.org.3 part 1: Last chance
Go back three years. It was the wee small hours of a Saturday morning, and I was at my relatively new second-hand computer I bought off of uBid. At the start of the month I’d decided to make a fresh start of myself on the Internet, after being known mainly for doing one thing for the previous six years. The previous Friday I’d made the decision official, said my goodbyes, and every Internet project I’d worked on up to that point either was handed over to someone else, or I pulled the plug on it.
That morning, the 11th of November of 2000, I launched the .org. Doubtlessly many of you remember the old black-and-red colour scheme, the funky front-page graphic (actually just a stock shape from Picture Publisher 8 I did a couple of tricks to), the lack of a blog (that would come 2001.04.01), and me actually bothering to update the .journal more than four or five times a year. For those of you who don’t remember, well, that’s what the Wayback Machine is for.
When I decided to leave what I’d been doing on the Internet up to that point, I told no one what I would be up to next. At the time I thought it best for me to distance myself from that whole scene, so I said my goodbyes quickly and didn’t leave a forwarding address to the .org. I got a few search engines to crawl the .org, so that eventually people who wanted to check up on me would know where to find me. (People found out faster than I thought they would.) Other than that, though, I kept the launch of the .org silent, as I thought it should be.
Except for one e-mail I sent to a couple of my friends, the friends who had, in an admittedly indirect manner, convinced me that I needed to stop doing what I had been doing for so long, and start doing what I wanted to do. They weren’t the only visitors I got that first day, but they were the most important to me.
Flash forward a year. Those friends had to depart for some pretty serious reasons, I lost my biggest client at work, and the second floor of my house burnt down and sent the Shannon family to try to get along while living together in a hotel room. And that was just one week in May; let’s not forget everything that happened in between, from the highs of getting my drivers license and weighing in below 200 pounds for the first time since I was 11 or 12, the lows of 09.11 and the stupid stunt I pulled on the people I’d been working with before the .org, and the big question mark that was my decision to go back to college. That was a very weird year, and I was hoping things would be okay.
So go back to this date last year. I don’t think I had even been to a Spectrum meeting when the .org celebrated its first birthday; one year later I had just been thrust into the Presidency of Spectrum. School was going relatively okay, I was making some new friends, I was back at the house, and all in all I couldn’t complain. That day classes were canceled because of Veteran’s Day, and that gave me the opportunity to do a dress rehearsal of my upcoming — okay, I’m sick of dodging the words on this Website, so I’m just going to come out and say them — bondage safety presentation, which I was doing with the gracious assistance of a new Spectrum member, one of the coolest people I’d ever met. Trying to rehearse the presentation just days after unexpectedly becoming all five officers of Spectrum at once was scary, but the way everyone chipped in to help me with Spectrum, and the fact that I was finally getting a chance to do this presentation of mine to a large audience, helped me to feel better.
Of course, if you’ve been reading here for the past year, you know what happened with all that. I lost control of Spectrum once the new officers got elected, and all the people I’d turned to decided to turn their backs on me. The presentation didn’t go as well as I’d hoped it would, and I think that’s where I lost that new friend, although it didn’t really show until much later. I was beginning to have suicidal thoughts again, and I had to go back into counseling to get things sorted out.
Things got better in some areas, though. Spectrum’s had a total and complete makeover since the summer, and I’ve got some terrific new friends there. I did my presentation again, and while it didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped it would (mainly because I tried to do the presentation by myself, which was a huge mistake), at least I didn’t lose a friend in the process. As a matter of fact, I may have someone booking me to do the presentation at different places in the future, so that’s a plus. The suicidal thoughts have stopped, although I’m still suffering from some pretty big depression fits.
So how do I feel now? Well, that’s just it, isn’t it?
Pardon me for being a bit cheeky (and if you’re wondering why my word choice has taken a decidedly British turn here, call it foreshadowing of the next .journal entry), but I think there’s something to be said for false hope. This time last year, I really gave into false hope, and only in the past few months have I come to realize how it’s come back to bite me in the ass.
