You may have noticed that where at one point I was a very very very active member of the online community, and recently have been quite reclusive. You probably have not wondered "hey, what's up with that?" Well, a few things!
I've spent the last six months working very hard to prepare for an interview I had in November- I passed the interview and am getting a promotion in January to what is essentially "Store Manager in Training". Nine months after that (Ocotberish?) I will be interviewed for readiness and probably be given my very own Starbucks store to operate and staff and run all on my own. I've worked very hard at this, and to see an actual career progression after I spent years messing up my collegiate life and trying to move forward through debt and difficulty is very freeing. To know that I'm less than a year away from a salaried, full-benefits, full-month of paid-vacation, full-life position is very rewarding. Knowing that my income will go up 1/3 of my current income and then double again from that in a year... Preparing for that interview was intensive and I put a lot of work into it. While I have still been attending conventions and building MOCs, my participation online took a huge backseat.
On top of that, BZPower and BIONICLE were always a thing that I enjoyed. I spent many many years here because it was a place where I was safe, where I was welcome, known, and where over the last ten years, I made some of the closest friendships imaginable. Heck, I live with one of those people! But life doesn't stay static, and people change and they grow, and sometimes they grow... poorly. Sometimes those we love and care about make bad life decisions, and they take many of those people around you down with them. The even more frustrating aspect is when you have had rumours made up wholesale about yourself, had vague conspiracy theories written about you, and people who were some of your longest-tenured friends buy the stories entirely, all without every asking you a single thing about them. Never saying "hey, I heard this is happening, what's going on? We've known each other for 15 years!" And when you say "hey, I'm concerned about all these warning signs and problems" they say "we like this person better now, we think them spiraling out of control and losing any sense of stability is character growth. They told us we can't trust you anyway." Never once wondering if those were a deflection to avoid taking responsibility for someone else slowly spiraling.
When those people verbally and viciously attack someone you love after they have come from one of the hardest times of their lives, because that person discovered those stories and discussions, and became angry, those friends, once the closest, lashed out and removed us from their lives. When those people said "we're here to talk about how to help" and then followed it up with "lol, let's kill people and talk about where to bury the body lol" as their method for helping, well, it was clear they only wanted to help their own egos. When confronted by the person they were apparently trying to help, they blamed that person for their actions, labeled them selfish for not liking their method of help, and then blocked them entirely. I'd say good riddance, but nothing about it was good.
The connection here is that those people were BZPower friends and family for me. They were current and former staff members. People I've let stay in my home- people whose homes I've stayed in! It creates kind of a disconnect and a lot of pain, and everytime it feels like it's abating, there are suddenly more made up stories and ridiculous falsehoods we're accused of as we have attempted to navigate depression and anxiety, life and death. It just sucks and it makes this place hard to hold onto.
And that sucks too. I've spent a decade and a half on here. This has been my home longer than any house, any place ever really has. I graduated high school on BZP, I went to college on BZP, I left college on BZP, I got my second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc jobs on BZP, I traveled on an airplane for the first time on BZP, I fell in love for the first time on BZP, I moved states on BZP, I've been promoted, fired, promoted, etc on BZP, I've explored hobbies, photography, philosophy, religion, faith, ideals on BZP. And yet this one thing has disassociated my desire from this hobby and fandom almost entirely. It sucks. It sucks a lot. It's not fair.
I don't know entirely what to do or what to say otherwise. I'm still angry. I'm still hurt. I'm still frustrated, and it absolutely murders me inside to see these people parade around and say things about us in public spaces to people I care about while I don't have the same platform to speak up. It's frustrating because you tell yourself "just let it go and move on, forgive and forget, hope for the best" but that never happens.
Anyway, I've actually been building pretty prolifically during this time, but not taking any pictures. But I've resolved to change that this month, so here's a dragon.
(I know it's a "Wyvern" but I don't care, it's a dragon if I say so.)