Why the hell am I here!? Part 1

How the hell did I get here?

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A little while ago I came across @carolynstahl 's #whyamihere post and I found myself in for a much more fascinating story than I anticipated. Aside from her riveting story, it made me ponder that question- why am I here? How am I here? Who am I? Am I real? Are other people real??

Ok, I should probably consult my old psychologist about the last few. I have to keep a tighter leash on some of the more unwell parts of my brain. Thanks COVID

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The prompt was posed by @themarkymark a few weeks ago and is a really interesting thing to think and talk about. I have had a long, yet inconsistent journey with blockchain, crypto, and the like; and although probably much less financially exciting than the rest of y'all big wigs 😉 , I still thought it would be an interesting post to write. As a reminder for myself, if nothing else.

This is my first intentional post on Leo. If I'm in the wrong place, please tell me. Usually I just lurk around on Leo to read and try to learn but, despite my idiocy when it comes to crypto and the blockchain, I feel my understanding slowly growing day by day(or month by month if we're being honest).

How did I get here!?

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Ah well, time to go in the way way back machine. Although I'm now realizing it really wasn't that long ago at all. But it sure feels like it to me!

Maybe that's because my life has drastically changed in the 3 years since then.. 3 years!? Seriously!? I just looked up my old Steemit account and it was created in January 2018. I had to do a double-take and really thought there was something wrong with my computer. I'm not joking, I even scrolled to see if there was a spot on my screen turning a 6 into an 8.

Nope. January 2018. Holy shit have these last 3 years been interesting. If you had asked me before this very moment when I started becoming interested in blockchain I would have said 2015/2016 and I would have been VERY confident in my answer.

Alright, sorry.

I can never stop typing. Finding that out was a shocker though. And has probably already changed the direction of this post.

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Puppo here, laughing at my stupidity. Source

My first introduction to blockchain/crypto was Steemit. My ex-partner's brother was(is) a very successful crypto-lurker. I actually feel like he probably is on Leo/HIVE, but I have yet to see him pop up(although I wouldn't know his alias. Hi, Pat, if you're reading). He had constantly been prodding me to get involved in crypto, and my entire impression of it at the time was like most people's; BTC and little else, and you needed $$$ to become involved. I thought he was telling me to just invest in BTC. I wasn't the most receptive to his ideas because I was struggling to eat and have a roof over my head at the time and he was living large from his computer, without financial responsibilities and just doing as he pleased. It was an irritating thing for me because I was trying to survive and he had never had to do that; and so, yeah, I was admittedly close-minded about it.

Now, it was no secret I had always wanted to be a writer. Shortly prior to this blockchain introduction, I was working a pretty serious job(my first "good" job) and spending my free time trying to write a novel with the hopes that some day I would be able to live off writing. I used to be absurdly stubborn about certain things(still am) and I refused to write on a computer. The freedom it allowed me was too distracting, as I have issues with attention(yes I'm one of those millions of millennials that were force-fed handfuls of pills to deal with attention issues rather than look for a real solution). So, I wrote everything on paper and even had an electric typewriter I picked up from a thrift store I would sometimes use.

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They(my ex and her brother) decided that this was the perfect thing to lure me into blockchain; Steemit. If they couldn't get me to invest(I still don't really know how they thought that was realistic when I was buying dog food with returnable can money), they could get me into Steemit.

And they were right! It took me a little while to understand Steemit, but I slowly started posting. Looking back at it now, there are just a lot of posts I don't even remember making. A lot of asking for help with understanding certain things haha. At the very least, it seemed like I always had at least a little substance to the posts; even if it's just a few paragraphs and a random photo. Punk album reviews, random photos, a rambling about an interaction I had at a gas station regarding a logo on my jacket, me promoting an altcoin that now looks like much more of a scheme than anything else(didn't get duped though; too poor!)..

The first posts I can see starting to get over .05 or so were photography posts; which is funny to me. One thing I'm continually learning is that I'm not as bad at some things as I tell myself I am. Hence my recent habit of posting recipes. Shortly after that, I must have figured something out, because I started getting posts(mainly album reviews) in the double digits.

I still remember waking up one day and noticing my reputation had jumped a fair amount of points before noticing anything else. I had written a historical piece on the band Black Merda and I had hit my first curation trail; generating over $48. That was the first point I remember being like "OK! I can do this!"

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I wanted to use the platform to progress my exposure as a writer/journalist/whatever I possibly could to start shifting my life towards a career as a writer. In these three years I've gotten NO CLOSER to that; yet I have had a hell of a lot of fun and have started to understand this wonderful world quite a bit.

