how we are as adults.  Especially our quirks.  I wonder to myself what did I experience to want, need or act a certain way.

We are all born with genetic personality traits.  How that is developed as we grow up, determines what kind of personality we have.  You can have a outgoing personality genetically, but if you were abused mentally or physically, the personality traits will be vastly different as opposed to not being abused.

Experience shapes and continues to shape who we are.  The good thing about experience is that it can change.  We are constantly remolded by experience.  Our past scars can be healed through better experiences.  Bad memories can stay as they are, memories.  New experiences replace or overlap the bad ones and can help shape you.

Its often hard to see the forest for the trees.  But when you realize that your experiences are not helping you, its best to find new things to experience.  Those bad memories don’t have to haunt you forever.  They will never leave you, but they don’t have to be the only thing that determines who you are.