Incoming wall of text. I'd say I need to vent, but that implies that I have anger of some description. I preemptively apologize for going horribly off topic, but I promise that there is a point to this. I need to get this out of my system, and I need to know that what I'm saying isn't falling on deaf ears like if I had told anybody else I know. My parents hear me, they don't listen to me. Of all the places on the internet, I know that at least one person will read this entire thing through, and to that person, or maybe even those people: Thank you for caring.
I feel like if I forgot everything about TNTNE (the story, the scenes, everything), then went back and re-read the whole thing right now, it'd have absolutely no effect on me. My soul feels crushed under the impending stress of college, complete lack of anything productive today, and the colossal prick that is my dad. I can't find the motivation to get a job (I'm 19, at home for the summer). I've declared computer engineering as my major but I am finding myself rapidly losing interest. I haven't spoken to any of my old friends (I live in Illinois and attend Purdue University in Indiana) because they haven't said so much as a word to me since our last day in high school together.
I feel lost and confused. I don't know who I am anymore. I used to be compassionate, empathetic, caring, a good friend. Now I find myself alone in the dark, a blank slate. I'm cold, calculating, apathetic. My dad is missing half his pelvis thanks to cancer, and he's the only one with a job in my family. He's working his tail off to put two kids through college and support a 24-year-old, unemployed WoW addict, as well as his wife and a younger brother now entering high school. I can't even bring myself to care. I don't feel sorry for him, I can't feel his pain. I'm stone cold and empty of emotions, a mere shell of a human being. A logic machine. I used to pride myself on being empathetic, for feeling others' pain and being sensitive to it. But now? Logic is all that drives me. Emotions are irrelevant and feelings are but a single star in the universe.
I am home for the summer after barely passing my first year of college. People often say that college was the best time of their life. I honestly don't see it. I met no one that I would call my friend. Not even best friend, just a friend. Nobody sticks out in my mind. I didn't know anyone I wanted to hang out with. No one clicked with me, the human computer, devoid of emotion. I spent every hour that I wasn't in classes, doing laundry, or getting food plopped in front of my computer, playing games or just wasting time on the internet. I used to think I wanted to develop games, to program. I wanted to devote my free time in college to creating a game that I could play and appreciate. I wasn't stupid enough to think that little old me would achieve Minecraft status, but I was nevertheless inspired by Notch's examples. I had spent a large portion of my time in high school creating calculator games and honing my skills as a game developer, and I had shown myself I had an aptitude for programming that logic said I should follow into a career. Now? I don't care. It doesn't matter. I've tried time and time again to begin a game, and time and time again I've lost interest within a day. Games have also lost their appeal. The two rounds of L4D2 today was the only time I've played any game for more than 30 minutes in the past month or so.
And now at home, my dad has insisted that I spend at least seven hours a day outside of my room. I have a laptop, and he knew I was going to bring it out for those seven hours. He hoped it would let me see what it was like to have a job. I merely find myself annoyed because now he's treating me like I'm on call whenever I'm awake. I can't commit to anything, not to raiding or anything that takes a significant amount of time. I managed to eke out a couple of games of L4D2 today merely because I essentially told him to buck himself. He's spent a good portion of the last week refurbishing the basement stairwell, and I of course was chosen to help. He feels guilty for making my 24-year-old brother's childhood a hell. He feels obligated not to bug my older sister for anything. He can't ask my little 13-year-old brother to help because "he's too young". So it falls to me, the servant on standby, to come at his every beck and call. I cannot find the strength within my shell to say to him "This isn't right. You say you want us all to learn this kind of stuff, but I'm the only one here."
He's constantly telling us how we don't do anything around the house, how we don't help, how they shouldn't have to ask us to wash the dishes or take out the garbage. But just the other day, I was outside digging a hole to relocate an underground pipe at his request and to my dismay (I'm not a particularly...buff guy). That night at dinner, he yelled at us for not helping enough around the house. I was so tired from digging I couldn't even respond. But while I was outside, my sister and younger brother were playing Mario Kart, and my older brother was sleeping. Oh, but I didn't help without him asking, so I guess that doesn't count. I haven't done horse apples according to him. And any time I show even the slightest sign of bitterness while working for him, he gets insanely angry instantly and storms off to yell his fury at someone else. But then he tells me I need to have self-esteem. Sorry, Dad, I'm getting mixed messages here.
