I've known Blitzy for something like five years now. We were thrown together by our online RP group but pretty much immediately clicked. And while the RP group is not the focus of either of our lives any more, the friendship has endured. By the standards of, say, high school or college friendships, we're practically blood brothers. But the thing is, we met as adults– in my case, as a middle-aged adult in particular. So for me, a period of five years, while nothing to sneeze at, still counts as being "recent developments."
When we met, I was still in the darkest parts of grief, and quite often depressed; during one of my conversations with Blitzy at the time, I said that having met me after my friends and family started dying left and right, so constantly mired in grief, in many ways he hadn't met "the real me."
But when did I stop being "the real me"? How long can an extended period of grief last before that is "normal"? My father died in 2011 after a long and stressful decline; Kerry died in 2013. I met Inkblitzer somewhere between those two events, and they've cast a long shadow ever since– as have the deaths of Sandy, FrostDemn, Buddha, my aunt Iris, and my mom, and the loss of our house and jobs of 15+ years, all in the same cluster. It's not like my grief was unwarranted. ¬.¬
But recently, something has shifted in me. I'm not sure exactly how, why, or when, although I did comment on it a little while back. I have started being myself again. I still miss everyone that I've lost, and it's not like I'm feeling peachy-keen about all the crap currently going on in the world, but there's an important internal difference.
I'm fine in the moment. I'm thinking about where I am and what I'm doing, instead of thinking about how much pain I'm in or what I've lost. The emotional wounds, as it were, seem to have scarred over. This manifests mostly in a better mood, a sunnier outlook, and a lighter, more playful approach to just about everything. I'm back to treating life like a party or an adventure, rather a slog that I have to just keep pushing through. When I think of "the real me," that's what I think of, the guy who wants to make everything more awesome, not the guy who is stubbornly refusing to give in and just sink to the bottom.
I mentioned to Blitzy that I was finally the real me again; he said, "I think I met the real you enough. At least at conventions. But yeah, I'm seeing more of convention you in general."
So I wonder. Maybe "the real me" isn't a fixed point, so much as an aggregation, and the me that was fighting through all that crap was "really" me too, me bearing the weight of what I was going through. But it still feels like being a different person.
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