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Hello, Rock Bottom.

The nice thing about hitting rock bottom, I gotta say, is that you genuinely learn who your friends are. Who's gonna save you, and who isn't. I have an astonishing number of friends. You hear yourself whining, and you can't stop, and you despise yourself for it, and they just keep listening. I first realized this during my divorce, of course, but I wasn't as far down, so it wasn't quite such an astonishing display of caring. They keep calling me and IMing me, and you guys have, of course, been very kind, despite the fact that I stopped being funny a couple of days ago and am now a sniveling wreck.  I feel loved.

The not-so-nice thing about hitting rock bottom is that glum realization that you have never been that good a friend to anyone, you never called anybody three times a day to see if they were okay, you didn't exactly shirk from uncontrollable weeping, but you sure didn't court it, and in short, that if you were your friends, you'd be totally boned.

Fortunately in life, as Granny Weatherwax would say, sometimes we get things we don't deserve.

I promise now, O blog of my confessions, that when this is over, when I finally crawl out of this dark hole...I'll be a better friend when my own friends sink into despair, and I will offer them couches and chocolate and take them out to coffee and IM them constantly. 

I promise.

This might make you smile a little - I've just stumbled across a photo of a Dragon-Con attendee wearing one of your "Blackbeard's Rugged Tampons" t-shirts:

I'm sorry you've been suffering so much turmoil, I hope things start getting better soon.

*hugs* Don't be too hard on yourself - you're comparing yourself to a self-selecting subset of the most generous and giving out of a fairly large pool of people.

That being said, being impressed by the giving-ness of one's friends can be a good thing. Fiveish years ago, I realized how consistently and amazingly supportive a couple I knew was for all of their friends, and it's been really pretty inspirational.

And: If there's anything a random guy you've never met living in MA can do to help out, let me know. I'm having a hard time thinking of anything; since you don't know me from Adam, I don't know that a phone call or offering to let you cry on my virtual shoulder would really be much of a comfort. But at least know that there's another person wishing you well, and that if a wormhole anomaly should send you to Massachusetts, there are folks here who'd be happy to try and help you back to wherever you were trying to get to in the space-time continuum.

Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it...

Or, as one of Gene Wolfe's passing characters once said (I think it may have been Master Palaemon), a gift is given, undeserved. If it is deserved, than it is not a gift, but a payment.

Don't rend your psyche over what seems so massive a debt to your friends now. These things are gifts friends give to each other. There should be no debts in friendship. Nobody keeps score. Just remember that you are loved.

Or, in the immortal words of Monty Python,

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

...always look on the bright side
of life...

Always look on the right side
of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle
That's the thing!

Re: Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it...

No platitudes, just support. Keep learning, keep moving forward.

sometimes the best kind of friend just is who they is and no more.

Each dance has it's own pattern. Yours has partners both silent and loud, visible and in.

If your friends ever hit rock bottom you'll know just what to do.
... and it'll probably involve naked mole rats, large rutabagas and a small oddly-shaped cloud passing by.
And perhaps a really, REALLY cheerful old lady orc.
... the kind that would be Granny Weatherwax if they were human.

and in the distance there are drums.

You call that sniveling? Woman, you know nothing!

Now you say you've hit rock bottom. Take a couple of days relaxing. By then, rock bottom will think it has won and will be off-guard. So hit back! Hard!

As another poster said (paraphrased): for all the entries you get from people who love you (however that translates to throngs of complete strangers on a web log), there are just as many, if not more, who sit by, and watch, and cross their arms, and nod silently and wish they had something to offer you in this crappy-ass time of your life.

I suppose I'm one of the latter.

The only thing I have to offer is a maxim you're already too familiar with.

"This, too, shall pass."

Judging from the tone of this latest entry, it sounds like it's starting to move along.

Just take your time. Let it take its course. Take a vacation for a while. As you said yourself, you can always go back to NC. But how many chances does one get to see california, eh? (when they're not, like, being whisked off for secret hollywood projects, that is. ¬_¬ )

Think of it as... an enforced holiday. (Yeah, Ok, so it's like being shipped off to summer camp. But, when it's over, you may find you don't want to leave.) ;)

So, go ahead. Cry. Snivel. Be a wreck. Live on the sofa in a nest made of hersheys wrappers...

When this, too, finally passes, you can look back at the carnage and say, "Whoa. How the hell did I get out of that one alive?!"

And us quiet ones will cross our arms, and nod, and smile, because we knew.

...and then we'll start bugging you for Gearworld updates.


It's kind of beautiful to think that this kind of pain could be the catalyst one needs to learn how to open up to others, to be a better friend, a better person. That there's some, not reason for it, but incredible good that comes out of it at the end. That by reaching out to help others when they're down, you can start a chain reaction of good that will leap from one person to the next, transforming lives as it goes...

What power people have, and how rarely do we see it.

Even at rock bottom you are a delight to read, compelling and even uplifting. You describe gloom and darkness with buoyancy and light. I only wish I was in San José so I too could take you out to coffee.

I can't really offer an opinion of your history, but the tone of what you're saying here suggests that you aren't exactly a callous jerk. I mean, you notice, and you care about helping other people... that's gotta be a pretty good start, at the very least.

*hugs* One thing about rock bottom: it sure makes a solid foundation for building things up again.

As the friend that my friends go to when they're down and out because they know that my way of helping them is on Crisis Day 1, make the obligatory offer of wine, chocolate, and voodoo dolls and then proceed to all but run screaming (because I just never know what to do in situations where people are crying...and I'm a girl!) I've been in the "I'm a terrible friend! I don't call, I stand there and look uncomfortable when people are crying, etc., etc., etc..." Until one of my friends pointed out that they have certain friends that they go to when they need the Mommy friend to pat them and feed them endless cups of tea and cookies, and the friends that they go to when they want to go past the trauma and need something normal and stable, and that's when they come to me. My guess is your friends do the same thing.

We all have different kinds of friends for different reasons. Why else would we need so many of them? Think how small our friend pools would be if any one of our friends could be all things that we needed!

that everything improves for you soon. I really enjoyed your art and your wit. Your dreams and stories made me laugh or go wtf!? which is sometimes just as good. I've been down and out too. Even when things look dark there are always people there who care about you. *hugs*

Not everyone is meant to be a shoulder to cry on when their friends sink into despair. In your case, perhaps your task is to help stop them sinking in the first place.
You make the lives of thousands of people across the world a little bit brighter - and even when you're not being funny, even when you're down, you help everyone else who's been in, being in, or will be in a similar situation. Which is ultimately all of us. No wonder you have so many good friends!

Yes, it's wonderful to have a friend who make the bad times tolerable. But it's just as respectable to be the friend who makes the good times great.

[And as suggested above, it's wrong to think that you can't help in the bad times if you're not there when they're crying. I think we all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes - but I know a lot of us also need someone who doesn't give a shit when we're in the shit. Or who does care, intellectually, but doesn't feel our pain and keeps on living and behaving as they would do otherwise. Now I'm sure you're not THAT 'bad' a friend, but the point still stands - sometimes a friend can do more by setting an example of how to live life and have fun than they can by sharing our own misery. I think we need a balance of both]