It’s been a while since I introduced a friend on this blog, hasn’t it?
(I introduced a friend last week, but I changed up the post order, just bear with me, I don’t have the time to rewrite an entire intro, aha)
That’s because I don’t throw the word ‘friend’ around very freely. However, if I’ve reached the point where I talk with someone almost every day and even stayed in their home, I suppose that’s what we are. So, it’s with great pleasure that I introduce a new figure that I might make reference to on this blog sometimes, the individual whom I will refer to as Jack.
As with all my friends, we met in an unconventional manner – we had joined the same Discord server, and basically latched onto each other as the only reasonable people in the entire bunch. They enjoyed my insights into a story we were reading together, and I appreciated their candor and enthusiasm. Eventually, as we talked more frequently, we got to know each other.
Of course, I wouldn’t be me if that was enough to start a friendship. I think what really kicked it off is when we started to read and watch things together.
The fact of the matter is, I have a higher tolerance for violence and psychological horror in fiction than other people, and I have been blessed with a life free of trauma, so there are some stories I enjoy that I can’t freely recommend in good conscience. Jack, however, shares my enthusiasm for such stories, and it’s really nice to have someone to talk about these works with.
It also means that I have an audience for some of my more self-indulgent, darker stuff – and Jack’s unabashed support for my literary ambitions is really such a big help. Every time they express excitement for a story of mine, I’m doubly motivated to get it done.
With Jack, I managed to get them to watch Hunter x Hunter and listen to The Black Tapes Podcast and read an intense online novel that I found, and they never fail to let me know what they think of my recommendations. It’s always so much fun to discuss stories, characters, and scenarios with them.
I think of all the people whom I keep regular contact with, Jack was the most unexpected. It was a highly specific set of circumstances that allowed us to meet, but it was also a highly specific set of circumstances that encouraged us to stay in contact with each other.
If you stick around on my blog for a while, you’ll find that as much as I write posts about stories and storytelling, I also write a lot of posts about myself. Especially in the earlier years, I spent a lot of posts trying to understand myself and reconcile social norms with my inability to understand romantic or sexual attraction.
Around the time I met Jack, an aromantic acquaintance of mine had started dating someone, realizing that they were not aromantic after all. In addition to that, a close friend of mine had started dating – was the first of my friends to do so – and I was having extreme difficulty working through my own emotions. For several months, I felt isolated and confused. It was the first time I ever really hated an aspect of myself, and I resented being both aromantic and asexual.
So, when I learned that Jack could understand my sentiments – my confusion regarding dating and the preoccupation with romance – it was honestly a relief. Speaking with them gave me the opportunity to openly express my discontent with society’s glorification of romance, my frustration at casual belittlement of platonic bonds, and it helped me release a lot of toxic feelings that I hadn’t known were building up.
I’ve known Jack for less time than any of my other friends, and even acquaintances, so I’m still getting to know them. However, I appreciate their open enthusiasm for the things they like, and I am grateful for their appreciation of my own interests. They also live a far healthier lifestyle than me, so that motivates me to try harder myself, ahaha.
Ah, shoot, class is starting. I’ll have to slip out for now. All the same, I am glad to have met and am eager to learn more about Jack.
2 thoughts on “Introducing a Friend: Jack”
Why do you refer to Jack in plural?
Aha, I suppose it was a habit. When I talk about online friends, to help preserve their anonymity further, I got into the habit of using non-gendered pronouns for them.
Unfortunately, a failing of the English language is that it does not (traditionally) have third-person, singular, non-gendered pronouns that aren’t inherently dehumanizing, which is the case with ‘it.’ As such, when I default to ‘they/them.’
In recent years, the use of singular ‘they/them’ has been on the rise to refer to nonbinary folk anyway, and it has also been recognized by Merriam-Webster. It’s what most people default to when they don’t know someone’s gender anyway, like when you say, “Oh hey, someone left their book on the train,” even though prescriptive English dictates that it should be “Oh hey, someone left his or her book on the train.”
But detour aside, because I met Jack online, I guess I fell back on some anonymizing (not a word) habits.