My intent for the journal is to set some of my thoughts into words for helping others, clarifying my thoughts to myself, and gradually improving my ability to articulate helpful ideas. In most entries, I will focus on one or two topics or ideas, though undoubtedly along with a fair share of tangents or unintentional repetition. Topics may be broad or narrow, and I will try to organize my thoughts somewhat before posting.
This first entry will differ in format from subsequent entries and will act as an introduction to both the journal and to me. I will begin by giving a general account of how I first entered the community of Hypnoponies, how I left it, and why I have returned. Then, I will try to describe myself, my interests, and my ideas about my self.
Five years ago, at some point in 2013, I took an interest in tulpa and self-hypnosis. I stumbled upon the Hyppnoponies site and spent some time lurking around the forums and experimenting with the files. For months, I tried to develop either a tulpa of Twilight or to have a Twilight personality able to see a pony body. I tried, and had little or no success. More specifically, I had no success in forming a tulpa, and could never “truly” see a pony body. I compared my progress to the comments and experiences of others, and saw that I was simply not having any kind of success. I kept an open mind, convinced myself it would work, but eventually I gave up. Instead, a new idea had replaced hypnosis as the center of my attention.
Having spent quite some time analyzing and familiarizing myself with the character of Twilight, I found that I often came across pre-existing parallels between my life and hers. I will not go into details, as doing so would necessarily require exposing private information about my life. The areas that had interesting overlap were actual events, interests and hobbies, general and specific personality traits, etc. I began to wonder if my lack of success with the hypnosis was in part due to being too much like the character I meant to become. I would get caught up on every little difference, every description I disagreed with.
Every now and then, I would recognize more things that just… clicked, as though finding new pieces of a puzzle. It did not take long after that for me to develop my current view of my identity. At this point I was actively participating in chats with the community. I met new people and made some friends. I did my best to be social and made efforts to help those that needed comfort or advice. I made use of my introspective habits to understand and address the situations others were going through. Sometimes, however, the intent to help was not the same as the ability to help, and I would only be able to offer a shoulder to lean on.
In 2014, the community began to gradually destabilize. Members began identifying with characters that were inherently self-destructive or vindicating of unhealthy views. Others were hit with hard times, and soon any help I offered became less and less effective. As those around me hurt more, my sense of balance diminished as well. Still, I kept trying to support my new friends, offering my shoulder while my own legs trembled. I made many mistakes, but my irresponsible efforts were the most harmful to myself and others. Any weight placed on me formed deep cracks and pains. I presented myself as stronger than I was, promising more support than I could give, which would only hurt those leaning on me when I inevitably collapsed.
I was among the last to collapse, but I fell hard. The final events that shook me to the ground were far more than I could handle at the time, having spared myself no reserves of strength. I lashed out at some, driving them farther away. I never broke off communication with anypony, though it hurt when several did so with me. It was clear that the site was going to fall apart, and so I and a few others (Amber, Brya, and I apologize for forgetting who else) tried to form a new site that I believe we called Equestrian Souls. It must have been a precursor to the current site, since my old account does not exist on this one. Another month or so with no progress on the new site and seeing those involved appear to abandon hope or become distracted by more important events in their own lives, and I finally gave up as well. I was tired and stinging, and I needed to tend to my own issues. I remained in loose contact with several ponies, but their responses became rarer and shorter, until going almost silent.
For four years, I held onto the guilt I felt from my failures and participation in the breakdown of the community. I developed a fear of online chats and relationships, and the fear overpowered my desire to repair contact with my friends. I’ve felt alone, and I made no effort to end that isolation. I tried to ignore the internal shouting to make amends, to make sure my friends were alright, to never make the same mistakes again. I had heard that some remnants of Hypnoponies had formed a group on Discord, but I wasn’t ready to investigate.
A little over two weeks ago, I stumbled upon the current Equestrian Souls site by pure coincidence. I made up my mind that this was my opportunity to reconnect, to forgive myself, to overcome my fears, and to help and be helped by others. A bit of account setup later, and here I am. I hope to be active on both the site and on Discord, though I’m taking my time.
Perhaps I shouldn’t introduce myself so far into the entry!
