Suddenly saw a tweet from Muddasheep about PHQ being ten years old now and remembered the happy funtimes (sarcasm) when I was much younger; when people hurt me all of the time and PHQ was the only place I felt accepted. The only place where people weren’t hateful at me for being who I was. When people in school bullied me and threatened me and were generally terrible at me for standing out, I had a safe place because of the community at PHQ. I had a place where there were others who were standing out, who were also going through rough and terrible times. We could feel comfort in knowing that we were not alone even if we were countries apart from one another. I had a safe place in which I could take my anger and frustrations out on nameless victims, faceless things, and pretend they were people who had hurt me.
Back then, I was not feeling very happy at all about anything. I was probably not the best friend one would have; I was pretty caught up in my own darkness. My own problems. I did what I could to help others, but I was not as grateful back then as perhaps I should have been. I wasn’t good at feelings. I wasn’t good at talking to other people and telling them I cared about them. I hope that somehow people knew in some way how much they meant to me.
And the winters. The times I almost killed myself and ended up in the psychiatric hospital and people from PHQ sent “get better soon”-emails, which I read from the computer in the library when I was allowed to go there. I remember one time when I disappeared a while and people from PHQ tried to make sure I was still alive. Showing that I mattered to them, in times I felt as if everything was hopeless; that no one cared if I lived or died, or probably would be happier if I just disappeared. But that was not true; it took me years to realise that, but it slowly, slowly begin to sink in. A community of people playing a game about killing people were the ones who cared about me when society and teachers and family failed me and didn’t seem to care. A community of people who played a game about killing people were the ones who had places in their hearts and minds for a broken creature like I was back then. Who had patience, love and compassion to share with me, loyal and kind people who refused to give up on me even when I myself did. I don’t think this equation makes sense in many people’s heads, but I think that by acknowledging our anger and inner monsters we could keep them under control and do something creative with them. We could turn them into things which worked for us. PHQ gave our monsters a place to play and blow off steam while our hearts and minds hung out and helped create a place where we could grow as people.
Most of those who I talked to back then will probably never know how much they helped me and mattered to me, but they were a great help growing up and getting better. How they helped me keep some grip on sanity and how they helped me grow. And I do feel much better nowadays; I feel strong and creative and rather cheerful usually. When I have bad times (and my, can they still be really bad!) and people are rude and cruel to me, I know by now that if I just carry on, putting one foot in front of the other and keep on living through sheer stubbornness, things will get better again. PHQ helped me to get through times like that over and over again until I learned that bad times pass, and this would not have been possible if it had not been for the friends I had back then.
Countries and worlds apart, but together in my heart.
I must of course give a special thanks to Muddasheep as well, because his kindness did get me through some really bad things. His encouragement when I tried to do things. Gave me someone to send strange letters to and sent letters in return which I could read when I was feeling lonely. He was great company, and so was his music. It kept me company through endless nights of insomnia and nightmares and writing. It kept me company in school; carried on a CD I had in a small CD player I always brought with me. I brought it with me to the hospitals when I was committed there in the winters, and I could cry to that music, I could growl it very, very angrily. With his music in my head I did not have to feel alone, even when I was cut off from everything else, locked up in a small, yellow-walled room.
And it kept me company through joyful times as well; I brought it with me on trips and on vacations. I once forced my family to listen to his music for several hours straight while they were trapped in a car with me while we were going somewhere; I cant remember where. I suspect they mostly put up with it because it was one of the few times they could see me looking genuinely happy.
I still listen to his music almost daily. Create new memories to it, remember who and were I used to be and how far I’ve come. I realise how much better I am feeling now, how I eventually came to a time and place where I can be happy and sad and strong and weak with people I would never have met or loved or cared about if I had died all those years ago. I’m still drawing nowadays, because Muddasheep didn’t laugh at my hopes of becoming an artist back then. I have taken up music and I hope to one day be brave enough to put it on the internet.
I am still around, I am still alive and I would probably not have been if it had not been for people like the ones I met through PHQ at a time when I really needed it. Even if I have drifted away from PHQ almost completely, I do remember you with fondness. I hope that you are all doing well, that you have found happiness and joy and love. That the hard and bad times passes quickly when they visit you. I hope that you are surrounded by friends, that you meet challenges and that you overcome them. I hope that you have friends to drink tea and eat cake with. I remember a time when I felt alone, and you were there, and you will always be a part of who I am.
You will always be with me, worlds apart but always in my heart.