.journal 2004.11.05

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.org.4 part 1: The return of the .org mailbag

Now listening to: Michael Jones, Pianoscapes
Now reading: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Now playing: Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (Playstation 2)

In less than a week here, the .org will have been around for four years. For those of you scoring at home — or even if you’re alone — this is by and far the longest I’ve maintained any of the various Web projects I’ve run throughout the years.

So much has changed these past four years on the .org. Unfortunately, this .journal seems to have been a key victim of the change. Back when I started the .org, I’d update the .journal multiple times per month with all the updates of what was going on in a very turbulent part of my life. However, a few months into the life of the .org I added a supplementary blog, first hosted on Blogspot and later integrated into the main site, and the amount of entries in the .journal started to trail off. Then I got my gig with Backwash, and I wrote less and less in the .journal. Then I got into my senior year at UT and started grad school and, well, the last time I wrote here was for .org.3. Oops.

It’s not just the .journal, either; all of the other sections of the site seem to be decaying. Part of this is due to the amount of time I don’t have anymore now that I’ve got so much going on with school and stuff. (The other day I was thinking to myself that I may never be able to get all the way through Final Fantasy VII again with all the things I have to take care of.) Part of this is because studying creative writing in an academic setting for so long kind of short-circuited my ability to really write the kind of stuff I want to write, instead of the bland crap I had to churn out to keep my GPA up. And part of it’s that, to be honest, I haven’t really generated the amount of feedback on some of my projects to really motivate me to keep producing stuff on here.

Nevertheless, I am here now, and as I’ve done the past couple of years, I’ll be devoting part of the anniversary celebrations to a question-and-answer session with all of you. For the past couple of weeks you’ve been sending me in questions, and you will get the answers you want right now. (With the exception of one question that my present illness kind of got in the way of being able to fully answer.) I wish I had a theme for this year’s mailbag like I’ve done for the past couple of years, but I’m plum out of high-concept ideas. This year will just have to be more straightforward, I guess.

Before I get too far here, though, I want to remind everyone that I do have a .forum you can use to talk to me about stuff on this site and just other general stuff. Hardly anyone uses the .forum, and I’d really like to make things more active in there, so go read some stuff, post some stuff, say hi, whatever.

Oh, and for the DDR people who just started reading here this past year: I used to be involved in the online communities devoted to professional wrestling a long time ago, so that’s why there are so many wrestling questions here. Check previous .org Q&A entries for more details on that. With that out of the way, here we go …

Hi Sean.

Congratulations on making it to year number 4 with the site. Now, on to my question.

You have mentioned a person by the name of Chantal Marshall every now and then, and I remember how you once said that there was a lot of history between the two of you. From the way you spoke about her, it sounds like you have some kind of conflict with her. So, if you can, could you please tell us as much as you can about Chantal and your situation with her?

Thanks for replying.

Well, first of all (and I’m not trying to sound harsh here, so forgive me if I do), the correct spelling of her first name is Chantelle. Much like Shawn is the English bastardization of Sean, Chantal is the English bastardization of Chantelle.

Anyway, Chantelle and I went to the same private school, in the same grade, together. (I started there in fourth grade, she started in first grade.) To make a long story short, I never fit in that private school at all. Even though I can’t call my family “working-class,” we do have a very blue-collar mentality, and my best friend growing up was the son of an Ironworker (and eventually did some Ironworking himself both before and during his studies at Ohio State University). When I got to the private school, I was pretty much shunned for my lack of culture and etiquette, and I kind of let myself fit into that role. The end result was that I was pretty much seen as a misfit throughout all my years at that school by everyone there, including Chantelle.

In the fifth grade, however, she and I started taking piano lessons from the same Austrian immigrant the school had hired for such purposes, a woman who damn near single-handedly killed my love of music with all the nonsense she tried to foist on me. We wound up being the only two students who started composing songs so early in our studies, and from this a kind of schoolyard rivalry began to emerge; it carried on later when we both started writing poetry years later. And, for the record, Chantelle kicked my ass at everything; as I wrote about a few years ago, her poetry was so evocative of Sylvia Plath’s best work (without me having read Plath at the time) that I was stunned by its magnificence.