Now, the bullshit

That spring I broke my ankle snowboarding. I worked construction at the time and we took the winters off for weather due to the nature of our specific business directly dealt with drilling into the ground. My partner and I had just moved 15 miles out of the city to a very isolated rural apartment for my dog's sake among other things. She had stopped working and was super picky about what type of work she would do so she hadn't worked in awhile and I had been supporting us for the past year or so. When I broke my ankle and was out of work, she had promised to cover our rent and went home to her parents' house to work and spend time with her sister who had just gone through a traumatic break up. We were sharing one car at the time so this left me crippled and wheel-less in rural Vermont. It was only supposed to be for a week but that turned into 5 quickly.

I continued my physical therapy and eventually got to a point where I could walk the few miles to the gas station and then the 7 to the area with grocery stores, banks, etc. Obviously, some tensions in the relationship were growing on my side; and I had not received any rent money. But I'm not here to make a sad-sack relationship post. It's all relevant to the topic.

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May 1st came and I was still waiting on some financial assistance for our apartment. It kept being promised and I was told to wait. A few days went by and the landlord started to show her ugly side. I fortunately received some back-pay from my job that I had been unaware that I was owed; so the day seemed to be saved; at least for the month of May. I paid rent in cash I went on the 6 mile(12 round trip) walk to go cash the check.

I came home to an eviction notice on the door. I placed rent in an envelope in our usual drop spot and let the landlord know it was there(we lived in a garage-turned apartment and shared a common basement with the owner).

No response.

It seemed they were refusing to take rent and were more so just ready to kick us out. By renter's laws in Vermont, they performed a lot of illegal activities throughout this but they also knew I wasn't in any position to hire a lawyer and they would get away with it. When it became clear they weren't going to accept the rent she drove back to Vermont and we started gathering our stuff.

It turned out she didn't want to deal with the catastrophe that she had assisted in causing, and upon arriving she expressed that it was time for us to go our separate ways and that she wanted a new life traveling with her older sister. Fine, sure, whatever. My feelings about this aren't relevant, but it meant that she had come to gather her things and try to help me figure out what I could do.

While packing our things, my dog slipped through the screen door and into the yard where the owner was playing with her children. In the climax of a white-trash freakout, and subsequent argument, she told her husband to go "get his gun so we can settle this once for all". They were threatening to shoot my dog for no reason other than them being fed up with our one-time late rental payment. There were some drugs going on in that house, not a scene I'm unfamiliar with and with no negative implications towards addiction issues; but I think that's where this all stemmed from. Now that both my dog and myself were being threatened with a firearm, we decided to get the dog out of there and return to continue gathering our shit without the dog in a more safe environment.

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Came back two days later, locks changed and a "notice of abandoned property" letter on the door. Yup; they chased me off the property with a gun and then claimed I "abandoned" it and changed the locks to prevent me from gathering my things. They refused to answer any attempts at contact from myself and were very clearly on a "fuck you don't fuck with us" kind of tip.

In the inaccessible apartment were my computer, and my safe containing ALL of my cash, my identification, my passkeys; among other things. They knew this and were demanding an absurd amount of money for me to get my shit back. After a long battle between public defenders and themselves, which they had not anticipated(me hiring a lawyer), they gave in and told me I could come get my stuff.

Of course, they had scheduled that intentionally for a 3-hour window in the midst of a really intense thunderstorm. When going to retrieve my belongings I found almost everything damaged; much of it beyond repair. Sentimental items were gone and, lo-and-behold, my computer and passkeys were missing. What a surprise.

Again, I don't have the resources to have battled this in court; despite every lawyer I had spoken with telling me they were wrong in every single way they had gone about this. So, I had to take the L, and that was that with them. Thanks fuckers.

I had a second Acer computer from the 90s that barely functioned; yet at least I was still logged in to some accounts there. Finding myself homeless and jobless in Burlington, I returned to using Steemit. I was hoping to use it as a source of income until I started piecing my life back together in the aftermath of the storm. But, as it turns out, it's really hard to do that when you're homeless.

I found some work at a friend's CBD farm and found a room in an apartment to sublet. Later that summer, a friend offered me some at-home work in his house in the town I now live in. I was trying to save up money to move across the country and start my life anew; documenting my travels on Steemit(this was the origins of my current 10,000 Hours series on my mental health problems). Doggo and I were going to live in our Subaru Forester and make something happen, whatever it was. I wanted to commit myself full-time to writing.

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Ok, I'm at 2100 words already.. I can't stop myself from going into too much detail. I hope this didn't come off as too whiney. It's all relevant and I promise! This all ties into my crypto experience and it's necessary(at least in my brain) to set the scene. I'm gonna cap this here as it's already getting too long and make this a two-parter. Hopefully NOT three. I'm sorry HAHA.

Part 2 coming after a much-needed trip to the grocery store. Happy HIVE'in :)

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