[personal profile] lhexa

With beautiful mountains all around, I got to see lightning snake horizontally through a brown cloud covering the sunset, while I perched on the wet roof, in the rain, doing my best impression of a lightning rod. Then I got cold and returned indoors to read a backlog of journal entries from, well... a while ago. Anyway, the reading I did in the events of others' lives was enough to remind of an old theme in my life, the recurring feeling that I inevitably abandon my friends... but the rain, the antipodal end of a very hot and sweaty day, also reminded me that I had, not with a sensation of flight (regrettably) but with a sense of growing determination accompanying my thoughts, accomplished what I set out to do some eight months ago. That, roughly, was when I initiated -- or perhaps acknowledged -- what I awkwardly called my "avoidance".

I suppose this avoidance truly began during the period in which I slowly acquired the resolve to do something which I had hinted at, to myself and others, starting around the beginning of 2002 -- I hesitantly undertook a sort of trial-by-fire for my beliefs. Then events in my life conspired to sweep away all hesitancy. The events are not something I'm going to describe in this entry, so I'll just limit myself to describing what followed.

My online contacts were dropping away quickly. It seemed as though I could no longer interest anyone except my old debating partners, of which there were few, in my philosophical rambles and random debates; this didn't particularly puzzle me, but it did set the stage for avoidance. One thing that did puzzle me was a sort of migration I found myself starting upon; I was abandoning my old forums, in which a cherished community had grown and fallen apart in a short period of time, for the vanity forum of one Baxil, into which a friend or two had already preceded me. I eventually decided to keep away, though, for it seemed to be the scene of a sort of culture-building I tended not to trust. In certain moods I said to myself that I did not ever again want to believe in the existence of a draconic or Otherkin community, but of course this was an overstatement; what I really wanted was just to keep myself out of any such community.

I was becoming aware of certain ways in which my involvement in a community had led me to casually adopt the sentiments of others; to endorse ideas and actions about which I had private reservations while remaining quiet about others; to experience feelings of duty, affection, and wonder that were almost farcical in their naive willfulness; to adopt and help build a set of topics, along with a list of easily-exploited sentiments, admitting of easy moralizing on the special subject of my community; and of course to acquire certain loyalties and the will to, for a time, manipulate myself in any way necessary to sustain said loyalties. These things, and in general a growing recollection of past self-deception, made me think heavily about the ways in which other people influenced me; they made me wonder whether I would ever be able to clearly understand these influences. I considered, and still consider, avoidance to be a way of gaining such understanding.

On a more personal, and far more intense, level, I found myself becoming disgusted with, and resentful towards, some of the people I knew online. However, I have a curious trait of kindness -- this word really is accurate -- that causes me to consistently turn whatever disgust I felt about other people against myself. I tend to shy away from the question of whether my disgust toward others was/is justified, so let me recount its secondary effects. In the course of a few months I managed to feel disgusted at myself for demanding affections to which I had no right, wanting to manipulate other people through my own pain, interpreting simple mistakes as obnoxious snubs, enjoying others' friendliness without reciprocating, turning light-hearted word play into covert violence, assuming that other people shared my sense of what is important, callously seeing what I disliked in the academic world in my friends' straightforward views, wanting others to be a reflection of myself, or to keep them and their praise around to feed my vanity, giving sympathy insincerely, treating online relationships with a seriousness they could not possibly deserve, or through my silence living in a state of dishonesty. I am not sure I ever did any of these things, but at one time or another I sure punished myself for each of them. At times I recalled, with some awe, having once thought myself incapable of strong anger and disgust; and as avoidance started to show its effects and I found out just what kind of morbidities can exist in solitude, I suppose I came to appreciate the fact that some people could reveal the worst in me.

Trying to resolve these feelings through conversation just alienated people, and said alienation then made things worse. Thus I had another good reason for avoidance -- it could (and did) help me both understand and overcome what I was putting myself through, where bringing them into open discussion could not, and maintaining my contacts sustained the problems. These experiences also left me with a curiously brutal -- but effective -- moral precept (Better to cleanly sever a friendship than to let it rot), and some lingering questions about just what would be required for me to maintain a close relationship with anybody.

Note that I am only describing the negative sides of things. Much that is better in tone and nature remains to be said, and I intend to say it -- but I am also remaining coy about the most important reason for cutting off all my online contacts for almost a year. Since I will remain reticent about this for some time to come (and really, the effects of my avoidance are more important than its reasons), I guess I'll mention a few things about how I left.

I resolved to abandon my old forum, and then all forum-dwelling life. I wrote a parting message which would, I felt, place all of the blame of a screwed-up friendship on my own shoulders. I contacted various people whom I felt might care (I'm not sure how many actually did) and told them that I wouldn't be around for a long time. I kept delaying my final departure from one particular logician because, well, he was interesting to talk to and completely separate from everything that had inspired avoidance. I estimated a year to several years being away, though I reserved the right to end avoidance whenever it felt right (though I was often unfaithful to it during this year or so of application). I wondered what it would feel like.

...I wanted to keep writing, but it's getting too late. I'll resume the topic tomorrow. Comments are enabled because, well, avoidance is definitely over.


Date: 2003-07-26 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raki.livejournal.com
I wish we could talk more about this. I'm glad you're not avoiding interaction any more.

Date: 2003-07-27 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhexa.livejournal.com
We can. It's a shame I forgot the password to the AIM account I used for a little while. I'll get a new one.



January 2012

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