Like I said, I kind of started having this kind of silly rivalry with Chantelle that grade school kids get into. Thinking I was a male at the time, I sort of felt a need to protect my turf, as it were, and prove that I was better than she was. And, as so often happens with that kind of situation with kids my age, I soon found myself having a full-on crush on Chantelle. Instead of wanting to be better than her, her work inspired me to make my own work better. I really think Chantelle deserves all the credit for me deciding to become an artistic person at that stage in my life; were it not for her, I would have focused on my math skills (since math was always my best subject in school) and probably went off and become an engineer or something like that.

Chantelle, obviously, didn’t reciprocate. That in and of itself was fairly unremarkable, but what made matters worse was that because I was such an uncooth youngster, her mother got the impression that I was pretty much the spawn of Satan and that I was going to do horrible, horrible things to her. Her mother went to school administration, and the end result of that was that I got so scared that I had maybe three conversations with Chantelle in my last five years at the school. And most of those were really unpleasant because I kept doing dumb things as I tried to sort out my feelings towards her.

Anyway, she went off to Brown and I went to Antioch, where I fell in love with another woman and my feelings towards Chantelle ebbed. However, during her summers, Chantelle got a job at the Media Play I so often frequent, so I actually saw her and spoke to her a couple of times there; things were somewhat tense, but as we were both adults now I think we both had some perspective over what had gone on earlier. Ironically enough, though, the last time I saw Chantelle she was having lunch with her mother at a local mall; given everything that had gone on with her mom, I decided it best not to say hi.

That was several years ago. To be honest, I Google on Chantelle’s name every few months or so, but I’m really not going to push trying to get back in touch with her. Besides, the only way I have of getting her e-mail is by giving our old school my e-mail address, and that’s just not going to happen. If Chantelle wants to get hold of me, I’m not that hard to find, so I’ll leave the ball in her court. I’d like to know what she’s been up to these past few years, but if I don’t that’s cool too. I just hope she’s keeping up with her music and her poetry and continuing to churn out the same amazing stuff she was writing back in the day.

Greetings Sean, and my congrats to you on the fourth year of the site.

I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time now, and I remember you mentioning someone by the name of Shevette. You said that this person helped you when you first started doing websites by showing you how to do such and such, and that of all the online friends you knew of, you’d like to meet her the most. My question is can you tell us a bit more about her like who she is, what she’s doing these days and have you ever got the chance to meet her in person?

See you again next year!

Um … heh. You know, I was going to answer this question in a very protected way where I wouldn’t say anything that wasn’t a fact, but I’d still be hiding a lot of stuff. I think you all deserve more than that, though, so …

The best thing I can tell you to do is search on her name on any search engine, and you’ll find out who she is; I can’t provide any links because of the terms of my Webhosting agreement with Laughing Squid. To make a long story short, Shevette is a bondage artist. Her work is somewhat sparse, but it has a cleanness to it that I always liked.

Anyway, I first got in touch with Shevette several years ago as a fan of her work; we corresponded back and forth a bit, and I found her to be quite a charming woman. (This was back in my time between colleges, so I had no “real life” to speak of; all of my friends were online friends.) I don’t know that I ever wrote that she helped me build Websites; if anything, I remember quite the opposite, as I taught her to do some stuff. At one point, back when I was trying to make my own living off of designing Websites, I was hoping to partner with her on basically a “… for Dummies” Website, with me doing the text and her doing the (non-bondage related, totally G-rated) illustrations, but that never got off the ground.

I guess the main thing I should mention, though, is that Shevette was really the closest friend I had back when I realized I was a woman, and so Shevette was kind of a mentor to me as I entered the world of womanhood. (No offence to all of my friends I knew from my professional wrestling work back then, but I didn’t exactly feel comfortable going to any of you with that stuff, as I’m sure you can understand.) She really helped me a lot with stuff, and helped guide me to other resources so that when she left the Internet for a while, I was able to figure a lot of this stuff out by myself. I’ll always owe a debt to her for that.

