I have a confession to make. It’s about my business, sort of, but at the heart of it the matter is deeply personal. While I’m still not comfortable giving out a lot of specific details, I feel safe enough to talk about it in this venue. In broad strokes, it’s about why I haven’t had a lot of success relaunching the blog on my company website, or getting back into roleplaying-game related blogging in any meaningful way.
Back in 2009, my then-wife asked for a divorce. The relationship was coasting on the momentum of having endured for twelve years, and that wasn’t enough. Ultimately, it was a good thing. I ended up with Katie, living in Europe, and owning my own business. At the time, however, I lost my dog, my house, and my job, and had to start my life over in less-than-ideal circumstances.
What I still had was the game community. Face-to-face friends and regular gaming buddies. An online community of creators. Fellow travelers. And connecting them all, the roleplaying blogosphere.
Well, that’s what I thought.
Look, I understand. Not everyone has the means to help out your couch-surfing buddy while he gets his feet under him. A lot of people get really uncomfortable about emotional topics like divorce. I wasn’t there for other people as much as I used to be. My blogging fell off as I moved to another state, looked for a new job, and dealt with all of the various and sundry things that blindside you when you experience that sort of upheaval. I get it. It was an awkward time all the way around.
But some people just ghosted me. Stopped answering my calls. Ignored my emails. Uninvited me from events. Even started talking shit about me. Not because they were taking my ex’s side. She wasn’t part of that community. She was, in fact, adversarial to them, to the point where some of my friends were upset that she wouldn’t come to non-gaming things like birthday dinners and holiday parties. You would think they would be happy for me since they didn’t like her, or at least relieved that she was out of the picture. Nope.
I haven’t done many conventions since then, mainly because of finances and location. Forums and such I avoid because, like much of social media, they’ve become a toxic wasteland. The way I run my business might be considered a political statement, but that has to do with my aesthetics and values. But blogging… I associate that with the abandonment I felt. That was deeply personal.
There are people who stuck with me, of course, and I’m grateful for them. I’m not faced with a shortage of things to write about on an RPG blog. It could certainly help me to grow my audience and my business. Every time I start down that road, though, I think about the people who bailed on me. The followers that aren’t ever going to come back… and a few that I wouldn’t want to talk to if they did. It’s intertwined with the hurt I felt at the time.
So that’s my confession. I’m not looking to name-and-shame anybody. I certainly don’t want to pick fights over stuff that happened almost a decade ago. But I’m still carrying that around with me. I’m long over the divorce, but not the lost friendships. Here’s hoping that by putting this out into the world I can let go of it, at least a little bit, and move on. The rest of my life is going great, but that one wound just won’t heal.