When I was an adolescent the stories (and accompanying pictures) were always cold, icy, and alone. They did not parallel what I felt, they paralleled what I wanted. Just leave me to my notebook to draw and write and do math, or perhaps to come up with stuff on the computer (mostly computer programming). I'm not a terribly socially capable person, so the love of isolation was really quite convenient. Noctis fit the mood incredibly well. My mom punished me for ignoring visitors (playing Noctis instead).
Coming out of adolescence the solitude began to feel lonely. But by that time I, like it or not, had some really great friends. People I could count on whenever I needed a smile, besides some in my immediate family. It was a warm welcome back to planet earth and my stories and imagination were shelved for a while.
Then college began. At college, people were not like the friends I had before. Most were not a bit interested in my well-being, though I was interested in theirs. Most only cared to be in the fun group of goof-offs they graduated high-school with. Here, at times, I wanted friends, but could not have them. This is where pain really began.
I read some books. In these stories there were friends who stuck together no matter what, friends who really truly cared about each other, and friends who weren't afraid to share their concerns with each other. It was really an amazing thing to read about.
As the friend problems persisted, games like Noctis and Minecraft (single player mode) began feeling very empty and alone. And books and games that somehow made me feel connected to other lives (like good RPGs or other games with well-written stories like Aquaria) took on very strong appeal. (And my old stories of lonely travelers became depressing.) Strangely, multiplayer games mostly felt dull and empty, probably because real people are hard to relate to, especially in a light-hearted setting like a video game. Roleplay became a great thing. My favorite roleplay was a series of emails between me and a friend.
I began writing again, but now every story was centered on some element that bound humans together in real, true friendship, not the trivial sort based around "fun". I have never finished any story but I started several based on friends drawn closer because of pain: exile, death, rejection, etc. That's something I couldn't well express in computer programming.
Now I have a great group of friends, including my sister and brother-in-law that I stay in an apartment with. But still, though our relationships are deeper than many, they still feel light. We still don't talk much about things that really matter, about the pains deep down inside. We still keep most of who we are to ourselves. Should it be that way?
It seems the only way around that is going through some great pain together. That can do amazing things and it can do horrific things. I've seen it maybe three times, always short lived though. What I want is fellowship that lasts. What will it take? Will the whole world have to turn against us before we all truly become friends? Will it take death? Will we have to die?
Am I crazy?
Last night I had a dream where that fellowship was real. It even had a theme song, so it had to be real, haha. Today I started another story. This one is unique in that each chapter is from a different character's perspective, so you feel what every character feels.
A week ago I started a story about a boy who was in a place where nobody was friendworthy. But he was bold in being friendworthy to all the snobs anyway. And eventually it began spreading to his peers. I guess I want to be that fellow. But people just don't seem to like to care. I guess I should just keep being friendworthy no matter what. But I'm not terribly good at it. I'm good at keeping my emotions to myself. I'm good at keeping my mouth shut. I'm good at listening to everything and saying nothing. I'm afraid to talk.
This year I have a new "friend". Nervous spells. They're not often, but they can hit hard. I was going to a church one day. A surprisingly difficult place to find friendship except for a few excellent people. But that day the nervousness hit very hard. I was scared... of people. I left to get away from the small crowd, drove down the road for half an hour to instead find solace in the book store. That was fine for a couple hours, until crowds decided to move there. So I went back home where I was so nervous about being around my family members that I was visibly shaking. That was terrible, but at least it is rare. When I felt the nervous spells, I felt unable to connect with real people, and even more reliant on stories to feel that sense of belonging.
Sometimes I want to be alone. But I never want to be alone. I don't understand.
At least I'm almost too busy to notice any lack of friendship. But, then again, I do like pain, right? It's a growing experience, right? The pain opens up the gates for real meaningful fellowship, right? What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right? Well call me Hercules.
PS: Thanks for reading, friend.