This is part of The Blogging Gauntlet of May 2016, where I try to write 500 words every day. See the May 1st post for full details.

I’m here to show you who I am
Throw off the veil, it’s finally time
There’s more to me than glitz and glam,
And now I feel my stars align.

If it wasn’t already clear, I’m a pretty weird dude.

Spend enough time with me and you’ll discover I’m one of those people who are “from the Internet”. I’m a big Friendship is Magic fan, meaning I’ve read over two million words of fanfiction and have spent money buying comics from the Expanded Universe.

(Yes, MLP has an Expanded Universe. I know, it’s absurd.)

In high school, I got into the Touhou fandom. I only follow the music side, but it’s a thriving scene, and I find lots of it objectively good even without the Touhou context. The first music album I downloaded to my phone was BEGIERDE DES ZAUBERER, a metal album by Demetori. On reflection, they’re actually my favorite band, ever. I’ve yet to find anyone as consistently amazing.

Meanwhile, I read a decent number of webcomics, as my reviews page can attest to. I have a Dinosaur Comics T-shirt. I have a Homestuck T-shirt. I also have a Gunnerkrigg Court T-shirt, a Gunnerkrigg Court whiteboard, a metal Gunnerkrigg Court coin I received for backing the Legendary Showdown Kickstarter, and…look, Gunnerkrigg Court is really good, okay? You should check it out.

The point being, I’m part of a lot of subcultures, and I never felt like I had to hide that when growing up. I did for a while, until I realized I didn’t have to. I openly played Magic: the Gathering in middle school. I admitted to reading fanfiction in high school, and although my friends gave me shit for it, it was all in good fun. By the time I hit college I was well into the “from the Internet” niche.

This is completely at odds with the K-12 education people complain about, where everyone’s an asshole and it feels like hell. I’m not saying that my school didn’t have issues, but any issues it did have somehow never reached me. I had the freedom to reveal whatever I wanted about myself without having to worry about what people thought. It didn’t matter if there were people who did care, because there were enough people who didn’t to make my behavior socially viable.

In contrast, there are people who have to bottle up the weird things about themselves, not because they don’t want to share them, but because they can’t share them without ostracizing themselves. I find that really sad. It’s only in retrospect that I can see how fortunate my environment was. I’m not sure how I would turned out if I got bullied for things I liked.

In Season 5 of MLP, there’s an episode where an old friend comes back to Ponyville. She’s hit the big time, but over the course of the episode she realizes she’s drifted too far from who she was for the sake of fame. It eventually builds into this quote.

The real perk of friendship is gettin’ to see your friend bein’ true to their self. And Rara, when you’re simply yourself, you’re the brightest star I’ve ever seen shine.

And then, into one of my favorite songs from the show.

I don’t any reason to stop being weird, so I’m sticking to it. Until next time.

And now I see those colors
Right before my eyes
I hear my voice so clearly
And I know that it is right

They thought I was weak, but I am strong
They sold me the world, but they were wrong
And now that I’m back, I still belong
‘Cause I know

That I am just a pony
I make mistakes from time to time
But now I know the real me
And put my heart out on the line

And let the magic in my heart stay true
And let the magic in my heart stay true
Just like the magic inside of you

Just like the magic inside of you…