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In addition to my psychiatric issues, I’ve struggled for decades with identity confusion. In response to stressful situations, I find myself becoming insecure, and that sometimes leads me down a path of self-doubt. Though I was less aware of it in the past, I know that abandoning things I once loved in favor of something else – often endeavors that feel fresh and new, isn’t particularly healthy. It is certainly the case that self-discovery is an excellent pursuit, but I have far too often given up on things were very important to me because of stress, and particularly because of a fear of conflict – often with people who have no personal attachment to me in the real world.

The past five years or so have compounded my personal difficulties in this regard, because it has often seemed like everything I enjoy has been tainted by people with a toxic political agenda – making me feel isolated even more than I have already been in the past. It has felt like there are few places to enjoy art and music for its own sake, and less ways to enjoy escapism. This rampant toxicity, particularly online, has made it difficult to maintain a stable identity, and it has often felt like there are few people I can actually befriend – without eventually getting into pointless debates over politics; Instead of getting to know what kinds of things people are truly passionate about, I have ended up dealing with people who would rather fight with me and everyone else who doesn’t think exactly like them.

For far too long, I’ve allowed occasional toxicity in various communities to dissuade me from enjoying certain subcultures. I’m no longer going to allow despicable or otherwise misguided people to dictate my connection to communities that have been with me for over two decades. The pagan subculture is the main guiding force in my exploration of art and culture, but as an eclectic, I am free to go between whichever alternative subcultures I choose. My only true loyalty is to the gods. Similarly, I’m going to write traditional poetry and stories the way I want to, whether secular, fantastical, or spiritual, and I’m going to continue encouraging people – particular young folks, who want to explore their own creativity in earnest. As someone intimately familiar with the alternative scene, I have a complex matrix of experiences and creative impressions, and I feel that I have a duty to help guide the next generation on their journey of discovery – especially if they want to explore alternative subculture, sexuality or spirituality. I’m done second guessing myself because of the whims of the masses. I am who I am meant to be, and I am friends with people who have the same spirit of independence within them.

With the help of friends, family, and the love of my life, I’ve learned the value of balancing my love of newness with the importance of maintaining personal traditions – whether they be with hobbies, or with personally important subcultures such as the rock scene and the furry fandom. I have grown a lot as a person, and I am engaging with my creativity in a wider variety of ways. I enjoy more forms of entertainment, from a plethora of different sources, and I have a clearer picture of what I most value culturally, sexually, and spiritually. I am keeping positive, and surrounding myself with people who possess the same kind of optimism – even when our tastes can be strange or macabre.

I have also come to accept that – both in the midst of our current social turmoil, and for years leading up to it, I’ve been doing my best to deal with difficult social traumas; These are experiences and feelings that I will do my very best to address with a professional in the near future. My stress has never been greater, and though I’ve done much to improve matters, I know that – at least emotionally, I still have a lot to work on. It’s hard for me to not take it personally when people just tell me to calm down instead of allowing me to address the underlying causes of my distress. This is especially the case from someone who’s supposed to help me in a medical capacity. From this moment forward, I’m going to find a path of personal healing that works best for me as a person – keeping people in my corner that acknowledge me as a whole person.

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