WARNING: Below is probably one of the most emotionally-charged things I've probably ever shared in text. If you feel you are uncomfortable reading anything personal, emotional, or attention-whoring, I'd suggest exiting the page.
Never imagined I'd ever end up writing something like this, but I literally couldn't rest easy bottling it all in anymore. Here goes.
It's been over five years since I signed in to these forums. Yeah, cliche thing to say, but I can't help it. I remember my first post being something to do with a character I was planning on for a trilogy run. Never finished it, by the way. damn you restartitis!
Not even an introduction. I've never been comfortable with that sort of thing, so I thought I'd just try to blend in. Worked pretty well, if my experience since then means anything. I'm personally not into forums at all, but this became an exception. I'm not sure why I managed to stay here when other communities just lost my interest. Maybe it's because I love Baldur's Gate so much. Maybe it's because I felt I had enough years of experience with the game to fit in easily. Or maybe it's because the moderator actually takes a damn no-nonsense stance on trolls and virtual bullies. Either way, I'm glad I've stuck around, because to be honest, this communities been one of the few things keeping me sane over these past few years.
I'm just going to be straightforward and brief regarding myself, and pardon me if I sound a little whiny here: I'm a psychological trainwreck. I suffer from depression, anxiety, apathy, OCD and probably a bunch of other things a more educated person could identify from me. That's right - present tense. It's something that's plagued me since as far as I can remember, only to a lesser extent when my life was more straightforward when it was easier to distract myself with school, family and, of course, Baldur's Gate. I hate talking about it because, frankly, I blame myself for 99% of what's become of me and it's hard to admit to others when you feel that way.
Why is this relevant, you might ask? Well, I'll get to that right now - there are two things in life that scare me above all else. The first is fear of complete, total failure - the kind you can never fix. The second is a fear of becoming irrelevant. The first isn't really applicable, but the second one is important. For the past few years, I've felt the fear of becoming irrelevant and forgotten. I don't have any old high school mates to communicate with, and I've never made any new friendships that lasted for more than a school term. My family's the only people in my personal life that I keep a close relationship to, but that only goes so far especially when I can't bring myself to burden them with more responsibility that they already have. Seriously, some days I just feel like a parasite leeching off of them and it makes me feel like trash. And that is the reason why this forum's become such a perfect, relaxing, cathartic place for me - yet that in and of itself is a problem. I didn't just want to be another obscure forumite that nobody recognized, I wanted to become known for something here. The problem was, I didn't know what I could do. I can't provide a constant supply of memes and clever humor, nor do I have the skill or interest in going for no-reloads and max difficulty, heavily-modded BG runs. If anyone was ever curious about what led me to become a modder, well... now you know.
When I completed and released Sirene for BG1 in 2015, it wasn't to show off my writing skills or to compete with all the classics out there like Finch or Isra or Valerie. That mod's writing still has issues and I knew it even back then, and in my normal mindset I would never have allowed it to see light of day. Fun fact - I've had countless concepts that were put to rest long before Sirene was drafted. But this time, I did something different. I previewed the mod (yeah yeah, I did the same with Gleya but I wasn't so desperate back then) and people responded positively. They wanted the mod, so I sat back down and finished the damn mod. It was my way of providing something worthwhile so that people would know who I was and come to me
for conversation, whether it's to provide a bit of praise or criticism, or to report a bug, or to ask a question on what I was making next... it was satisfying, and gave me motivation - something I'd severely lacked up until then. And then I corresponded with @LavaDelVortel
and... well, now that I'm his editor I'll never run out of content to work on
It's a silly reason to become a modder, I think. The reason I've kept it to myself for the longest time was because I didn't want people looking at my mods out of sympathy or something. But now that I've made enough of a name for myself, I feel it's safe to admit it. Modding is one of the few things I enjoy now and one of the things I look forward to the most when I wake up is a message, a notification, or some other proof that someone actually acknowledged something I made.
As a last note to end this on - I doubt that, were it any other place, I would make the effort to write something so draining and share it. But everyone's been super awesome and it's been that way for the five years I've been on board, so I have enough trust in the community to have written this. That doesn't make it any less difficult, but it made it possible. And, while I certainly won't demand any sympathy from any of you who've probably been through things that make my life look like a joke in comparison, I... appreciate it in advance regardless. It'll let me sleep easier, at least.
Anyways, that's all for now. You guys are great, and I'll make sure to deliver in the future, since you all damn well deserve it. Thank you all.