I used to think I owed an explanation as to why I left, a goodbye to the ones I loved, a final reading of the nodes that brought me here in the first place. I promised myself not to return until I missed this place, but I've never missed here long enough, and for the few minutes I returned, the magic was gone. What used to feel like a huge city teeming with life now feels like an expanse of dust, devoid of life, even the spiders in the corner are merely exoskeletons.
I left because there were jerks, but there's always been assholes. Perhaps the community got smaller and they stood out more, perhaps my stint as an editor did the trick, perhaps they finally got to me, perhaps I was looking for a reason to leave. Perhaps I got fed up with staff. I couldn't do enough, and while people agreed with the things I and others said, nothing changed. No one tried. Perhaps I got tired of the dwindling community and the abuse the new nodes got, perhaps I got tired of the talk of the "good old days", perhaps I got tired of other people getting driven away and no one caring enough to fix things.
Perhaps I just got tired.
Two of my closest friends I met here; I talk to them often, my life is better because of them. I made other friends, too, some who have left this site, or left my life, or who are still there and I hope they are doing well, but we don't talk anymore. I learned how to write more efficiently, and I learned what the drive to write felt like. I learned how to read people's work critically, I learned how to give feedback, and I think I learned how to take it. I wrote a lot of words for this site, and then I took them away. I did that because I could. Because they're mine, not yours, and at the end of it I didn't think any of you deserved them, not anymore. I think I was wrong, there are many of you I still love, and when I am here sometimes I get messages telling me that I am missed.
I thought perhaps this would be an update on my life, for those who cared. I'm still dating the same boy I was when I left, but sometimes I'm not sure if I should be. Sometimes I wonder if I'm trans, properly trans, not someone who doesn't really understand the concept of gender and sometimes has fantasies of being a boy. I like kissing people, a lot. I've realized that I'm probably in love with one of my close friends, who will never love me, and I've realized that isn't the tormenting thing stories make it out to be. She's happy, I'm happy, and I get to entertain warm fuzzy feelings about her.
I'm less depressed, now. I'm not sure if I can ever say I've not got depression. Perhaps it's like cancer. I'm not depressed now, but it's there, it's waiting, it might be a day, or a month; it might be a decade, but it's there. It's changed me, and I've always got to keep my eye out for it.
I'm still studying. I don't know when I'll finish. I'm enjoying studying. I don't ride, I sometimes help out for a dressage club that pays me money and gives me lunch. I miss it. Sometimes I think I would never have gotten depressed if I still had a horse. My parents don't know about me, but I don't think they need to. I'm learning to make friends on my own, and I'm learning to say no to people who don't make me feel excellent. I'm still getting to the point where I can confidently hold a conversation with a stranger and get to know them, but I'm getting better. I'm learning how to sew, and to knit. I have orange hair now, but I can't make the regrowth orange so it's not really working for me anymore.
I'm still writing, though I'm focusing on one story right now, and trying to write short stories never ends up anywhere. I don't paint anymore. My imagination is coming back, but it's slow. I read a lot of fanfiction. When I already know the characters it's easier to get sucked in. I'm slow at reading too, now. It takes me weeks to finish a book I once could have finished in an afternoon. I struggle to sit through a 22 minute episode of Community. It takes a lot of motivation to do simple tasks.
There is a chance I might come back one day - I say that and feel as though I'm that asshole guy who promises the girl that if she waits, he'll be there for her, eventually, one day - but I worry that there won't be a place to come back to. I cannot really comment on the changes made to this place over the last 6 months, but I haven't noticed anything. It all looks the same, and seems to function the same. Suggestions for E2 doesn't seem to have anything else crossed off. My Fellow Users list is not in double digits. Only four nodes were posted yesterday. Most of those who wrote the last 50 nodes are names familiar to me, and names that have been around for a long time. This place feels older and sadder and slower than it did when I started out here. Perhaps that's just me.
I might be back one day, properly, but I might not be. I'll still come and poke around, this place still has some good people, and good words.