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Other than the Mr., the person I love best is R., whom I met on LJ.

I was going through a very rough patch (living 2500 miles from my husband, having gained 100+ pounds due to a medication I was taking, being dumped by pretty much every "friend" I had for the sin of being fat, etc.) and using the TV for badly-needed company when I started watching a really stupid TV show about a future superhero and his hot best friend/future nemesis. I was absolutely boggled at what I was seeing, what with the blatant the homoerotic nature of that "best friends" relationship. Looking for information online (was this supposed to be...avant-garde? Was I the only one who had registered how bizarre this was?), I found a community of like minds, as well as my first examples of slashy fanfiction.

LJ saved my life. I have always struggled with depression, ever since I was a small child, and there's never been a medication that really worked for more than a few weeks (if it worked at all). The one that made me gain all that weight wasn't supposed to cause weight gain, so I was frustrated, angry and felt as if I was being punished since I just kept getting fatter and fatter no matter what I did. The separation from the Mr., and the state of our relationship at that time, along with the reactions of old friends upon seeing my newly bloated body were very disheartening, and I couldn't see any way that things might improve. The way people treated fat me made me feel as if the only thing anyone had valued about me before was that I looked good in a short skirt. I didn't like being fat, but even worse was the clear message that I was only going to be considered human if I was thin, and I thought (still think) that I'm worth more than that. However, my opinion was irrelevant to the actual experience of walking through the world in a larger body and being treated like a particularly recalcitrant example of livestock, and a deaf and stupid one, at that. It was definitely wearing me down. I was aware that it would finally be relatively simple to end things (such as my life) because of my situation, because I was so far away from anyone who might possibly care about me, and it was never far from my mind at the time that I first found fanfiction and fandom, and made myself an LJ.

I've always been a writer, though I've not always been confident enough to share what I've written. Some of the fanfiction I was reading was really nicely done, but most of it was embarrassingly bad, and I knew I could do better. The first story I posted was basically just a sex scene written for a challenge, but people went nuts for it, and that gave me the confidence to write another, and another, and...

R. was already well-established as a writer in that fandom, and everything I'd ever heard about her was negative. She was supposed to be a selfish, self-centered, mean-spirited, backstabbing cunt with elitist pretentions. She was also known to be attractive (related grudgingly), which had caused her head to swell to offensive proportions. I liked her stories, and I read her journal and kept waiting to see the evidence of her terrible nature. I waited a long time.

R. happened to live in Tennessee, which is where the Mr. was living, albeit in a different city. I had also been living there, but had moved back to Seattle with the idea being that the Mr. would eventually join me. Unlike me, R. loves Tennessee. It's where she was born, and she can't imagine living anywhere else. If it weren't for the Mr. (who likes it here) and R., I'd be living anywhere else. Well, anywhere else that's COLD. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I met another Tennessee person online and she pursued my friendship with a relentlessness that was unfamiliar to me at that time. This person hated R. and was the source of much of the negative R. gossip I'd heard. I met a Seattle person online who was good friends with R., and who painted a very different picture. The Seattle/Tennessee connections, the differing reports of R.'s character, and the writings of R. herself made me increasingly interested in finding out for myself what she was like.

The Seattle thing was obviously not going to work, so I returned to Tennessee with very mixed emotions. At least I'd finally been given a different medication, which resulted in a loss of about 60 pounds in a couple of months, so I was feeling a bit better about myself. The anti-R friend campaigned strongly for me to visit her in Knoxville, which was also R.'s hometown. I started putting out tentative feelers toward R. to see if she was receptive to a meeting. Anti-R. was against this, telling me that R. just wanted to meet me to get ammunition to use against me. However, R. had never been involved in any sort of ammunition-required organized persecution scheme that I was aware of, and so I eventually arranged to meet R.

It went well. We were both nervous. She was indeed very pretty, but much goofier than I would have guessed. She was trying hard to look cool because apparently she thought I was cool and she didn't want to be at a disadvantage. Subsequently, Anti-R had a jealous meltdown and R took the opportunity to step in and be my friend in Tennessee.