As for what she’s doing now, she’s barely active on the Internet at this point. Of course, since I first met her she met a Master, got married to him, graduated from college and started a full-time job. I’ve e-mailed her a few times over the years, but I rarely get anything back from her. Then again, she’s got a “real life” now, so I can’t exactly blame her for that. (I’d like to have one of those myself one of these days.) I may be in her neck of the country in the somewhat distant future soon — I’m thinking about taking a road trip over the summer to meet some friends from Backwash and the online DDR community — but given that there’s just been no communication between us, I wouldn’t make seeing her a priority. I may e-mail her before the fact just to see if she’s interested, but I only know the state she lives in so it would really be up to her.

Greetings Sean and happy 4th year anniversary.

I’ve noticed that you haven’t mentioned your friend L for quite a while now, so I’m wondering if the friend you spoke about having a falling out with is that person? If so, is she the one that you’ve been sending e-mails to in hopes of reconciling with and can you update me on the situation?

Hope to see you again next year.

(This is the last of the “Who is …” questions, I swear.)

C. is the one I had the huge falling out with, not L. As for what’s going on with L., as with Shevette, she’s got her own life now. I met L. back at Antioch and she and I shared a lot in common, and for a while there we were trying to get a band together. But then I stopped going to Antioch, and while we kept in touch there for a bit, we lost contact for a while. Finally in 2000 we got back in contact with each other, and of course she was the one who turned me onto The Artist’s Way (come on, it wouldn’t be a .journal entry without me mentioning that book) and got me back into an artistic life after years of working for my father kind of dulled me.

Anyway, when L. and I first got back in touch she had a lot of time to talk to me, but since then she found a boyfriend (and I believe they’re married now although I can’t say that with any certainty), moved cross-country and started a new job. I still e-mail her on her birthday, and I see her on instant messenger on those few occasions I actually IM (I was into that a few years ago but I’ve really dropped off since then), but we don’t talk too much anymore. If she has a problem with me, I don’t know anything about it, and I certainly don’t have a problem with her. I guess it’s just that with her doing all these things, and me going back to school and having real-life friendships to deal with, there’s no real calling on either of our parts to make a point of contacting the other.

And now to the big oopsie of this year …

What is your current height and weight as of Nov 1, 2004?

Sigh. Well, unless something really drastic has changed, my height should still be where it’s been for the past umpteenth years: just a shade under six feet tall.

As for my weight, I was going to weigh myself on Monday. Unfortunately, this damn infection wreaked havoc with me, and I totally forgot about weighing myself in until the evening of the second. Complicating matters is my self-designed sore throat cure (lots of salty foods, lemonade, and grape and orange sodas), which combined with a forced lack of exercise, results in me putting on a fair deal of weight while I’m sick. (But you know what they say about feeding a cold and starving a fever.) So I’m loathe to weigh myself now because I don’t think it would be an accurate weight. If nothing else, I swear I must be losing two pounds a day in mucus alone with all the coughing and sneezing up I’m doing.

So yeah, I just don’t have a definitive answer to the weight question. If I were to guess, I’d say that on 11.01 I was somewhere in the 240-250 range, definitely much bigger than I want to be. (For points of reference, my high weight point in the fall of 1997 was 324 pounds, my recent low coming in the fall of last year at 193.) Since I didn’t get an accurate weight Monday, though, I promise that I will weigh myself in soon, once I’m able to clear this bug out of my system and lose the weight I’ve put on from my sore throat remedy.

If you could vote for anybody in the world for president and vice president of the United States, who would you choose?

Assuming “anybody” means that I don’t have to follow Constitutional guidelines on nationality, I’d vote for Arianna Huffington and Dennis Kucinich. Right now they’re the two people who I believe, if they follow their true beliefs and calling (and not capitulate to centrist Democrats like they did in this last election cycle), will be able to effectively create the kind of country and world I believe in. That isn’t to say I agree with both of them on every issue, but of course the only president I could ever agree 100% with would be myself, and not only am I too young for the job, but I wouldn’t want it. (And I’d never get it, given all of the dumb stuff I’ve said on the Internet over the years.)

