There’s a lot of work yet left to do, but so far I’m pleased with how things are coming along. From the design side of things, I want to convert the background to SVG so that I can take it to the next step, that being a dynamic and potentially interactive scene. I’ve had musings of changing it based on the tags within a given post, or perhaps animating the birds, waves, the sun, and so on. It’ll be a while before I get around to that, but I’m already getting a bit tired of the existing scene, so the clock is ticking. Moving on: thoughts after reading my entire blog from start to finish – the first time I’ve ever done so.
Memories are recorded very differently in words than in photos. I go through all of my pictures on facebook once a year or so – not as a ritual, but at some point I just find myself scanning through them, revisiting the progress of my life, trying to see what the pictures say about the names and faces contained therein. Photos capture moments, but they don’t immerse you into the time and place. They make that moment easier to access, but the only story they tell is the one you already know. Writing, on the other hand, is quite like a short film of thoughts and feelings, available to be re-experienced an infinite number of times. In this sense, I relived the last nine years of my life through the lens of my writing. It was more intense than I had expected it to be.
The first thing that struck me is how much about the last decade I’ve forgotten; for every detail I remember, there are a hundred that have fallen through the cracks. People that once stood as massive figures in my life, I realize haven’t occupied a single moment of my cognition in the last few years. Events that felt truly immense and defining at the time may well have been forever lost to memory had they not been written down. And then I think, holy balls, I’m only 23. Vast chunks of my life are already being lost to memory, and I have decades of existence ahead of me to experience and then promptly forget, forever. This realization has made me extremely grateful for this blog – my memory is far weaker than I imagine it to be, but the entries here remain unchanged from the day they were posted. Some of those entries are grossly embarrassing and reveal many of the worst truths about my character, but this, too, I am grateful for. Lest I fall into the trap of believing that I was ever any kind of avatar of excellence, this blog will exist to show me that I am no better than anyone else.
I have told myself over these last few years that I reinvented myself, that I willingly went through a metamorphosis to evolve past where I was as a youth. I generally marked the starting point of this as when I decided to leave the church – but reading through the years, I see that the transition was entirely gradual. I began as a fundamentalist, but after 3 years I started to reconsider many of the positions I’d been arguing so passionately for. Evolution was one of the biggest dominoes to fall, but a number of tertiary social issues topple along the way. As my political views transitioned from conservative to liberal, I started to question the traditional neoconservative platforms, and by the end of high school my religion was divorced from my politics. This put me on the other side of the fence from much of my extended family, and was a major accelerant in pushing me to reconsider my moral platform as I began to identify the bigotry I once took as a badge of honor. In my mind, I have imagined all of this as happening over the course of just a year or two, but now, I can see that it was an incremental transformation over many years, the consequence of following the knowledge I was acquiring to its natural destination.
One painful feature I saw all along the way was the constant presence of depression, which grew in intensity over time. It’s hard to decide when it was truly at its worst; I could point to its venomous influence all along the way, but there are periods of time where it completely dominates both my writing as well as the events in my life. Much of it literally caused me to wince as I boasted how I made it through yet another week of school on just 10 hours of sleep, or when I obliviously describe episodes of serious mood swings and the problems they created in my relationships. I have to wonder how it went untreated for so long, when it was so absurdly obvious and omnipresent. I deem it unhealthy to dwell on such questions, however, and count myself lucky to have a better handle on it now.
Lastly, I greatly enjoyed watching the evolution of my writing. The first year was an unpleasant read; I had little to say and few words to say it in. Things improved when I found the topics that I enjoyed writing about. Originally this was exclusively video games, but my religious fervor pushed me to post some more controversial content. The response I got – a lot of which was very angry – pushed me to refine my ideas and presentation. As time went on and life started providing genuinely unique content to share with other people, I had the perfect medium to share those events with other people. The post I wrote for the death of my dog, Daisy, still chokes me up. The story of when an old Russian guy dressed me up like a clown still cracks me up. They’re sandwiched between high school nonsense and zealotry, but nevertheless decent content starts to crop up, and over time a larger proportion of entries manage not to be awful, and a few manage to be pretty decent. It’s fun to experience 9 years of improvement crammed into a handful of hours, and it gives me hope for the quality of my writing into the future. It also serves as a reminder that some of what I write today, I’m going to look back on and cringe – but that’s okay. It’s part of the learning process.