Sometime last year, I made an offhand comment in the chat:
I always try and buy a series of Christmas Cards. I make an attempt to buy two sets, usually — one religious themed, for those who I know are Christian, and non-religious, for those who I’m not sure, or who are not, or who are atheist/agnostic. I avoid tacky shit like Kwanza or Hannukah cards — I don’t know enough about those holidays, and I would think they would simply appreciate it more if I wished them enjoyment of their own holidays.
I try to include something in the cards — usually a gift card and some words. This tends to run me anywhere from $350 to $500 a year. When I was doing well, financially, it was higher. I do this pretty much every year.
And, as I said in that offhand comment, almost no one bothers to reciprocate. In 2019 the only ‘card’ I got was a pro-forma effort from the dentist’s office saying I could enjoy Christmas sweets more if I went and had my teeth cleaned.
I’m diabetic. <vigilwince.jpg>
So, it was… more touching and impacting than I may have written about or said when Wele organized a simply massive effort to provide me with a themed Christmas card that was signed by nearly everyone.
I printed that thing out on high quality stock and sat down with a glass of Crown and read every message on it.
I read Monopolyman saying we never talked much but how he enjoyed my work, and realized I had not done a chat with him. I read Duzzpartner’s quotes of how what I had written had affected him, TEO’s touching words, my son’s melodramatic but heartfelt appreciation.
Keyes. Pittaro. Onyx. Precaricat. Vundar. Corshy1. Vandiver. (Also Vandiver). Mooloo, Connor and Seras. Xabiar. Quethorian. Darkarus. LukeP.
And more. Many, many more.
I do not take my … little, odd community for granted or lightly. I tend to beat myself up for not writing more, then I write a few thousand words and they are trash and they are thrown away. I figure I’ve written and discarded fifty thousand words since late September. I’ve got more than one thing people have written I haven’t posted yet because they worked HARD on it, and I want into include it, and make it a part of things because they deserve more than than having it posted as filler.
I write all this to say that each and every one of you is appreciated. And when I post that block of text PM…I mean it.
This is the project I call NoNeglectNovember, where I try to reach out to everyone on the server in a random order of DMing and checking in. How are you doing? How can I help? Is there anything you need to talk about? If you do not feel like responding you can just say “Fine”. Thank you.
I’m not doing this to feel better about myself. Some of you have done well, and some of you are barely hanging on, and at least a few of you have situations where I have to seriously remind myself that killing ignorant parents and abusive partners will not help in the long run.
But all of you are important, and all of you matter. All of you deserve the time and effort to be listened to, to be encouraged, to be told that you are not alone.
I often lecture Comma about the value of loyalty. Kindness, empathy, caring, awareness, all of these are good things. But all too often they don’t get paid back. You send out Christmas cards and get a thanks…and that is all.
Loyalty is something that lets you know your sacrifice, your effort, your … reaching out is reciprocated and appreciated. It meant a lot to me last year to get that, and in a long life filled with ups, downs, triumph, heartbreak, losses and a slow spiral into a gray twilight of defeat and not good enough and not strong enough… it was a small spark of light.
Thank you all.