Hello, my name is Twilight Sparkle, though Eternal Warmth, Eternal, and most nicknames are welcome.~
Activities and Interests:
My primary occupations are as a student and researcher in the field of Computer Science, focusing on Virtual and Augmented Environments. I spend most of my free time playing video games, watching educational videos, and reading. That, and doing nothing as I stress about what I should be doing. As far as fields of interests are concerned, I mostly focus on computer sciences, physical sciences, history, and philosophy. However, I enjoy the process of learning itself, so any information that illustrates the complexity and elegance of a topic is of interest to me. It’s why I love conversations about law and economics with my father, beyond the fact that I enjoy any conversations with my father.~
I like to remain relaxed and composed, and socializing takes a good deal of energy. Still, I value my social interactions and friendships greatly, so the tiredness is well worth it. I manage “chronic constant daily migraines” (as several doctors non-committedly called it), which essentially causes any level of stress to be felt as a constant headache that varies in intensity, from hardly noticeable to practically paralyzing. I’ve made significant improvement in dealing with my stress, and so I rarely have the crippling headaches. I mention it to further explain my low energy, among other things. I can still be quite high energy, such as when I learn something interesting or acquire a new book. I am very open-minded, armed with both curiosity and skepticism to balance my views. My aversion to misunderstanding lends itself to helping me judge others more fairly, so don’t worry about treading lightly around me. Still, I appreciate kindness, honesty, generosity, humor, and integrity.~
If you see me as Twilight, then it is probably of little surprise to you that I value my friendships quite highly. I have learned to give myself credit for the effort and thought I have put in to helping my friends. These efforts are never wasted, as the enjoyment of time with a happy or otherwise stable friend is worth much momentary distress. I’ve learned a lot from my past failings, and I still have much to learn, but I am more confident now in my ability to be a supportive and good friend. I do not break off contact unless I am personally and consistently being harassed, and only after fair warning.
Propensity for Length and Example:
Those of you that have had private conversations with me are aware that I often resort to lengthy messages to communicate my thoughts. I am one that tends to reserve speech until I know I have something I wish to say, which results in loquacious sentences rife with tangents and redundancies. If such messages come across as preachy or one-sided, please call that to my attention. I’m far more concerned with having an enjoyable conversation than with boring anypony with misguided ‘lessons’. When comforting or offering advice, I refuse to be disingenuous and I avoid sounding hollow. I am rather empathic, but that does not mean I am able to easily understand or comprehend what others are going through. To remain genuine in my attempt to help and to avoid being helpless, I use honesty and illustrate my own understanding and experience through example, should I have one. This is never to “make it about me”. I do so to effectively communicate what I believe the other is feeling, as well as how they might begin to work their way out of it. Such a strategy is necessarily hit-or-miss, but I believe the benefit of the hits is worth the added confusion of the misses. I place great value on communicating my thoughts accurately and precisely to avoid misunderstandings. Any skill I have developed to that end has been due to spending too many years internalizing and rationalizing my feelings, not reaching out for help when I should have.
The State of My ‘Self’:
It is my understanding that my view of my ‘self’ is different from most others in the community, though I may be wrong. A key aspect of my view is that there is no difference between “me, the human” and “me, the pony”. I may have only started referring to myself as Twilight four and a half years ago, but that did not mark a change in my personality or values. It is not just a name, but it isn’t a strict definition either. The character Twilight inspired or revealed my understanding of Twilight the person, and that understanding is the same as the understanding of my own person. If you would like a more visual description to associate with me, then I guess you can imagine a matured alicorn Twilight, similar to the one I am likely using as a profile picture.
I do not place much stock in having been a pony in a past or parallel life. I draw helpful lessons and feelings from such ideas, but their validity has little impact on their benefits. For those of you that are interested in past lives, I will admit that my skepticism has not ruled anything out. I perceive what I can only describe as “feelings memories”, a vague collection of flashes and deep emotions that define specific or ambiguous events of a lifetime as a pony Twilight. The bizarre depth and power of these sensations confuses me, and they bring me both pain and comfort. I avoid this subject, as I fear both the pain it can bring as well as the possibility that others may take it lightly. I do not enjoy seeing others try to convince themselves of memories that may not be theirs, nor do I like others believing memories are necessary for self-validation. I’ll end this section on ‘self’ here, as I might choose to dedicate a future journal entry to it.~
Now that my own introductions are out of the way, I look forward to meeting and learning about many of you. I am inconsistent about responding in a timely manner, partly resulting from my warped perception of social time. Nevertheless, I try to stay in contact with my friends, and I hope many of you will be counted among them.~