In the vein of a famous debate question, can you name three mistakes you’ve made in your life, and what you’ve done to resolve them?

Well, given what happened on Tuesday I’m tempted to say I’ve never made a mistake in my entire life, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, and prepare to be elected President. I’m too honest to do that, though.

The biggest mistake I ever made was a little over two years ago when I betrayed C.’s trust and then got angry with her about it. There’s a long story behind that, which I can’t really relate because of the people involved, but she was in trouble and I wanted more than anything to protect her and in the process I crossed some boundaries I had no business crossing. And then I got frustrated because I realized the kind of no-win situation I was in, not consciously aware (though I realize now I did, on an unconscious level, know what was going on) that her situation was far worse than any trivial bullshit in my life I’ve gone emo about. And, well, this month will mark two years since she last e-mailed me.

As for what I’ve done to resolve that mess, it’s more of a question of what haven’t I done. The answer to which is, nothing that would cross any further boundaries with her. For a long time there I e-mailed her on an occasional basis to let her know how sorry I was, and how I wanted more than anything to make up with her, but when I e-mailed her on her birthday this year the e-mail bounced back because her account had been deactivated. To be honest, there are times when I’ve thought about using every means at my disposal to try to find some other way of contacting her, but I just can’t do that. I hope more than anything that she’ll get back in touch with me of her own accord soon — I pray for it every day — but it’s out of my hands now.

My second biggest mistake in my life was not going back to Antioch after my first year there. I could probably write for ages about the incredibly mixed feelings I have regarding my father, but at the time I was preparing to go back for my second year there, it was pretty clear that my father really needed all the cheap help he could get with his company. Antioch was the one place in my life I’d ever really felt like I could grow as a person, but I wondered if I went back there, if I’d even have a family business to come back to. I told myself that I’d just take one year off to help my father, but one year soon became several, and, well, by the time I actually got around to going back to college it was just much simpler for me to go to UT.

I don’t really know if there’s anything I can do to resolve that; I mean, I’ve finished my undergraduate career, and Antioch (at the Yellow Springs campus) doesn’t offer graduate degrees. I got back in touch with L. eventually, but the two or three other students from my time there that I still wonder about … hell, I doubt they even remember me at this point. If I still feel comfortable living in America after finishing my own studies, I’d really like to go back to Antioch as a professor, but that will be a long time off in the future. For now, I do admit that I get a bit depressed in the early fall when I remember what it was like when I made the decision not to go back to Antioch, but I get over it eventually.

A whole lot of possibilities are coming into my head as for a third mistake I could list here, but I guess the most obvious one is that, between my time at Antioch and just before launching the .org, I just lost those years. I mean, my life was pretty much going to my father’s office to work (with only one non-family member in the office), coming home to live with everyone else, relying on virtual friendships and having no real-life life to speak of. Between the stuff I went through at private school and then losing all those years, I have to say that my undergraduate career at UT felt like what I should have been going through in high school in terms of the social progress I was making, the responsibilities I was taking and all of that. It’s only now that I’m doing graduate work that I feel like a real college student, someone (hopefully) soon to enter the professional world for real.

I guess the past four years, and just before then, was me trying to rectify things. I mean, I got away from the wrestling situation when it became really toxic for me, I finally got my driver’s license, I went back to school and started making real-life friends and started learning how to be social, I’ve allowed myself to experiment with all the various creative energies I’ve found inside of me, and I’m learning — though I still have a long ways to go — to actually value myself, and let myself do the things I want to do without worrying about what other people will think about me. I still need to learn how to be really happy, but I’m hoping that will come.

Which Final Fantasy character do you hate most, and why is it Cait Sith?

Ha! Actually, Cait Sith never bothered me so much as the Mog; I’m sorry, but if you want to give a name that close to “moogle” to a creature, it should be something that at least has a hundredth of the cuteness of moogles.

