Wow. It sure has been awhile, huh?

My heartfelt apologies to all of you for disappearing through the middle of last year. I had every intention of continuing to post, and of steering this blog into the future, toward things less focused on weight loss and self-improvement. Alas, time and life got away from me — in many ways, and I’m only now starting to pull myself out of the mothballs. I miss you all!

It is hard for me to admit this, but the time away has not been as fruitful as I had hoped. Somewhere between the painful decision to sever ties with my family and the process of working to seize a new future focused on my own needs and desires, I have dropped the ball on… almost everything. My weight is back up, my stamina and strength have suffered, and I would comfortably call myself relapsed in regard to social anxiety if it had ever actually left me to begin with. I haven’t seen the friends that I do have (hopefully?) since last year, even outside of COVID-19, and part of me is terrified to do so.

I’m disappointed in myself. I know this setback is understandable, given how hard this whole thing has been. I knew it was possible, even likely, that this would happen. Nobody goes through a test of fire unscathed, not even fictional heroes. But it’s just. so. damn. frustrating. I can’t even explain it with all the words that I have in my excessive lexicon. And so I’ve simultaneously been keeping my distance while trying with all that I have in me to reach others through the main joys in my life: writing and games.

It’s hard to do that, too. People are busier than ever. What they want, need, and will tolerate have all shifted so much since I last tried to make friends online. I often find myself too young for the grown-up crowd and too old for the younger crowd. I’m still the only person I know outside of John that is willing or able to discuss writing as a serious endeavor, game plots as actual stories with all the impact of novels and movies, and the effects that fictional and/or self-insert characters can have on our psyches from a mental health standpoint. The things that matter to me just don’t to others.

And yet I follow some amazing people online that do seem to find an audience doing what they love. Maybe they had the friends already. Maybe they just got lucky. Maybe there’s a flaw in the way I do things, but nobody’s willing to tell me. I just don’t know anymore. Even when I do reach people, there’s no interaction, and without that, I can’t know whether there’s anything to fix.

My entire life has been a little like trying to fit a pentagonal peg into a square hole the size of a pin. I was fine with being unique, strange, or different, and I still am, really. I’m not interested in fitting in with the crowd or becoming someone I’m not. That said, I am struggling hard with not having a community or a place to belong right now. My family always seemed to overlook my otherness, which isn’t the same thing as welcoming or rewarding it — but even that gave me some sense of comfort and stability. What I have now is John, who is and has always been my best friend. We’re weird together and it’s glorious.

But it’s not enough. What we both lack is community. A place to truly belong.

Right now, stuck at home like this, it’s harder than ever.

I’m still reaching out. I’m doing everything I can to keep putting myself and the things I love first, no matter how small the response is or how much it eats at me wondering if I’m wasting my time. Someone once gave me the advice that writing is about always having the utmost faith in your own creations, because if you don’t, then nobody else will. Stopping or giving up would not honor that idea at all. I still believe I’m a good writer with good stories to tell, and that my audience is out there somewhere. I’m just also fed up with sounding like a bad fairy-tale romance every time I say it.

I’m also tired of the voice in the back of my head that tells me I should take the silence as a hint.

I’m trying to pick up the pieces that I dropped over the last year and change, one day at a time — just like before, when 20/20 Lifestyles was new and strange to me. The rest of my non-creative life needs serious attention, and I’ll be giving it that. I just know that it’s going to continue to be hard, and harder in the absence of the daily things that used to at least get me out of this house and into the company of others for an hour or two. I never needed to be worshipped. I don’t need to be a social butterfly. But even I need human companionship, as odd a duck as I am in this life.

The search continues.

As one last note: I am aware that COVID-19 is making things difficult for everyone right now. With a diabetic immune system, I’m exactly the sort of person that can’t take unnecessary risks, and the sort of person y’all are staying home to protect. I am both grateful for the steps that others have taken to protect their fellow man, and sympathetic to how frustrating it is to have to change everything they know and love about the way they live their lives. This is not loneliness brought on by self-isolation; it’s something far older and more constant that happens to mix badly with the current world situation.

Not everyone has the time or capacity to talk about non-essential things. I do get it, I promise you. I just also know that my own essential needs are failing right now. I am, and always have been, available to talk about anything, no matter how strange or mundane.

Maybe we’d all be better off together (virtually) than suffering in silent fear apart.

Fingers crossed that my next post will come from a happier place, and that a safe path to the end of this pandemic can be found. I know well that it won’t be easy, but forward remains the only way out.


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