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So as we all get older we're gonna have to make decisions, buy some property, go to university/college, maybe even start a family, and this got me thinking about what I'm gonna do with all my sets? So what will you do with all your sets as you get older?
(If I did manage to say anything offensive in this post, please leave a comment below telling me what I did wrong so I may correct it. I wrote this in a not very long amount of time with almost no preparation or revision. Thank you.) I grew up (and still am growing up, I'm still an angst-ridden teenage junior in high school) in a fairly small town in a Midwestern state where not a lot really happened. To call it sheltered might be an overstatement, but growing up I wasn't too aware of the problems facing our society. It just wasn't something that I really worried about because, as a child, it wasn't something that directly affected me. I was a pretty goody-two-shoes kid, but I had a really, almost dangerously strong moral compass. (At least I like to think so.) I wanted everyone to be my friend; I was nice to anyone I met. I wouldn't hurt a fly, physically or verbally- not that I would start shouting at an insect, but you get the point. Granted, this made me a bit of a pushover because I didn't want to make anyone mad at or disappointed with me. To an extent, this is all still true today. I try to be a little more carefree, but I still try to be as nice and kind as possible. For the most part, people were nice to me as well, and I thought the world was a pretty swell place. It was somewhere people could all get along: everyone was equal, no one had any reason to fight or disagree, all was at peace. As I grew older, things changed. I began to see the prevalence of racism, sexism, and other injustices in our society. It baffled me. I was still approaching the world with a everyone-gets-along mentality, and thus I was pretty confused. Why would people be mean to each other in this way? I thought everyone was friendly? All of this was something that I had trouble wrapping my mind around. I learned about the significance of racism long before sexism and gender stereotyping, and even then I didn't really understand the full scope of racism until much later. As far as late-grade-school me was concerned, racism had stopped at the Civil Rights Movement. I didn't realize how blatantly wrong I was until much later. Maybe it was because I was in a fairly sheltered environment; we quite simply didn't discuss things like this, and as a result I didn't know that they existed. But I soon learned. Going into middle school and high school, my eyes were soon opened to the injustices of the world. Yes, discrimination against races and genders and other groups was frequent in the world, not everyone got along, not everything was at peace. To put it lightly, this baffled me. I couldn't accept that I had been living in a world where these things happened. For a while, I didn't accept this. I didn't accept that I lived in a world where feminism was necessary because I didn't think it should have been necessary. Why couldn't we all just be equal? Why couldn't we all just be friends? Thus began the deterioration of my innocence. I began to question, I began to learn. Learn about stereotyping, learn about how unequal some of us were and how privileged others were. I approached it from a unique perspective because I think I managed to avoid a lot of the bias and discriminatory views that would have been ingrained in me just because of my innocence. Granted, I'm not completely unbiased (especially as a straight half-white male coming from the community that I did), but I was emerging from a simulation where everyone was equal and entering a reality where everyone was not. I was scared. But I soon came to accept this, and began to formulate my own opinions about things in high school. One of my closest friends (and probable soulmate) helped me with this. She opened my eyes to racism and sexism in our society and how unbalanced everything and everyone was. In addition, the fact that the internet began to spotlight these things with greater frequency also helped. Yes, that means you, BZP. So I soon became an advocate for social justice. I now know that racism and sexism are present in our society. I know everyone isn't equal, and I know that we have to fix that. I know that feminism is necessary. I'm not the innocent kid that I used to be, and part of me misses that kid because it was a lot easier being that kid and not worry about saying the wrong thing or doing something offensive. But I had to accept the reality that I live in a society where those things can happen, and I had to accept how I had to change in order to not do that. Granted, I'm certainly not perfect. I'm still learning, and every once in a while I might say something wrong or do something wrong, and I apologize for that. But I'm getting there. I know first-hand that it's a journey. And, even though I'm certainly not at my destination, I've come pretty far.
