Wanted to write something for the big event, and after like 3 attempts, I decided I should probably quit rambling about vague nonsense and instead concentrate a bit more on how Somnolescent has helped me kick a seriously unhealthy issue of mine.
Since about 15, I have had this terrible habit of completely changing my internet identity every few months. I’d make a new username, a new set of interests, a new area of origin and sometimes even a new set of pronouns, and I’d abandon the old one without saying a word. I honestly couldn’t tell you all of them, because I can’t remember a lot of them. It was a real issue of mine.
School and friendship had beaten me to a pulp by that point and I had been left with little confidence in where I ended and everyone else began. I was in the midst of an identity crisis of sorts. Questioning everything about myself from my interests to my gender.
GwtaGacw was simply one of those random identities. Though it was one much more personal to me than the others, I concentrated more on the stuff that had stayed consistent to me through the years, such as my love of guinea pigs and art. I knew I had a problem, and I knew my only way to stop this was by being true to myself, even if that meant outing myself as a spergy, weird girl. I didn’t even really know how to introduce myself, it had been so long.
“‘Sup? I’m Sgerbwd. That’s not my real name but I tend to value my privacy.”
is the first thing you’d see if you happen to look at an archive of my earliest Neocities site. Along with a mess of other awkward, defensive, apologetic nonsense.
But it was a start.
I found a small audience, I found a small group of friends, and I was.. mostly comfortable. But one thing lead to another, someone I trusted turned out to be a creep, and I found myself back at square one. Stressed, insecure, and ready to run away again.
And I almost did! This right here was a countdown to me leaving and no one hearing from Capy ever again. People act as if Somnolescent stole me away when really, I was going to go anyway. I was going to leave in a far more final way, really.
But I didn’t, because I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. I’d built up more than ever before and I really didn’t want to lose that. People knew me and I’d been so honest about my interests and personality that if I escaped now, I’d never be able to be myself online again. So, I decided to try and figure out a way forward. I decided on trying out jackomix’s Neocities server on Discord. I’d been in there before but I hadn’t talked at all the first time around before leaving.
I joined a second time, and the first two to greet me just happened to be mariteaux and dotcomboom. I nervously replied and then spent the next day or so being more or less completely silent.
But it did eventually work out, I got more comfortable, started joining in more, started getting closer to people. I found myself in mariteaux’s dms in mid-August of last year, venting about the situation I had found myself in, and he turned out to be one of the most patient, understanding bastards I’d ever met. Which wasn’t really what I was expecting from a guy I’d known pretty much solely for fighting with children on Discord. No, I can’t really explain what drew me to him in the first place. I blame vibes. Despite his angry exterior, something seemed rather gentle about him. And he wasn’t angry all the time anyhow. He’d never been mean with me, I can say that much.
We became fast friends, and eventually both got modship in that server, and thus spent a good amount of time rambling, along with dotcomboom, in the staff channel. This is where we all gradually found ourselves wanting the same thing, that being a good home base to work on projects away from Neocities.
[19:15] dotcomboom: something like meme hyperlink could work if it wasn't on neocities tbh [19:15] mariteaux: yeah [19:16] dotcomboom: create ftp accounts for everybody [19:16] mariteaux: i have my personal server, somnolescent (where elinar and a few of our other creative exploits are being cooked up), and it's not like i want to keep that shit private, but not many fit into our little private hell [19:16] dotcomboom: set up a forum or something for communication [19:16] mariteaux: at all [19:16] dotcomboom: it'd be more like tilde.town, sans the ssh (oh yeah and woke computer kids) [19:17] mariteaux: we're all a bit like each other in there, the drive to make stuff, the self-aware degeneracy, the being poor and mentally ill [19:17] mariteaux: what i'm saying is that an elementz or a nikku couldn't work in there [19:17] mariteaux: trust me, i'm on the lookout for people to invite [19:18] mariteaux: and that's more functional than hyperlink could ever be
After a certain mess of a project, cough original darkpenny cough as well as just general annoyance, we all got rather ranty about how Neocities kinda sucked ass for group projects. It was at this point mariteaux finally posted an invite in the staff channel to the fabled Somnolescent.
[21:40] dotcomboom: now I just want this server deleted [21:40] mariteaux: me too [21:41] caby: i know it's never worked, but private server… [21:41] mariteaux: somnolescent [21:41] caby: oof [21:42] mariteaux: i'm just saying it's quiet and people post drawings and shit in there [21:43] dotcomboom: I mean if you really think so [21:43] mariteaux: sure [21:44] mariteaux: :eyes:
Hosma joined first, though he didn’t stay long, then dotcomboom, and then me. I was nervous because of course I was, and also because I’d created this image in my head of an elite group of furry hackers building intricate fantasy realms, something I would definitely not fit into. Not sure why, it wasn’t exactly hyped up to me.
I joined to find… a rather empty group chat. Old, festering friendships and project rooms collecting dust, for the most part. But people were nice enough and I’d genuinely never seen anywhere like it, it has a unique structure to it, one that only really works when everyone is at least partially dedicated. Which at the time, wasn’t the case.
I quietly made my personal channel and posted some guinea pigs.
And now the reason I brought up me hopping identities at the beginning, that urge reared its ugly head a number of times over the year and a bit I’ve been here.
I’ve left the server far too many times, and everyone’s been so damn patient and forgiving every time. Every time I left I braced for a dm from Cameron telling me I’m not allowed back in, but it never happened. I’ve always arrived back to happy, relieved greetings. I knew I had to sort my shit out for these people. I knew I couldn’t keep escaping like that. It’s cowardice. I didn’t want to be the same scared kid I was at 15.
It’s taken a while and I’m not done yet. But I’ve improved, the frequency of panicking has dropped drastically. And the number of times that panic has pushed me to click that “Leave Server” button has dropped even more so. I’ve learnt how to take a step back and calm down before I do stuff that worries people like that.
Around this time last year, I left the server, I unfriended people, I ghosted Cameron. I spent that time feeling beyond guilty. I realised pretty quickly how attached I’d become to the group, how much I cared for those bastards, even if I had great difficulty showing it. Even then, it took some time to gather the courage to come back. Once more, they accepted me back with open arms. I couldn’t be more thankful that they did.
This year I’m not letting that happen. My self confidence,as well as my confidence in my value to the group, my value as a friend, everything has improved. And while it’s been work on my end, I can’t stress enough how much help the group as a whole has been to me. It’s my love of this group that has kept me coming back, that’s inspired me to improve like I have.
And that isn’t even mentioning how Somnolescent has inspired me to improve as an artist, as a character designer, as a writer, as a site builder, a world builder. I’m drawing more than ever, pushing myself to be better, writing more than ever, so much more capable when it comes to communicating how I feel. It makes me so damn happy to be able to communicate and emote like never before. No one knows me as well as you people do.
It’s been fantastic watching you lot grow and improve alongside me too, getting more comfortable in yourselves and with each other. Seeing dcb drawing lynxes and borb figuring out HTML is pretty crazy, if you think about where we all were when we joined, or hell, this time last year. We’ve been through a lot and came out the other side better than ever. There’s a whole world of potential out there for all of us and I am hyped to bits about what the future may hold. Couldn’t ask for a better lot to face that with.
Wouldn’t trade these dweebs for the world.
Happy first year, and here’s to many, many more, ya goofs~