Time: 2:24 PM
Listening to: Serpent Music
Topic: Mental health, getting older, nostalgia.
Note, this post has been edited down from its original text.
I began revisiting Homestuck this year around March. I officially finished my re-read in May. I don't have a review post for it yet but my actual thoughts on the work itself don't really matter for this diary. What I've been thinking about following this thing is getting older and by extent, maturity, time, and mental health.
I read Homestuck for the first time in 2013, when I was 12. I was introduced to it by my first true friend, though I enjoyed the work on its own merits beyond her company. Homestuck grew to shape a lot of who I am. I made friends through it and learnt a lot about myself, chiefly from a gender and sexuality perspective, through fanworks and fandom conversations. Homestuck fanart is what prompted me to start becoming an artist myself at age 16.
Revisiting Homestuck has been painful in some ways. I read it during the most tumultuous time in my life, a time that has not ended but has eased with certain levels of maturity and freedom. I've been thinking a lot about the person I was last time I read, the person I am now. I'm not really a fully integrated or easy to follow person. I think it goes beyond just aging and growing up. The person I was when I last read this, the person who participated in the fandom, had Skype friends to enjoy Upd8s with, who felt so much around it, doesn't really exist now in that same way. Neither does the fandom.
It's like seeing a friend after so long. Except they've changed, you've changed, so much so you hardly know each other at all. I think there is a sense of grief around all that has been lost. Which on its surface may seem dramatic, but Homestuck is so vastly intertwined with some of my worst and best memories, that includes both the formative and the genuinely traumatic. It was such a busy time and now, it's ended. Homestuck is as much about the fandom as it is the work itself. Homestuck, the moment, has passed. Myself, the moment, has as well.
For my whole life, this sort of nostalgia and pain has been billed to me as immaturity. If I want to truly grow as a person, it means letting go of every painful and happy moment and instead looking forward. Be "Happy" in a "don't ever think about or acknowledge anything bad" way. However, I think that idea, of pushing down the things I miss and the sadness I feel at how things turned out, and I cannot stress how horribly they did turn out, is really the far more immature option. Pretending painful moments don't exist, that they aren't painful at all, or even that I'm never going to not be in some sense the cringy teenager I feel so detached from, is not only an unrealistic expectation, it's an unhealthy one. Rather straightforwardly, having lifelong mental illness and trauma and admitting those things are there isn't a sign of immaturity.
I think happiness is an unattainable goal in the perfect, never changing state those around me liked to paint it as. So is becoming a perfect human. Rather, I think self compassion and an acknowledgement of who we have been, are, and will continue to be is more important. That includes becoming comfortable with the things that changed and to accept the things that didn't. Time isn't going to stop, no matter how much I want it to. That means letting new happiness and new sadness come at its own pace.