First of all, there were plenty of changes at Westside. I'm not really going to get into them all. Those of you that were there already know and you can make your own opinions about them.
Personally, I don't have any issues with the changes, but I can definitely see how some of them have affected the group dynamic. I just hope that people will still want to come out and get together because seeing everyone every week is something that I've really enjoyed. It's been absent since the Block Party era and the GameWorks Studio era before that. I was something that I had been missing and was glad to see reborn at Westside.
But the Westside experience for me last night was different than I would have imagined a month ago for reasons that had nothing to do with Westside or DDR. Many of you who saw me there no doubt picked up on that.
Most of you all know me as the energetic, upbeat guy that shows up at these DDR gatherings. And really, that's who I am. But that's not to say there isn't a different side of me that none of you had probably seen before. That's who showed up last night.
I apologize to anyone who may have been put off by the way I was acting. I was extremely preoccupied by the things that have been going on in my life this week and the fact that I was running on about six total hours of sleep in the last 72 hours probably wasn't a real big help either.
Often times when I get like that (which is thankfully rare), I just totally shut down and won't let anyone in. However I had decided that last night I wasn't going to close out like that. I wasn't pushing people away, I just wasn't reaching out to them. Thank you to those of you who decided to try and reach me in my bubble. It really is appreciated.
But I owe a special thanks to two people who not only reached in, but actually managed to pull me out. I think I went to Westside hoping somebody would, but the two who did weren't at all who I would've guessed might have been the ones to do it.
Josh, Polly...thanks...you two are amazing! I've known you two the longest of nearly everyone in the group last night, but I can see I hadn't really taken the time to stop and see what you're really about until now. You both are so much more than I had ever considered--but only because I never took the time to.
So anyway, the three of us talked for a long time and I was able to work through what's been bugging me all week. I do apologize to the rest of the group if you thought I ditched you guys, but I think the big group thing just wasn't really what I needed last night.
It was good to have a sounding board. Whether they agreed with me or not, they listened and understood. I have already apologized to the people involved. Hopefully those apologies will be accepted. However, having a third party confirm that I may have acted hastily and irresponsibly, but not maliciously has allowed me to forgive myself...and that may have been the hardest part.
Throughout this week, the person I've affected the most is myself. I made a mistake, but I don't think I did anything wrong. I have punished myself with my own guilt for unintentionally causing undue grief. Trust me, emotionally I can do far worse to myself than anyone can do to me. I literally made myself physcially ill over this. If some other form of restitution is required by those I've affected, I stand at the ready.
So what have I learned? The situation that sparked all of this, while awkward and difficult, has been productive. I've solidified a lot of ideas that make me who I am. And I've also recognized a few things that I thought I knew about myself that turned out not to be accurate.
If I had it to do over again, I'd probably do things differently. But we don't get those chances now, do we? So instead, I've learned what I can from the experience and I'm ready to move forward. If those involved need more (or less) from me, all they have to do is let me know.