.journal 2001.03.18
Happy birthday to me.

Now listening to: Björk, Homogenic
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Exquisite Corpse
Now playing: Final Fantasy II (Super Nintendo)

Well, today's the big day. Yep, it's my birthday, and this is the one day I am not going to let anything, from the remnants of this flu bug to a fairly bad sinus headache to the Wings' loss yesterday, get me down.

The festivities started yesterday when I went off my diet for the whole weekend and treated myself to some well-deserved indulgences. Actually, things kind of started Friday because I took the morning off to go to Wildwood. We had a snowstorm that morning, and because we're getting so close to spring here, the snowflakes were nice and large and they were sticking to the trees in the most lovely way. I brought a disposable camera, and hopefully I'll have some shots to put up here soon. (They may also be the last pictures you see on this site taken with a disposable, since it sounds like Mom was really eager to get me a "real" camera for my birthday.)

The thing is, though, that there was another symptom of the snow and the temperature, and that was that the roads were real icy. So I finally got to experience my first slipping and sliding while driving up to Wildwood, and, well, at least I survived. Mind you, this was in the parking lot of Wildwood so there were all of about twelve people there, none of them close to my car, and I was going maybe ten miles an hour, but still, slipping and sliding around isn't what I would call that fun.

I guess there are a couple of reasons the sliding kind of got to me a bit. Firstly, I've just never really felt that comfortable moving myself on something other than my own two feet. I think this stems from the fact that the only time I was on roller skates, when I was six years old, I promptly fell and broke my right arm pretty damn clean. I ended up having to spend half the summer between kindergarten and first grade with a cast on my arm, unable to swim, and of course that ended up being a pretty hot summer. I'm okay riding a bike, but don't ever expect to see me skateboarding or rollerblading or anything like that. (I had to try cross-country skiing when I was in private school, and had similar problems with it.) I guess perhaps I had similar problems driving a car back in the day, and some of those bad feelings came back to me when I started sliding down the driveway into Wildwood, but I got over them.

However, the sliding did bring back another unpleasant memory. Back in 1995 I got to see my first (and to date only) Björk concert, when my childhood best friend took me to Cleveland to see her. Now, I can't say as the experience was 100% positive, especially since there were a lot of people smoking weed in the theatre, and since I'm allergic to marijuana I woke up the next morning vomiting and with a nasty rash on my hands and face, but still, Björk is my hero, the first person who ever really made me feel comfortable with myself, and watching her perform live, it was like free-falling into a volcano with the energy she generated. The thing is, on the way home a snowstorm hit, and my friend ended up sliding out of control and going headlong into the embankment in the middle of the Ohio Turnpike. Not fun.

Anyway, I won't be doing any driving today, but I will walk over to Wildwood later as I normally do on my birthday. Some days I go to Wildwood for inspiration and other days I go for exercise, and now of course some days I go over there to take photos, but on my birthday I go there solely for me. My birthday has always been about equal parts partying and contemplation, and Jeff's coming over later for pizza and stuff, but I need to do some contemplation, and there's no better place for me to do so than at Wildwood.

That isn't to say I haven't been doing a lot of conteplation already, and in fact I kind of wanted to do some here, in my journal. Because when I look back at where I was at this point last year, I was really close to rock bottom. The last really close friend I had, had just left my life because she was being harrassed by someone and had to pull a disappearing act. In the situation I was in the midst of, I had a very painful episode which, looking back on things now, I can really see was a defining moment in how poorly I was being treated, because the message I finally realized from it, months later, summed up what made the situation so bad for me: I was trying to have fun with the situation, and I received such a wave of negativity because of that, that I was just totally crestfallen. It's kind of like everyone around me went, "How dare you try to have fun! Don't you know your position here is to endlessly suffer for our enjoyment and benefit?"

Things were really, really bad for me then. I felt my demons really creep up on me, and went so far as to seek out professional help before I spiraled any further down. But then, later that spring, the long, slow turn-around began for me, and looking back on things I can say that this was a pretty good year for me, and I'm more positive about my future now than I can ever remember being. I have a lot of people to thank for this great change in my life, and I'd kind of like to take this time and space to do so.

Firstly, although I know she doesn't read this, I'd like to thank Julia Cameron for writing The Artists' Way, the blueprint with which I have turned around my life. I can't say as reading her book didn't make me uncomfortable at times, but The Artists' Way has been more of a boon to my life than I could ever hope to relate in words. In addition to helping me get in touch with my own inner creative forces and helping me to find creativity and spirituality in my life in ways I didn't see before, Julia helped me to be more comfortable with myself and who I am, and more importantly than that realize that I have a right to be the person I am, that I have a right to happiness and that I have a right to pursue my dreams and my destiny. With her help, I was able to realize all the bad situations and friendships I was in, and have the strength to purge them all from my life, and focus on what is positive and good for me. The path I am on is never-ending, and there have been some bumps in the road, but I'm never veering off this road I'm on, and nobody and nothing can ever make me stop or slow down.

Next I'd like to thank my family and Jeff for being my support net. I tend to think in more abstract terms of my needs and desires, but when it comes to the tangibles, the things I can actually put a hand or name on, my mother, father, sister and Jeff give me strength every day. It's been difficult for me at times because I'm still learning how to avoid using that strength as a crutch, and in truth part of what I've discovered these past several months is that I need more independence in my life than what I currently have, but that doesn't change the fact that I love you all and that I truly appreciate all you do for me every day of my life.

I'd also like to thank C. and J. for being not only great friends but also terrific muses and inspirations to me. Maybe you two don't understand the nature of the impact you've had on my life, but just know that sometimes you can really effect a great, positive change in someone's life just being the wonderful people that you are. You two really helped me get through that period where I was realizing that most of the people in my life I considered to be friends weren't really friends at all, and during that time I realized what genuinely nice people both of you are. There aren't too many people on this planet who are genuinely nice, and when I find genuinely nice people I do nearly everything in my power to hold on to them. I hope this next year brings us all closer, and that we can create some wonderful art together.

Finally, most of all, more profoundly than I could ever hope to express, I want to thank L. for coming back into my life that warm evening in June and slowly making things right for me once again. Without you, I lost my way, and spiraled further and further into depression until I finally thought I was going to lose it all. But you have made me strong again, you have reminded me of my purpose, and given me the conviction to pursue my dreams against all the obstacles the world throws at me. For that I am indebted to you in ways I could never hope to repay, and I only hope you will allow me to try to do so. No matter what may happen to either of us, nothing will ever change the fact that you are the most beautiful, most remarkable, most amazing person I have ever had the privilege of knowing in my life, and not a day goes by when I am not reminded of the blessing you bring into my life. May this next year bring even greater bounties for both of us, and may each day we take more and more steps towards our destinies.

I guess that's it. I do want to thank all of you who have been supporitve of me, both those of you who knew me back when I first came onto the Internet in college back in the day, and those of you who've just stumbled upon me and my crazy life, as I've gone through all these twists and turns. Your support means a lot to me. And to those of you who haven't been supportive of me, I wish you no ill, but just realize this: you can't bring me down anymore. I'm strong now, and I will continue to get stronger and stronger. I let other people control me for too long, and that time is over now. And before you go find someone else to bully, perhaps you had better take a closer look at yourself, think about the meaning of your own life and what it makes you if you continue to seek out people to degrade, instead of trying to make yourself better.

I think a walk in Wildwood would do me some good now. It's been a pretty remarkable year, and I hope this next one is even better for me. Keep on coming back here, and I'll keep you updated on how it's all going. Blessed be, one and all. I'll see you all around.

- Sean