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A fellow of unremarkable origin. Thoroughly saturated by a Christian upbringing, my youth was dominated by an ever expanding set of duties related to the church. Sunday service lead into bi-weekly youth groups. Bible study "small group" sessions in our home made for a third instance of religious devotion per week. Add in the monthly lock-in events back up at the church, random field trips and summer camps and you've an understanding of my formative years.
As if all this exposure wasn't enough, after completing the 6th grade I was pulled from public school began "homeschooling", which more directly translated to no-schooling. My teachings consisted of being handed off bundles of ACE/PACE booklets and being left to my own devices. These self-paced lesson plans provided no challenge and offered no sense of accomplishment, leading to weeks worth of booklets being completed in just days.
The boundless free time I had before another packet arrived was spent largely on the computer. During this era the likes of Rollercoast Tycoon, Worms Armageddon and Delta Force were king. Not long after it was Diablo II and Counter-Strike, which became my go-to games for many years after. By age 14 I was somewhat consistently making a paycheck, snatching up any seasonal or part-time offers that come along.
Despite the lack of legitimate education and the ceaseless deluge of religious indoctrination from an early age, I always had questions. Questions that regardless of which pastor, mentor or peer I asked were only ever answered with the likes of "It's a matter of faith." More often then not Pascal's Wager (before I knew it by its name) was offered to me after I had already turned toward the exit. That cheapshot, last ditch effort was enough to ensure I was ruled by residual fear of eternal damnation clear into adulthood.
It wasn't until several months past my 25th birthday that I dared venture off the path that was prescribed for me by my parents; the same one their parents mandated, and their grandparents to them, so forth. Thank goodness despite the odds my innate curiosity was never extinguished. Thank goodness we now live in the information age, where objective truth can be found by all those who seek it.
Never stop asking questions. Never settle.
In terms of personal achievement or identification... I suppose if nothing else I carry some small sense of accomplishment at having built up a fairly developed vocabulary. In my formative years my cumulative amount of conventional reading would be dangerously close to that of "Not Applicable". The one exception to this would be frequent trips to a dictionary. I suppose that speaks for itself.
Between my affinity for authenticity in lieu of tact I've systematically been ejected from all social circles I had previously been a part of including immediate family. Would I handle things differently if presented with the chance to start over? Absolutely not. The level of personal attachment so many people make to mere social cues is truly dumbfounding upon examination.
Find your own identity. Seek to understand who you are when free of influence.
My wife and I have no intention of ever having children. I like to state this free of pretense to see how others will respond... without fail the follow up response is always a form of either condolences or berating. The fact that procreation is viewed as a duty, if not the ultimate expression of both selflessness and self-validation as it is by many, is... disheartening.
I have no apprehensions when confronted with the reality of laying myself bare (figuratively, but hell even literally if you desire) so I have done so freely - even on the internet where anonymity can be exploited to the fullest.
Who are you? How many of you are comfortable enough to respond in earnest?
The bygone era of GameInformer.com community involvement
Member Herding, 2010
Indie and Mojo Show, 2011
FragFest Member Group (Mothballed)
FragFest Youtube Playlist | FragFest Steam Group
Champions of critical thinking, in their element
Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins,
Neil DeGrasse Tyson, William Nye
Logic and reason, empirical evidence, perspective.