A Compendium of Kero's Thoughts on These Matters
Often Wordy, Never Dull
Crossposted from The-Slave
This is a journal I probably should have written ages ago.
Funny how that works out. The years go by, and you always think 'Maybe I can do the things I need to do tomorrow', but then tomorrow comes, and there are a hundred other things demanding your time. So the little things fall to the wayside, the important things that just seem a tad less important than what's slapping you in the face in your waking hours.
Nonetheless, every once in a while, you find the time, or you make the time, to get things done.
This is a journal about friendship. It is a journal about friendship in general, and most importantly, it is a journal about me, and my experiences.
'Friend' is a word that gets thrown around in life. You know someone, even if you've never met them, and if you're on friendly terms, they become your 'friend'. They are your allies, they are the people that 'will help you when you are down', even if the only real interaction you have ever had is a few scant words and a thrown out piece of artwork or help now and then.
But... that definition, that idea of friendship, that isn't what the concept actually is. Of course I can only speak from my own experiences on this route, but at the same time, I've had the experience of twenty-eight years to gather this knowledge of the subject. That's almost twice the years of a lot of the people that will read this journal.
So... what is a friend, anyhow?
I don't even really need a dictionary to define this. A friend is a person who cares about -you-. A friend doesn't care about how good your artwork is. A friend is not interested in how much money you make, nor do they care about what you can give them in life or how much you involve them in your art or 'characters'. A friend demands very little, but is invested in your life and how you do things, and is willing to accompany you to do these things in life, even if they can only be there and aren't much 'help'. A friend is an emotional support; they'll ask how your day has gone and actually care about the answer. And, as you go along in life, a friend is someone that can be there to talk, even if they have their own lives, children, responsibilities, and family issues to deal with, and even if you both have to schedule a time to 'catch up'. A friend will tell you when you are doing wrong, even if they end up fighting with you, because they care about you more than they care about the friendship itself. A friend is willing to make compromises.
That is a friend.
This day and age has a habit of doing terrible things to old words like 'friendship', though. People are selfish, inherently, as a rule, and teenagers and young adults even more so. It becomes commonplace and even accepted to say 'a real friend would do this for me'.
So people demand things of their friend, things that their friends sometimes cannot give, and then they lose them.
Ask yourself this. Think of your friends, the ones you have now, and ask yourself "What do I know about their lives?"
Can you answer anything?
Do you know any of their favorite things? Do you know their hopes? Do you know one thing they want to do in life, one thing that bothers them, or do you even really associate them for any reason beyond art or roleplay, or some mutual fandom?
If you cannot answer even one single thing that does not pertain to your own self, or if you will be angry or feel indignant if one of those things like roleplay or art or attention that your 'friend' is giving you is taken away, what you have isn't friendship. What you have is some temporary connection based on self-gratification, and that is NOT FRIENDSHIP.
That is NOT HEALTHY.
I wouldn't say this if I didn't know how it went. For years, I had friends for the wrong reasons. I had people who I only associated with or thought of as 'good people' because of roleplay, and who often controlled my actions through various means. They often would make threats to me, threats of self harm to themselves, or even suicide threats. I'm being completely honest, and I am sad to say that I gave into these threats and self pitying natures and I gave them what they wanted from me for years until I could no longer take the abuse and I decided to live for myself.
I lived so many years in this pit that I honestly thought that was how friendship was supposed to be, and that there was something wrong with ME that I couldn't keep a connection with anyone I tried to get close to.
Was I not giving them enough?
Was I being too selfish or boring? Why did they always hate me after three years? Am I doomed to wander the world constantly getting new friends every few years until I finally give up and become a recluse?
I didn't have friends. I had abusers. I had people that saw something they wanted from me, and took it, even when I wasn't truly willing to give. And god forbid if I needed them to listen; that wasn't even an option because they were too busy telling me about themselves and weren't interested in me, and made me feel like I shouldn't talk about myself ever. They used the term 'are you really my friend?' as if asking that question meant that friendship is based on nothing other than my willingness to give them anything they asked for.
And when I wasn't, when it had finally gone too far and I couldn't take it anymore, they were more than willing to tell me what a terrible person I was. They would rail at me, tell me I was causing their mental issues. They would blame me for their lives falling apart and then they would find 'new friends' and shove them in my face like shiny new toys replacing the old broken one.
'Fine, I don't need you anymore. I don't even care.'
That was my life, living this kind of life and thinking it was how it went, and even doing it to others thinking THIS WAS HOW IT WENT, up until around two and a half years ago, when I finally decided that I was sick and tired of this bullshit.
That's right, I was an 'abuser', too.
I changed. I stopped being so focused on what I could get from people, or what I could give to them. I'm not saying I was a saint because I DID IT TOO, or that I am now even when I'm not doing it anymore, but what I am saying is... wanting things constantly from others to satisfy yourself won't make you happy.
Since then, I have made other friends. I have focused my life much more on what is tangible. I care about my friends' actual lives, how they feel and what they are challenged by. Sometimes I meet people that I want to know, and they close themselves off and present me with art and characters, and sometimes I follow these threads for a while, but that isn't what I'm about. I'm not about roleplay anymore. I'm not about characters or fake worlds that are escapes from the real world.
I have no tolerance for those that will attempt to control me with guilt or threats of self harm, nor those that will blame me for their mental issues or their terrible lives or refuse to see anything good in the world and put everything down. Frankly, if someone on the internet that you barely know and who isn't even targeting you in any way is causing you so much stress, the problem isn't with them.
I think honesty is where everything starts to heal.
Don't put yourself into some false friendship that won't go anywhere. Be honest, to yourself and to others.
If you don't want to make the effort to talk to someone that wants to talk to you, don't, and don't lie about it. Don't lead people along just to dump them because you can't stand it anymore.
If you don't want to make a ton of art that you don't have time for just to make someone feel like you care about them? Don't. Fuck that.
If you don't want to get pulled into a roleplay that you aren't really inspired for, don't make yourself do it.
But at least be honest. I will, right here and right now. If I've stopped art, it's because I don't have time for it or don't want to do it. If I haven't done roleplay or stopped roleplay, it's the same reason. I don't want to be roped into another set of high maintenance fake friendships where the only question anyone asks when I finally get them to talk to me is 'what have you done for this and such project, because I've done this much art and I don't know why you can't?'.
Because I don't fucking care about JUST characters or art. I care about people, and if people won't talk to me about anything but characters or avoid me when they make plans to meet, I lose interest. It's the same game, just different players. I won't play. I have a life, a huge one, beyond the computer, and I hate feeling trapped with my butt set in a chair, watching my life go by, because other people expect things out of me and I feel like I have to do them to keep some friendship alive.
So if you want a friend, be a friend.
I think this applies to everyone, this is something a lot of people can relate to, and if more people relaxed on what they felt was expected of them they would not only find out who their real friends were, but feel more stable in life in general.
Thank you for listening. This was a borderline rant but I know more than a few people have probably wondered about this kind of thing from me. And if I haven't talked to you in a while, that doesn't mean I think you're abusive! I just want to stress that. It just means I haven't talked to you in a while. I don't hold grudges or expect people to talk to me if they're figuring out their lives, I don't expect to be talked to every day, every month, or even every year. I just get surprised if someone that hasn't been there pops up again XD