Sometimes I think being a member of a community is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I find myself looking at the wheels, the track, the engine, the body. Every single part tuned to interlink, function, and power ahead against the forces of nature. Watching communities is more fascinating than watching just about anything else, and seeing how my own interactions affect the whole is possibly even more fascinating. But as much as I'd like to claim myself a non-participant, I'm still very much a part of the whole machine.
The problem with that is I'm human. Emotional, shallow, and at times, jealous. If I find myself taking a break from this well-oiled machine, and finding a similarly-shaped cog in my place, I freak out. Sometimes, in my flailing, I'll hit the machine with a bat. The thing is, I always feel stupid and petty after I watch the machine shudder. It'll take a while, but I'll want to hit the machine with a bat again eventually. But is it really so stupid and petty?
In a lot of ways, yeah. Looking into why I do it, I'm just stamping about for attention. If I don't get enough of it, I'll throw a tantrum and storm out. Usually, without too long to wait, that tantrum will come back and bite me, and I'll feel stupid and petty. Yet, like moth and flame, I find myself wanting to do it again and again...
I can't help but feel like I should be doing something proactive about it, maybe re-identifying myself instead of sitting around in denial, trying to ignore the urge to hit things with bats and storm away whenever I feel upset. Am I really this childish sometimes? I think a more accurate answer would be I'm really this childish all the time.
Either way, I have to wonder why I stay at the Escapist at times. Not just for the childish reasons, but the actual ones. Granted, I enjoy myself most of the time, but am I really ever doing anything. I pitch one article every 20 or so issues, so it's not like I'm taking an active stance on the writing front. A lot of the writing I do ends up going unpublished (officially) or squandered away on self-referential fanfiction.
In all of my attempts, I've never figured it out. So who knows. Maybe I will figure it out one of these days. Until then, I'll keep doing what I'm doing. Maybe, with some luck, I'll end up being able to do something helpful like becoming a mod, or getting some full-time writing gig. Who knows?