I remember a time when I used to log on every day, every chance I got.
First thing I would do was go to Towns.
Right there, in my Directory Favorites, Rats Bar. Off I went....
There would always be someone there,
Skipply, Queen, Meteos, Zen... someone. Anyone.
Always someone sitting there, ready to tell their day's story.
Their troubles. Their opinions. Their randoms. Never a dull conversation.
It was the weirdest thing really. This random assortment of people.
It was almost like we were some sort of ******** up family.
But a family nonetheless.
A shoulder to cry on. A solution to personal problems. An outlet for anger.
One could tell almost anything to the people who hung out at Rats.
It didn't matter how we looked like in real life, or what we did outside of Gaia.
All that mattered was that we were all friends,
And when the real world seemed to turn against us,
We could always count on going to Rats for sanctuary.
Now, Pocky stands in front of Rats. Alone.
For eight years, I have kept watch over this pixel patch of earth.
For eight years, I have waited for someone to return.
For eight years, I have logged on only to be greeted by silence.
For eight years, I reviewed pass chats and comments to relive the old days.
For eight years, I commented on old profiles, hoping for a response.
For eight years, I recited the history of the Emos of Rats to those who would listen.
For eight years, I have tried to keep the echoes of my friends alive.
For eight years...I have waited for her. Right here. For eight years.
My duty has become my curse. No matter how many times I have tried to leave this ******** place behind, the nostalgia keeps overwhelming me, forcing me to return.
I keep hoping, praying even, that someone else would return to keep the stories going.
I pray even more, that she would log on one of these days, and relieve me of this curse.
Something, anything, to justify that the time I have spent here, the emotions I have felt, the people I have met....To justify that it meant something, that it was worth something in the end.
The seemingly endless nights I sat in front of a glaring monitor, waiting. Hoping.
The times I would wander aimlessly in and out of topics, searching. Praying.
The moments when I dared to look back on my past comment pages....
...the slight taste of regret, but ultimately feeling proud of how much I have matured.
I will continue to log on. I will continue to check on Rats Bar. I will keep this sanctuary alive, along with the memories it holds.
Because for me, Gaia is more than a social website.
This place, the people and their struggles....I can't describe the feeling...
But during a critical time in my life, this place provided not just friends...
...but also Love.
And I will keep struggling to keep that feeling alive.
I wanted to repost this entry again, after all these years, as a reminder,
and a warning.
To whom, I wonder. I hope that this reaches the right people, but I'm pretty sure I may just be talking to myself.
Or more accurately, whenever my future self decides to look upon this empty grave once again.
Anyway. To whoever this concerns:
Stop chasing ghosts.
Sure, cling onto the memories that you cherish, but don't just sit there trying to recreate a past that can no longer be reclaimed.
Use those memories to pave a better future for yourself.
Use them to keep moving forward, no matter the condition your world is in.
Because if you keep coming back here, you'll be doomed to become just as stagnant as the dead accounts on this site.
And trust me, you're better off not carrying such a tombstone on your back.
It took me many, many years to figure it out, and hell, maybe I'm still figuring it out.
But this place should be treated like an old guide post on a mountain pathway.
You know, something you can look back on and say, "Wow, I've come a long way from that point."
Or realistically, "Sweet Jesus, I was ******** cringe af back then, huh."
We should always be striving for that summit of our mountains, though, and it would be kind of a shame (and a waste of time) if we kept trudging back this place, this old guidepost, after all that effort.
You can try and envision this place as I have; a grave for my past persona.
For Pocky died long ago, there in the warm February sun, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
He died the moment she said "Who are you again?"
With that quiet death, a realization.
That, yes, the past can fuel your future.
But obsession with that past...well that's a poison that keeps on giving.
Pocky used that mirage of love to get through some tough times, sure.
But he failed to conjure up love for anything else. Especially for himself.
So he died, and kept on dying whenever he realized that all that waiting, all that daydreaming and speech rehearsing, was for nothing.
So keep moving forward, okay?
Remember the good times, the meh times, the shitty times, and the totally absurd times spent here.
Remember the people; the besties, the trolls, the cybering noobs, all of them.
Remember the feelings and lessons that this place gave you with fondness, and wear the scars it inflicted upon you with pride.
But do not let the memories rule over you. My brother in Christ, do not.
Look back with a smile and laugh,
and turn your gaze toward the crest of that mountain.
Mount up buttercup, we still have a ways to go.
Its about 0330 in the morning, 24th of April, 2022.
The official piano version of Shelter is playing through the speakers,
as the soft patter of rain and chirping of frogs continue through my window.
I'm tired, but still looking forward to the sunrise.