The whole seven hour thing being-on-call-24/7-thing frustrates me beyond belief because if ponies have done anything for me, they've motivated me to try my hand at creative endeavors rather than scientific ones. I find myself drawing, doing art, writing, things that I've never done out of my own free will before beyond the occasional doodle. I wanted to spend the summer exploring this new facet of my life, but alas, my dad's project of refurbishing the basement stairs is greater than me earning my cutie mark. I might add that this project is completely unnecessary; it's only because they've wanted to do it for years, but it's a one-hundred-percent aesthetic project and serves no practical purpose. Which also confuses me because we don't exactly have a lot of money, so why we're spending it on this kind of thing completely eludes me.
What has happened to me, the logic machine, the human computer? What travesty has ripped out my heart? I don't feel anything. No emotions anymore. Just...emptiness. A void, an abyss. I hardly laugh or smile anymore. My mom always tells me to smile, and I always ask why. I have no job. I have no friends. I have no idea what my purpose in life is, I have no ambition anymore. I am not contributing anything meaningful to this household or to this world. Why should I smile? I'm just eating food, using electricity, using water. I provide no tangible benefit to this family. I'm helping pollute the air we breath, deforest the trees we need, consume our ever-dwindling oil reserves. Why should I smile?
I'll tell you why.
Because of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And because of this thread.
I don't know what I would have done this summer without ponies. I'll be honest: I've contemplated but never attempted suicide many times before. I was becoming horribly depressed prior to becoming a brony during the final weeks of college. I came dangerously close to failing a couple of final exams and skipped one entirely because I was convinced I was going to fail it even if I did show up (I managed to eke out a D in the class, though I'm not sure why). But then I found My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And later on, I found and joined this thread.
I don't remember anything about my transition from skeptic to full-fledged brony. Not which episode I watched first, not even what first brought me to watch that episode. But I don't regret a single moment of it.
Because of ponies, I find myself laughing again.
Because of ponies, I'm feeling empathy and compassion again, even if they are the tiniest slivers.
Because of ponies, I'm discovering that logic isn't always the best path forwards.
Because of ponies, I'm reminded that there will be times I am wrong.
Because of ponies, I am learning that there are compassionate and caring people on the internet.
Because of ponies, I remember that sometimes the only problem with something is the way you're looking at it.
Because of ponies, I think that perhaps my friends are as afraid to talk to me as I am to them.
Because of ponies, I may be discovering my lifelong passion and purpose for existence. My brother walked in while I was making a signature for somepony, and asked if I'd ever thought of being a graphics designer. That thought had never occurred to me. Maybe it's that, maybe it's writing. Who knows?
I was once told that you never stop learning. I was told that at a very young age, and back then I was convinced that once I left school I wouldn't have to learn anymore. Ponies fixed that too, and now I am learning that friendship is a not merely a two-way street or even a five-lane highway. It has no such defined form. It does not obey laws. Friendship assumes whatever form it wants to. In order for me to have, make, or keep friends, I cannot let the pathways between us fade away. Sometimes I must make the first step, sometimes I must reach out. I cannot sit around expecting things to happen. Friendship does not appear out of nowhere. There is always a first contact, a snarky comment or a detail that slips unnoticed past everyone else. Just as there is always a last time you will see each other. As a certain brony has written:
Every post I have read since I have joined this thread is part of a that treasure I will remember forever. You guys--just people on the Internet, sharing a mutual appreciation for a show comprised of pastel-colored ponies--have reciprocated the love and friendship of the show to an almost alarmingly wide number of people, and I am no exception. Your message has reverberated with me loud and clear. Here is a bunch of random people from all over the world, united by a kids' cartoon, who care about each other, who love and tolerate haters, who empathize with even the slightest pain of someone else's day, who will hug (or lick) others for the sake of hugging (or licking). I love and tolerate all of you, even if I don't agree with everything you say. Because, let's face it, if everyone in the world were the same, it'd be pretty damn boring.
Originally Posted by Kiyyik, in The Circle of Friends
TL;DR: I was sad, then there was ponies, and now I'm happy.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank you all for being such wonderful bronies. I'd list off all the reasons, but this is getting fairly large as is, so I leave it at this:
Thank you all for reminding me that friendship is, indeed, magic.
* Bluesparks grabs up everypony in the thread in a colossal internet hug the likes of which this world has ever seen.