Probably should have PMed a mod to see if this thread is fair game here: most of the topics here seem to be of a lighthearted nature and this thread might tread into a more austere demesne, but I digress. I don't see a reason as to why this wouldn't be allowed, so I'm posting it. Feel free to lock this if it's overly personal or something. My apologies if this is in the wrong area, too.
All of that aside, have any of you ever looked back on a certain point in your lives and thought, "Man, I was such an ass a year ago. I'm glad that I've matured since then."? Don't lie, you have. Or you've felt the reverse, at least. I guess that the aim of this thread is for people to give a brief autobiography of sorts and tell how you've changed on your personal odyssey through life. This should be immediately obvious but just as a disclaimer: don't post anything that you aren't comfortable with disclosing. Since I don't think it would be fair for me to ask you all to post without giving you parts of my life, I'll give an example:
Hi, I'm Scheisskopf, a seventeen-year-old poet dilettante from the Midwest. I have a few major problems, each of which I'd like to discuss in detail: my search for happiness and my asociality and the resultant arrant social awkwardness. Again, I'll explain everything in the subsequent paragraphs.
I feel as if everything that I've ever done in my life has been to seek validation from other people. From every paper that I write to every phrase that I say, most of what I've done for childhood seems to have been for approbation. I was, and for the most part still am, a people-pleaser. I like getting reactions out of people and seeing how they react to things. And for about sixteen years of my meandering seventeen years of existence, this is how I've found my happiness: by pleasing others. Pleasing my mom, pleasing my friends, pleasing people that I'd never even met before online -- that was of paramount importance to me. It was about a week ago that I realized this, and I'm not sure how or why I came to this realization. I think it was about religion. Now, I'm aware of what happens with Internet forums and religion, so I won't go into detail with this, but I was - for let's say fourteen years - a Christian. I've broken out of the religion now, not as a puerile protest against God, it's just that my faith felt so... hollow. I never felt the personal connection with God that my family members or my peers felt, even though I tried, but practiced the religion to please my family. They still don't know that I'm an atheist, but we get along well.
Anyways, we have more to talk about here.
For the past four years, I've been struggling on and off with what I would call depression. The sentiment is this stomach-level feeling of indignation, frustration, and hopelessness that has overstayed its welcome. It hit its peak (or trough, if you want) in late October/early November with the climax ending up with me home alone with a sharp knife and a bored mind thinking of what I could do with that knife. I then decided that it wasn't even worth the trouble to self-mutilate because my life isn't even that bad. After that incident, I realized that I had to somehow do something. So I started smiling. In private, of course, so no one could see me. And I laughed, too. I laughed at jokes. I laughed at how absurd it was to feel as terrible as I did in my condition. I mean, I've got it far from bad; I'm a lower-middle class black kid living in America - actually, we should probably just go with "lower-class". Okay, that's kind of bad. I haven't seen my dad in almost a decade, but I hardly even noticed his absence after I cried on my seventh birthday because he wasn't there.
But the reason why I wrote that very long paragraph wasn't to say that I was depressed and to complain about that. It wasn't severe. If you would have guessed, it's because during that period of time, I think that I realized that I had spent far too much time pleasing others and not much time doing things that would make me happy. If we're to compare depression to a lion, then I am a running gazelle at whom the lion claws and sometimes grazes (that isn't meant to be taken seriously - it's 2:30 AM at the time of writing this and I need some humor, bear with me). The feeling is still in me: in fact, I last felt it two weeks ago for maybe four or five days. Now, I'm taking steps in a more positive direction. I'm finding hobbies that I like: I'm writing poetry, I'm running, and, if all goes according to plan, I'll probably get an acoustic guitar this summer. I'm making friends, too - and this, my readers, is my segue into the next part of this.
For as long as I can remember, I've felt lonely. And I guess a little loneliness is fine. Suffering is, after all, one of the defining features of the human experience. I've never felt as if I totally fit in, either. As if I'm always playing second fiddle to someone else. It's silly for me to want to be preferred over someone else, I guess, but I don't feel that way often. My cousins always had each other so they didn't really need me much when they were over, and when they weren't over, I felt lonely because I've never had friends visit my house and I'm an only child. In elementary school, this feeling that I was only "second-best" was often confirmed in my mind by silly things and it was only strengthened in middle school. Of course, by third grade, I stopped speaking to people - even if I didn't have a very close friend, I still liked to talk and would often get poor behavior marks in school. So to eschew that, I simply stopped talking much at all. At the beginning of middle school, I was a shy, forgetful, bumbling child. I made a few friends there at the end of my middle school career, even if our conversations were very short. But middle school was the time when my emotions were in overflow. I was more awkward than ever before, developed crushes, etc. And yet, I repressed these emotions and never told people how I felt. I didn't have a medium through which I could express my feelings, so I became frustrated. I believe that that frustration, along with how alone I felt for most of middle school, led to me being so upset and estranged and hopeless. I legitimately had no idea how to start a conversation at one point. But I think that having a hobby like writing poetry has helped me in these past few months: I was inspired by a spoken-word poet, Rives (and I guess Phil Kaye), to start writing. It's an oddly cathartic experience, one that releases long-pent up emotions. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an outlet. Even if my poems are mediocre at best, they still make me feel happy.
During high school, specifically this year, I have learned that you have to start conversations with people and that it is imperative that you be honest and open in order to make friends. People will not walk up to you and start talking - or if they do, it's certainly not often. Fortunately, I had a more open and receptive group of people around me that I could have ever expected, and so I've made more new friends than I would have imagined. Despite the fact that I still do have some anxiety with groups of more than three people, I feel like I've made some progress with becoming... well, social. I have people who like me despite my glaringly obvious flaws. Which is awesome. They've inspired me, as they are all far better people than I am or probably ever will be, and they've made me overall a happy person, despite the vicissitudes of mood to which I'm sometimes a victim. Having friends kind of makes me want to extend myself to a person who doesn't have any.
I will admit that I'm still going through some issues, though: I have trouble being the one to go out there and make friends, and I worry that I'm a novelty to my friends because I never usually speak or on some level that I'm not cognizant of yet. Yet these are both issues that stem from childhood that I haven't bothered to fix yet. But overall, I guess I'm in a pretty good position right now. Even if I'm still susceptible to bouts of hopelessness punctuated by anger and almost manic happiness, I'm definitely doing a lot better than I was before. In a plurality of cases, it is imperative that one realizes that he or she is not entirely a victim. There are some things that you could have done that, if you had done them, would have made your life a lot better. It is just important to recognize future events like this and make sure that you don't pass them up. That's what I've learned, at least.
By the way, I'm sorry that there are some lacunae here; I'll revise them in the morning. So, anyways, Bulbagarden, what's your story? It doesn't have to be anything in particular; it can be funny, tragic, upsetting, or whatever. It doesn't have to -- and, in fact, shouldn't -- be just like mine. Just tell what you have to tell.