1: Log into Dawn of the Dragons for Saturday. This needs to be done before I miss the day's daily long-in rewards. Normally, I can afford to miss it, but for the Gauntlet event, every day counts. (I won't be able to buy much. Last time, I got the general and 12 troops; this time, if I got 20 total, I'd only be able to buy 2 boosts specific to the event, and no way do I get remotely close to the special troop. So I'm aiming for the general's boost: 15, with ~5+ going to next time since the rewards don't expire.)
2: Bring up (but don't read) the TVTropes page for Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. I'll read it when I have the time.
3: Lots and lots and LOTS of mafia stuff. I've got half a dozen in pure essentials (that is, absolute obligations) alone, yet alone, things I promised to get done (without a specific timeframe attached), or even all the things I WANT to do. That will eat away...well. Everything.
4: Given the mafia stuff will take me to past midnight (trust me, past experience has taught me THAT much), I likely won't get this far, but I DO need to try and squeeze in Red Hood Rider drawing time, especially since my mom should be coming home today. (Thus, no longer allowing me to have unlimited desktop access: if I forfeit my spot, then I forfeit my ability to use it.)
5: And finally...something happened recently. This one has no set response time, so it doesn't have to be today. I already partially started yesterday with an initial engagement, so there's some time delay in play anyway. But the sooner, the better, overall for this one.
Basically...I was contacted by an old friend of mine. REALLY old friend of mine. I've known them since I was ~15 years old. (So about 8 years, give or take.) That's just about a third of my life: fairly impressive even in real life, but by internet time, 8 years is like 80 years. So to say we go way back is a bit of an understatement. They're the oldest internet friend I didn't lose contact with, and among the oldest internet friends I have at all, coming from way back in my battleon forum days.
Furthermore, our friendship extended beyond there. They're a member of what I call the StoneFang group. If you go by the group at its absolute smallest, StoneFang Four. I disagree with that, and say that it's at least the StoneFang Five. (Hinz, Alix, FF, DD, me. Every member of the group knows what those would stand for.) At its largest, you could say the group was even a StoneFang Seven, depending on who you'd add; there were a few who came and went a bit like superhero teams change over time yet maintain some basic connections.
I don't remember if I've talked about the StoneFang group before on my blog. A quick look suggests no. But the basic version is, about half the group came from the battleon forums and half were off, and we formed a bond outside of the forums which lasted long after most of them had left the forums. Most of us were writers, but not all. This group was basically one of the closest things I had to a family online, prior to me finding ComicFury, because this was circa...when was it, 2008? 2007? Somewhere in that range.
I was not playing mafia back then, or if I was, only sparsely. And I kept contact with them until...probably around 2010, my internet date memory is fairly shaky, but the point is: I knew them for years. We had many discussions together, and I shared more details about myself with them than I ever thought I would with anyone online. (Ironically enough, I've since become so much more open about the details in my life that what they know is probably less than the casual person who knows me, but that's simply a byproduct of me changing over time to not be afraid, and me no longer holding that contact: were they more active in my life, you can BET they'd have known first.)
And one of them contacted me.
Now, this is nothing but a good thing!
It's just that...it's been over three years since we spoke last. Reunions for me are always awkward. ALWAYS. No matter what, I pain over them. Every time, I work it out, I try to talk, I try to figure out what to say, what to do, and it's never as smooth as I like. I panic. I think of everything that can go wrong. The "what if"s hit strong, because this is something that is actually meaningful, it is something that is important, and so, I am always left feeling like a mess, an incompetent shy awkward fool.
That, just off of normal times. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut...this time, it's going to be a little bit extra awkward.
We're talking about someone who is one of the oldest friends I've had, contacting me again after a long absence. It'd only be natural we've both changed some since then.
...There's been one VERY noticeable change in the last three years.
One event in particular I have in mind.
Oh, you know.
Kind of a big thing.
Namely, what didn't I know about myself three years ago?
And as an extension of the above, what didn't I know about myself for all those years I interacted with them?
For those of you less familiar with the timeline of my life, I'll stop beating around the bush.
How, exactly, do you tell one of your oldest friends, over the medium of text, "Oh, by the way, I'm a woman now."?
This might seem strange to those who are my current readers, both from ComicFury and the mafia site, since I came out on both with relative ease, right?
Except...it's an entirely different beast altogether.
It wasn't easy coming out on ComicFury, but it wasn't exactly hard, either: they're the ones who helped me discover I was trans in the first place. We had a thread about gender diversity (actually, two!), and I talked about my feelings. One thing led to another. I was recommended to read certain things. I chatted with girls who had already come out as trans in part thanks to that thread. They were there when I was sorting my identity, when I was finding out who I was, and so, it wasn't a huge step to take once I was certain.
The thread was already there. People before me had already come out, and shared their experiences of coming out. To the other girls, I had already accepted myself, so it took only a slight leap of faith to type out one final post where I revealed my full feelings, and that was it. People accepted me instantly.
It was that acceptance, right then and there, along with the continued encouragement of them, that gave me the courage to try on the mafia site. There, I only knew of one other trans person at the time, and only vaguely. I didn't know much. I didn't know how I would be treated. I was afraid. I was scared. But ultimately, a few things factored into my decision:
I knew that if they wrote it off as a joke, it would hurt...but that it wouldn't matter, at least I would have it off my chest.
I knew that if they derided me for it, it would hurt...but that, thanks to the nature of that particular site and my reputation at the time, I would be okay with taking their opinion. I would know the truth, even if they insisted I was a fraud.
I knew that if they shunned me for it, it would hurt...but it being a large community, I would still be able to play games here and there; it's not as if this detail in a non-mafia section of the site would blacklist me from playing mafia.
So overall: I knew the chance of getting hurt was there, but I also knew that it would be okay, I wouldn't lose much. Anything I'd lose would be something that I wouldn't care to lose. I could do without them taking me seriously, I could do without them respecting me, I could do without them accepting me, I could do without them getting close to me, because I'd still be there, and finally be myself.
It ultimately turned out that my fears weren't justified, but that's not the point.
The point is...there's a difference between a forum where there's a ton of people and you can just be someone in the background...
...And a private conversation between you and someone you've previously been ridiculously close to, who might be expecting you to be basically the same person just with a few years of extra experience. And to be fair, I...mostly am! I'm in the same boat as I was back then: no real career, and not yet published, with identical past-times and whatnot.
It's just that the area I am different in is...well, the best answer would be "not a deal at all" because it really shouldn't be, but...that's an individual-perception thing, so the answer to that for some people would be, "a really, REALLY big difference".
It shouldn't be an issue, because if they think me to be as close of a friend as I consider them to be, then it's no big deal; we've been friends and should continue to be friends because it's nothing major.
But while I know this person well, and I think the above is true, I don't know them perfectly, I don't know them as well as I would like, I don't know them as well as I as a close friend honestly should, and even if I had, then the passage of time means that there'd always be the possibility that they've changed enough where I no longer would.
I know! Silly, irrational me. It's an unlikely thing to happen.
But I really don't want to mess things up between us.
This feels like an instance of me having been living my daily life as a girl, and then, getting a call from someone who last met me under my old identity, so for their sake, I pretend to be a guy. I know, I don't live my real-life day-to-day as my true gender, but I've ALWAYS felt my internet life has been my true life, and everyone involved in my internet life has, for over two and a half years, known that I'm a girl, so as far as I'm concerned...I really have been living as one.
And talking to someone who doesn't know has me feeling all sorts of conflicted.