When it comes to the Final Fantasy characters I hate, Final Fantasy VII is just a whole bucket of loathesomeness. Squall is the perfect example of why I will never, ever try to foist my autobiography on anyone; when you have a person who is so apathetic that their reaction to anything is just to say “whatever,” it is boring. Squall never convincingly moves past that (unlike, say, Cloud), and as such he’s not really a hero or a villain in the story, he’s just … there. If I were to rate all of the Final Fantasy characters in terms of hatred, though, Squall would probably end up being a close second to Zell, though, for reasons which I don’t think I need to elaborate on. I’ll just say “CHICKEN-WUSS!!” and be done with it.

What was the closest you have ever physically been to committing suicide? (blade on the wrist, pills in the mouth, etc.)

Geez, talk about getting me out of my comfort zone …

When I was thirteen, I took the leap. At my private school, I actually made a sincere effort to kill myself. However, I only resulted in giving myself a concussion, and the teacher who found me thought it wasn’t that bad and made me go to my next class without seeing the nurse first. And people wonder why I hated that place so much.

And one question to kind of “bridge the gap” between all the other questions and the wrestling questions …

If you could have sex with either Bjork, Justin Timberlake, or Brock Lesnar, who would you choose, and what would you do with them?

Eeesh. Well, I know Ariel’s kind of got a thing for Timberlake, but honestly I don’t see the attraction. Keeping in mind that I really don’t know the personalities of any of these people, which would be the real determining factor in the decision (but we’re playing what-ifs now so I’ll let it slide), given the kind of music Timberlake produces I just don’t have the feeling that he’s the kind of person I’d want to be with in that way. As for Brock Lesnar, please. I don’t like my men (or my women) with lots of muscles. And I just don’t get the feeling he and I would get along that well.

I guess that leaves Bj√∂rk by default, although I have to say that while I think she is adorable and sexy, I’ve never really had that strong of an attraction to her on that level; I’d rather work with her as a fellow artist than have that kind of a relationship with her. As for what I’d do with her, probably something gentle and tender for the short while it lasted, because I’d probably wind up pissing myself out of fear and running away before things could get really heated up.

So yeah, bring the wrestling questions …

I vaguely remember there was something fued or arguement or something between you and Steve Corino back in late 2000 I think. He got mad about something you wrote or something like that? Could you explain what happened?

Oy, Corino. Basically, he got really mad because of all the ragging I was doing on ECW in my WrestleLine columns (though as a wrestler I liked Corino, and my only real complaint about him — which pretty much everyone was saying at the time — was that he was relying too much on blading to get over). He took offence, and challenged me to come train with him at the wrestling school he ran in Pennsylvania at the time.

Now, a rational person would have pointed out that, contrary to what Corino was arguing, a person didn’t need to train to be a wrestler to be able to write valid criticism of wrestling. Unfortunately, this was near the end of my whole wrestling phase, and as anyone can tell you I was not rational those last couple of months. So instead of making that point, I mentioned that I have acute spina bifida, and that all my life even taking short falls on my ass has resulted in unbearable pain. Nearly everyone who read the column, not that I can blame them, ragged on me for being my usual emo self and instead of writing intelligent critique, tried to turn the situation into a big pity party for me. So yeah, it wasn’t too long after that incident that I retired from the whole wrestling commentary thing, in part because I realized what an ass I’d made out of myself in that whole thing.

Sometime also in late 2000 I remember Hyatte mentioning on the Edge something about you threatening CRZ with a lawsuit. Did that happen, and if so what was the story?

You know, when I first read this question I thought the person who asked it was mistaken; I did a lot of really stupid stuff when it came to CRZ, but I couldn’t recall ever threatening him with a lawsuit. Once I had some time to think about it, though, I remembered that, more than likely, I did say I’d think about pressing legal action, but I can’t remember about what. It was probably something incredibly stupid, and I likely had no legal basis for pursuing that kind of action against him. If CRZ’s still the kind of record-keeper he was back in the day, though, I’m sure he could pull the e-mails for you if you asked.