I’ve made plenty of mention over the past several months about the best friend I had whom I wound up pissing off, and how I’ve come to regret that. What I haven’t mentioned, up until now, is that it was actually the two-year anniversary of the .org last year — one year ago today — that I sent that e-mail calling off the friendship, and really letting her know how much she hurt me.
It is neither hyperbole nor exaggeration on my part to call the sending of that e-mail the biggest mistake of my life. And believe me, with all the dumb shit I’ve done in my lifetime, that’s saying something.
Like I’ve mentioned before, she wrote me back a terse reply the next day, and that was that. I don’t want to get into specifics, only to mention that this best friend was one of the “alphabet people” I used to mention in the early days of the .journal, and that I’ve already given most of you more than enough clues to figure out who she is. And don’t ask me for more, because I won’t give them to you.
So I’m here on the three-year anniversary of the .org, and in spite of all of the crazy shit that’s been going on in my life, some of which has probably greatly reduced the chances of me going to grad school like I’d hoped, all I can think about is her.
Her birthday’s in August, and when it came around this year I e-mailed her for the first time since the breakup. I told her that I’d thought about things a lot, and I wanted the chance to talk to her about what had gone on. I’d done a lot of stupid things, but there was so much going on that I wasn’t sure what or who to believe. I wasn’t even sure if I could believe myself. But I asked her if she’d get back in touch with me so we could try to work things out. I wasn’t expecting things would get resolved, but if I’d had the opportunity to speak with her once more, even if she just told me to fuck off at the end, at least I could have said that I tried.
She didn’t reply to the e-mail. I sent her a couple of more e-mails after that to follow up, but then I stopped. I wasn’t getting a response, and I had to assume at that point that she wasn’t interested in responding. That was hard for me to accept, and, well, a large part of me still doesn’t want to accept it. But I have to.
I have to give it one more try, though. I’m going to send one more e-mail to her, later today, to try to start the reconcilement process again. I’m not really sure what I’m going to say — I think I’ve already said everything that there is to be said — but I’ve got to say something. I’ve got to let her know how sorry I am for all the dumb shit I’ve done. I’ve got to let her know how much she still means to me. And I’ve got to let her know that I would do nearly anything at this point to have her friendship again.
And if she tells me to fuck off, or she ignores me, or she decides that she just can’t forgive what I’ve done … well, that’s her decision to make. And I’ll respect whatever decision she makes. But in all honesty, I don’t think I have ever felt emotions this strong in all my life. I don’t want to say what these emotions are borne of — I have a pretty good idea and it’s not one I want to give voice to — but I’m not going to question them anymore. And I won’t apologize for them, either.
So yeah, this was supposed to be a column reflecting on the past year of my life, and it all turns into another thing on my best friend. Honestly, though, at this point I feel like I’ve got so much riding on this that I can’t really write much about anything else.
Last year I gave into the false hope that the people around me would help me get through the breakup with my best friend. I was convinced that I had a new support net, and my best friend was poison. The reality turned out to be quite the opposite.
I won’t surrender to false hope again. When I send that e-mail out later today, it won’t be with any expectations of things getting better. But I will still wish, with all that I have, that I get a chance to patch things up with my best friend, and to bring her back into my life as she once was.
In the three years since I’ve done the .org, I’ve asked for your prayers and good vibes on more than a couple of occasions. Now, more than ever, though, I need your help. Please, if you can, wish me luck today in reconciling with my best friend. I have a feeling that this may be my last chance to reach her. I need all the help I can get to make this one count.
Everyone take care and be well. Who knows what these next three years will bring to my life and the .org. Well, I can at least tell you what happens next week: a .journal entry where I spill the beans on one other big change in my life that I haven’t told any of you about yet. I’ll see you then.