I figure I may as well do something with this blog, since I have one. I've got a bunch of views, so far, but no posts to merit those views, which I don't understand, but okay. I never really had much to talk about until recently, though. I think I've settled on a theme for this blog, or at least for this post, but I think it's going to have something to do with the fact that things are much different now than they used to be. At first glance, that statement might sound a bit negative, but I just mean that things aren't the way they used to be. 5-10 years down the road, everything will be different. That's just the way life goes. More specifically, my relationships with LEGO and BZPower are significantly different than they were 10-11 years ago. When I first joined the site back in 2003, I was still a youngster. By that point I had been following the Bionicle story fervently; I knew all the characters' names and powers, I knew about every single Rahi and Kanohi, and I was intimately familiar with the island of Mata-Nui, even though there were still many secrets I had yet to discover at that point in time. I was also very interested in MOCing, piecing together MOCs from my piles and piles of pieces I had been collecting ever since my grandmother bought me my first Bionicle sets in 2001. I stumbled onto BZPower after hearing about it on the Bionicle message boards on LEGO.com. There were a few active posters on the boards, but a few would always sign off as "So-and-so from BZPower." One day, I decided I had to figure out what this "BZPower" place was. I knew it had to be related to Bionicle in some way, but I honestly had no clue what I was about to discover. To my 10 year old self, finding BZPower was like me at the age of 21 discovering a $500 check I had forgotten to deposit - basically, quite possibly the best thing that could ever have happened to me at the time. I was greeted by a wealth of information related to this universe I had fallen in love with, complete with references and helpful links. Then I entered the forums and my entire life was changed. I discovered there were other kids like me who loved these toys and this story as much as I did, sharing similar interests outside of the toys, too. Writing fan-fiction, building MOCs, making comics - this place had it all. So I joined without hesitation. I was never a user of much status, save for the few times I posted a particularly impressive MOC or started up a comic series that I lost interest in before the second comic was published, but I was always around. There wasn't a term for it back then (or if there was, it wasn't very popular) but I would have been categorized as a "lurker," or somewhere who visits often but doesn't contribute content or discussion. Plenty of online communities have those - and to this day I'm still somewhat of a lurker in many places - but back in the day if you didn't post, you weren't on the radar. Even now, if you're not making content or replying to topics, you're just another name. I did my fair share of posting, though. I knew the unwritten rules of each forum I frequented and whatever acronyms they had. BBC and Comedies is where I spent most of my time, however. I was utterly fascinated by the hilarious spins on the main storyline and the other stories people came up with, and I spent a lot of time honing my building skills and creating some impressive stuff (I go back through my old Brickshelf folder from time to time and gawk at the creativity of my younger self). I knew how to critique other users' MOCs and how to write my own chapters of comedies - I even had a few of my very own, but they were mostly just spin-offs of a comedy written by an old BZP friend of mine, Takiris. Speaking of Takiris, of all the people I had met on BZPower, he was probably the one I knew the longest. Ever since I commented in his comedy "Matoro Gets Kidnapped" (which has since been deleted due to the Dataclysm of 2011) he and I were constantly collaborating on a variety of projects. We often guest-starred in each others' comedies, and I would guest-author a few chapters of his and vice-versa. We both realized I was the better MOCer of the two of us, so the responsibility fell to me to depict him when I could. Our fictional characters were inseparable friends, and he and I were pretty close IRL for a while. To this day, Takiris has a PGS spot in any work of Bionicle-Based Fiction I write. Even so, the winds of change come blowing. Now, BZPower isn't quite the hub of activity it used to be, especially since the toyline it existed to discuss has been cancelled. I haven't kept up with Takiris (who now goes by a different screen name) in years, and he hasn't been active on BZP in a very long time. I'm not much into MOCing like I used to be, even though my current picture comic series is based on my MOCs. Things are very different now. I have different priorities in my life - school, work, and church, mostly. I'm also active on Reddit and currently am very heavily involved in a growing community over there. My interests have changed a lot, too. I will always have a place in my heart for these story-driven pieces of plastic, but I'm not 10 or 15 anymore. I was gonna try to write about how things are different now a little bit more than I did, but then I got carried away with reminiscing. I may try to cover that in a later post, though. Thanks for reading! -MK-
Island boy you are, running and digging in the sand nothing to check your spirit but the bashing swells of the waves; Each summer you’re growing Just as the heat warms the land. Island boy you are, the same face each season, Despite the costume changes, dishwasher to cook to ride attendant and more with your many labor ranges. Island boy you are, running into that sunset photograph, chasing a view of a sunset in the distance, Sleeping in a chair on the beach after, hand clutching a map. Island boy free, gazing into the sky, Incompetent in here or there but that’s alright, Right now you are living the dream, and watching the tide. Island boy you are, in that final race through the sand, One last sweeping gaze through the island Now moved into the city One step closer to a man. **** Little poem I had to write for a class, thought it fit in with FFFC 6: "Rebirth"