I have to say I was very encouraged by the comments I received in my last entry... I was starting to think I'm a little too grown-up for this site. That at eighteen, I'm no longer like the slightly younger crowd such as swimmerguy and ferrets, and neither part of the older mentoring bunch that belongs to jeff, pat and ox. For a while, I did feel a little displaced. Yet the irony is, I have been here since I was thirteen or fourteen, and I could identify with the issues faced by the younger crowd; and starting to gain the insight of the latter. But somehow I felt stuck in the middle.
I'm not really one to write things like this - personal responses about this site - with names and recounting and such of people and past events. This site for me, is really just a realm that casts some light which shines onto my real one. It's a place where I throw my thoughts, memories, and emotions from the 'real' world into - and let it sit there - and hopefully people will also respond to them. While this place surely holds significance in my real life, I'm not one to really acknowledge them and reiterate it here - as I feel it a little absurd. This is a place to hold my thoughts and memories, not create more of it.
Of course, that doesn't mean I don't give feedback and offer my advice to other people, in fact it's the opposite. I realised one day the number of journals I post have dropped significantly, and my posts on other people's journals have increased (relatively). After some thought, I realised maybe it was because I feel a sense of apathy or self-sufficiency towards my problems - that being able to generate my own advice defeats the purpose of posting a journal. Instead, I find it encouraging how much I can relate to some of the entries that are posted - of course everyone's situation is different - but I can remember a time in my life, or even recall a very similar entry I've posted to some journals I read. The deja vu is weird but useful at the same time. I feel I could give them something I learnt from the past. Maybe that explains why my posts have increased and my journals have decreased in number. I sought to answer more than ask questions. With time, I suppose the urgency for me to post something (that is original and new and previously unexperienced in my life) became an ever diminishing occurence. Of course, a secondary reason is the who-I-am dilemma, unable to identify with the site as much as I used to. I felt people cared less about what I had to say - even I wasn't as interested as I used to be - I felt complacent.
And that was when I started wondering if that's what I wanted. A lot of people sort of drifted away from this place after a while. People before you and before me. People who are no longer active. People who were my age when I was still a confused teenager who stumbled upon a Time Magazine article mentioning here. I remember thinking how long it'd take for me to be like them - four years seemed like a long time. And now they're gone, and I'm sort of in their place.
I remember being merely fourteen, a little while after I joined, when I met up with someone from this site - he was eighteen. He was the only other New Zealander really active on this site and I could not really grasp the impact of this site until you realise words really aren't just words - they are a person, flesh behind a screen typing away, who feels, and has a history behind them too. I was shy back then, we had lunch together, I didn't know what to expect - but he was so very supportive.
I don't want to just disappear. This is an amazing place, a very supportive place, where I can always post anything. When I was much younger I've always vented my frustration here. While the people have changed and I no longer mention it, it doesn't change the fact that this site has been there for me. Not just about coming to terms with being gay but also broken friendships, my initial cultural displacement in a different country, coping with my parent's divorce, a long period of self-harm, having to live away from my parents from ten-years-old, hectic relationships and so on... Things I no longer mention frequently or at all - and rightfully. I've moved on. But it's this site which has been a permanent fixture in my life that helped me through a lot of it.
But I've stopped doing that with new things in my life, for reasons said and not said. But I want to continue. And I want to remain part of it and help people be part of it.