Yeah, that whole thing with CRZ was just … well, it was just so emblematic of the dumb shit I was doing back in the day; basically he and I misunderstood a couple of things we said to each other, and all of a sudden I go on this whole blood feud thing and make a real ass of myself. There were probably dozens of cases like that throughout the years, and I probably couldn’t remember them all even if I had the old Websites and e-mails in front of me.

Once again year 2000, I vaguely vaguely remember reading someone saying something about you having some problem with three count. Was there anything and if so what? If not my mind is making shit up which is quite possible.

And in another case of my fucked-up head creating something that wasn’t there … sigh. Okay, it was around this time that I had a real thing going against Mark Madden, kind of like what I’ve got with Ann Coulter right now. Plus I was still smarting from when Time-Warner threatened legal action against me for the nWWWo Website. Anyway, WCW debuted the whole Three Count gimmick, and brought in Shane Helms and Shannon Moore for it. The thing was, though, they only referred to the two by their first names, and always in the order, “Shane and Shannon.” Of course, this was back when I was only really aware of the “big three” and I had no idea that those were their real names, and I read everything into this whole Shane/Shannon thing being some kind of secret dig on me.

That alone would have been bad enough; as it was, I got so worked up over the whole thing that I actually started self-injuring again after avoiding that whole scene for years. Only certain other columnists somehow found a post I’d written on one of the discussion boards at WebMD looking for people to help me cope with that whole mess, and posted it publicly, causing me even more embarrassment and humiliation. However, I didn’t go back to self-injury in the wake of that development, and I haven’t self-injured since.

Yeah, for those of you who weren’t around back in these days, you might be getting the impression that back when I was into the whole wrestling scene, I was a total fucking moron. And you’d be right.

Whatever happened to the RSPCW?

Um, it became the FWLI and then the IFWF, and then everyone just seemed to drop off the face of the planet. The only two people I remember from back then are Chris Thomas and Joe Petrow, and Joe’s the only one I had contact with since then. I should have known that the whole thing wouldn’t survive without Joe there, though.

And the last question …

Does it bother you that people who knew you from “The Situation” might find your lifestyle less than appealing? Do you ever think about what they might say or think?

For a time, I did. Because I’ve always been such an outcast my whole life, I have this awful temptation to just do everything I can to seek the approval of others, even at the expense of my own well-being. I mean, I knew I was bisexual years before I ever got on the Internet, and I realized I was transsexual right close to the peak of my online career, and even after I got out of that whole scene it took me two years before I decided to come out on the Internet. Even today I still think professional wrestling and its fans are misunderstood by most of society, but there’s no getting around the fact that the whole wrestling fandom subculture has a very deep strain of homophobia running throughout most of it. I don’t think I would have ever come out online had I remained in that community.

As for the people whom I was associated with back then, though, I guess it just doesn’t bother me so much anymore. I mean, I pretty much pissed everyone off with that domain name stunt I pulled a few years back, but things cooled down eventually. Jeremy Botter and I started writing each other again after 09.11, and Don Becker and I got back in touch soon after. I’ve had some other people write me since then, and I’m always up to talking to people about stuff, but if these people don’t want to accept me for who I am, that’s fine. It’s certainly their right, and over the past four years I’ve learned that I have more important things to do with my life than worry about what they might say about me.

To be honest, over the past few years I have been privy to some of the stuff that’s been written about me (piece of advice, people: I do read my Website logs, so don’t link to my Website from a messageboard or column or anything like that, because I will find out about it), and on occasion some of it has hurt me. It doesn’t bother me anywhere near as much as it used to, though. If anything, I’ve been gone from that whole scene for four years now, and if some people haven’t found anything better to do in all that time than to continue to rag on me in public or in private, then they’ve got even less of a life than I do. And that’s reassuring.

And on that note, after a quick reminder to visit the .forum to talk to me and other .org readers about stuff …

Everyone take care and be well. Coming up next Thursday for .org.4: my tribute to Chad Dupree. All the kids will be talking about it. Trust me.

— Sean

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