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Today was the first day I have ever been on e2 and been at the top of the list of Your Fellow Noders. There were fourteen people here. I find this terrifying, elating, and depressing at the same time.

I think it's safe to say that e2 shaped me as human being. Yeah, that's a pretty big statement to just flop down onto the table, and yeah, I'm home sick and it's swine flu season but... I'm going to leave it there. On the table. Looking mildly embarrassed but also overly dramatic.

So yeah, it's kind of weird to be here at the top of the list. I'm only here now because one of my noder heroes, sam512, apparently just signed out, and that's pretty awesome too*.

Where I was when I started out at e2: 17, never been kissed, nerdiest girl in the eleventh grade, pretty naive and unaware that furries even existed.

Where I am now: 25, PhD student, living in another country, maybe got this sexuality thing figured out, totally up on what furries are.

Good work, team.

*PS don't tell him.

I'm sat here at work, pondering.

I’m staring at a box.

I’m staring at this small box so intently that it’s taken some of the customers here a few moments to attract my attention.

I would, if I may, like to describe this box to you.

It is not much of a box to look at, for there are many finer boxes in this land, more worthy of such rapt attention.

It is roughly an inch squared, and a deep blue-purple.
It is, by all accounts, not much of a looker.
It wouldn’t, for example, get many wolf-whistles from builders as it walked down the street, clacking in black high-heels and laden with carrier bags.
Nor would it attract the lecherous stares from the dirty old man next door. But to me, it is the most important thing in the world right now.

Surely, you must be thinking, what is contained in this box, that warrants a portion of the nodegel devoted to it?

It contains an engagement ring.

I am taking the plunge, and am going to ask my long suffering girlfriend to marry me. Tomorrow.

All the remains is for her to say yes….

I was to write a day log about mental breakdown. I never finished my masters' degree, and it turns out an older colleague -- he could be said to be a mentor -- knows the person who was supposed to orient me with my thesis. I never looked back, I never apologized, and I was figuring out how I should even express the idea of a breakdown – I don't even know the portuguese word for it. I had a breakdown, and I let people down at the university I was doing a graduate program in economics at.

But can you really express anything general about breaking down other than your own experience? Worse yet, can you even express the shell shock of your internal strife without taking into account this otherness, the person who hasn't experienced breakdown personally but has been affected by it, even if by having a hot dataset lose its freshness because some snotty graduate student dropped the ball?

Thinking about this sent me into a wild goose chase into my darkest feelings. And it's okay -- sometimes one needs to have this access to all the frozen grief, even if you can't afford some quality time with it -- because there are the loved ones who can't watch you suffer, and sometimes because there are the ones who having witnessed someone plodding through darkness to offer some sympathetic advice.

Pestering the suicidal won't bring your loved ones back. And what's more, you have absolutely nothing to teach – you missed the signs and the screaming, or what's worse yet, not wanting to experience suffering, you've chosen to distance yourself. I'm speaking from experience, and I've heard stories upon stories straight from people on both sides of that fence. I've personally met a lot of people who have lost or nearly lost someone to suicide, and I have never seen anyone who was actually sorry they played a part in all of that.

Anyway, I was interrupted in my descent into grief (which is something normal, something that one allows to happen because you need to lick the scars until they eventually heal) by this otherness. And I feel anger, to the point of hate – you have no business hurting other people. Unless you've really went over the whole thing, unless you really understand how much grief you have caused and moreover manage to heal from that, you don't know squat.

This was supposed to be a writeup about trying to reconnect with people whom I have failed during a mental breakdown. A professor, even -- not a friend. But when all the history you have of trying to interact with the rest of the world as someone who has broken down is marked by such an obliviousness and self-indulgence, thinking about this stuff triggers a sadistic streak. You want them to suffer. You want them to feel the blame. You did alienate your graduate student into dropping out by being aloof and generally away, somewhere else.

Relationship is homeostasis, and if your partner is significantly worse off than you, it's your fault. Good luck trying to figure out what precisely it is that you did wrong.

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