Albert Einstein -- he of the large brain, fantastic hair, celebrated libido and admitted ice cream addiction -- has a famous quote I'll reproduce here:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
All respect to Mr. Einstein, but that's total crap.
Oh, it's pithy. It brings up a smile when you hear it, and undoubtedly that's what he was going for. However, insanity isn't doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Insanity is many things, but it's not that. Trust me. I'm pretty much insane. I know of what I speak.
The other way it's crap is the word 'expecting.' When people do things over and over again, they don't expect
different results... they hope
for different results. If you play the lottery, you don't really expect to win, no matter how many tickets you buy. But every time you buy one, you hope that it'll cash in -- that with a sudden magic you'll be financially secure.
We do things over and over because we want things to change. We want to believe. We want to hope that this time, it will be different.
I'm back on Elliquiy, after a hiatus that stretched from August until now. Before that, there had been another long hiatus. And before that, another. I was gone each of those times for the same reason. I have a number of health issues. Some are physical -- sometimes involving hospitals, often involving blood being sucked out of one inner elbow or the other, sometimes involving being in bed and yearning for death because this was too much to bear. And some of my health issues are mental -- I have anxiety issues. I have depression issues. I have possible bipolar issues. I have at least minor delusion of reference. And naturally, I have financial issues -- ones that mean I slog into work when I'm sick, so that I keep the job I have instead of focusing on getting better and failing to, you know, eat or buy medicine or have shelter.
And, as the subject line indicates, some of my problems are spiritual. I wonder why this would possibly happen to me. I wonder how I could have the blessings in my life -- chief among them a wife who is wonderful and caring, delightful and wry, capable of bearing the burden of all the ways I'm broken -- when it seems to me I'm so clearly not worth it. I'm a failed design.
I found Elliquiy as I was coming out of some of these things, though I was still pretty low. And it intrigued me. The application process was inspiring -- this place was different than other places I'd found online. This place was amazing in so many ways. And the people who made this place what it was were among the most incredible I'd ever met. I leapt in, throwing myself into writing and roleplay in equal measure. It was phenomenal
And then the illnesses got bad again. My internet time declined. I found myself going days on end just using the computer for work, because otherwise the screen hurt my eyes and my brain was too fogged over to think. Days melded into weeks, and then months... after a while, I realized that it had been five months since I'd logged into Elliquiy -- not due to lack of interest... the stories I was collaborating on were still in my thought. But because I wasn't doing anything.
So I went back, and looked, and realized I had just disappeared. I'd dropped off the planet. I'd left my partners in the lurch. I was that guy
. The guy talented writers warned off in their O/Os and request blogs, and rightfully so.
I felt like Hell.
So I came back. I reestablished bonds. I tried my damnedest. I got back into things. It began to flow.
And then I gave myself a concussion. Literally. I was leaning over in the kitchen, stood up when the freezer door on the fridge was open, cracked myself on the underside, and boom. Literally. Full on "let's walk to the hospital" with my wife next to me keeping me walking straight. The concussion was a shock to my system, and there were mistakes made by the ER -- most notably in taking down my medication information, which led to the wrong meds dosing.
Right now, some of the people reading this just winced. They know what it means to have a meds cocktail disrupted, especially when it includes brain drugs.
I ended up in a different, better hospital. I got a very nice plant from my workplace. My wife brought me the plush tiger we have in our bed when we're sleeping, so I would have 'a friend right to hand while I was there.' (I include a picture of the tiger in my hospital bed, because I think it's cute.) And... I got better. Slowly, sometimes, but better. Though there were complications -- tests said I was anemic, so they ended up pouring other men's blood in me. I rebuilt my life, and my routine... got back into the work cycle and the rhythm of being home....
And I'd been gone from Elliquiy. Again. I was still
But I wanted
to come back. To return and reestablish and reconnect. To collaborate and collude. To write with the people I'd grown close to, and to meet new friends and write with them too. So I did. I came back. Open, explaining what had happened, but back again.
I wanted what I'd had, and I wanted the results to be different. I wanted to stay, to always be here.
That worked for a good while this time... and then work exploded, and my mood went kabloom, and with it came a relapse in some of my physical issues, and wah wah wah honestly you don't care and you shouldn't care. It's not germane.
What's germane is I was gone again.
It was different this time, at least a little. I'd tried to keep my A&A thread updated. And there were little notices -- candles left in the windows, to welcome me back. Folks like Star Safyre, and Kendra, and Absinthe Tori -- just making it clear they remembered me, they missed me, and they hoped I was okay. It made a difference, even when I couldn't do much more than see the note and smile. Otherwise, though... I did my job, I socialized as best I could one on one with my wife, and I played a lot of MMOs solo -- something where I could bury myself in a character, almost never talk to anyone, and focus on tasks that didn't take actually thinking.
I survived, in other words.
And now, while I'm not healthy (by my standards. By human
standards I'm never
healthy, but that's as may be), my brain is working better. My creativity is beginning to flow again.
So here I am. I'm back. I'm reaching out to old friends, updating old posts... doing all the things I've done before.
And according to Albert Einstein, that's insane.
But see... he's wrong. It's not.
See, spiritually, it's hard for me to come back. Though I know some of the folks here will forgive my absences, I'm never sure what the total reaction will be. Will I get banned for being... I don't know, unreliable? Will I get torn into? Will I be ignored or pilloried or Castrated? I don't know.
I try to make it clear. In both reaching out to old friends and making overtures to new friends, I open with the fact that this has happened and rationally may well happen again -- and I'm blunt about it. If it's a dealbreaker... then no hard feelings. I understand. I have to understand. It's my fault.
And sometimes it is
a dealbreaker. Some people can't reconnect to a plot after five or eight months. Why would anyone think ill of them for that? I certainly don't.
But I try. And I hope that this time it'll be different. Because Elliquiy and the people on Elliquiy are among the best I've seen in any online venue, and I want that in my life. I want it so, so badly.
And I hope. That's all. I hope.
I can't call that crazy, no matter what Albert Einstein says.