My Gaia History I joined Gaia in early of 2006.
When I joined, originally it was simply to play the fishing flash game they have, back then Gaia wasn't much more then that to me, a place to come and relax and fish a little. It was my little get away from World of Warcraft. Honestly there was not a whole lot of stuff to do on Gaia then besides fish or post.
After a few weeks of fishing by my lonesome or with random friendly strangers in the chatroom style fishing game, I met a cool guy who had an awesome looking avatar. He explained a few things about Gaia and introduced me to the forums. Specifically the Chatterbox.
Keep in mind, back then Gaia was a hugely different place. The chatterbox was not full of what it is now, and I think you know what I mean.
I usually kept to myself in the CB back then, and just bumped for gold. Gold was not an easy thing to come by back then, at all. So I worked my butt off fishing and bumping away, believe it or not this was relaxing to me.
Then after a week or two, I began to browse some of the other threads that kept coming up in the Chatterbox. It almost became overflowed with what could now be termed as light roleplay threads because most people then just used a kind of short, and to the point style of rp posting, not the long winded hardcore style. I came to fall in love with most of these threads, not because of the format or content, but because of the people.
The people in these threads and on gaia in general were so warm and inviting to a new user such as myself back then. They were encouraging, helpful, friendly and above all polite and would talk to anyone about anything and were so cheerful about it all. I really miss those people and all the good times we had.
It seems like these days everyone thinks its cool to be pretentious, rude, and borderline sociopath. The chatterbox wont ever be how it used to, but I can hope someday people will become polite, joyful, and friendly again. Someday.
The Real Me I'd like to think that deep down, I'm just that small town boy that grew up with dreams of being a hero and helping others. Not some comic book strong man. Just someone that people can look up to, and say, "I'm glad that I know you and I am proud of you."
The reality though of course isn't as beautiful and pleasant as we want it to be.
I consider my life an open book. Why? Because no matter how painful, ugly, and shameful it might be, if in any small way what I have experienced in my life can help someone else, then I would gladly bear that pain, that ugliness and that shame for you. Keep this in mind if you decide to continue reading. For this is truly what life is, pain..hurt..shame...but that is not all life is. Life is also beautiful, full of amazing people that would risk everything if it meant saving someone else. Full of grace, wonder, and amazement. To simply be alive unto itself is a miracle.
I grew up in a small town, at the time being just a young boy, I was not aware of how much suffering there was in the world. Living in a small town bubble unawares to the outside world. A happy child, with my mother and siblings. A free spirit, joyous and innocent. The only things I worried about then were my older brother, and sisters, trying to shield them from our physically and verbally abusive mother.
I was the youngest of us all, but I wasn't so naive that I couldn't see the pain they were suffering, though awfully blind to my own. I soon found myself trying my hardest to deflect any sort of punishment my older siblings received unto myself by way of just talking to my mother or distracting her as best I could when she was in one of her feared rampages. I was the youngest in my family then, perhaps five or six, so my mother was easier on me then my older siblings, but no less severe in her punishments.
I will spare you the details of what she did to me and my siblings but it was bad enough that I somehow repressed most of it. I did not realize this at the time but everyone that saw me might have assumed I was a happy go lucky kid, but deep down, it was gnawing at me, grinding me down. Slowly it chipped away at my innocent care free spirit and turned me into an angry, spiteful, introverted young man. All of us felt it, my brothers, sisters and I. We became less and less connected as a siblings through this process. The only ones we had to confide in was ourselves.
As I grew into my teenage years it was no less difficult. The physical abuse became less frequent but the verbal abuse became much more aggressive.
I began to believe that I was worthless, a nothing, worse then an animal, lower then a dog in my own mothers words that I can still hear ringing in my ears today.
I slowly drifted away from each of my family members, bottling all the rage and anger and pain and hurt into a tiny place in my mind where it couldn't break free. I found myself in adulthood completely alone in the world, angry at everything and everyone. An emotionless person who found no joy in anything they tried. I was so angry, so painfully hurt that to try and describe my feelings of sadness and loneliness on my own was an impossible task.
Eventually one day either my mind or my body or both could finally no longer stand it. The thing is at that time I did not even realize what was wrong with me. I just knew something was not right, and there was no fix for it. And so I tried to take my own life. Not once but on three separate occasions.
The first time was never documented and I just continued on living afterwords, wondering why I was still alive and still hoping..no, pleading for death. You see it was too much for me to bear alone. 23 long years hiding away all the memories of physical and mental abuse into the bottle in my mind took its toll and the bottle shattered, as did I.
The second time I attempted to take my own life was when I believed I had found love. I was working again and I thought I was finally going to be okay, still alone but for the first time in my life I had someone else that cared about me as much as I did them. I was wrong. I moved many states away and tried to begin a new life working where she was to be with her, but in the end she rejected me for who I was, and the love that I thought was there, was not. The mended bottle that i thought I had glued together again shattered for the second time, this time I went to a state hospital, having a complete physical and mental breakdown. In fact I thought I was going insane.
After my brief stay in the state hospital for attempted suicide and mental instability I was released and returned to my home state. Again the wound in my soul was not healed, but temporarily stopped from bleeding. Again I found myself alone, angry, sad, but I hoped for the best and began trying to live again. I found a good job, a nice boss, friendly co-workers. Got a nice apartment and steadily lived life as if nothing had happened. As I continued down this path again I hid the shame of being abused, my shame of being a wounded person on the inside, and I played the part that everyone wanted. I was the nice guy, working a good job with no problems in the world, except the ones that kept me awake every night. That woke me in the middle of the night, covered with sweat, reliving past memories I had long forgotten existed, or perhaps more accurately, refused to acknowledge existed.
So after some time of this daily routine of waking, eating, working, sleeping, I began to feel again that empty void inside of me growing larger and larger. Each day it became harder and harder to keep on smiling for everyone. And so again I tried to leave this place and take my own life. I am glad to say however I was unsuccessful, and finally found the help that i had needed. I found great doctors that actually got to the root of what was destroying me from the inside out.
And with that I am finally able to tell you these things. Only because of the grace of others am I here today. The painful look in their eyes that I once mistook for pity, I now realize was compassion. So I say this to you, reader, If you feel alone..you are not. If you feel powerless, you are not. It is the hardest thing in the entire world, so simple as it yet may be, to ask for help. But believe me...there are those out there that will help you. I won't sugar coat it and say their aren't bad people out there, but there are good ones too..you just have to keep looking, and never give up on yourself. Do not live for anyone but you. Walk with your head held high, because what you think cant be fixed, can. Without I hope sounding too cliche..just hold out your hand, and I will take it and together we will move forward and face whatever may come together.