Almost 10 years later (correction - I guess it's more like 9), she's still the only friend I have here, but she's the best friend I've ever had. We both left that fandom 4 or 5 years ago, and we've had very different lives and experiences, but she's like the sister I always wanted and, more than anyone else, I can feel confident that she'll love me no matter what shit I get myself into (yes, even more so than the Mr. at times!). She had a daughter 3 years ago, which put an end to us going to the gay bar to watch boys kiss (and me getting the evil eye and even outright remarks from women who believe it's important that I know that I'm not good enough to be R's girlfriend, and that they would be better choices), but I've adjusted to that (sort of - I do miss watching boys kiss very much) and I love her child as if she were my own. Which is a little weird, since I've never wanted a kid and still don't, but R's daughter really is the smartest, cleverest, most charming 3-year-old person you could hope to meet, and she adores me, which is an endearing quality in anyone.

I have not always been the best friend, to R. or anyone else. I don't like to talk to people when I'm feeling bad, so I don't answer the phone, and then I feel bad about not answering the phone, which makes me not want to answer it that much more. A single phone message from my parents, with whom I have a very hate/love relationship, will put me off of phone calls in general for a week or more. After one of these, I ducked calls from R., which I never do, and she knew I was doing it, and thus I made her cry. It was awful, and now I'm making a conscious effort to be less ridiculous and selfish with a reasonable amount of success. It has not escaped my notice that I treat the people I love best as if I can barely tolerate them.

I have several other LJ friends whom I've met in RL. In fact, some of them moved to Nashville because of the presence of both myself and R. in TN, combined with an interest in progressing in their music journalism quasi-careers. Which goes against what I said about R. being my only friend here, but...she's the one who matters the most.

At one point, at the height of my fanfiction popularity, there were literally hundreds of people wanting to be my friend and it freaked me the fuck out. I was never popular growing up, and becoming wildly popular when you're in your 30s, and being treated like a rock star because you wrote some good porn, is fun for only about a week before it becomes intrusive and often creepy. I did meet a lot of people involved in publishing and screenwriting (lots of screenwriters also write fanfic, it turns out) and many people were incredible kind and generous and offered to help me get published and...I just don't know what to do when people are nice to me. It's like the popularity thing. I handle it poorly. I think I could probably still call in some of those markers and that people would be gracious despite my confusion and resultant bad/no manners, because it turns out that people are actually nice like that sometimes.

In the 10 years before I found LJ, I had no close friends of my own, just people who were the Mr.'s friends first, because I'd had such mean, crappy, manipulative "friends" that once I'd cut ties with those people, I doubted my ability to actually choose friends who wouldn't constantly fuck with me and try to grind me into the ground. I know that taking such a break, especially voluntarily (more or less) is weird. However, for the most part, the people I've met through LJ have been good friends for me - people I've met on the internet in general have been much better friends to me than anyone I've managed to meet here in Nashville, whether through taking a class or just hanging out at a coffeeshop (believe me, I've tried). Like a lot of people who never fit in, I've found acceptance online of a type and to an extent that I never would have expected. For all the crap that has happened on and with LJ (6A, anyone? WTF...), I really do think that starting my own journal saved my life by connecting me to people who were supportive, encouraging, and even admiring of my efforts - even though they were nothing more momentous than porn and snark.

So, yay for LJ, even when it sucks. That is secretly the theme of this edition of Writer's Block, right?.

(edited to fix dates and time spans because I over- and underestimated everything and it's important to everyone, I'm sure, that I get it right :P )



(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-24 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diskoverdrive.livejournal.com
"really stupid TV show about a future superhero and his hot best friend/future nemesis"

wouldthathappentobesmallvile?I always shipped them too.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-24 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nixypixel.livejournal.com
That's the one. Not too hard to guess, was it :P It was so dumb, but it was fun to make fun of it, and fun to write stories using the characters, at least for the first three seasons. As it turns out, it really was mostly about the writing experiments for me - when I stopped enjoying the show a couple of episodes into the fourth season, I stopped watching and stopped having much of anything in common with the majority of my f-list, so I just sort of drifted away.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-24 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diskoverdrive.livejournal.com
It was the only show that came to mind! The best arch freinemy can surprisingly pull off bald very well. But, as with any TV series.. after a few seasons a lot just doesn't make sense anymore and you're left wondering where in the world the plot went. Take Lost for example, maybe even Heroes.

I've always been a lurker when it comes to fanfic, so your experiments got farther than mine :P The most I have done (putting my writing out these-wise) is post whiny 12 poetry on Allpoetry and it's an experience I would rather forget.

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