Hello...!

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Cameron Vallen created the topic: Hello...!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Ahem! Maybe I should start this with: Once upon a time...? Or, better yet, I'll go with a self-reflective, humorous poem I wrote years ago:

There once was a Jedi named Sparky
Whose wisdom was a lot of malarky
They drank lots of caf
They acted real daft
And their humor was really quite snarky!


I suppose that's a very awkward and rambling way of self-identifying as the Jedi once known as Spark Vallen. ;) Hi, friends! It's been a long time. I thought it fitting to keep my online surname, but to use my preferred/chosen name instead of the one I used to haunt the 'net with. "Spark Vallen" became my one primary SW roleplay characters for the last 14 years, so it doesn't represent me as it once did, and Cameron does.

Every now and then when I'm walking the campus where I work, my mind drifts back to sitting on a particular bench to write Shadow Jedi essays, or the computer lab I sat in to write comparison essays on Transcendental authors as a way of explore the Light vs. Darkside (at the Force Academy, anyway). Those memories have cropped up more often lately, so I wandered over to see if the FA was there. It was. I poked around for a few minutes, looking for familiar names, read unfamiliar topics, and then moved on. I typed "jedi realist" into Google and meandered my way here. I smiled to see Moony, Callista, and Jax in the photo (you're the trio I recognize anyway!), and remembered trying to juggle with Moony in my backyard so many years ago (2005, I think?!) when the group of us went to Greenfield Village and then hung out in my yard for a couple hours. I had to smile at finding some of the things I'd written, so long ago, in the Jedi Library here. It's a bit curious to see what my 20-22 year old self thought they knew, haha!

So, in a succinct way of putting it, I've been nostalgic. :) I don't remember the last time I posted in the community. It's probably not as distant as I think, but it's been a long time anyway.

As I'm sure with others, lots of good and challenging things have transpired. I hope some of the old friends will pop up and share what's new and exciting with them!

In my corner of the galaxy, I still work at the university I've been at since before that first time logging into the FA! I landed a position in undergraduate admissions, doing geeky digital recruitment stuff; I've been in the office just over three years and really enjoy it. I'm also full-time caregiver for my mother, whose health is severely declining now so that has a whole host of challenges. In the last three years, I've also started the process of gender transition; it's something I'd spoken little of over the years in terms of "feeling like I was worn into the wrong body." I had a watershed moment in 2014 and finally allowed me to be my true self socially and professionally. It feels good to finally be myself. My intention is to work on some medical/legal aspects of transition in 2018. (Sadly, my profile pic's facial hair is thanks to Snapchat, lol.) My pronouns are he/him/his now.

Perhaps partly because of the gender dysphoria issues, I've always been a bit weird about a great many labels. I've had a complicated relationship with how I identify myself, and my place within the Jedi path was no exception back in the day. For some young 20-somethings, I suppose that sort of interpersonal/inner conflict is necessary for growth. I can say that at 40 now, right? ("When 900 years old you reach..." ;)) As such, I don't necessarily identify "as" a Jedi or as any other particular believer/follower/leader/what-have-you in my path. Yet, I recite the Jedi Code to myself as a meditation mantra in the same way that I'll draw upon a resonating quote or a chapter of the Tao te Ching or The Celestine Prophecy. It's all good.

So... yeah. :) I was feeling nostalgic and wandered my way in here this weekend. Hi, old friends!

Peace,
-Cam
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Johannes (Yoshio) replied the topic: Hello...!

So, how to reply then!? Welcome? Welcome back? Good to read/see You again? Great that You found your way over to here?
I guess, all of the above and it is good to see a familiar face from days long gone again. I myself changed the name. First slightly from Yoshi to Yoshio and now, to give people and newcomers a face which, hopefully, feels more real, finally to my real name.
Anyway, looking forward to your post and what You can share with us. I'm sure that we can learn quite something from each other by sharing our experiences.

Qui-Gon Jinn: "We cannot control our emotions, but we can decide how we go along with them."
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Jax replied the topic: Hello...!

I'm good with gender, but I don't know if I can avoid calling you sparky... Just kidding. ;-)

You touched on my complicated views on the library. I don't want to lose the nuggets of wisdom in there, but some of it is quite amusing when viewed with another decade or more of experience. I'm glad you were able to find your own work in there.

We aren't too hung up on labels here, so you are more than welcome as often and as long as you'd like. Plus, this is one of the few safe places where trans folks are fully accepted and harassment is not tolerated. There was a big issue at some other sites this year, so perhaps tread cautiously if you want to explore. If you're still on facebook we have an intersectional jedi group made up of people from different sites who are looking at, well, intersectionality. Send me a friend request on facebook if you are still there. (pm if you need the info)

So glad to see you back. I'm glad you've found 'you' and can be comfortable in your own skin. :-)
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Cameron Vallen replied the topic: Hello...!

Thanks, Johannes. :)

I'll answer to Sparky still, haha, Jax. :)

Good to know about the attitudes elsewhere, thanks. I have my Facebook still, but I don't really "use" it. So, I'll stick to a lower profile and just pop by here now and then.
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Jax replied the topic: Hello...!

Totally understandable!
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Andy replied the topic: Hello...!

Wow, talk about a long time. I remember you from old jediism. Though I went by the great kuno in those days.

A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.

-Henry David Thoreau
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Cameron Vallen replied the topic: Hello...!

Nice to see you again. :)
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