<rant> insert rant here </rant>

ventNot sure how it’s happened, but in recent years, more and more frequently, I’m finding myself being the go-to person that friends turn to when they need to vent.

You might think that this is a bit of a drag, but in all honesty, I don’t mind at all. There’s something enormously therapeutic in being the neutral observer on the receiving end of a good rant, and knowing that the person letting rip is getting something out of it too gives me a good feeling inside.

I seem to be good at it too – I’m frequently told that I’m the ‘voice of reason’ or a good sounding block, and I take it as a huge compliment and something that I’d never want to take advantage of or abuse. I find it extremely easy to apply reason and rationality, without being judgemental, becoming frustrated, or telling people what they should do, and without trying too hard, I can assume a zen-like calm in the midst of other people’s strife.

It’s a bit odd because it’s not something I’d ever have considered myself having an aptitude for in the past. If anything, I’d have thought myself far too unstable, and so inept at dealing with my own problems and concerns to be of any use at all to anybody else who might want to unload their woes on me. Add to that my propensities for being antisocial and not at all inclined to make friends, and you can see why the whole thing is a bit weird.

toxic11_001However, I think my outlook might be changing. Maybe my job has taught me a thing or two, or perhaps experience has moulded me somewhat; it could be that I’m just getting too jaded to give a monkey’s, but I’m definitely far more relaxed about life in general than I used to be – things that would once have driven me nuts now merely merit a Spock-like raised eyebrow, and most of the stresses, strains and worries of daily life just pass by, with little effect. I kinda like what I appear to be turning into, and if that means I can lend an empathetic ear to a friend or two in need, then all the better.

Of course, I’ve not attained emotional nirvana – there will inevitably be times when I myself feel the need to vent, or just to release the multitude of small niggles that eventually develop enough mass to become problematic. And herein, lies a problem – I’m still the anti-social, hermit that I’ve always been, so finding someone I can unleash my own pent up frustrations upon can be tricky. I could, of course, turn to those who’ve sought solace with me previously, but that would a) Feel a bit mean, and b) They are a pretty small circle of friends, and I don’t particularly want to scare them off! There are, however, a couple of good friends whom I can turn to – indeed, they seem to have an almost spooky understanding of when I might need help, without even being asked. These friends are very much real people, in every sense of the word, but the only interactions I’ve ever had with them are virtual.

I have a very small number of trusted friends in SL to whom I can turn whenever the urge to unload comes upon me, and without fail they will take time out to listen, advise where necessary, kick my butt when appropriate and generally provide that much-needed pressure release valve that so many of us seem able to open without outside help.

These are the people whom I will sit up late into the night with to pour my heart out to; people who will curl up on a virtual sofa with me, and say nothing when nothing is required, but administer a kind word when I’m feeling lost and lonely, and an understanding smile when I don’t really understand what’s happening myself. These are the people to whom, far too often, I find myself apologising for taking their time, for dumping my burdens upon them, for bothering them when I’m sure they could be off doing fun things inworld… The people who, invariably, respond with “It’s no problem – happy to help.”

You know who you are.

I just wanted to say, thanks.

s. x

Though the past, the unwanted memories, are holding onto you
All the power in the universe conspires to carry you
Truths you find through your adversities will defend you
As your powers and all your energies conspire to carry you
VNV Nation – Carry You

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